12 Team and 6 Hour: You've got a 10 mile test of your power production and flow-maintenance skills on a quite technical single-track course ahead of you. On a warm summer day a single bottle will leave you running on fumes by the end so be prepared, especially if you're going out for another lap right away. The Loop Road aid station will come up after about 6 miles and will have water, Heed, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes to get you to the end. On a hot day you should have eaten Endurolytes before you even started, but keep drinking and eat a little as you race.
Enjoy the two long descents on trail LL after the aid station, then finish your eating and drinking on the snowmobile trail. Once you dig through trail L you will get back across Loop Road and put the hammer down because you are in the final two miles. Only you will know if you've gone as hard as you could, but ride like there's something stalking you just in case.
I saw a huge bear track there tonight in the fresh mud just past Underdown's homestead, and by a quarter past nine as it was getting hard to see I was cresting the gravel pit overlook on trail A and there was that bear, right in the trail. In these situations I like to think of myself as the baddest bear in the woods. That bear ran away, but I'm sure he will see you if you start doggin' it coming home on Saturday. If you get in by 9PM you should be OK.
12 Solo, 12 Duo, and 3 Hour: You will be riding a tough 21 miles that will keep you out there two to three hours or more. On a warm day like Saturday, two bottles will leave you running on fumes well before the end. I would wear a hydration pack even though I usually don't race with one. Take advantage of the 3 aid stations to get Heed or water even if you normally just blow by them. Eat something like a Hammer Gel or bar around every aid station even if you don't feel hungry yet. Endurolytes or electrolytes in some drinks should keep you from cramping on a hot day. I would have one to three per lap depending on how hot it was, but you could check their website if you were more curious. If my stomach tells me that I've had too much electrolyte I switch to drinking water and that usually settles things down.
Once you pass Dog Lake and the Relentless hill you will be near the first aid station on Mist Lake. This is the start of your only sustained double-track so take the time to eat and drink. After descending Oktoberfest you will reach the second aid station at Underdown Lake. Don't forget to take care of yourself even if you still feel great because you still have half of the lap left.
At some point between Underdown Lake and the Loop Road aid station you could start having your doubts. This usually happens right after the Yin Yang Yalcano, nine miles from the finish. You really start to wonder how much more trail there could be, and if you've got enough left. You might even think about bailing out, but you won't allow yourself that option. Just keep fueling and pedaling, taking one hill at a time. You won't be alone out there. Think about what you're doing - every turn you carve and bump you roll. Admire the view. Have fun. Enjoy Round Top and the Stumpjumper, and before you know it you'll be grabbing something at the last aid station and in the home stretch. You will get done and be glad that you didn't give in to all those reasons to quit you were thinking of . This was not just any lap. This was all the way around in the Underdown.