Dragonslayer 2019- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dragonslayer 2019

    I've been wanting to do this ride ever since I heard about it two years ago, so I registered this year as my first ever "race". The low cost and completion grade finish were really appealing to me, and I love the idea of really stretching my physical mental toughness. My goal is two laps. I've done one lap before in the middle of summer, so I think with the cooler weather I'll be golden.

    Do any veteran Slayers have any tips? Break time between laps? Preferred tire combo?

    Are there water stations along the trail, or is it self-sustained? It seems like the type of ride where you'd better bring what you need and fuel up at the end of each loop, but I figured I'd ask.

  2. #2
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    This seems like a lot of riding. Are you able to make it 30 miles of singletrack or is there a mix of single, double, and pavement?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl3 View Post
    I've been wanting to do this ride ever since I heard about it two years ago, so I registered this year as my first ever "race". The low cost and completion grade finish were really appealing to me, and I love the idea of really stretching my physical mental toughness. My goal is two laps. I've done one lap before in the middle of summer, so I think with the cooler weather I'll be golden.

    Do any veteran Slayers have any tips? Break time between laps? Preferred tire combo?

    Are there water stations along the trail, or is it self-sustained? It seems like the type of ride where you'd better bring what you need and fuel up at the end of each loop, but I figured I'd ask.

    I've done it for the past 2 years and finished in the top 5 each time. I've also lead a few of the pre-rides for those who are DS-curious. My exact plan and strategy may be quite different what you're looking for but I can definitely offer up some details of what to expect and how to get it completed.

    I recall that each county park will have a water spigot for you to refill if needed. Camp Tejas seems to be a popular refill spot (when going clockwise). I suspect that the popular refill spot this year will be at Cedar Breaks park. Don't quote me...but I think the water there is behind one of the guard stations near the entrance/exit of park. That being said,with cool weather conditions and a decent hydration strategy, I don't think its too hard to make a lap without a refill.

    Tire combo is always a can-o-worm for any event. But my basic suggestion is to run something very durable. As you know, 2/3 the trail is nasty sharp coral-like embedded rock. Flats are very common. Thus, I'd err on the side of durability over speed/weight. However, IMHO half the battle out there is picking quality lines. Thus if you can do that then you may be able to get away with a less stout tire. I'm on a Trek Stache hardtail with comparably thinner sidewalls. I've ridden 20 laps out there now with no flats. But at the end of the day, when you are tired and not thinking clearly, picking quality lines gets MUCH MORE challenging. Oh, bring a tire boot-extra sealant-tire bacon-tube-patchkit. All those things can prove helpful when making decisions to fix your problem and keep moving forward on your 7-8 hr day.

    Touch points. For me, this is one of my primary areas of management (for 3 laps). But every spot you contact the bike will be tested: saddle, grips, pedals/shoes. Bringing extra chamois butter (indivusal packets?), extra gloves to trade off between laps, I even bring small pieces of towel cut into squares that I can add as extra palm padding if needed can be make the difference in comfort and completion during your 7-8 hr day. *note* pack your total supplies wisely. Its easy to want to load up on everything imaginable. But if you C-back weighs considerably more than your used to then IT WILL create touch-point and fatigue issues.

    Nutrition/hydration plan. This one is also very personal and my usual suggestions are to experiment with this during the training phase(s) leading up to an event this big. Thus I'm assuming you've got this work out? If not, then I think you will want to have 4 things to bring with you and manage: 1) basic water 2) non-water electrolyte option (DS is sponsored my Hammer and their stuff is great), I've used gator aid too 3) "power food" such as gels, blocks, bars, etc 4) non-power food such as a PB&J, or snickers bar. Each one of these is suggested for specific reasons and calorie/taste management options. If you want to know more specifics then let me know. Don't have time right now.

    I won't be able to make it there this year due to the Thanksgiving holiday proximity. But they are sunning is CCW and I think it may prove slightly more challenging (not to mention the extra 3-4 miles per lap). Historically, I always broke the lap into 3rds and it allowed me to process my pace/strategy accordingly. It usually went 1/3 hard, brief reprieve (across across dam), 1/3 hard, then 1/3 smooth-easy-fast, then repeat. With the new direction, it seems to be 1/3 smooth-easy-fast (which may trick people into a quicker start pace than normal), the 1/3 hard, 1/3 hard, which end-loads each lap (after you've been tricked into the earlier quick(er) pace. Thus my suggestion is to stay inside your comfort zone the entire time. (harder than you'd think)

    In summary, if you give some thought to your planning and keep up with your nutrition and touch-points, then as long as you have the grit....you can finish this event (that goes for 3 laps too)

    Good luck out there.
    CJB

    PS- on the DS Facebook page the promoter has a summary of his suggestions for a DS strategy too. Its very worthwhile read

  4. #4
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    Wow, I wasn't expecting to get such a 5-star summary! This is perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks very much. As it stands I think I'll keep my Minion up front an Aggressor on back. I'll also be sure to stock up on honey stingers, PBJ's, and Nuun tablets, as that's what I normally consume on 20+ rides. CCW will be weird, but maybe itll make the trail feel different. The only other time I've ridden this trail was CW from Cedar Breaks park. Good idea on the 1/3 strategy. I like that and will definitely adopt it for my ride.

  5. #5
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    So how did it go?

    I gather that the cold weather may have been an additional factor to deal with?

    -CJB

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post
    So how did it go?

    I gather that the cold weather may have been an additional factor to deal with?

    -CJB
    It went really really well. The weather couldn't have been better, although it was pretty cold at the start. Slight breeze, a couple clouds, and a perfect 65 degrees. I took the tips you offered on pace, hydration, and nutrition and finished two laps in under 8 hours with some gas still left in the tank. Another good tip I got was taking SportLegs during and after the ride.
    The route started in Russell and went CCW, so you start the ride on a 8 mile stretch of easy jeep road and finish on the hardest 7 mile stretch of gnarly technical rocks. It definitely made it difficult, but I heard next year they'll be reversing, so you do the hardest stuff east of Russell first and finish with the easy jeep road.
    I think I'll still shoot for 2 laps next year, but I know I can do them a LOT faster without stopping for pics, talking with hiker,s etc.
    My friends and I had such a good time that we've decided to make it a yearly event to train for. Easily one of the hardest, but most rewarding trails in Texas.

  7. #7
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    Hey glad to hear that!

    The original plan a few years ago was to require 1 lap CCW, then 1 lap CW, then you choose the last lap direction. But the promoter abandoned that idea because it would lead to two-way traffic for most everyone over the course of the day. FYI- I prefer the CW direction, it breaks up the group(s) quickly, helps keep your early pace in check and allows you to get through the tough stuff while your still fresh(er)....on each of the 3 laps. For example, if you guys decide to stretch out and do 3 laps next year, you primarily have to be concerned with getting though 2/3's of the last lap. You can then soft-pedal the last 10 miles home...

    I'm bummed I missed it this year and look forward to seeing everyone out there for next year. Thanks for the report.
    -CJB

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