Wednesday, September 12, 2007

shenenandoah 100, a race report

friday night, whilst sharing a room w/andy in allentown halfway through a monster drive, lloyd, floyd, chris, ramponi, and others were enjoying each other's company over a cpl-few pints somewhere outside harrisonburg, va. as harvey mentioned in a post, the floyd factor is on, but after rubbing elbows, i'm not sure what the floyd factor is... the picture that most sticks in my mind from the weekend is winner jeff schalk struggling to open the winner's champagne, hands it to floyd for the honors. the cork pops and floyd lightly sprays a crowd of a few hundred, not wearing yellow in paris, but blue cotton in backwoods virginia, as down-to-earth as anyone i've met.

pre-5a wake-up, strong coffee, struggle to eat, wait for ramponi's energy to flow into my pysche. the campground awakens around us, the sun quick to rise, time moves quick on race morning, soon we're lined-up shoulder to shoulder.

manage to roll my front tire off the rim while still in the campground, ride the mostly flat old ust a few miles out onto the fireroad, until the field thins, man this is a fast start to a hundie!, have the co2 loaded and in my hand before hitting the brakes, get 20-30psi in there and back in the saddle quick, not enough air to get the bead back onto the rim, have to repeat the procedure a cpl time until things hold, running low on co2's, tripping on that until a group of 6 forms around sue haywood after the first big singletrack climb. she's flying, doing all the pulling, so i do a long turn then float to the back, can't seem to recover, is it me or sue's pace!? she's flying. aid 2 goes by. aid 3. the group is down to 4, then i'm dropped. it's a matter of self preservation, go hard now and suffer later or take a deep breath, find my tempo, and wait for shenandoah mtn...

the miles tick slowly by, some great pieces of singletrack, ripping descents! aid 4. can't see anyone in front or behind, where are the other 470 folks riding this race!? btw, the volunteers in this event are incredible - thankyou!

on to aid 5 and shenandoah mtn, the road begins to drag, i downshift, look around, no one notices, so i downshift again, just can't get things going. out of nowhere harvey appears, he's pumped, riding strong, magic legs driving his bus. after the race he's talking about the views off shenandoah, the flowers, the scenary... what flowers!? i was deep in the cave, a cpl riders push past before aid 5. this mtn doesn't quit, across the ridge through thick fields offering stunning views, don't see much but dirt and pain.

then we descend. and descend. and descend. i've stopped using the rear brake as a solution to tendonitis in my right arm, its flowing now, feeling good, make-up time for the first time in 30miles, 15-20m to go, time to decide if i'm gonna let bored legs dictate my ride or fight it to the end. grab Jens Nielsen's wheel, try to hang-on as he guides his rig to its 7th shenandoah 100.

jens ditches me up the final fireroad climb, pass a cpl others, but greg turner holds me off, i believe he's 51!, but he makes a wrong turn in the campground, i'm pushing hard w/mashed-potato legs, this is all i got, where is that beer!?, then see a tent, it's right there! a smile finally crosses my face, barely. this has been a hard one. a personal journey, an amazing ride ... the legs weren't there, but fight through it and rip a good time on a dry, fast course. 16th in 8:24.

andy has an incredible ride, blasting 20-30mins from his 2006 time - on his ss - for 3rd in the class! i think he's found his calling. dude's an animal. harlan takes second after an interesting day playing yo-yo w/floyd, harvey in 13th, his legs and attitude incredible, a great ride, buck, lloyd, ramponi, swamper, jeff, and patrick all wearing green, a sea of green... thnks to chris scott, his family, his volunteers, this event is the shit! i'm no rockstar and go down in a swirl of beer and whiskey well before midnight, good times, thanks to all those involved once again.

jonathon bruck photography, great pics of the event... had to borrow this one of andy coming across the finish, this dude is pumped! and he should be - first time on an ss and he grabs podium!!!

there's so much more to say... as a season of epics winds to a close and a long winter awaits, the woodstove already burning up here in vermont... too much to say... anyone who rides w/these epic races as a goal knows what i'm saying. it's time to have some fun and ride w/friends. see ya' at the kahuna!

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At 9/14/2007 7:06 AM, Blogger Andy said...

I like your tendonitis brakes! Hope that's getting better.

Thanks for the photo..I hadn't seen that one..too bad they didn't pan out to get the guy I was high fiving.



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