2020 was supposed to be the year of conquering dinosaurs, at least according to the promotors of the CO2UT race in Fruita, Colorado. Sadly, the coronavirus had alternative plans, forcing postponement until May 22,2021. Riders had a variety of courses to choose from: 30, 75, 100, 125, and 185 miles. Promotors were trying to up the number of female racers registered so a discount was offered to the ladies to incentivize early registration. I opted for the 75 mile course, also known as the Stegosauraus.
Race packet pick-up was held at a community center in Fruita the evening before the race. By the time I arrived to pickup mine, it was nearly dark. Upon entry, I was enthusiastically greeted by race volunteers who provided me with a race plate and branded t-shirt and socks, as promised during registration. There was much hype about Muck Off being a race sponsor, however all I received was an empty Muck Off paper bag.
The next morning I rolled up to the startline just as my field was disappearing around the corner. The neutral rolling start would wind it’s way on paved roads through Fruita up to the 18 Road Trailhead. I was happy to follow along behind the field and avoid the chaos. At the actual startline for the race, the road conditions at 18 Road very rapidly deteriorated to a rough, potholed, unmaintained smattering of asphalt which eventually led to the gravel roads. By this time the field was spreading out and I wondered whether the race course would be obvious or difficult to follow. The promotors had encouraged the usage of GPS navigation, which I was doing. I also had a paper copy of the route tucked in my bag for when my GPS unit would inevitably die.
All race courses with the exception of the 30 miler were on the same route to the first aid station. From here and the next aid station, the various courses would loop off into the desert. For the Stegosauraus course, the aid stations were at miles 22, 39, and 52. Due to the loop shape of the course, riders would revisit the same aid stations out and on the way back. The snacks provided were a variety of sweet and salty, including a huge pickle jar, which was later used for pickle juice shots once the pickles were gone. I did need air and chain lube, which were readily available as well.
At the finish line, medals were handed out according to which dinosaur you slayed – or which race you finished. There was a post-race beer and bike wash available to each rider at the race celebration, if you wanted to wait in line. The communication from the race organizers throughout the uncertainty of 2020 up to the last minute changes in the days before the race were clear and concise. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the course was marked well enough that I didn’t need my paper print out. Somehow, Mother Nature even cooperated by providing an overcast sky on race day. Overall this is a top notch race that I would highly recommend!