Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mohican 100 Race Report

meet-up w/andy, thom, kerry, skip and tiffany thursday afternoon, loaded-up the Seven van and got out of boston before the traffic got gnarly. headed west and rolled into Buck's house outside Harrisburg late friday night. good dude, looking fwd to bumping into that guy again soon.

day 2. after more quality time in the van, roll into the Mohican State Forest at 5pm on Friday. Monster rains hit the area and i was getting fired-up to race my bike in some slop. set-up camp, got our grub-on, met Sully and chit-chatted for a while before wrenching on the steel deluxe. as usual was up past 11p doing minor bike things, hit the sack, then got back-up and ate a 2nd dinner around midnight, was inspired to get my grub-on for this one.

day 3. 530a wake-up, andy cooked-up some oatmeal while i "brewed" instant coffee so strong it burned through the bottom of thom's plastic cup. nice morning, around 60 degrees, partly cloudy, practically no wind, temps would never get much above 72, perfect day for a race. slapped-on the chamois and a sleeveless jersey and cruised-down to the staging area around 645.

720a and 150 endurance freaks were off like a herd of turtles. then suddenly we're hauling ass. whoever was driving the pace car didn't realize that a rolling start for mtbiker's isn't 20+mph, but it worked-out fine as it spread the field before hitting a 10m section of rolling, ripping singletrack. Really great stuff. I enter the woods in a top position, working a bit harder than i'd like, Harlan's right in front of me, he's outta my league, so i slow-down a tad and let 'em go. Skip goes by me like a like i'm riding a tricycle, but that's to be expected. Then suddenly my chain breaks. For no good reason at all. I hop off and remember #3 on jenn's advise list for the Mohican, "Fix it Right" (the other nine pieces of sage race wisdom have been removed from the blog, they're my race hints ! - que evil laugh). get the chain back through, slap the exta sram powerlink on and it's go time.

now in 20-25th position, but it's all good. only lost 3mins, and begin working my way back through the field. 20mins later I catch a trio of ss'ers (including Thom) and their geared counterpart, Harvey (who celebrated his 40th on sun!), on a burly section of trail along a flooding river. Then Thom's gone, riding all this super-gnarly stuff that had the rest of us literally falling into the river while trying to hike-a-bike. sweet-as ridin'. we eventually get to a campground - where the signage for the race has been removed. The lead 2 or 3 fellas made it through before someone tore-down the signs, so now there are like 20 riders piling-up, standing around and looking confused. I mention going back to the campsite and getting drunk. Then after cruising for signage for who knows how long, Garth Prosser appears and sends us up a steep-as-shit hike-a-bike climb, aross the trail and then the wrong way down to aid station 1. Andy and I decide to take the race at "epic ride" pace for a while to re-group mentally from what is essentially a re-start. But, it's all good, we still have 75miles of course to rock!

Andy and I get the wheels turning and a few miles later are back in a groove. We hit some pavement, group-up with Alex Dolopp and work together. Alex drops-off and warns us our pace is too high... a few miles later we re-group before hitting some more sweet technical singletrack en route to aid station 2 at mile 46. by now my rear derailluer is totally trashed (it was on its last legs going into the race), still working, just draggin', please make it to the end, broke part of my saddle in a fall along the river, and the fork won't completely unlock, but everything is still "working" and it does so until the end. nice. andy's suggestion to bring chain lube was best call of the day, kept the drivetrain kickin'.

We all re-fuel and get going onto the next aid station. i'm feeling good so i leave Andy and Alex and begin pushing. Skip, Harvey and others go by me in the other direction with Garth in a pick-up truck guiding them - as they had missed a turn someplace. Around mile 55-60 i miss a turn (which wasn't hard to do on this course) and lose some time. I go back and find the turn-off, Alex is there and we work together on some Amish buggy trails that lead to 10miles of rail trail. I start feeling pretty bad all of the sudden and drop-off in a serious bonk. Everthing's hot, my head is swimming and i'm hoping for rain like crazy from the heavy clouds that have rolled-in. Then it starts to pour. a cold rain. now i'm freezing. i try to keep the pace-up, drink Hammer baby-puke and focus on getting through the bonk. I can't see shit, but i know the aid station is close, just need to get some real food. focused on keeping the legs turning over even though every fiber of your being is saying, "get the f off the bike dumb ass!". thankfully i bonked on the rail trail, hills would have been bad in my condition. 2 100milers, 2 bonks. the tale of 2 bonks?

miss another turn and end-up in some weird little town. Wrong. Turn around and find an arrow painted on the road - this leads me right to aid station 3 where i stop for about 5 minutes and literally eat 2lbs of bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, trail mix and orange slices. I dump-out the Hammer Nutrition and fill-up both btls w/water. As i'm munching, Skip arrives like a force, looking great, totally f'd due to a bad chain, missed turns. Seeing him looking so fresh at mile 70 (which at this point is more like 80m) is inspiring. I grab one more handful and start up the trail, quickly feel better, than have a massive sugar crash. Legs aren't really effected, just feel like i'm about to fall asleep, take an on-the-bike nap for 4-5miles and 2 ss riders bridge-up - Matt and Rich i believe. We ride "together" off and on, through some horse farm and some sketchy muddy trail. Somewhere in this section we run into a 4' wall across a small stream - Rich says, "you can't ride that w/all those gears?" i move-on in confusion.

We arrive at aid station 4 together, rich is on fire and blasts ahead, smokin' me in the singletrack. Another geared rider appears, passes me and at first i'm thinking about just letting him go, but now we're back on singletrack - the same sweet-as singletrack we started the race on. with lots of fuel back in my tank i keep this rider in sight through the singletrack. he's rippin'! nice. i see Kerry at the top of a climb, she's finishing the 100k and tells me to go catch the guy. the singletrack is sweet! feeling pretty good considering we probably have 100miles in our legs by now. after 8m of singletrack we hit a short fast piece of asphalt, then a hard turn to a short super-muddy trail along the river before hitting the dam and a super-steep hike-a-bike up to 1.5m of road before a short muddy/grassy climb to the finish. the other geared rider is about 60secs in front, so i begin to run/walk/push up the steep slope, huffin', head swimmin'. we hit the asphalt together, push through a little climb and he's gone, with that pass salvage a top 10, the goal for the race. a few minutes later i finish-up, try to pull a wheelie at the line and end-up flat on my back, still clipped-in. nice one.

Beer and burgers await. Thom finishes just a cpl minutes later (3rd ss), then Andy not long after that. We begin telling stories and keep telling them until we arrive back in Boston late Sunday night. Met some good folks. Good trip, great ride! Good times.

(and Harlan took the win!- and Tiffany 2nd!) (IF reports from thom and harlan). (andy's report). Kerry's report(s) truly capture the essence of the trip - the van of good vibes - and it's tree-trunk legged driver, Skip.


At 6/05/2006 9:20 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Great finish. Nice to meet you.
I think I ended up in that same town after missing the sign too.

I'm jonesin' to get out to Michigan now. HA!



At 6/06/2006 7:25 AM, Blogger rick said...

wow, sounds like a really epic day. I really need to get out to one of these with you guys some time. Skip is the man huh? The dude is super strong.


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