Yes you read that title right. I don't do smart things too often so why stop the trend? When the snow was still falling I contemplated doing both the NUE and MASS series and this was one of the major conflict race weekends. They are both great races so what was I to do? Yes...race both of them.
Now I will admit, in the weeks since I decided I would do it, I have wavered a few times. After I had registered and it sank in for a while once I pulled the trigger, that it was just plain stupid and I wasn't going to attempt the Bearscat, but rather donate my reg fee to the Black Bear cycling fund and be happy with a charitable donation. Nah, that's pretty weak... So I'm gonna do it! Maybe...
So after a bunch of repetitive cycles of this, the races were within a week away and I was determined to try the double. After all I couldn't do any reg transfers so it was either do the race or donate the money. The main issue being that I would need to leave pretty soon after the M100 was over to tackle the almost 9 hour drive to the park for the BS50. So after the M100 finish I would make the big call - go or just relax and stay in Ohio and do the normal thing and drive to NJ and collapse when I got home.
Fast forward to the day before Mohican, I jump in the car that morning and head out to meet up with my buddy Dan Rapp for the trip. It's always better to have two drivers, plus he was my ticket to actually getting some sleep in the event I tried to pull off the double. I mean racing a 100 miler, not sleeping, and then a 50 miler is suicide right???
So we drove out uneventfully and got to the venue with enough time to check in, preride, setup camp, and chill. The fun would begin the next morning.
At 7 am we were at the starting line in Loudonville OH and it was on. The gun went off and we were flying towards the first paved hill out of town to begin our long day. We kileed the first hill and flew past what used to be our turnoff into the singletrack approach. Thanks to some toolbags that upset the landowners we were not able to use that entrance and instead had to deal with a much longer road section to start. It steadily rolled allowing many more riders than usual to stay with the lead group. I just rode steady hoping to get into the woods in the top 20-25. This usually sets up for a nice, traffic free route through the opening singletrack and it worked.
The first 30 miles flew by and it went well. I rode the trails fast and smooth and thought I stayed within my limits. I kept watching my timeframe to see if I could him my predetermined aid station times and realized I was almost at aid #2 which was 3 hours in and I had not eaten. I had been drinking but not eating. So I took my multi hour bottle and emptied it into my stomach to try to catch up and stay on target. What a rookie mistake... I was in and out of the next aid station and on track but my power just started dying. I thought it was dehydration but I was drinking well. I kept on the pace but then I started cramping. It was too early for this!!! I knew something was wrong but in typical fashion I just pushed on through the cramps and was still making ok time.
Then the fun REALLY started to begin. As the cramps were coming and going, I started vomiting. Yup. Vomiting. It seems that trying to force 3 hours of food in is not the best idea. My stomach wasn't having any of it and it was obvious. Power was dropping, I was barfing, and I was cramping. Perfect. I still kept on. I don't know how to give up at one of these races. I always know that I WILL get to the finish line at some point - whether in the 7 or 15 hour range...I'll make it. So rinse and repeat this for the next 60 miles. I just had to hang on and try to get it to subside. By the last 20 miles or so it let up enough where I could ride well but definitely not the top of my game.
For about 10 of those last 20 miles I got to ride with Dan as he was coming back through after a snapped chain. I used him to help pace me and keep me company as I was suffering. The hills are not long but they are relentless. They just keep on coming. We hung together until aid 5 where it was all singletrack to the finish. He had some juice and I couldn't match for sure. I told him to go and I'll see him in a few. I wasn't too energetic but I did get some extra juice from knowing that I was so close to the finish. I rolled into the finish at 8:09 with Dan finishing at 8:08 and happy to be done. I had never had the vomiting issue during one of these races and it was not all it was cracked up to be. I was happy to still finish in the top 20 having all these issues. 17th was not too shabby. It seems the course was about 20 minutes longer with the new hike a bike, new singletrack into aid 3, and the new starting section as well. So comparatively it would have been well under 8 hours which I was pissed about missing. It just keeps me coming back for more.
So after all this being done and being exhausted. I got changed, beer'd, food'd and started to feel better. With that was the thought of the Bearscat in only a couple of hours. We had to wait for Dan's podium as he finished 5th on the day in the SS group, then we would start our drive back. Dan was hesitant as it always is a great time after these races but he agreed if I wanted to do the race the next day he was cool with that. Awards were at 7 so that's cool I'd be home at 3 grab some sleep and head to the race venue. Well then we hung around a bit. Then we went to dinner with Trevor and Dan's brother, and then wouldn't you know it. It was well after 9pm. Crap...
With a late start we headed home and Dan was the man. He kept it going through the dark windy backroads while I kept him company in the passenger seat. I was hoping to use this time to get some rest but between being uncomfortable, being afraid that Dan would fall asleep, and trying to keep the caravan of Dan and his brother who was following us together, sleep didn't happen for very long. Maybe an hour total of sleep. Ouch. I rolled into Dan's place in PA at 4:30. I was out of there by 4:45 and it was a 2.5 hour drive home for me. The math was not looking good at this point. That puts me at 7:00 to arrive home, and yet the venue is 30 minutes from home. Yup so 7:30 arrival for the 9am race was plenty of time.
Arriving at 7:30, registering, putting on my gear and saddling up I was sitting on the line ready to start my next race with little to no sleep and it just happens to be that it's not a very smooth course. My head was spinning about the infinite possibilities of what would come once the gun went off.
To be continued...