The Hundo (June 15, 2024)

This race sells out rather quickly, but sure enough, I managed to miss the moment when the registration opened in mid-January. I was only 15 minutes late, but it was already sold out. Put my name on the waitlist without too much hope and moved on.

Fast-forward to May 30th, around 3 p.m., when I was in my kitchen having lunch. I’ve got an email that there are a few spots available, and I can get one if I’m swift enough about it (10 people were on that email, with only 6 spots on the line). Snatched it!

The Hundo is a mountain bike race that is 62 miles (100 km) long, with 7350 ft (2250 m) of elevation gain. But none of these numbers matter. What does is that it takes place in Buffalo Creek — an absolute Heaven on Earth. And we’re about to send it big time! Well…

I’ll keep this story short because what was supposed to be a six-hour race ended abruptly at the two-and-a-half-hour mark. I DNF-ed. Here’s how.

Let’s see what we’ve got here

The race starts with a long climb. On a chilly morning, I didn’t feel like leaving my car more than a few minutes before the start, so there was no warmup for me. Figured that’s what the first climb is for. Right? I started from the back of the pack and was struggling to find my pace. Was passing people and soon after losing a spot back. I can’t even tell if I was going too easy or too hard, I just let it go and decided not to worry about it until we get to Nice Kitty.

On the first twitchy single-track descent, which apparently was a segment of Colorado Trail, I was slowly but surely getting into the flow and gaining my mojo back. There, I was stuck behind a few other people, but even though I could go faster than them, I didn’t really mind having a lead out for a while. Eventually, I took off, only to be reeled back in on the next climb.

Now, that was bothering me. We all are having a good time here, blah-blah-blah, but it’s still a race, right? I must use what I have against these guys, and if outclimbing them doesn’t work out yet (but I’m determined to give ‘em a proper fight up Nice Kitty and Little Scraggy), I shall do what works right now — let’s send it on the way down. And here comes Sandy Wash…

Sandy Wash

A group of four or five of us came to the top of Sandy Wash together, and I knew I’d be faster than everyone around me, so I took measures to get into the single track first. Technically, second, but I passed the guy as quickly as possible to have a clear trail for myself. How did I know I’d be faster? Because I love Sandy Wash. I remember it very well. I know it’s 100% rolling, I know all the lines around technical spots (which are not even that technical in the first place), I’m confident. Like “hold my beer, kiddos, and watch how it’s done” confident. I’m about to show them, I’m about to cause some damage that will make them work harder on the climb to catch back up. You can feel it, right? The cockiness is growing big, and it’s explosive. And someone’s gonna hurt.

Unfortunately, this time, it hurt the owner. I was rolling off the boulder, and I didn’t slow down enough. So, upon hitting the dirt, I had to swing my handlebar to stay on the trail. Went down — not too badly (not that I wasted any time assessing the damage). It was an alert but somehow also an affirmation. While I was picking up an ejected bottle and getting back on the bike, no one even caught me. Well, I guess I’m doing something right, and I’m doing it well. Keep pushing!

And soon enough comes the second blow. In a turn that doesn’t suggest any danger, traction suddenly disappeared, wheels slid out, and I ate it. Again, I stood up as quickly as possible, didn’t bother checking how bad the bleeding was, and hopped back on… Oh, shoot. My rear brake lever was missing. Well, that’s game over.


I safely descended to the next aid station at the bottom of Nice Kitty. The medic helped me with the wounds as much as he could with his limited arsenal and called a SAG vehicle to transfer me and my fellow injured companion back to the parking lot at the start of the race. Thank you, Hundo team, for taking care of us silly Billies!

First time I fell off the bike hard enough to get stitches! Accomplishment unlocked.

What went wrong?

Nothing did. I honestly don’t regret anything, and I’d do the same again and hope I don’t crash. I didn’t pay $200 to have a nice ride. I can do that any day of the season for free (don’t forget to donate to the fine people of Buffalo Creek and COMBA, who take such good care of these trails!). I paid for a racing experience, and it’s been delivered by the organizers, competitors, and myself.

To do better next year, all I need is to heal up and go ride those damn trails. Fast!