I am not sure what I was thinking when I signed up for this race… and really don't know what I was thinking when I switch my entry to SS!! The last time I did a 100 miler was Lumberjack in 2010 on my geared bike and finished in 8:25. I set a goal to be under 8hrs this year, but I wasn't sure how the SS thing would fit in to the equation. After the typical debate about what gear to run, I decided to keep the same gear I have been running. Mostly because that is what I have and didn't want to buy a different cog… so 56 gear inch it is. I lined up near the front and kept up by spinning at 150rpm as we cruised down the road at 22-25mph!! A guy in a black van that didn't want to wait for us to get off the road decided to pull in the park road, thus being swarmed by hundreds of bikes. Lucky he didn't hit anyone… what an idiot. Entering the single track was uneventful and the pace was steady till we hit the first climb. I took the left hand line and pass a lot of people grinding up the slow steady climb. Shortly after things started to spread out and I found myself riding with Mike Seaman who was going at similar pace as I was. We ended up riding the whole first lap together and most of the second. My buddy Dave Messing also joined our group before the rest area. Things were going good and I felt like the pace was manageable until another SS guy passed us and I jump on his wheel. By the end of the first lap, I could start feeling the efforts and still had 2 more laps left. Mike and Dave where right there again and we continued to ride together. The heat and humidity were really rising and it was starting to feel like I was in an oven!! I was gapped at Fire tower road and ended up riding in the lap solo. At this point, I knew my goal of under 8hrs was not going to be achievable without a negative split, which wasn't' going to happen. I caught Dave on the third lap and rode with him until he stopped at the aid station. Wanting to just "get it over with", I pushed to the finish. I rolled through with a time of 8:11, which was good for 12th out of 47 SS guys. All in all I had a good time, but it will probably be a while before signing up for another 100miler in the dirt.
Tree Farm Relay
I look forward to this race (if it can really be called that) every year. It brings out just about everyone in the scene that just likes to ride their bike and have some competitive fun. It has 4 person Mens, womens and mixed categories with 4 lap and 8 lap distances. This year I wanted to get some of the faster guys on the team together to have some fun and challenge the top teams. It was then suggested that we put together a team of all SS bikes. This seemed to fared well with the group and the team ended up consisting of Collin, Josh, Todd and myself on the team. The team name of "One Ring to Rule Them All" was chosen and we were joking around about dressing up, but decided not to. The race starts in a Leman style with everyone running down the hill and jumping on their bikes. Collin was the lead out guy and was near the front at the start. Collin rolled through in 4th place due to a nasty crash, but he was ok. I took the second leg and immediately passed the guy in 3rd and was chasing the guy in 2nd. I was holding the gap, but struggling to make up any ground crashing at one point when my front tire slid out. I handed it off to Todd who caught 2nd with a solid lap. Josh hammered his lap making up more ground on 1st. Collin managed to catch 1st on his second lap and the rest of us just worked to extend the lead!! It was a solid team effort with very consistent lap times that brought home the win!! It was also great to be able to hang out enjoy the beautiful day with friends. This was Mary Ann's first MTB race and even though her team didn't place well she impressed everyone with a really fast time!! I think she is hooked!!
Double Log Pile in Expert Loop
Brighton XC Race
I wasn't originally going to do this race, but since I haven't been on my geared bike all year and Ore 2 Shore coming up, I thought it would be a good idea. This would be the first expert 40-49 race for me. I have been watching this class and knew who the players were, but not sure how I would stack up. DC and the Wiz were signed up and I knew they were out of my league, so I focused on finishing as close to them as possible. Everyone was lined up when I got to the staging area, but a couple of guys let me roll to the front row, which was cool. The start was quick but not unmanageable with DC and Wiz riding up front and Selle and Charles close behind. The group split at the first hill and Selle, Charles and I fell off the pace. The three of us rode the whole first lap, picking off riders from earlier groups. We were cruising through the last section when I caught a tree with my handle bar and crashed. Selle and Charles eased up to make sure I was ok and then continued on. I got up, evaluated myself and put my chain back on, then started to chase. Halfway through the 3rd lap I caught them along with Osgood and Lako. The 5 of us rode for a while till Osgood dropped his chain on a climb, the 4 of us continued. I knew I would have to hit the hills hard to put a gap on these guys, so I went around them at the start/finish and got on Lako's wheel to better position myself. Once we hit the climbs Lako and I were both pushing the pace, he let me go around on the second climb and I put in a big effort on the gully climb creating the gap. I was keeping a solid pace until the short punch climbs and started to cramp. I kept pushing while nursing the climbs a little. Lako rolled up near the end and offered some encouragement to push to the finish. Ended up finish 3rd behind DC and Wiz, not a bad day on the bike!