Last weekend I made a trek to Palo Duro Canyon just south of Amarillo, TX for my third attempt at the marathon mountain bike race. I am amazed every year at the canyon that drops into the earth from the middle of the flat plains. The canyon is absolutely beautiful, and the trails are great for riding and hiking. The trails feature beautiful views, some punchy climbs, and a few rocky drops on small descents.
The race is promoted by Karie Mueller and Team Kordestani, and she does a fantastic job. The race is well organized, and the course is well marked. I did not have the opportunity to pre-ride this year, and I had no problem following the race course. Most mountain bikers know that this is not always the case.
The three years I have participated in the race, Bike One manager Tommy Duvall from Norman has set up a tent and feed zone for all Oklahoma racers, and has welcomed all Oklahoma racers like we are his own. The Oklahoma racers under and around his setup represent all different colors on their team kits, but we are all there together to prepare for and have a fun race.
This year the weather caused some challenges. The temperatures were great, especially for mid-November, but the winds were difficult at best. Winds were swirling and gusting up to 50 mph, adding to the level of fatigue that comes from an almost 50 mile race. Many competitors were not able to finish due to various issues, but everyone had a story to tell after the race was over.
For a completely different trail experience and scenery, I would highly recommend giving Palo Duro a try.
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