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



  1. Doug forgot the espresso maker? Travesty. good write up and good job! Nicholas

  2. Congratulations on that podium thing!

  3. Hey Karen-

    Congrats on a great race! One of these days I have to try a mtn. bike Century.


  4. You're rockin'.
    Nice report and even better race KP!