Sunday, June 28, 2009

Root 66 Race - Putney, VT

A normal length race -- I was happy to find out that my legs can still do 2 hr race pace.
I woke up kind of surprised to see it raining out. I thought today's weather was supposed to be somewhat similar to Saturday's weather but not quite... what the heck is up with this weather this month!!! I'm lucky I went away for two races and had the chance to race in some decent weather, phew! So this morning I actually packed arm warmers it was that chilly out. As I drove to the race, the sky seemed to brighten up so I was hopeful that the weather was just crappy in the east. But to no avail. It started raining again :( Not really bad, but I knew the course would be sloppy and Vermont mud is tough. I was also pretty concerned about parking my little toyota matrix that is so low to the ground in the field parking lot and envisioned getting stuck badly if it were to rain more. I chose a spot pretty close to the "path" in. Then registration took forever, so I had about 1/2 hr to warm-up. I was sort of thinking it would be nice to do a full lap and really get the legs going since I had most of the week off the bike as recovery from the 100 last week. I just rode the first 10 mins of the course and turned around. I didn't feel too bad, but didn't feel super 'zippy' or anything, which sometimes is a decent sign for me. The single track was pretty greasy so I knew the downhills later on in the course might be a bit sketchy. Anyway, we had a decent women's field, five good pro women. I actually had some "go" at the start and stuck to the lead woman's wheel for maybe a 1/3 of the lap and then she dropped me on a climb and that was the end of seeing here. I was hoping I had made her semi-nervous yapping about the 100 milers and then being able to hang on her wheel for a bit, but I don't think it had much effect. She's strong, as were the women behind me. Gotta keep going. I went pretty hard the first lap, although that's the usual business in these races. I was feeling decent still but definitely worried about whether I could keep up the pace. I was thinking, I know I did the Bums time trials but that was for ~40mins at best so who knows if I can keep a fast pace past that timeframe. I did slow some, and got caught going into the 4th lap on climb. Actually she had caught up to me early in the 3rd lap but I mustered up some energy to try to fend her off that lap. I got some space in the singletrack and downhills but she'd gain it back on the climbs and eventually got me on a climb. I caught back up to her in the singletrack/downhill but just let it go since we were going to a decent climb again. I was pretty happy to be able to come off the 100 and feel pretty decent for a 2hr race pace. There was definitely lots of evil thoughts of the pain of 2hr pace. Race with joy.. my a--- .. :) and now i have to clean my bike (which, miracle of miracle, I did once I got home).
anyway, got myself some ice cream to celebrate, oh wait, who am I kidding, I would have gotten it anyway.
Next stop - 6hr race at Pat's Peak in a couple weeks (weather permitting, on my account anyway)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lumberjack 09 Race Report (very long)

Ok, here were go... sorry for the delay. The short story -see picture - 2nd place, in 8:26, pretty smoking fast :)

Lets see, it all seems like a blur now but it will come back to me. As I may have noted in my pre-race blog, I was a bit more anxious going into this race, something about the pressure to keep performing well. I asked my coach for race pep talk and he came back with "race with joy"... hehehe. It sounded funny so that helped for the moment. I didn't ask if he intended it to be silly sounding and thus make me chill out a bit. I found once I starting truly packing for the trip, I felt better and just needed to get on with it. I was checking the weather forecast every day and it just kept saying 40% chance of showers and high of 71 :( :( but, if any of the courses that can handle some rain, it's this one. My final weather check before heading out the door Thursday morning said no mention of rain. I can race with joy now!!!

So I left about 8:30 in the morning for the long long long drive out Rt 90. I was meeting up with my friend Doug in Erie, PA. He managed to put up with me quite well at the Mohican race to be willing to travel with me again, thank god, so I wouldn't have to do this ridiculously long drive totally solo. The drive out was kind of annoying, in and out of rain, not seeing anything getting stuck behind 18 wheelers, and some crazy fog out in Western Mass. Other than that, just some good, kind of old tunes, and time to try to get my mind in the right spot about racing. I was rather disappointed in my memory of the turnpike having more Starbucks en route. I'd see the rest area listing, and no starbucks. Man, I need a coffee. I'll wait one more rest stop, nope... geez.. I finally succumbed to Lalavazz or whatever, "the best coffee in italy", hah! Italy must be so embarrassed. But, yup that was the highlight of the drive out. Very exciting.

I arrived in Erie about 5:30 and had a little time to kill before Doug was showing up, so I hung out at Barnes and Nobles not really being able to focus on anything. I was wishing I knew who sang a certain song I liked and had stuck in my head as I would have bought the cd for the trip home, but no. Doug showed right on time and we loaded up his car to make it to Toledo for the night. It was good to have company again and be a passenger. We had some very yummy eats in Cleveland. I strayed from my usual safe chicken choice for some fish, oh and a glass of wine to relax and death by chocolate cheesecake :) mmmm

It seemed like forever to get to Toledo. We got in around 10:00ish or sometime thereafter. Watched some mindless tv and called it a night. Breakfast was interesting at a local diner, many people who probably can't even bike a mile, or maybe even fit on a bicycle... hmm.. And we never did find out what "holy toledo" means (ok, here you go, in case you are wondering now too

Then driving and driving and oh, more driving to Manistee, MI, up along the northwest side of Michigan. I was pretty tired, so I semi remember some of it. (Maybe I should have had another glass of wine and skipped the cheesecake the night before to help me sleep). I may be missing some minor details here.

We arrived in Manistee at this cute little cabin we rented that was very conveniently located a couple miles from the race site. It was pretty quaint with a river running through it, oh, I mean behind it, that the owner advised would be a good "icing" down of the legs post-race. Good note. We unpacked some stuff and road down to the race site to register and move the legs some. It was threatening to rain at this point so I brought my big raincoat. I was finally getting a bit excited about this race, or maybe just excited to be out of the car. See pic (top right) :-)
It did feel good to move again. Doug hadn't done this race before so I was explaining the layout of where we lap through and where we'd leave the cooler tomorrow for our "pit" spot and then we grabbed our race packets, and I figured it would be good for him to see/ride the first little sandy climb that kind of bottlenecks on the first lap and/or you pick a too sandy route and have to walk it. It's just good to know what's coming up first thing onto the course. I was excited, remembering what a blast this course was last year.

We went back to the cabin, got our gear and eats and bikes etc. ready for race day and then headed off to the downtown Manistee, which is right on Lake Superior. It was Fish Fry night... I hadn't heard of that. But I did again stray from my safe chicken dinner and got some very yummy salmon, oh and some wine again to chill the nerves. We drove over to a beach on Lake Superior, froze our toes in the water, and just killed some time enjoying the view. Oh, and I attempted to slide down the giant slide there, but it was kind of not so slidy. Looked dangerous to me, especially for the drunken partying'd be a tough fall. I am being serious on that one, thankfully I just a glass.

So I thought since I was pretty exhausted from sitting in the car and not sleeping well the previous night and having a glass of wine I would totally crash and get a good nights sleep. UM, nope! I was awake for quite a while just trying not to let it get to me too much. It started to storm outside sometime early early in the morning. It didn't concern me that much since I was hoping that meant it would be done by the time we starting racing and that that hopefully was the chance of "morning rain". As I mentioned before, the course is really sandy so it drains really well. It was done by morning, 5Am wakeup. Doug remembered his expresso maker this time, no Walmart stops, so we ate our breakfasts and juiced up on expresso and got to the race start on the early side to get a decent parking spot. You have to lug your stuff - water, supplies etc to the start/finish lapping area so I didn't want to have to walk too far. Somewhere in that timeframe I noticed Besty Shogren (Mohican winner) milling about and I was like, huh, I didn't notice her name on the pre-reg list, bummer, oh, right, good competition, she and I thought Cheryl was coming, and Danielle Musto (the local rider home turf)... mmm.. Race with Joy, Race with Joy...

The race with joy starts out of the park down the road a couple miles so the pack can thin out some before hitting the singletrack. We got eaten alive by mosquitos waiting to get going, but it was a nice start otherwise. It was Besty, myself and Danielle (cheryl didn't come to the race afterall, she only needs one axe trophy :) (she won last year)) up front with the fast guys. It was a pretty tame pace to start until we hit the singletrack and it was hammer time, heart rate soaring up the first sandy climb. Betsy was still right there and Danielle got stuck behind someone and ended up off her bike and I passed her then and that was the order for the rest of the race. Funny, on the first sandy climb a little Bambi came crashing through woods, leaped over the racers and landed in a heap all legs scrambling to get out of the way. I was surprised the poor thing didn't land on someone. It was a cute little Bambi, lots of adorable white spots, just like Bambi.

So back to the race... I'm pretty happy with the start thus far. I'm in a good group, fast paced and actually spreading out quite nicely. Betsy gapped me a bit but I caught back up to her later on and stayed with her for a bit, but then she dropped me. I was sort of caught up in true race mode a lot that first lap and maybe mentally more than physically spent myself and had to get back into my head of racing my race, not being cocky about the position as anything can happen still. But, I did lose mega motivation going into the second lap. I was feeling a bit tired, and not having gotten great sleep the previous two nights was worried that caught up to me and would just worsen, I had to fight the thoughts of just not wanting to be there. It was tough, especially since I really loved this course last year, at least the first two laps were a blast. The race with joy wasn't doing it either. I tried to keep it going. I was on my own a lot that lap which usually I like but I was starting to think for mental purposes maybe not. I came through to start my 3rd lap, there were some spectators there helping out their friends/significant others who were also very helpful to me coming through the transition - helped me fill my camelpack up etc., giving me the race spread, ie, Betsy was up ~5 or so mins and Danielle was down similar.. mmmm.. better get going. Then starting out that lap I felt much better. The legs were really there again and I was very pleased about that, that's when I go ahh, all that training did work, phew.. and I got some silly songs in my head, like "i feel good,... like I know I shoud.." yeah and making up various words to that. It was my best lap, at least mentally. I was much more focused and feeling more alert. The course has some pretty flat sections that actually get a bit tedious and I had found myself zoning out a lot on Lap 2. So coming into the last lap, which is so nice, the women helping me with my camelback were excited for me as I had cut a few minutes of the lead Betsy had on me, so I was pretty stoked. Although, you come by the transition area after doing an 8 miler inner loop, so Betsy was advised of this and got got going again. I raced the last lap totally on "this is the last time kiddo" feeling. My left knee was starting to bother me though, so I was a bit uncomfortable with that and had to alter pedaling some on account of that, but otherwise I felt pretty good still going into the last lap. I kept thinking when I'd hit some hills or sections, gee, I remember that feeling really hard last year and this time it not being so bad. The last lap though, you start lapping riders, so that gets a bit tricky. Thankfully, 99% are awesome and move out the way quickly realizing that you're likely in position and they still have at least another entire lap to go. Funny, our cabin neighbors, one of the guys we ran into post race packing up and he said yeah, I saw you finish just as I was going for my last lap and he said "i hate her, I really hate her.. (in jest, of course).. I'd hate me at that point.. Anyway, the course really is a lot of fun, smooth, twisty, singletrack. Many of the sections remind me of Star Wars when they're flying the jets through the trees in the Ewok land, kind of like that on the bike. Sweet! So, as I'm finishing up my 4th lap, realizing I'm not catching Betsy, I at least realized I'll make my personal goal of 8 1/2 hrs and hammered in to make sure I got that time. Besty finished in 8'20, new women's course record. I crossed the finish line and Betsy was sitting there commenting that I looked "fresh" still. yeah, right.. but I didn't feel all that bad considering I just road a 100 miles. It certainly is nice to straighten out the back, phew. Oh, I was quite pleased to see my lap times were really really consistent, despite not necessarily feeling that way. My last two laps were only 9 seconds difference, and lap 2-3 only 1 min. My specialized epic road like a dream again, very nice, smooth sailing, tracked well for windy flats, climbs, smoking descents... ahhh.

I sat on the cooler for a while, doing the post-race, drunken mindset state of not knowing what to do first, eat, drink, change.... what... I'll just sit here for a while. I finally got changed and grabbed the beer mugs from the car and waited for Doug to finish up - he rolled across in 9'19, oh wait he didn't want me to write that, that I beat him... :) :) But I had the all important beer glasses ready to go.

We ate some food, had some good beer, although they were having some issues with it pouring too much foam.. :( but it still was tasty. Chatted with Betsy and Danielle. Did our podium shots. I love the trophy for this race. I have to keep doing the race and doing the long drive, ugh!! Then it was back to the cabin to ice the legs in the river. It had turned into a beautiful sunny day, pretty warm in the sun, so the river felt good, after a few minutes. We headed back to Manistee to find some more eats, not sure exactly what we were feeling like. It's an odd post-race kind of hungry/not hungry feeling. So we had some salad, nachos and beer, followed by, just my luck, some ice cream. I didn't think anything was going to be open that late.
And finally slept pretty well that night, which is a new thing for me. I usually sleep like crap the night after a race, just too jazzed up, or achy, or both.

We hit the road relatively early to make it back to Erie that evening. Ann Arbor was about half-way so we stopped there for lunch, and more ice cream :) and wandered around for a bit. Funny, we were in an outdoor shop and the clerk saw our Lumberjack race t-shirts which have a tree saw (there's probably some appropriate for such a saw, but I can't think of it right now) and asked if we were doing some "lumberjacking" (I didn't hear exactly what she asked) and we were like huh, oh, no, it was a bike race. No, really , we cut down a 100 trees in 100 minutes. But after that we were semi-paranoid that people were looking at us like tree haters..

On the road again to Erie, and last funny story for this report, we ate at this wings restaurant which was pretty tasty, but our waitress was perhaps a bit new... anyway, I had been craving some twizzlers recently, which is a bit unusual for me, but I hadn't bought any yet and at the end of the meal we got a couple twizzlers with the check (instead of mints, I'm assuming).. so I was like, sweet.. I finally got my twizzlers and had made a big deal about it and the waitress said that they give them out because, according to her boss, they're good for your teeth.. huh?? I thought they were made of high fructose corn syrup, and that's why I didn't buy myself a whole bag... I actually googled it to make sure I wouldn't make a fool of myself making fun of her. Maybe real, true liquorice.. we were delirious already so it didn't take much to humor us at that point.

So, I hit the road solo again Monday morning feeling a bit bleary eyed and was semi worried the drive was going to feel particularly long back to Massachusetts, but I woke up some as I belted out some tunes and had smooth sailing trip home. Oh, and I was pleasantly surprised to see many more starbucks going eastbound, unfortunately I had already given up hope of there being any and had gotten some Tim hortons coffee, but it was decent, certainly better than "Italy's Best" (the italians should do something about the erroneous claim)..
and that's that.. told you it would be long, see what you get for waiting :) on to some local races for the next month.. hopefully Putney will go well this weekend. It should only take 2hrs or there about, it will feel like a short day... just not so sure on the "speed/pace"..
Next 100 is the Wilderness 101 August 1st

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wait one more day for the report

Hey all
I'm sleepy... and totally procrastinating writing this so I'm going to sleep on and write some extra pages tomorrow to make up for it! And maybe truly some pics too :)
went well though.. till tomorrow
oh, ok, I came in 2nd, details tomorrow evening

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pre Lumberjack Michigan Race

So, it's just about time to head out for the 2nd 100 miler. I can't say I'm in the same mellow place I was going into the Mohican race. I wish I was... that was nice. I'm not too nervous, but just a bit anxious to get going, and well, I do feel some pressure to live up to the past performance. I'll be spending a lot of the drive reminding myself what fun this course is and that's the whole point to have fun, right? I had the 'dream" earlier this week that it was race day, and it was pouring torrential rain, and nobody wanted to race but they started the race anyways, and well I waited some for no particular good reason but then i went to get ready to go and realized i had not water and road to some convenience store that didn't have any gallons, and well it was just turning into such a struggle.. and then I woke up and reminded myself it's not till Saturday, phew... silly pre-race jitters.

On a positive, I'm not sick.. Yeah!! And I'll be meeting up with my friend Doug in Erie, PA so I don't have to do the whole drive alone. Yeah!! And my friend Paul, who lives downstairs from me is taking care of my dog, so I dont' have to drive him anywhere which is nice. Yeah! And really, this course was so much fun last year. It's the only one of the series I've done that does 4 laps, and well, at least I remember having a lot of fun on the first two laps and then getting through the last two... and still loving my new specialized epic. Hopefully, this will be the same smiley face race day morning...

I will try to get a race report up on Monday night when I get back, from the long long drive.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mohican 100 miler race report

So how many pages do we want here ?? I'm sitting down with mmm.. another celebratory beer for coming in 2nd !! yeah! I took 1hr off of my time from last year (half of that due to better trail conditions), felt pretty good despite the head cold... so I'm pretty psyched!! All that hard work did pay off.

As I mentioned in the pre-race blog, I was surprisingly mellow going into this race. It was almost kind of weird not getting pre-race jitters. I was thinking that maybe I was forgetting something important, or perhaps just blocking out the pain and agony. I think reason took over and controlled those thoughts from surfacing since I was going to do it anyway, no sense in bringing it all up before it was necessary.

I started out Thursday driving solo to the Pittsburgh area where I'd meet up with my friend Doug who I met at this race last year drinking a beer and eating pizza post-race. I missed having some company for the long drive but sometimes it's not so bad going solo as you can listen to whatever crap you want to, belt out tunes, take as many or few pee breaks or coffee breaks etc, talk to yourself, talk to the other drivers (or curse them, I'm embarrassed to admit certain things since certain people of importance might be reading this), and swerve every now and then picking out some new music and not really scare anyone... Overall, a pretty uneventful drive. Although I did pass an 18 wheeler that somehow got itself in a position off the side of the road I can't quite figure out how it did so??? It just stopped traffic for a while. That and noticing the long slow lines of traffic going through constructions zones on the other side of the highway thinking, hmmm.. I hope it's not that bad when I head home, maybe I should think of some alternative routes.... I was getting ancy about 7hrs in and just tried to remind myself that in hopefully less than 3hrs I'd be able to be a passenger.

I met up with Doug north of Pittsburgh about 5:30 and just left my car at hotel. I was thinking it shouldn't take that long to get to the resort and finally be able to stretch the legs and back and everything. He had a GPS system but set to the wrong Mohican whatever (everything in that area has Mohican in it's name) so we were driving around this crazy back country roads and then we realized it wasn't set on the right location... so we finally arrived around 8:30 or something like that. This was the place Kerry and I stayed at last year that reminded me of the resort out of Dirty Dancing. Although this year I was looking forward to that. It is pretty cush.. and the view from the dining room and deck is spectacular (I'll get pics from Doug and post at some point), that I wanted to use the hot tub that I thought existed (turned out to be just a kiddy pool, but it looks like it would be a hot tub from a distance :( ) We grabbed a beer and called it a night.

Friday, I was dragged around Ohio in search of a camping style expresso maker that Doug insisted on finding so we could have a good cup of expresso in the morning, and I"m like, there's no way in hell you're finding any type of expresso maker out here. It was mostly an excuse to tour the area. Yeah, we toured a Walmart, and some other shops :) Of course, there was no expresso maker to be found, what a surprise... We just got some expresso from a starbucks to drink room temp in the morning, which, really, was fine by me. It was better than my canned version in my opinion. We headed back to the hotel and went for a short spin to stretch out the legs. My legs felt heavy and I was a bit concerned but I just tried to remind myself that they kind of felt like that last year after lots of driving. I didn't like that my head cold certainly wasn't going away. But the trails were in great shape, pretty dry, pretty fast, everything seemed to be working on the bike and I was still pretty darn mellow even after driving to the race registration and dropping off my drop bags for the Aid Stations, which I had diligently calculated out the calories, H2O, etc a week ago so that was pretty easy. The only "stressful" decision was whether to drop a 3rd bag or not since we got to drop 3, and I did "just in case". Dinner, beer and then to bed all pretty mellow still! What's up with that.

I slept pretty well, despite some bizarre dreams. Woke up before the alarm clock a little ancy and got ready to go. The weather forecast was still perfect, mostly sunny skies, mid 70s, slight, slight chance of T-storm (supposedly, not even close), although it was pretty foggy that morning which made for some cool scenery on the 20 min drive over to the race. It was a bit chilly outside for my tastes. Although, I was anticipating starting in arm warmers, and would have liked leg warmers and a coat to do the 1 mile ride from the finish spot to the start in downtown Loudinville. From the pre-reg list, none of the "top" NUE women riders were pre-reged but I knew not to count on the list and that was a good thought since there were all there. And the mens group drew out some big names this time around too - Tinker and Jeremiah, and the usual top 5 men...

So I knew this year to start out in the near the front since it did matter a lot to get onto the singletrack as much in front as possible as the first 25-30 miles was predominantly tight singletrack. But the start out of town goes up this ridiculously steep climb, oh wait, that's all of the climbs in that area.. anyway, it's about a 2-3 miles on the road before dropping into singletrack but there's usually a bit of a backlog (ie stopping) before starting int eh woods so going hard on this climb is pretty important and I went fairly hard but not too bad and I felt like I ended up in an ok position going into the single track. I wasn't quite sure who of my competitors were ahead but after a little bit I surmised it was Besty Shogren (the winner) and ?? else ... Maybe an hour into the race I pass Doug who pulled off the side of the trail which kind of surprised me as I didn't expect to pass him early in the race but he said Besty was less than a 1min ahead and I knew Cheryl (last year's NUE series winner) was maybe less then 20 riders back from me, but you can't worry about those things that early on. Both of them are very experienced long distance racers, what can you do?? So I just kept with my pace, which I was semi-worried was a tad too much, but that's racing pace I guess. I know this year I didn't get passed so much on the singletrack as I did last year. I was in a pretty good train of riders and jsut had to keep going at that pace. Although, about a 20miles in I can hear this rider coming up from behind mentioning to some other racer that he flatted and he was trying to make up time... and anyway, he gets up to me and wants to pass, but there are so few places to pass on this singletrack and we're at a point where we're cooking and I finally get to a section where I can move over a bit and he could move over a bit to pass, but the **@&&^@ doesn't move and clips me bad making me crash hard. I was pissed to say the least and yelling some nasty words at him. There was no need for that. I hopped back on thankfully not getting hurt or breaking my bike. What a jerk!! The only other annoying point was getting behind some rider who kept crashing or messing up but wouldn't move out the way to get by so that was making me pretty pissy for a bit but finally he messed up on a short steep up and I got by him then, but he was pretty obnoxious about not letting me pass him. Otherwise, it was mostly nice racers out there. It was certainly nice to have a new bike that shifted beautifully (unlike my debacle with that issue last year) and that the trails were really dry. It was pretty fast paced from the getgo, but I felt good and I was making through the miles feeling strong and in just such a better mindset that last year. The year's experience too of knowing not to waste any "easy" terrain by not hammering it or not finishing up a hill strong to have speed starting the descent helped me immensely. I also found myself in the position of having to worry about taking a pee break or not since knew Cheryl wasn't that far behind. I made it to aid station 2 where one of my main drop bags was that had my "fuel" in it so I had to stop and thankfully they had a bathroom so the stop was quick. Although, later on in the race, I was about 7hrs in, I knew I couldn't wait till I finished so I finished up one of the many ridulously climbs and scurried off into the woods and hopped back on my bike right as a truck was passing by and going down the ill that I could have gone faster than the truck on and it was kicking up dust like you wouldn't believe... I was like the timing... ugh.. I could tell the driver was trying to go faster but it still sucked.. anyway. one other big lessons from last year was to pace yourself or draft whenever possible on road sections or flats, downhills.. Somewhere mid-way through I was riding with the Masters' winner of the Cohutta race in Tennessee and I asked him how long it took him and he said 8 1/2hrs and I said well I'm drafting you then.. so I stayed with him and one other kid for a bit but got dropped. BOth of them hadn't done this race before and didn't know about the 10mile flat horse cart path leading into aid station 4 (71 miles in) but I saw the Masters guy on the road again and I convinced myself it would be quite worthwhile to get up on his wheel so I got going and when I caught up to him again he was like "you just worked pretty hard to get up here huh"... and I"m like yup... the long flat stretch is coming up.. So I hung with him for 7 or so miles of that and he got tired so I figured it was only fair to take the last few miles into aid station 4. The 1st half of that "flat stretch" was maybe a tad up, it certainly felt like more work even drafting for the first half than the 2nd half. Anyway, so I'm making good time, still not exactly sure if it's just Besty in front of me and not a 100% sure if Cheryl maybe passed me at an aid station or pee break without my seeing her).. but I was thinking I was in 2nd place but trying not count that too much. I actually had my hardest motivationally speaking point post aid station 4 (which was quite opposite of last year)... but just kept plugging along and finally make it to aid station 5 and they tell me 6 miles to go... woo hoo!!!!
I'm starting to feel stoked at this point. We head back into some fun single track and I'm going pretty hard now 'smelling' the finish line.. and this singletrack is pretty sweet.. so I'm dropping back down towards the campground area where the finish line is and thinking holy crap I'm going to be close to 8 1/2hrs, unbelieveable, patting myself on the back and then right before hitting the campground is an arrow sending us back into the single track up a hike a bike climb... ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!... geez... I'm like is this for real and follow it only to have two more hike a bike sections (but those three probably equal only 1 of 3 'real' other hike a bike sections).. but it's backtracking on some early section of the course and then dumps out onto a dirt road into the finish!!! yeah~!~~~ 8'47 -- sweet!!!! and doubly sweet when I find out it is 2nd place...

Then it's the semi-comatose 'un readying".. it's probably kind of amusing to watch as you just don't know what to do first, take off the helmet?? take of shoes? usually some mixture happens and everything in disarray for a bit.. but I get it eventually and take a shower and grab some eats and hang out and drink some beer... and do the podium thing.. I'm feeling not too bad post-100 miler, the good finish certainly helped. My knees were a bit achy and all I certainly felt like I road for a long long time but overall, I didn'' feel like crap so that was good--thanks to my good coaching from Will ( who I just couldn't tell that I got a head cold right before the race... and thanks to my sponsor Don D - ( and my mechanic, Brian Spring, for always fixing my bike with more care and detail than I can be bothered with (and yes, even with the new bike there were several tweakings ahead of time!!, but kudos to Specialized for the new epic)...

and then it was just post race beer and pizza and some sight seeing of the Pittsburgh area, thanks Doug, and then, the Long Drive home....

Lumberjack is less than 3 wks... . the pressure