Did some biking while in New Jersey yesterday. Decided to ride at the Round Valley Reservoir in Hunterdon County. Haven't ridden there in years! I forgot how much fun this place is. How technical the terrain is. How beautiful things are. Western New Jersey is good stuff!
Started in the opposite side of the reservoir as the boat launches. So, east side I think. Didn't have enough time to ride the whole way around. Perhaps next time.
kayaking is permitted
And it can be ridden with one gear (and a bald back tire)!
Well, not really. This is the Heublein Tower up ontop of Talcott Mountain, 10mins from my house. It was built in 1914 for Gilbert Heublein and his wife (makers of A1 Steak Sauce). It was modeled after his nativeland of Bavaria. Pretty cool place.. Thought I'd do some exploring at the end of my ride today. Nice 3hour ride after the Mohican..
Before I copy-and-paste below what I wrote earlier today I want to share with you how impressed I am with my performances thus far this year. I've set some goals for each race and this is the first race where I have yet to meet said goals. Looking back on the official results [earlier today] I was shocked to see that I climbed into the top 15 of the SS field (a field of 38) in this year's Mohican 100. This impresses me because I have done nothing to prepare for any race this year. No winter training and no regimented training in the Spring months. As some of us say: "Seat of the pants"
Here's the long of it:
Omega and I jump into the Jeep and head down to The Garden State Thursday after work. Found a place where I can meet up with TimmyD and avoid unnecessary driving on both our parts. 8am Friday morning Omega's chillin' with my parents and TimmyD and I are in his father's Audi Wagon (thank you!) heading west on route 80. Couple hours later we're hanging out on Michelle Stopper's front porch eating some food while waiting for her to get home from work. Repack the car and all three of us are en-route to central Ohio.
After playing games with the Offical Mohican directions and Google's directions we found our way to Camp Nuhop. Picked up our registration packets and left our bikes with Tomi and Huber (we'd later come back and camp with them). A late dinner (not happy with that) and asleep around 10pm.
Friday night started off with lots of humidity. Around 1am it started raining fairly heavily. Word on the street was Saturday would bring lots of rain. I have been known to sleep well while camping lately but this evening I had trouble. Slept for a few hours and would wake up for a bit. Then back to sleep. The rain stopped sometime around 4:30 or 5am. We're awake at 5:30am for a 7am race start. Why so early? They decided to start the race this year in the town of Loudonville instead of at Camp Nuhop (where we were camping and were the finish would be). Loudonville was a good 10 to 15min drive via car so we had to get there with a reasonable amount of time for the race start.
The race start just kind of happened. We're all standing in the middle of the main road through Loudonville and then next thing I know I heard some noise (was it a horn or siren?) and we're moving. Straight through town and up this steep climb out of town. This was supposed to be a nice mellow controlled start but the promoters were giving out $100 for the first person to the top of this climb out of town. As a result it was a mad free-for all at the start. Great. Just how I want to start a very long day in the saddle. I found myself climbing that hill with the likes of Dicky, Dejay, Fuzzy, Matt Ferrari and Huber. 34x21 felt good despite a maxed out heart rate. At the top we hung a left onto some gravel road that had a few ups and downs in it. TimmyD crept past me while I was slowing down a bit (paying for the fast start). I think Dicky also fell back while everyone else kept pulling ahead.
The first 30miles were beautiful singletrack, albeit very wet and slippery (I slid out and graciously touched the ground while trying to pass someone on the inside of a turn). It was wise to get a good start and get into the singletrack early. Otherwise you're stuck in traffic and at the risk of losing a lot of time. I guess I was in the 'chase' group off the leaders since the people I were with had a nice rhythm and no one was making stupid mistakes. I felt good but I quickly realized I wasn't riding as fast as the other singlespeeders (well, all the guys I know and couldn't catch up to). Not sure how I could have done any better for I had the same ratio as most of them (including Tim) and was pedaling all the time and spinning out to some crazy cadences when I could just to keep my speed up.
After the singletrack there were quite a few short and steep gravel road climbs that led us out to mile 50. By now I'm kind of in no-man's land. (What I refer to is me riding solo without seeing too many people.) I didn't see any singlespeeders and every now and then a few geared people would pass me (predominately the top women). I'd catch back up to them and pass them on the climbs (felt good on the climbs) but then they'd get me on the flats and pull away. Oh well, at least it felt like I was keeping momentum and my watch was showing I was on track for a 9-9.5hour finish (my goal since I did it in 10hours last year).
Drinking, eating, drinking... etc. Just trying to stay ahead of the curve. Three bottles every 2hours. Every now and then I'd feel slight twitches of cramps in my thighs but I was able to push through them on the climbs and recover on the descents/flats. Roll into the aid station around mile 50 and it was around noon (5hrs in) and super hot out. Refilled my bottles, greased my chain, grabbed some watermellon and took off (still had plenty of food in my jersey). Not too far later we were back into some singletrack. I had trouble keeping my pace up and it showed that I was on a 10hour pace (not what I wanted). Mile 60-75ish there was more roads and an Omish carriage road (kind of like a converted railroad trail). Flat. I felt better and was riding strong up what climbs were present and tucking and bombing what descents were present. Kept the cadence high on the flats to keep speed up. Rode a bit with VisitPA's Mike Kuhn. I got onto the carriage trail with three geared guys. We tried to stick together and draft off each other to conserve energy but they were so exhausted that it didn't last more than a few miles. Now I'm on my own pedaling at some redicilously high cadence to keep pace on such a boring flat trail. Last year I was able to draft some geared guys and recover and conserve energy. Didn't happen this year. This lasted for 45mins and I was tiring out quickly no matter how much I ate and drank.
Near the end of the carriage road I caught a flat front tire. Ran over a piece of glass. Luckily it was a super slow leak and I knew the next aid station was just a few short miles away. I was able to ride it to the next aid station. At the aid station I put a tube in the tire (to be safe) even though my tire still had a ton of sealant in it. Refilled my bottles and grabbed some more watermellon and took off. That was around 75miles? From there to the last aid station (93miles) there were quite a few steep climbs. I did my best to ride most of them but found myself walking more often. My head wasn't really in the game anymore and thus I walked more than I wound have liked. This is where I lost some critical time. The heat was getting to me. I knew I had to drink and eat but my stomach felt wierd. It has felt much worse in previous races so I knew I was still O.K.. It also felt like my body was shutting down. Mentally, I knew I needed to eat and drink but my body was almost refusing it. It was hard to get it down.
I also wasn't sure how the last 7miles to the finish was. I wasn't sure if it was the same as last year or much harder like the previous year. As a result I rode slightly conservatively from mile 75 through 93. I didn't want to blow up at the last 7miles. Looking back, perhaps that wasn't the smartest of decisions and perhaps I should have not been as conservative as I was.
I rolled into the last aid station (mile 93) around 4:30pm. 9.5hours into the race. I lost time but the volunteers there told me the remaining 7miles is the same as last year. I immediately felt good and knew if I pushed it I could be under 10hours. But how far under 10hours? Was it worth it? I wouldn't catch any singlespeeders so why would I kill myself for a 5 or 10min faster finish than the previous year? I also saw my friend Tomi at the aid station. He was damn near dead. Guess racing 100miles on a fixed gear mountain bike will do that to you. I still don't know how he does it. I was riding with him in the singletrack earlier in the day and he was so fluid. Every time I'd coast I would look up and see him pedaling like mad and think "How they h ell can you do that?". Guess with a lot of practice and experience (this was his 6th 100miler fixed). Will I do it fixed? Nope! I decided to ride with Tomi and help him get to the finish and enjoy the remaining 7miles. It would also help me recover from the race and help my post-race recovery once we get to the finish since I won't be burying myself trying to get to the finish.
Down a few miles of singletrack along a creek. Through a campground and up to a dam. The dam was a big grassy face with cinderblock steps starting halfway up and going to the top. I felt good so when Tomi and I rolled up to it I kept on going. Somehow I had the strength to ride straight up the lower half of the damn. I still don't know how I did it. That thing was super steep. The spectators up top were cheering me one. Tomi was cheering me on. I got to within 5ft of the steps and then got off, shouldered the bike, and hiked on up. At the top I waited for Tomi and we carried on. One last road climb and a short singletrack climb to the finish. We walked up the road (even though I could have ridden it) and then rode the singletrack to the finish. My chain dropped on the last turn so I just shouldered the bike and ran across the finish line (50ft). My watch said something past 5pm so I knew we were over 10hours. Oh well. I had a good time despite the heat and humidity.
Official results: 13th place singlespeed out of 38 10hours 17mins 12sec