Here's what you need to know about racing Fish Rock.
72.4 Tough miles, 9,670 feet of elevation gain. It's super tough.
Four Aid Stations:
Many of you have a stable of different bikes to choose from. Some of you only have one, in which case it's the right bike. But if you have a choice,...
We recommend you ride a 700c road bike with fast rolling 32mm or larger tires that have some edge tred. The course consists of mostly road with a 14 mile long, time-consuming gravel section called Fish Rock. Some people are more comfortable riding a fast gravel bike with treaded tires. It's a question of what makes you feel more comfortable, and comes down to personal preference. There are definitely some gravel descents that will make you pucker.
BLOW BY BLOW
The race starts with an immediate, punchy 1.9-mile / 700-foot climb.
After this climb, there's a brief, but fast descent before confronting a much more formidable 4 mile / 1,700' climb followed by a #superfun descent, some rollers and more climbing to Aid Station #1 at mile 15.
When descending on any part of this race course please mind your speed which if left unchecked can easily surpass 50 MPH which is not only against the law (ehem), but dangerous on these poorly maintained rural roads.
🍌 MILE 15 - REST STOP #1
⚠️ MILE 19.7 - DANGER
One right-hand turn in particular just before mile 20 is particularly dangerous because it has a decreasing radius and can send you into the other lane of oncoming traffic at more than 40 miles per hour. Just watch out on your approach to the coast.
You have already climbed 4,000 feet.
MILE 25 - 28
This 4-mile stretch of the course is along the Pacific Coast Highway 101. It's smooth and extremely well-suited for pack animals looking to pace-line and make up time. As soon as you reach the small, obvious town of Point Arena, you'll make a quick right-left hook as you turn on to Riverside Drive... DO NOT BLOW THROUGH TOWN!
You need to pay particularly close attention inside Point Arena. The turn on to Riverside Drive is difficult for us to mark well with so many other distractions like traffic, parked cars, buildings and the movement of other people. We will try to position a race official here to help, but it's up to you to pay close attention, especially since you'll be hauling the mail with your friends on this relatively flat segment.
If you mess up and blow through town instead of making the left-hand turn on Riverside Drive, you'll be off-course and our SAG drivers may not find you. Just remember, you should only be on HWY 1 for 4 miles. The first town you come to is Point Arena, and is your signal to put your head up and be alert for this critical left-hand turn before you roll through downtown.
MILE 28 - 34
These next 11 miles are really tough. After you leave Point Arena, the road pitches up again, and starts its assault on your legs. The roads are smooth and there's very little traffic. But what traffic there is travels fast and isn't used to seeing many bicycles along their route. So please stay to the right, as there's no shoulder to speak of.
🍌 MILE 38 - REST STOP #2
Back to its original spot.
⚠️ MILE 39 - DANGER
This is your critical left-hand turn on to Fish Rock Road--a left-hand turn on a road where cars travel fast in both directions. Don't turn left until you know for sure it's clear in both directions! Additionally, Fish Rock Road begins with a ripping, chunky-paved descent before turning to gravel. So keep your mind straight and descend with caution. There are potholes everywhere!
MILE 40 - 55 - HAAAAARD
Fish Rock is gravel now, pure gravel, and for the most part it's in incredible condition because the route is designated as an emergency evacuation route between HWY 128 and the coast, so the County is obligated to give it more care than normal. HOWEVER, it is extremely steep in spots, and in those spots, the gravel can be a bit loose. The first major climb is a solid 4 miles straight up, and it's gravel all the way until mile 55.
💦 MILE 43.5 - REST STOP #3
Yeah, we used the water emoji. It means water. We're figuring that by the time you get to the top of the first gravel pitch of Fish Rock you'll be wondering WTF, so we're gonna splash some water on your face to snap you out of it. You must continue.
Fish Rock's main danger is loose gravel. On the ascents, you can slip out and fall over while clipped-in. Aside from being embarrassed, it hurts. But the real danger is the loose gravel on the descents. Fish Rock Road is well-kept, but it's not smooth on a road bike when you're going down hill at speed. Road tires will lack grip descending, and you need to exercise an overabundance of caution while doing so.
🍌 MILE 54.7 - REST STOP #4
Signal Ridge -- really pretty, paved. Last chance for a survival shot before you motor the remaining 16.5 miles home. (we don't actually carry needles, but some electrolyte might have the same effect)
MILE 55 - 64
It's pavement again, and while it's mostly downhill there are still some moderate climbs to contend with. By the end of it you're going to be pretty cooked. You'll have logged well over 9,000' of climbing.
MILE 64-72 (finish)
The last 6 miles are on highway 128. There's no shoulder, and there is a fair bit of traffic. Pace-line, and dig deep because this will be over before you know it. HWY 128 is a very fast section of road, for bikes too. There's some climbing left to do but you'll get through it and we'll see you at the finish line.
THE FINISH LINE
As soon as you make it out into the final mile of the course, it will be a long, straight road with fields on either side. The finish line is on the right side of the road just before you reach the brewery. We'll grab your time, and you go grab a beer.
Everybody starts together at 9:00 am Saturday. Traditional overall scoring is captured at Fish Rock. The top three men and top three women for the day will be recognized in various age groupings. The finish line is just before the Boonville City limits sign. We'll be there waiting for you.
This year we will have one prize for each the first male and female to reach the first 700' climb of the day. It will be a hard fought battle you could pay for later. Regardless, you must still finish the race to hold on to your preme.
We'll be giving away great prizes to those who place in their age/gender category. Age brackets are created based on number of riders in each 10 year age group.
Podium spots get a fabled one-of-a-kind commemorative poster and a smattering of other cool prizes.