Mohican 2014

Charlie set me up with a good week of training the weekend prior, with a bonus outside ride on Memorial Day. Yay outside! Although it did leave my legs with a little more soreness than I would’ve liked, I was happy with my efforts going in. I crammed a massage in to the short week at a ‘foot relaxation center’ not a ‘rub and a tug’ and no ‘happy endings’.  They give cheapo ‘decent’ massages for the most part. This time, despite telling them my area of focus, the lady didn’t work on my legs near enough. Perhaps I need to learn how to say “lower back hips and legs, only, please” in Chinese. My bad shoulder felt great! So I had that going for me… I wore compression tights, foam rolled, stayed hydrated and shot Charlie a note, we decided to abbreviate the pre-ride.

I met Jody at Roy’s on Thursday about lunch and we meandered out of town.  We would end up in the small town of Brookville PA looking for food at 9P. This was huge task; we decided for the Truck Stop diner over the karaoke bar, a much safer bet certainly. However, imagine the stories we’d have if we’d chosen the karaoke bar! Not that truck stop diners don’t have stories… we always come home with stories. A decent night’s sleep and a couple of hours drive and we ended up on site right at lunch time. We stopped at Kim’s Bikes to discover that they were closing, bitter sweet for them. They are great people and I will forever be grateful for them lending me a ride my first Mohican. When we got to the cozy cabin I was antsy wanting to get the pre-ride in, check my legs, get tire pressure dialed in, put my legs up stay hydrated and have (2) beers. Yes, only 2 (thanks Big P!).

I’d decided to use a tip I heard on an Apex Nutrition podcast on Mountain Bike Radio (both Something Wicked supporters, so check them out) I added a smidge of sea salt to each bottle for added protection for my legs. The anticipated heat and with my legs being tender, I was going to take precautions. I also decided against doing all food in favor of 2 CarboRocket333 and 1 water; because sometimes water is all I want in the heat. I brought a third bottle for the beginning section up to aid 1, and the section between 3 and 4. I had hoped to skip aid one all together, bit had underestimated my time. So that is something I’ll remedy next time.

Off the start I positioned myself towards the front, still five or so deep, but there were 600 racers. They start the 100Milers with the 100Kers and I didn’t want to fall victim to a crash on the road out like what happened last year (though video showed he caused his own crash).  I rode that first climb out of town faster than previously and for the first time did it without being absolutely pinned. Yay training! There’s private land at the start, which they’ve used for years, and since some dumbass poachers rode it during Turkey season  we lost privileges.  We ended up doing more miles on the road to circumnavigate the property owners land. Yay douches!  Somehow there wasn’t a conga line at the entrance to the singletrack, and people were moving along, the benefit of getting there sooner and teh extra roll out I surmise.  The doubletrack lead to the singletrack which is super super nice; I consciously decided to ride within myself, using the racers ahead of me as a governor. I only passed people when gaps formed, and made it a point to call out to people ‘smooth pedal strokes’ as we climbed punchy or lose climbs.  Sorry, I was that guy, I was having fun singing and cruising along while going just as fast as I wanted to.  I was riding with the eventual 4th place woman, Shannon, a local from Columbus, commenting that she was choosing nice lines in the single track. When we popped out to the covered bridge I passed her and saw Big Bikes Thom who was DirtWire.TV-ing.  After the covered bridge, is a little bear of a switch back climb of about ¾ of a mile.  It’s a grinder, in the midst of some nice singletrack before aid 1.  As I mentioned earlier I’d underestimated the time it would take me to get there, ran out of my first bottle, started on my bottle that was supposed to take me to aid 2.  I wasn’t overly concerned, I’d brought some blocks and a waffle for these instances.  In the aid station, I had a shot of coke, grabbed some watermelon filled water bottle and was off, only to need to pass Shannon and others again.  My friend, Joc is a self-described “aid station ninja”, and I need to get there.  Passing people who you just passed is not super fun, and my legs do better with no rest.  Somewhere in the next 5 miles or so, shortly before the hike a bike section, my leg soreness became spots where the cramp-monster started to flare up, quads, adductors, hamstrings…you name it.  It became a balancing act I’d need to surf for the duration of the day.  At aid 2 some people that I rode with earlier asked me why I wasn’t carrying on, I was just so focused on trying to balance the cramps; I was having less fun at that moment.  It was still fun, racing bikes in another state is always fun, sometimes the fun factor isn’t cranked to 11.  On the road to the Griffin Road climb, I met a dude who was attempting his first 100 miler… SS Rigid… pushing a 32×15. I proceeded to call him a freaking MONSTER and told him we were going to turn right, see some cows and above the cows was the wall we’d be climbing. FTR the sick bastid finished, 32×15?!?!  I walked a good portion of the climb, I couldn’t spin, and I couldn’t push so I walked to keep moving.  Aid three was all different this year, different location, with some soft singletrack climbs sprinkled in. I’d ridden with Anne Pike, who finished fifth, on a bunch of different occasions to this point in the day, each time I’d say “come on Anne” when passing and “go get ‘em Anne” when getting passed.  She and “Thunder and Lightning” moved down to VA from NY, earlier this year, after cashing in the check they’d both won at Wicked, lol. She motors on the road and is still developing her tech-fu.  She caught back up to me after three and passed me on a road like I was standing still.  I mustered up the gumption on some rollers to catch her and talk about the rail trail coming.  We worked together for a spell on the road before she dropped me like a bad habit. After the unofficial water stop, I started riding and working with a super nice dude from Columbus, who was friends with Shannon.  I rode with him for most of the second half of the race, we chatted through the rail trail keeping a good pace and passing stragglers who’d entered it alone.  Starting with some 4 miles of false flat, and nothing spectacular to look at, the rail trail can be disconcerting if you let it.  I’ve done it solo; it’s not horrible, and it’s nowhere near the hell I went through in UT, it’s just mundane. I was enjoying making good time, knowing there would be more climbing more singletrack and more fun.  We picked off some riders, including Anne who didn’t have the legs to follow.  Little by little I started picking up the pace with 25 to go, trying to finish strong. Heading into 5, I was racing a dude from Memphis, who I rode with early in the day, I was tired of food, and wanted water, so I stopped at 5 to fill a bottle.  He passed me while I stopped and I got back on the horse and caught him after we entered the singletrack.  I was on a mission and he moved to the side, and said ‘take the rocks’ I tried, I didn’t want to bump bars and ended up with a double puncture in the rear.  He did nothing wrong, just racing.  The tire had enough Stan’s to start; I’d refilled it just prior. But now it was spewing out Stan’s like the Bellagio water show in Vegas, I first noticed the hole in the tread then I noticed the sidewall. I tried to get it to seal and it went soft. I used a big air and repeatedly until I emptied it. The tire would firm up I’d start riding and then it would eventually go soft again. I got passed by all of the people I had passed in the last few miles, and then passed by people I hadn’t seen in hours. A friend of the Columbus dude lent me a pump and I used that pump four different occasions on my way to finishing it in hand.  If I held my head together I’d have hung out and let the Stan’s pool around the punctures, and minimized the loss. Or, I could’ve thrown a tube on and done the same.  But that’s not what I did and I’m ok with it. I fiddled with it for about 20 minutes, and crushed my PR. I’m proud of my time, and look at those 20 minutes as an opportunity to get better.

9:43        66/124 plus 18 DNFs

The coolest thing about the whole tamale was that my brother, Adam, drove 70+ miles to come see me and hang out after the race.  I told him 10 hours, latest 11, he came 15 minutes early and I missed him.  I rushed to take a shower and clean off before I made him wait too long.  I met his beautiful wife and gave them both huge hugs and spent some quality time together.  Admittedly I was a little distracted, still buzzing from the ride my results and seeing friends come in, but they got a cameo on my Dirtwire spot…so we’re cool right?!

I tried a couple of new things this trip.

-First, recently my Dermatologist told me I need to wear sleeves if I’m going to race all day and not be able to reapply sunscreen.  So I picked up some fluo yellow sun sleeves from Specialized.  Barely noticeable until they bone dry, or were soaking wet.  When dry…they weren’t warm but you could tell you were wearing something, wet…really cool.  Not sold on the yellow, though extremely visible on the road.  If you’re a sweater, I bet they’d keep you way cool… I’m not a sweater but I’ll keep wearing them, skin cancer is NO joke.

-Second, as a result of a cracked nipple hole in my Crests, I picked up some Nox XCR hoops and had them laced to my existing King hubs. Succinctly- Confidence inspiring, wider internally, slightly less weight, stiff as hell, lower pressure, better grip, super precise in the rocks and while railing through turns, I’m sold.  While Mercks famously said, “don’t buy upgrades; ride upgrades” I’m doing both … go through your LBS or go direct.

It was a helluva trip with SuperRoy and Yankee Doodle. Again…huge thanks to my wife and kids, Cadre Racing, Charlie and Cycle Matrix coaching, Thom from Dirtwire and you.  If you haven’t seen the antics on DirtWire, go watch the video http://dirtwire.tv/2014/06/mohican-100-shoogs-i-helps-not-drinking-a-12-pack-the-night-before/  Next NUE is July 26 in lovely central PA, the Wilderness 101.

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