Mohican 100 Race Report
Wow, it felt good to get back racing. This time I was headed to the Mohican 100 over in Ohio. I left Friday in the Xb with my buddy D. Powers. We would meet up with some other friends- B. Schmalzer, Aaron, and roadie with MTB skills Steeve-O at our motel later in the day. Of course we did go all Underground Rail Road to get Steeve-O in the room, these are (not so) desperate, but fun times. You do what you gotta do.
I'm used to going to many races by myself, and I have to say heading to a race with friends/bike nerds is a way better way to go. It's a good time, makes the traveling cheaper, and really takes the edge off the pre race jitters.
We hit up the not so good, borderline sucking hard East of Chicago Pizza Buffet for dinner, ate bad pizza, admired the pudding eating techniques from the locals, and watched Brad use 3/4 of a jar of hot pepper flakes on his pizza due to a "faulty" lid. Truth be told the dinner sort of sucked, but hey it was good enough for endurance freak/legend Chris Eatough (who was also eating there), it was good enough for 3 really fast guys, 1 super fast Steeve-O and an aging shelp the likes of me.
5 a.m. came quickly, but I think we (at least me) were all glad to get the show on the road, dirt, whatever. After taking our drop bags to the registration, it was a short spin on the bike path down to downtown Loudonville to line up for the start.
On the line I talked to a number of friends and blog mates and readied for the start. There would be a $200 preem for the first racer to make it to the top of the paved road climb out of Loudonville. I had my nuggets set on getting those two bills. I'm kidding of course. My goal was to make it to the top, not puke PB&J bagel and coffee on myself and enter the single track with some of my wits.
After the start and some time on the road the pavement ended, the road to turned to gravel and the gravel turned to dirt and then single track. Here we go! The group I was with seemed to bottle neck as soon as we hit the single track. Not sure what the issue was. Things got sorted out soon enough and we were now cruising at a slow to moderate pace through the woods.
After a few miles I asked for a pass on the left, put the hammer down to get around two guys and promptly got a stick lodged in my wheel and chain stay- FRIG! Now I had to wait as 20 guys passed and I waited my turn to jump on the end of the train.
Soon the trails started twisting and turning down hill. Things were getting fun. What was NOT fun, was the sudden feeling of water being poured down my leg as I descended. For the 2nd time this year my CamelBak bite valve came off during a race. Shit! I mean were not even 15 miles into the race. Thank God I had two bottle with me.
OK, I'm staying calm. Soon will be to the aid station, I can try to fix it and hopefully ditch the two Chatty Kathy dudes at the front of the group I'm in going slow enough to have full on conversations with each other. Yikes! I'm not the type to sit on the back and bitch about the speed we're going or make dangerous passes. I'm not the fastest guy in the world, but I would have like to have been going a little faster. Finally on a section of double track I ditched the group, and got out in front.
At the first aid station a volunteer tried to help me to fix my pack but to no avail. So I filled up the bottles, ate a Three Musketeers and kept going as the cold remains of the failed fix poured into my shoes. I didn't really even care about the pack at this point, because the single track just kept getting better. Twisting and turning through tall trees, perfect tacky dirt, and perfectly constructed trails.
Soon I found myself a trail of riders going up a long hike a bike section. The water in my shoes didn't feel so great against wool socks and Sidis hoofing it up that hill. What also felt not so great was my bike when I remounted, what's up? I check my rear wheel and the skewer had become loose and the wheel was jiggling around like a pair of bra-less 38 double D's. WTF? Once again I stop. Fix, and watch as another handful of riders pass me. I'm loving the dirt, but anxious to make it to more double track and dirt road to make up some of the time I've spent futzing along the single track and futzing with my bike and pack.
On one muddy climb (thankfully mud was sparse this year) I tried to ride a dryer line to the left. Just as I started up, the rider in front bailed and jumped to the left and got out of the way. Sadly, as he was picking his bike up my bar end clipped him and I lost my balance. I fell towards him, knocked him, over and the Dos Niner and I landed full on his Cannondale. We both exchanged apologies and I got hoofing up the muddy hill. As I walked I wondered if this derailleur left and impression on my ass cheek or not.
Once I hit some roads it was time to throw it in the big ring, lock the fork out and get moving. I made sure to keep sucking down PowerGels, and drink from my bottles. I had planned on going with two bottles of GatorAde/CytoCarb II and a pack of water. Now I was down to one bottle of my GA/CCII and a bottle of plain water. No problem though. I just need to remember to drink from them. Pedal, drink, pedal drink, etc., etc.,
My plan to make up time seemed to be working. I was picking off a few riders here and there and found myself shocked at how well I was feeling. When I hit the long flat and dreaded rail trailish section I had more energy and legs than I've had in my previous two Mohican 100s. I was big ringing it, standing a times, and just pushing as hard as I could to end this long section.
I pulled into the next aid station, popped a couple Tylenol, filled the bottles and took a swig of Pepsi that was in my drop bag. The Pepsi was about 125 degrees. Once I got back on the bike I found myself once again doing some dirt road climbing. At this point I finally looked at my odometer. I had not looked at mileage all day, choosing to only leave it on the clock setting, since watching mileage slowly click off is not a motivator for me. All I know is I wanted to finish before 5 p.m.. When I looked, it said 75 miles. NICE!
Even with more steep climbs ahead I was motivated and pretty sure that despite my bad luck in earlier part of the race I would finish under 10 hours. On one steep climb I noticed the the familiar team kit of Mr. Rich Bilson and the more familiar ass end of his Salsa Mamasita. I somehow caught up with him and another rider that turned out to be Rob. We chatted a bit as we headed down a road, then I turned on the gas again to keep making up some time. It was nice to see them and nice to know they finished not too far behind me.
It seemed like the next thing I knew I was at Aid Station 5 and less than 10 miles from the finish. I was starting to get a LITTLE bonkish but more just hungry. Still I chose not to eat too much, just a water refill. They did have Pepsi, so they filled up one of my bottles with Pepsi and ice and I headed towards the final miles of single track and dirt to the finish.
As I hit the bike path I could see the finish ahead... But why is this sign sending me left? Why am I going up hill?? Why am I going AWAY from the finish??? FRIG!! This is soooo cruel! Had I spun my legs with my roomies last night I would KNOW that I had a little bit more pain to deal with before the finish. But I chose to lay and watch The Penguins of Madagascar in the motel. Serves me right!
Who cares? I was near the end, and the next thing I knew I was crossing the line and hearing the announcer totally botch my last name. "Jason Ma-haw-a-kah-taw-iee, is crossing the line". HA!!
I was handed my Mohican 100 finishers pint glass, and was pointed to the keg of Great Lakes. Nothing like sipping a beer after a hard effort. My time was 9:43 I believe, which was good enough for 62nd place (if I remember correctly) out of 199 hundred mile starters. That time and placing is not gonna excite too many folks except myself. And it truly did excite me. A lot of little shit at the beginning of the race could have easily f*cked my attitude for the rest of the race. But it didn't. It made me focus and it fueled my desire to push on and do my absolute best. I met my goal of a sub 10 hour finish and I felt great after the race. Tired yes, but not destroyed.
This was one of my favorite race experiences ever. A great bunch of guys to hang and travel with, an amazing course with a ton of spectacular single track, and finishing another hundie knowing that I did all I could with what I had. That's a great feeling.
Now I need to clean up the Dos Niner (which is an AMAZING bike for a hundie) and then get it to Pro Bikes for some TLC. THEN I can start to focus on the next event- The Lumberjack 100 at the end of June.