The weather preceeding the Mohican 100 was downright miserable. From the Wednesday before the race it had been raining pretty much non-stop. The weather forecast said that there might be a clear day on the friday before the race and sun so hopefully it would dry things up a bit. Well...that didn't happen. Lucky and I rolled into town Friday afternoon heading to do a preride at about 2pm. As we rolled into town at about 1:30 we were graciously met with a hail storm that made us run for cover. It was golf ball sized hail coming down with such force that we were worried about losing the windshield. We darted down the nearest back street and hid behind a shed to shield the element the best we could and rode out the hailstorm. It lasted for about 15 minutes which was a little intimidating since we were in tornado country. All was well though as it cleared up and we decided to check into the hotel and go for our preride on the road instead. At least that way if another thunderstorm came rolling through we could get to safety quicker.
Friday night we cleaned up from our pre-ride and went over to race HQ and checked in. From there we went to the local pizza joint to get some pasta and pizza. Time to carb up for the long day ahead. After that we went back to the hotel to check the weather for the 500 billionth time and get the bikes and drop bags ready. All was well and we were in bed by 10:30 and ready to roll the next morning.
We rolled to the line shortly before 7 am and joined the massive group that had collected in the middle of downtown Loudonville. For the two races almost 600 toed the line. It was an impressive sight. From the gun we went out quickly and I jumped on Harlan Price's wheel into the paved climb out of town. I wanted to get in front early and avoid the early bottleneck and I did just that. I stood on the first hills and passed many and was up in the first 25 or so to the top of the hill. I then passed a few more on the farm road going into the singletrack and was happy with my placing. The course was grimy as hell. It was sketchy going up and down. It was truly a bike handler's course. I did find myself in good company as I looked to my right around mile 5 to see Josh Tostado rolling next to me. We climbed a few more hills and he walked away as I knew he would finish strong.
Through the opening 30 miles of singletrack it was tough to handle but still fairly quick. I went down 2 times with no warning and it really dinged my knee the first time. As I went on I had to hold back and fight the pain and swelling and eventually it subsided and I pressed on. I rolled up behind Andy Gorski and we put a nice effort to get through the singletrack system at a pretty quick clip. I knew he was a very strong and solid rider so I used him to help me pace. We got to the horse trail part of the system and I had some shifting issues so Andy rolled away from me. I was fine with that as I needed to settle in anyway. Not long after that I rolled into aid 2.
At aid 2 I washed the bike, lubed, got water, and a pb&j. I forgot how grimy the trails were right after that aid station. They weren't bad as I saw Gerry Pflug riding through and eventually got on his wheel. I took another nice spill but got up and got back to Gerry. We hit the next road sections pretty hard as there were 3 of us. So we worked together and got through that section of roads pretty quickly. They were gravel or paved roads and familiar turns as they came up. Each one wasn't that bad though. We hit the top of the one climb and then we hit the singletrack where I knew we were headed into aid #3.
At aid 3 again I washed the bike, lubed, grabbed my flask, water and was out quickly into the powerline climb. The climb was tough but all rideable. Once I hit the top I entered a few doubletrack trail which led to some gravel road. I made up some speed here and worked my way to the right hand turn that was a river but gave way to the gravel road up through the camp. There was a fireroad after this that gave way to the fern trails. These were grimy but not that tough. It soon gave way to gravel road again. This then lead to the dreaded rail trail. 12 miles of pure fun. The first section is nice and flat for about 4 miles. Then once you cross the road it's 4 miles of false flat up, then the muddy pit, then 4 miles of false down that runs into aid 4. Here I grabbed some lube, a coke, my flask, and I was out. I was feeling kinda down through this past section and was motivated once the woman told me that I was the 17th person through. Ok now I had to get moving again. I was on it again.
From 4 there was a short road section which lead to a nice dirt road climb that was extended but steady. Then it turned to a few gravel roads again. Next up was the right into the valley singletrack. This was horrendous but not as bad as the climb out. Up through the ravine climb it was slick but once the top was gained it was all good going down and right up to the suspension bridge. Riding over and through I got back to aid 3 again and that's where the sky opened up.
I was planning on stopping for a bottle but I still had one on the bike and I thought I'd stay on my pace until the next aid station where I'd stop. So through the torrential downpour I kept on it and got up my nemesis hill. Here I once again joined Gerry Pflug and we climbed the next few miles of gravel road together and hit the final piece of dirt leading to the creek crossing and the final road to aid 5. I kept a good pace and was chatting with Gerry as to hopefully not having to do the last section of singletrack. It was in such poor condition that it would have been smarter for the race officials to send us back via the bike path to save the trails. Unfortunately as we approached aid 5 we were sent into the grimy 6 miles of st that was left. I just wanted to get it over with so we took off and hit the section hard.
Through the last section I just kept a steady pace as no one was in sight anywhere. Into the campground they actually gave us a nice finish and didn't torture us. Or so I thought. We actually had to ford a raging river less than a mile before the finish. This was fine except for the two guys in front of me holding me up. They were so tentative that I was getting annoyed that they wouldn't go faster. All I could do was wait though. Once I got through I stomped passed the guys in front of me that were doing the 100k and glanced down at my computer to see that I could finish in under 9 hours. Holy crap. I didn't think at ANY point that it was going to be possible to do that.
I crossed the line in 8:56:53 in 12th place in open mens and 15th overall. I was totally stoked to hear that. What a great race but horrid conditions. Definitely my best finish so far in the 100 milers. I'm really glad to be back home now and not in the rainy slop that I had to run through yesterday. I'm sore, I'm tired, and I'm happy that this race is over. Now I want to make plans to go back next year. :-)