Mohican MTB 100 Race Report- 6.03.06
Took the day off of work Friday and left for Mohican around noon. The trip was a tad longer than expected mostly due to the fact that Mother Nature is a dirty hooker and dumped hard rain the entire 4.5 hour trip.
At times it was raining so hard all I could do was just stare blindly out the windshield at the wall of gray and come to the realization that I would once again be doing an epic mud race. I tried to look on the bright side- At least I put new front brake pads in before I left and of the 100 miles 60 are on forest roads, double track and road. How bad could it be? (this is called "foreshadowing"...)
Got to the Mohican resort about 4:30 checked in for the race and started to set up camp. On one trip down from the camp site I saw Skip Brown from Seven Cycles. As I passed I could see him staring at my Bikeman.com T-shirt with a "Do I know you?" look on his face. I said "I'm not from up there (Maine), just race for 'em" He laughed and we started talking about the race and he mentioned the fine showing the Lobster Posse (Bikeman.com World HQ in Maine) put in at the Camden race a couple weeks ago. I was going to mention I saw a photo of him chatting with Double-R in some picts, but thought better of it, I don't need any more enemies out there on the course, ha!
Then I ran into fellow bloggers Andy and Jeff. Nice to finally meet them in person. They would both put in great performances on race day. Congrats guys!
I really "ghetto-camped it up" with my site, I had a pop up, table, chair and more. Real overkill. Won't do that again. I think I like my usual, simpler "dirt bag approach". Sleep in the car, pee in the woods and bath in the sink (if at all).
Had good nights sleep in the back of the E. and was up at 5:15 for a hearty breakfast of a big ass peanut butter & honey bagel, Clif Bar and a Red Bull. Then I pinched a loaf, kitted up and readied my bottles and gels.
The morning was nice and no rain, but the damage had already been done from the previous day's downpours. We would be in for a mud-fest in the woods. The temp was "arm warmer cool" at the start but they would be ditchable after a few big climbs.
A neutral start lead the 167 100K/100Mile racers for a mile or so then it was game on with a steep paved climb to the single track.
The first section of trail was a blast. Worked a nice pace in a group of about 10 or so and the conditions weren't that bad. THEN we hit a section of rocky off camber trail along a river. Real hike-a-bike, slip, slide, fall in water up to your waste, think I just felt something crawl in my chamois stuff.
Once I was back on the bike the trail was kinda like a creek/trail. At times you were riding in hub deep water, the chamois was soaked and I was only about an hour or so into the race. The "boyz" were in for a long day in the saddle. Yikes!
Before the first aid station there was a SERIOUS hike-a-bike climb. Riders strung out up the trail walking at a snails pace. Once at the top there was no signage. What the F? A group of us were standing around, riders coming from all different directions. Chaos! Some local yocal thought it would be fun to tear down the course markers and tape. Anyway some racers were bitching about it, but what are you gonna do? Over 100 miles shit happens. The course marshals corrected it and it was all good.
So far the Dos Niner's shifting was great, I was singing SRAMs praises to myself, but eventually the epic amounts of water and mud took it's toll and chain suck was all too common. Should have done as Jeff W. and Andy did and took some lube. Note to self: take some freaking lube.
My nutrition was working much better than at the 12 Hours of Lodi. Hammer Gels, HEED, and a quad dose of Perpetuem & Hammer Gel in a bottle to sip on during the race was working great and got me through the first half of the race. Then it was the aid station provided PB&Js, Gatorade and even a brownie here and there!
The course was proving harder than I (and most) expected. Some of the forest road climbs were damn steep. None as long as at the Wilderness 101 in State College, but combined with the muddy single track sections it was making for some slower than expected times.
It was nice to have the Dos Niner on the road sections. Throw the Reba's lock-out on and let the Maxxis Ignitor 29ers roll. Standing power climbing on the rollers felt good and it gave the ass a brake and a chance to breathe.
The worst section for me was a flat section of "rail trail" and service road. Although only a few miles it seemed to go on forever, much of it wet and muddy spraying gritty mud in my eyes that I'm still picking out.
On a few of the forest road climbs there was a group of hawks or turkey buzzards circling above. Felt like they were just waiting for me to drop so they could swoop down and peck my eyes out for dinner. Some people call this "hallucinating". I call it "Epic Imagination".
The BEST sections were the single track though a pine forest. The smell of the pine and the cool breeze coming from a nearby storm made me feel like I was bombing some of my fave single track out in Crested Butte, CO.
At about mile 75 the shifting issues switched to my rear derailleur. A twist of the shifter would result in nothing but some slack cable and F-Bombs. After multiple tries I could get a few gears to work but I was basicly stuck using either middle/27 or granny/27 and the chain sounded like rocks being tossed in a dryer. It was all quite maddening, and slow!
After Aid Station 4 there was only 11 miles to go, so I shoved a brownie in my face, got filled up with some Gatorade and set out to finish this one off.
Most of the remaining miles would be single track, there was another storm moving in and the forest was getting dark inside. Although it never really rained on me, with the storms always nearby I was glad not be out on some exposed climb.
Cruising around one corner I came face to face with a big ass deer! It froze not knowing what to do. I finally said "go ahead, it's cool" (all Grizzly Adams cool like) and it took off. Then I was on my way, rattling chain and all.
With the bad shifting, the last miles on the single track were very unenjoyable and it was a blessing to hit the pavement again. Cruising fast down hill at 30+ mph I was grinning with the thought of completing the 100 soon. But then course went off into a flat, mucky trail for a mile or so ending at a dam. Then it was a STEEEEEEP up hill hike-a-bike on some primitive concrete block steps to the road again. Legs were moving in slow motion at that point.
After one last pavement climb it was a fast down hill to the Mohican Resort and up the grassy hill to the finish were my finishers pint glass awaited me anxious to be filled up with some hoppy goodness.
I finished in 19th place/Open Class and 28th/over all out of 80 100 Mile Racers (Note: results are unofficial and may be updated through the week if the promoter gets lip from someone). I felt pretty good and I am happy with my results. The unending mud and water has left me with an epic case of "monkey butt" but a little extra Greyhound Juice on the buns will ease it.
The race was tough but in a good way. I love the ultra/marathon format and I am WAY more into it than Solo 24 stuff right now. I'll talk about that another time.
The course was fun with some real nice single track parts, I enjoyed many of the road sections too, looking out on some picturesque farm land. All the mud was a drag, but you can't control the weather you just have adapt and do your best.
Good cash payouts for the top riders and choice swag deep in the field. Cash winners also got free entry into next year's Mohican 100. The folks that put on these races treat you well for your entry. Free camping, Tech T, pint glass, free post race beer, food, aid stations stocked with water, gels, and best of all friendly volunteers who would take your bottles, and bladder fill them up with whatever you wanted and get you going. Thanks guys!
Looking forward to my next 100 miler in July at the Wilderness 101, sooner if I can get to one.
Hope to have some picts soon too.