Sorry a little late to the party here. It has been busy and then didn’t have a good time to sit down at put this together. Part of this has been sitting in draft mode for quite a while. The Mohican was the second race in my dumb decision I made to my race schedule. I was feeling a little better about this than the Cohutta, but still not where I wanted to be. The three weeks leading up to the race I was only able to get out for one ride a week. I did do a few other things that were off the bike, but probably not the best plan of tapering. But, I should be well rested. As usual I was running a little late on getting everything ready to go and the bike cleaned and tuned up.
Friday morning I was up way earlier than I wanted to be after not getting to bed very early because I was doing a bunch of last minute things. I had thought about leaving Thursday night and camping part of the way, but I just didn’t have the motivation to do that and staying home allowed me to spend more time with my family before heading out. The day didn’t start out very good at all. The ATM machine that I stopped at was not working. Then the gas station was out of bags of ice. The second ATM machine I stopped at was no longer a bank, so that didn’t work either. I guess I hadn’t noticed that they closed. I figured I should just get moving down the road and it would all work out. Then as I was leaving town I ran in to this dense fog that made my travels even more interesting. Off to a good start!!
Eventually things started rolling better and I met up with some of the People’s Brewing team in Columbus and the train rolled in to town the rest of the way. Our home for the weekend was awesome!! I was very happy with the cabin arrangements, although we joked about who was going to get hurt first on the spiral staircase. Our location was just across the street from the finish line, so not far from anything.
After getting unloaded and settled in, we met up with a couple other riders and went for a little warm up/pre-ride. It was good to spend some time on the bike and also try to loosen up the legs after the drive. I started off a little sketchy, but eventually started riding a little smoother. The problem I was having is not feeling very strong. The legs were hurting and I was getting winded way too easy. If the little warm up spin was going to wear me out then I was in for a very long day. I managed to finish the ride and make it back to the cabin with out getting hurt. Made some last minute adjustments to the bike, changed and went out for dinner. The rest of the evening was full of smiles and laughter to help me relax about what is in store for the next day.
Here we are before the start of the madness. There are a lot of racers at the start line. This year we went off all at the same time. The last time I did this race the 100 milers started a few minutes before the 100k. I made sure to not line up too close to the start line, but not all the way back. The start heads down the road for a little ways. I tried to not go too crazy, but still keep some speed moving. We rolled past the turn that I thought we were going to make and kept going. I was getting passed by a lot of riders and at one point I could see way up the road to where the leaders were. It looked like I must have been in last place, but when I turned around I was happy to see at least a few people behind me. No idea how many as I could not see everyone. Eventually we made it in to some trail sections. The traffic was still pretty bad and there were even a couple spots that everyone had to stop because we were all bunched up. I was not too stressed out and just rode my pace when I was allowed.
After a little while I started to ride a little better. Not as good as I would have liked, but much better than the day before. Most of the race is all blurred together. I know I made a lot better effort to eat and drink than I did the last time. The first rest stop came up pretty fast and I didn’t stick around long. There were several people standing around at this one. There were different sections that looked familiar and some that felt like we rode the other way last time. I know one of the rest stops that came early I would have sworn was the last stop the previous time I raced. I felt like I was not riding too bad, but I was hurting more than I wished I was with way too long to go yet.
The section before rest stop 3 was where I blew up last time. I didn’t blow up, but this section felt like it took forever. When I came around the corner where I could see where the previous rest stop was, I figured I was getting close or at least fairly close. This section had a lot of wet spots, rocks, roots and trees. It was very technical riding, but I was riding a lot more stuff than most of the people around me. This helped me keep motivated and actually passed several people. I was really feeling it when I finally rolled in to the rest stop. I filled my pockets with stuff from my drop bag and ate as much as I could. The watermelon was really good! I knew my tank was running low and I still had a long way to go. I wanted to eat as much as I could with out making myself sick at the same time.
When I finally was ready to roll out of the stop, I was very thankful that I was making the left turn for the 100k and not the right turn for the 100 mile. Maybe some day I will turn right, but not for now. Just down the road from this stop, the 100 milers rejoin. I was crazy to see how fast some of those guys were still climbing at that point in the race. Tomas was cruising up the road. That gave me a little bit of info on how I need to be riding, before I can even think about finishing well. The last time I did this race I remember this section being completely horrible. This time it was still hard, but at least I was riding.
From here to the end was a big blur. I just kept pedaling as hard as I could with out cramping up or something. I kept trying to drink and eat frequently, but I really have no idea. Time seemed to stand still for this section. I was pretty tired and wore out, but kept moving. In 2011 when I hit this last section I was feeling pretty bad and had been for a while. I was riding the SS and had to walk just about every hill because both legs were cramping up any time I used them. This time it was a lot better. I still ended up walking a few hills, but at least my legs were not cramping. Eventually I came down the road to the last rest stop. I made a quick stop to try and find some energy to push threw the last section with. As I hit the trail I was really starting to hurt. It felt like I was going to have a full leg cramp at any moment, but I kept pushing on just trying to keep moving. There were some other people around me that I was trying to hold off and even a couple that I passed.
After I hit what seemed like the upper part of the trail I was starting to roll a lot better. It was more flowy and less climbs. There was a deer just off the trail having a snack. I almost stopped to hang out with him a minute, but then remembered that there was a couple guys behind me that might be in my class and I didn’t want them to catch me. I had no idea how much more I had to go. I came flying down the hill in to the first camp ground section and almost missed a left turn. Shortly after that, I was in the section of trail that was freshly cut the last time I was there. It was in a lot better shape and I knew at this point I was really close. Cruised through the next camp ground section and made the right on to the road.
The night before we were discussing what time we wanted to make. With this race being more trail and more technical than the Big Frog, I was hoping to break the 8 hour mark. Even in the last wooded section I was not sure if I was going to make it. On this road section I looked up and saw some of the other guys hanging out in our driveway, I was ecstatic that I was going to make my goal and probably even more so that I was finished. I was very ready to get off the bike at that point.
After crossing the finish line and getting my finishers glass, I headed up the hill to the cabin. I grabbed a beer and took a quick shower. Then I drug my chair down to the end of the drive to watch the remaining finishers come down the road while re-hydrating. Overall I am pretty happy with this race. Of course I wish I would have done better, but I have a lot of work to put in before I should expect any better. In 2011 I did the 100k on my SS and finished in a time of 9:22. This year I finished in 7:33 and only 11 minutes off of my Big Frog time. This makes me think that I could do better than a 7:22 for the Big Frog with a little more work. Actually, I am positive I could decrease both times with the right amount of work. Doing that work is the hard part.
Once again this was a great weekend overall. It was a long drive and a brutal race, but the company makes it all worth it. No matter how bad the drive was or how bad I raced, nothing compares to having good times with some good friends. These weekends don’t seem to last near long enough. It is not often enough I can hang out and have such a good time that I am almost brought to tears from laughing so much. I can hardly wait till the next time.