Monday, April 30, 2012

Cohutta 100, or maybe 105?

Where "Pop Tarts" is a food group
Jocelyn, Jane and I made the trip to the famous NUE opener (Cohutta 100) this weekend. Even though I thought I may be able to be somewhat competitive (hopeful for a top 10) the course, coupled with my lack of any real endurance training handed me my ass. The start was pretty slow compared to what I'm used to. Makes total sense, considering there is a hundred miles ahead. I entered the single track in good position and felt pretty good for about three and a half hours, often working with others all the while trying to not go too deep. At aid #4 I stopped, ate some jelly beans and let a bunch of guys pass. If I was going to finish I had to chill the hell out. Probably spent 10 minutes at aid #4 before I began my limp to aid #5. Right before aid #5 Cheryl Sornson came by looking very strong. I was still in the pain cave so I just gave her a shout and watched her ride off into the sun. Aid 5 finally comes and I'm off the bike again, pondering my future involvement in this sport, when I see eventual masters winner Ron Sanborn. Ron and I rode together for a while at Lumberjack 100 last year so I figured I'd latch on and ride the mother of all 2012 Cohutta climbs with him. Ron was suffering from cramps and I was just suffering, so it seemed like a good match. We would talk, trying to keep my mind off the miles of climbing ahead. Once in a while a rider or two would pass and I was okay with that. About mile 70, NUE champ Amanda Carey caught us, with about 10 guys sucking her wheel like a shark with a bunch of remoras looking for a free ride. Not wanting to be another slimy sucker fish, I said goodbye to Ron and set out on my own. All of a sudden I'm racing again. Passing loads of riders like I was on a relay team and had just started the race. I felt great, I was gonna finish strong. The mileage on the computer was clicking off fast 95, 96, 97. Then it all fell apart again. That moment was going into the final single track. Computer said 97 miles, but the marshall said I had 7 miles to go. I had a meltdown, SHITTTT!!!! It seemed like it took forever but soon I rolled over the line, SHOT!!!. Need to do some serious training before the Mohican 100 or it's gonna be a painful day.

 Jocelyn, 14000ft on a SS...Rockstar!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hop Brook-April Fools.....Not

Seamus may have one the race but Doug was the talk of the venue. He's riding this contraption to the races this year.
The start means so much at a cross country race. Click here to watch

I slam a GU gel at the line and go through my pre race check list. Seconds to go, and nerves were a little high for this one so maybe I was slightly grippy. I missed the pedal off the start and that means despite my best effort, I never made the lead group. At a race like Hop Brook Dam (Root66 #1) that means everything. The trails are fast (Schwable Racing Ralphs perfect today) and if you can't find a wheel it makes it a tough race. Definitely don't want to fall into 'no mans land' here. It's not that I'm saying I would have been able to stay there long but one of my goals for this race was to try to make the lead. Other than that I felt pretty good. After getting things sorted out in the first lap John Foley and I made up the group I'll call chase #2. John and I have been here before. Two years ago on this exact same course he got 5th and I pulled 6th (25sec back). This year we were five minutes faster and I was 15sec closer but he still managed to out kick me for 6th, I got 7th. What does this all mean? It means that EVERYONE is fit as shit right now. A mild winter will do that I guess. "I'm ahead of schedule but so is everyone else", was the topic of the day. Many people I talked to said "I had a great race and was still mid pack". Ha Ha!! Welcome to the big show.
With all the endurance stuff I'd been doing in the last few years I'd forgotten how fun it can be to go the max till the wheels fall off. I'm dedicated to XC this year and with the super light Tomac Carbide and the expertise of Bicycle Tech I'm more relaxed about the adventure.