Monday, April 24, 2006

Lucky Number Thirteen - Cohutta 100miler Race Report

check-out andy's write-up. good stuff. that brother had a most excellent ride. paced himself perfectly. stoked!

18hr drive. arrive at the ocoee whitewater cntr for registration (i'm registered as #13, doesn't bode well!) around 4p, get the bikes dialed-in, swap-out the tires (go with kenda karma 1.95 in the rear, irc serac 1.95 in front) for expected mud and rain, all that good stuff. we jump on the nearest section of singletrack and both find we have the golden legs! crazy! i guess sitting in the car for two days is the best way to prep for a race. ha! but it was worth it. the singletrack down there was incredible,
swooping, flowing stuff. would have been nice to ride more of it, hungry for another race down that way, but not the drive...

hang with harvey minton, his lady lauren and their pup, eddie o'dea and namrita kumar at a sweet condo harvey hooked-up. nice.

620a saturday, overcast, foggy, 62 degrees, moist. 710a, race starts on 2miles of road. mark hendershot takes the lead, andy and i sit-in a few wheels back, trying to hit the opening 15miles of singletrack in top 10. no problem. andy's on my wheel, but his handlebars are loose and has to stop to fix. wacky. we exit the singletrack, front group takes a wrong turn and andy's right there on way back, perfect. i was bumming to lose my bro so early in. i manage to get the hole shot into the next section, come around a corner at 20mph, hit a bridge and take a sail! it was pure mold ice. i get back-up crazy quick, only lose 3-4 spots, but nice rash on leg, arm, hip, won't even notice it till cleaning-up in the river 8hrs later. we get through some technical stuff that swallows the group and out onto 1 lane fireroads through the mountains (with occasional traffic, blind corners, sweeping turns, good stuff) where the race goes up and down some solid climbs for the next 70miles before the final 12mile singletrack section to a short section of pavement before the finish back at the ocoee cntr.

the lead group is whittled down to 4 by mile 25-30 when the climbing begins. seems like i'm doing a lot of pulling early-on, but we weren't going that hard. didn't feel hard. after we hit the hills we're chatting like old school chums. all the sudden it wasn't a race, but a group ride. the miles were just flying-by. Hendershot, Prosser (cannondale) and some other cannondale rider who wasn't as gregarious.

aid station 3 comes after 10-15miles of pretty much steady climbing. prosser encourages me to take a leak from the saddle, something i hadn't managed to do before, so that was an interesting first. filled-up my shoe in the process, thankfully it was dumping rain. nasty. i stop to get water, mark goes on, but rides slow so we can catch-up. prosser bridges first and just as i'm bridging-up, i decide to drop into the grannie as the pitch increases and my chain snaps instantly. i mutter "there goes my race", already losing focus and i haven't even dismounted yet! first mistake. i fix it poorly, it breaks again as i'm bridging back-up to group 10-15mins later. second mistake. this time i fix it properly, but miss the part of the front derailleur! have to break it again! ahhhgggg! third mistake. now i've lost 8-10mins total. andy catches-up, tosses me his park chain tool and off we go. after riding together for a bit, i decide to sprint to "make-up time." this is MY race. this is my chance. fourth mistake - and the most fatal.

30-40mins into this up-tempo piece, i totally 100% blow-up, melt-down, start puking and have to dismount and walk for 2-3mins. andy catches back up while i'm walking and rides slow with me for 10-15mins talking constantly, trying to get me going. super-nice guy move, but that's andy. since i puked-up all my nurtition, i begin to bonk on top of melting-down. as andy pulls away i begin drinking water in earnest and 30-45mins later slowly adding food simple foods (bagel) back to the system. can't push heart rate above 130-135 w/o feeling light-headed and sick for the next 1.5 - 2 hours, but the miles fly-by anyway, deep in the pain cave. never think about quitting, just think about how to get through it, how to get my body to rebound, how to catch my friend up ahead on the trail.

then suddenly i'm at aid station 6 and the guy says, "12miles to go, all singletrack from here." i finally eat a goo, other solid foods are starting to fuel the system. i take-off, feel sick again, ease back. after climbing for 1/2mile or so i go the wrong way at this confusing turn, where the singletrack does a 1mile circular loop. a guy i was riding with way earlier is coming down the trail as i'm going up it, i turn around, lose about 5mins, and now some other dude is right on my tail. having andy pass me when i was sick is ok, he's my boy, but this dude? he makes the pass, i can't go down like this. from the possibility of being in the top 3 to this? wtf? i freak and hit the gas around him down into a tight corner, don't look back, you never look back. this time i don't feel sick. my legs rebound and i have a great final 10miles or so into 8th place, energy levels peaking, my heart rate right back up at 170. i did spend 2hours "resting" in the middle of the course! andy finishes in 7th place, 6mins ahead, i in 8th place and harvey only 3-4mins behind me in 9th.

Prosser's rear brakes went-out at like mile 20 (i.e., no pads), then the pistons locked-up and he couldn't hang at the end using a broken bike. Hendershot ends-up outsprinting the other Cannondale rider for the win, posser in 3rd. really would have liked to have been there at the end... woulda, coulda, shoulda! ha! fuel for the fire.

After the race i'm talking with Hendershot and he said some real encouraging things. I'm all like, "dude, you're the man, i only lost 10mins with my mechanical, you beat me by 40, i would have blown-up anyway", he insists that isn't the case, that one mistake led to another, all that positive stuff. point is, that dude Hendershot is good people, as was Garth Prosser, looking fwd to spinning the cranks w/those dudes again. and as usual, i'm always looking fwd to spinnin' 'em with my boy andy. that dude had a great race, a smart race.

i'm definitely bumming about how things turned-out. but, this is bike racing, there's no "if this wouldn't have happened, then i would have finished here." that's pure crapola. for all i know i would have blown-up anyway. one of the things i love about bike racing is that it's so damn hard, you have to do everything right - and make the right decisions when things go wrong. yesterday, a huge part of me just wanted to crawl into bed and lay there for a couple weeks and do nothing, be depressed. of course, i have a real job, so i chamoised-up and pounded on the pedals in the 53-11 yesterday on the way to work, took the scenic route. legs felt fantastic, which is perfect for chasing this demon away. today things are even better. by next week, it'll be a distant memory, one where i'm only taking the positives away and none of the negatives.

one important thing i discovered is 100miles is the perfect endurance distance. the mohican 100 may just have been added to the schedule... and my new custom deluxe rides like a dream. i've never been so comfortable on a bicycle. it was crazy, could have been on my couch it was so damn smooth.

*photos are courtesy of namrita kumar who couldn't race due to back issues, but she's resting-up to kick some arse at the Source Burn 24 in May. sweet!


At 4/25/2006 11:52 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Shit, that sucks dude. Way to make up time with those mechanicals though. I would have been done. I suck with that stuff. Enter the sag wagon! Great report.
Sounded like a great time regardless with some cool people.

Glad to hear you're doing Mohican 100, I hope to be there too. I'll be hanging in the back though. HA!

Take care,


At 4/25/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Just wanted to make it clear the mechanicals sucked not your placing. Great job. You should come down for the Wilderness 101 in State College too. Great race!

At 4/25/2006 4:40 PM, Blogger jeff said...

i knew what you meant, but thanks for clarifying. it's not that breaking a chain sucked, it's how i handled it that sucked! need to stay focused and fix it properly next time. also ditching KMC chains - that is the 2nd broken chain in 2 years - both in "A" races - both of them broke way too easily.

Wilderness 101 is same wknd as Jay 60 - and i'm committed to the Jay 60... even though i'd be pysched to mix it up and ride the 101 (this will be my 3rd year at the Jay). i'll be at the 101 next yr when i ride 4 or 5 of the 100 milers in the new endurance circuit. would like to do the circuit this year, but we's got a baby coming in august!

At 4/25/2006 4:46 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Cool. I forgot about that race, you mentioned that before. My bad.

Baby in August? Didn't realize it was so soon. Get ready for all the people telling you how your riding and racing will stop. It only will if you want it to. I think I became MORE focused after B-Man came. I figured if I'm gonna ride I'm gonna ride with purpose. It also helps that Wifey is super down to earth and supportive, and from the sounds of it your wife is.

Later. JM

At 4/26/2006 7:36 AM, Blogger rick said...

Great write up and congrats on pulling through. I can tell you that having an infant at home will put a crimp on your riding time (mine is 7 months) but if you're creative you'll still get riding in. I'm still getting some good miles in but need to be more focused and am not get ANY junk miles now. Can't afford to... You also planned the due date well, you'll probably be able to cruise through the end of your season on residual fitness alone like I did last summer. Best of luck.

At 4/26/2006 1:51 PM, Blogger JB said...


You and Andy had great rides. It's nice to see that you guys at the front of the pack blow up too. I though that was reserved for us back of the packers. Way to get it back and finish strong.

And yes, of all races this year the ADK is the one I'm looking forward to doing most. I know I can do way better thn last year. Although right now I'm just focusing on tomorrow and the next week. Also planning on the Saratoga 24hr, and maybe the New England 24 also. All on the UMCA schedule.

Great ride and writeup! Keep giv'n'r.


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