Tuesday, September 05, 2006

shenandoah mtn 100 (part 2)

My weekend began with a quick drive down to NJ Thursday evening. Met up with my brother and his new girlfriend and then went to sleep. 4am... alarm clock goes off. 10mins later I'm on the road solo (left Omega in NJ for the weekend w/ my brother and sister). I78 was packed with truckers at 4:30am and, likewise, was difficult getting out to I81 but I still made pretty good time. Going into the panhandle of West Virginia I encountered the rain from Tropical Storm Ernesto. It wasn't bad, just a light rain and continued like that through the rest of my trip. Hit some traffic in Winchester Virginia and then things cleared up. Couple hundred miles later (and after passing Harrisonburg VA where the race is) I'm on I64 heading west. The rain picked up as I went over the mountains into West Virginia. Into WV the rain disappeared and so did what little traffic was on the road. Flying now. I love how my car handles at 100mph.

Got into Beckley WV just before noon. Spent the next day with Tara, her family & friends. [sidenote: I recommend going to see Little Miss Sunshine. It was a great movie.] Saturday afternoon we, or rather Tara (gotta give credit were credit is due) made a huge dish of homemade Ziti. Mmmm. She knows how to make sure I've eaten properly before an important race.(Thanks!) But before that I got to take a tour of what my future garage will look like... chock full of project cars and all the right tools a mechanic can think of to get the job done right. Actually, it was her neighbor's garage, but it did feel like it could be home.

Ziti..mmm. Filled me up and then I had to hit the road again to head back to the Harrisonburg VA area. The campsite and start/finish of the race was actually in Stokesville VA (about 8 miles south of Harrisonburg and 30mins west of I81). Arrived shortly after dark and as the racer's meeting was about halfway done. Picked up my registration packet and found Tim. After the racer's meeting Tim and I got our drop bags together (spare tube, CO2, food, Ensure, etc) and then Tim went to sleep. I rummaged through my stuff and then sat in my collapsable camping chair eating more Ziti. Around this time Ray showed up too (I sold him my old Cannondale singlespeed). Bedtime was just before 10pm. I slept like a rock in my sleeping bag and thermarest (a godsend when camping). The nighttime air was super cool and Tim's tent kept the dew away. Just the right conditions for a good night's sleep.

5am. Sunday. The gong is going off to wake everyone up. I slept in 'till 5:45 and then finally got up and got rolling. Probably not a good idea to sleep in that long for the race started at 6:30am and I didn't really get to eat a good breakfast (dabbled between fresh fruit, ziti and cold oatmeal.. okay. didn't really eat much oatmeal. probably a spoonful).
The race went off promptly at 6:30. I heard there were well over 300 racers with quite a few fixed gears (and you thought I was crazy on a singlespeed). As soon as I got to the starting line nature was calling..Son-of-A.. No time to go now. Got a race starting. First climb was gradual up to mile 7 or 8 and then it kicked up (a notch). It was mostly doubletrack and I lost my chain coming around one turn. Doh! I hope this was not going to be a reoccuring theme. After getting the chain un-stuck from between the crankarm and frame I was on my merry way (meanwhile I kept thinking of that one clip from Chain Reaction I where the downhill racer at Platekill NY got his chain stuck on his chainguide..). My right knee was bothering me a bit and I had a minor stomach ache. Not good.

Around mile 15 or so I caught up to Ray and we rode together. WTF? Why is Tim Dougherty on the side of the trail? As we rode by he was asking for spare spokes. Aparently someone put their foot through his front wheel while going around a turn and he broke 3 or 4 spokes. Enough to make his front wheel rub on the Lefty fork. Damn it. He's now out and pissed. I was fairly confident he would take top 3 SS today.

Ray and I mustered up the 2nd climb around mile 20. It was fairly steep, rocky singletrack that had quite a few switchbacks. Yeah, we (about everyone around us) walked/ran a bit of it. From there was a gnarly singletrack downhill. At the top we saw Elk and I let him go infront of us. He said he wasn't feeling well and his water bottle cage broke. Ray and I eventually passed him for his rigid fork was forcing him to descent a bit slower than us. Shortly thereafter Ray went over the bars but landed on his feet and eventually caught back up to me. We rolled into aid station 2 at mile 31. The first real aid station with food and extra water/etc.... I refilled my one waterbottle with more Heed. Nature was calling. A few minutes later I was back in the game and felt much better.

From here we started climbing up some paved road that led to a hardpack jeep trail. I can't remember where Ray pulled away from me but I was eventually left to fight on my own. This climb to mile 40 sucked. It was just steep enough so that you can ride it but your cadence with 1 gear was very low. In other words, lots of 'the worm' as Tim and I refer to our SS climbing style. Little did I realize we would revisit 3/4 of this climb at mile 95.

Dropped down onto an awesome off-camber singletrack downhill. I was in a group of about 10-15 people just flying on these trails that were so narrow and off-camber you'd mentally start thinking you're not upright and naturally start leaning towards the mountain. Not a good idea 'cause then your f'd. Esp in a caravan like we had. About 4 guys infront of me was a fixed gear rider who pedaled the whole way down. I couldn't believe he did that.. and to do it so fluently.

Aid station 3.. 45miles in. Refilled my camelbag and waterbottle. Dropped my arm & knee warmers off in my drop bag. Drank an Ensure, ate some bananas & orange slices. Then hit the road eating more beef jerky. We had about 5+ miles of paved road to ride. I eventually settled in with 3 other SSrs and a bunch of geared riders as we pacelined it up the road. Turn off into some campsite (forgot the name) and then we encountered the "one high flowing stream crossing" that we had to wade across. This thing was up to my knees and flowing very rapidly. One false move and you're down. Across the creek came a 50ft hike-a-bike climb. That hike then became tight singletrack that meandered up the mountain. I walked/ran most of this climb for it was pretty brutal on a SS. The downhill was pretty badass. More rocky singletrack descending. whoa hoo!

Aid station 4 at 57miles. I rolled in and saw Elk getting directions from a volunteer. This certainly didn't look good. Refilled my waterbottle, ate some bananas and orange slices. Then hit the trail with Elk. He threw in the towel at aid station 4 because he felt like schit. I figured something was wrong since he's riding back with me and not up at the top 3 SSrs where he usually is. He had a shortcut back to camp and briefed me on the 20mile climb I was riding into: "mellow for a while and then it gets steep towards the summit". I wished him the best of luck and pulled away on my own.

This climb sucked. It just wore on for what seemed like an eternity. I rode all of the mellow part (mile 57-65ish). Then we crossed over some construction zone before it got steeper. The dirt was so soft in the construction zone that I didn't have the energy to pedal so I ran through it. Then did a little walk/ride/walk up the steep stuff. Rode quite a bit more than I thought I could. Guess for I kept telling myself aid station 5 is at the top of this climb.

Finally, aid station 5 at mile 75. It took me the better part of 2.5hours to climb. I showed up around 4:30pm. Just before the mandatory headlights required time. I refilled my camelbag and grabbed my dropbag. Pulled the one waterbottle out of my bag (mmm. Accelerade, definetely a needed change from all the Heed I was drinking) and drank an Ensure from my bag. Stuffed some more energy gels into my jersey pocket and then I realized I was starting to freeze (sop and wet jersey and fairly breezy air = cold rider). Lots of guys were sitting down resting. I figured I should hit the trail since they were SSrs and I thought I'd be slower than them. I also thought I was at the top and just had to descent to the next aid station.. No No. Lots more climbing. The ridgeline trail was a jeep's width doubletrack and it was rolling. Up and down.. I'd get to a clearing and think I'm at the top. Nope. Down a bit and then back up again. Mentally I was falling apart because I just wanted to get off this damn mountain. From the looks of the profile I think we did almost another 1,000ft of climbing after aid station 5 before descending off the mountain.

The descent was insane. I was so fatigued I almost couldn't hold onto the handlebars and brakes. It was steep and you were over the rear tire behind the saddle to keep weight balanced. This one SSr passed me. Where did he come from? damn. I'm riding slow. I opened it up a bit to catch back up with him but didn't catch him until we got to aid station 6 around mile 88 (same as aid station 2). I refilled both my water bottles, ate a few bananas and then carried on with the SSr who passed me on the descent from station 5 (forgot his name). He dropped me on the short climb right out of station 6. I descended like a demon and caught up to him near the bottom of the last climb of the day. We were slowly pulling away from other SSrs that left aid station 6 shortly behind us.

Ride some. Walk about 20ft. Ride some more. That was how we got up this last climb. He told me it was only 3/4 of what we rode before (yeah, the 3rd climb at mile 35 that was a tease to pedal on a SS... we're back!). It hurt to turn the pedals. My arms were sore and my legs were worse. This one SSr passed us and I was in shock. He was flying! Guess that's how it goes when you're 100lbs. Good power to weight ratio. The two of us just mustered on ignoring that guy who just flew past us. The guy I was with eventually started walking but for some reason I kept on pedaling (albeit very, very slowly). Before I knew it I had a good gap on him. Okay, now the game is to not let him or anyone behind me catch me. Once at the top its a descent to the finish.

I caught a few geared riders on the climb and then did a daredevil descent on some singletrack that opened up to doubletrack jeep trail. Took another energy gel for my arms were starting to cramp. Next thing I know I'm in the back of the Stokesville campsite. Finish at last! The course dumped you into the open field of the campsite. Two little rollers were at the top of the field. I popped over the first one and then heard Elk yelling "big air Doug" so I pulled a little handlebar turn-down off the second one. and flew across the finish line. Sweet. I'm finally done.

My time: 10hours 48min 20sec (roughly 10mins slower than the 101. Not bad for using a harder gear ratio this time 2:1 ratio)
My finish: 118th overall out of 400 total riders --> 18th singlespeed out of 52

Jeremiah Bishop (pro Trek rider) won the race in 7hours and 15minutes. Dan Jenson won the SS class in 8hours 37mins. FAST!

Joey Riddle (my Vicious teammate) took 24th overall, just under 9hours. His wife (Mandi) came in 4th female in just over 11hours. A good day for Vicious Cycles!

What is cool is that there was an influx of about 4 SSrs within 5minutes ahead of me. Then me. Then another 3minutes and another big group of SSrs. Maybe next time I can beat the guys that finished just infront of me. The race hurt a lot. It was very difficult even though conditions were reasonably dry. Offical results are posted here. Props to Chris Scott and Shenandoah Mountain Touring for putting on such a great set of races (they also did the 101). Tim took off around 10am to head back to NJ (no surprise to me for his season hasn't been well. I wish there is something I can do.). I slept in the tent Sunday night and left early in the morning to head back to NJ and eventually CT.

Next up. This weekend we're (Sean, Bryan, Brian, Bruce and myself) riding at Kingdom Trails in northern Vermont. A few weeks from now is the Vermont 50. Probably going to do that 2:1 and just push myself really hard. After all, its half the distance of what I just did. At the rate I'm doing these 100milers if I finish the VT50 in 5hours I'll be top 10SS easily.



Post a Comment

<< Home