It's 8:30 pm the night before the Mohican as I lie in my hotel room watching the weather channel and wondering how long it will take to be swept up by the incoming thunderstorms that are producing grapefruit-sized hail and tornadoes...wonderful. I did all the race prep I needed that night so all I had to do was wake up, put on my team kit and hit the road to Loudonville.
The morning of the race I awoke at 5(actually tossing and turning forcing myself to go back to sleep since 4) and started my morning ritual. Thankful that myself and the hotel were still in once piece, I started my day with a decent breakfast. I usually like to have a bagel with peanutbutter but since I couldn't locate any in this tiny town, I made a PB&J and grabbed a bananna to put down to start me off for the day. I then grabbed all my gear and piled into the car noticing the wetness of the area and wondering how much it had rained the previous night.
Arriving in Loudonville I got the bike out and geared up for the race. It grew closer and closer to the start time as we had a mini crit going on as people were trying to warm up. It was pretty crowded and I wondered how many people were actually in for the 100mi or the 100k. Since I was one of the gluttons in for the 100m I figured I'd take it easy out of the gate and settle in and do my thing.
7 am the race is on. Up the paved climb riding with a fellow local Chris Baks(Pawling Cycles) and realizing that I started from the back I had to pick my way through a LOT of people to get where I wanted to be. ***Mistake #1 - Start closer to the front*** We got into the double track and put the hammer down and had to deal with bottlenecking for a while. It thinned out and became better. All the while dealing with some very well dried out terrain and some slick corners, bridges and logs. The first hike-a-bike was a surprise as we all dismounted and trudged up this nice hill just wanting to be on the bike. I was starring at my gps calculating the mileage to go and noticing the nice mile markers that were laid out and how wrong they were. At mile 5 I think I saw a mile 2 marker and so on. I figured this may just be for some motivation, the bad kind for me. Aid #1 came up fast and I hammered through not wanting to stop til Aid 2.
Half way to Aid 2 I noticed I'd been pinning it the whole first section of singletrack(almost 30 miles). I had been going back and forth with Michelle Stopper(Visit PA) and tried to hold onto her for a while and she was just putting too hot of a pace down for me to keep up. I needed to start toning it down in order to conserve and still ride strong. At that point we hit a couple of really greasy sections that needed to be walked and my bike was caked with mud. Which started the chainsucking...and lots of it. In hindsight it wore off my light lube and was pulling my chain in whenever possible. This had to stop. The only way to stop it was to try and pedal smoother and ride it out till I got lube. At aid #2 I was relieved to see the stop so I could refuel and get some lube but they had no lube. ***Mistake #2 - Carry a small amount of lube just in case*** So I stood there, consumed a drink and a bananna, washed the bike and on my way I went.
Going in to aid #3 there was some more fireroad and some more singletrack that was sweet. Still chainsucking I had to bear with it and hopefully #3 had some. I wasn't feeling as well knowing I hit the first 30 miles too hard and had to conserve now. I fought it off and had a bast on more of the trails until arriving at #3. I was still feeling iffy but I knew I could get out of this rut. I took in some more fluids and some food and chilled for a few minutes too long. ***Mistake #3 - Take what you need and get right back on the bike***
I knew this next section would be a long haul so I worked on feeling better and trying to get the legs back under me. They came back and just in time. I hit the long rail section with some decent energy which was good cause I saw Carey Lowery sneaking up. I figured at this point if I could work in with people that I could save some energy and maybe crack into the 9's. So Carey, myself and another rider jumped in line on the rail trails. I couldn't believe how well they were pulling. I wanted to take turns to do my share but I couldn't hang on that long. So after a nice little effort trying to conserve energy I dropped back and worked on my own. Only to find a couple more riders to work with a little later. The rails ended and we finally arrived at aid #4 after a really sloppy messy section leading up to it. I knew if I got this far I can find the motivation to get to #5 and the end. I kept on it.
At aid 4 I got some more water and took a little more time than needed but got an ice cold pepsi(Which was AWESOME!!!) and hit the road again. I knew it would be a little bit of road and the end wasn't that far. I caught up with Mike Kuhn(Visit PA) and chatted with him and another rider and got some more motivation to keep on and he pulled away. I wanted to stick with him to hopefully save the 9 hr pace but I knew I couldn't. Then the last couple of killer hills came after crossing the suspension bridge. I wasn't doing that well but I knew I could get past them - walking. So I got over em and powered on to aid 5. I knew it was almost over but couldn't taste it yet.
As I hit that final piece of ST from #5 I kept looking to see the damn which would NOT come. That was one long 7 mile section. It finally came and I rode up to the bottom of the steps, dismounted and did the hike refusing to look at the top and focusing on each step at a time. Into the final section of trails I saw a guy suffering and used him as my mark and passed him gaining a little momentum to end the pain. Then as I was passing the cabins I saw another in front of me and used all I had to get past him and try and gain one more position. I had no idea if either of these two were doing the 100 mi but in my head they were calling me names and I had to get in front of them. Finally across the finish line I was able to grab my glass, some food, and some relief as I laid down in the grass. What a day. Truly awesome singletrack, great people, great venue and a decent performance. I know the things I need to do next time and I will hopefully have it all set for the Wilderness 101. That's the next stop on my tour. I completed it last year and if all goes well I'll have a new PR this year. Only time will tell...