This race was the first true test of my fitness of the year. I’ve logged more miles already this year than I have ever before and I was anxious to see if my time in the saddle had paid off. I figured this race would be a good way to see how I‘ll stack up for my goal time of under 10 hours at Lumberjack. It’ll be a stretch, considering my time last year was 12:05. This was also my first race using a Camelbak and I thought I would try listening to my MP3 player to help the loneliness that sets in at about mile 50 of a long race.
I just got my bike all dialed in the week before with a new carbon flat bar and a WhiteBrothers Rock Solid Carbon Fork. I was nervous about my choice of 33x16 on my 29er after riding the 24 miles of the State Park loop on a 33x15 the week prior. I knew I’d be walking some hills no matter what gear I ran, so I figured 33x16 was a solid choice.
What an amazing weekend this turned out to be! The Mohican100 experience was everything I hoped it would be. The course had everything. Long grinding hills, short steep hills, technical switchback climbs (some of you may scoff at my use of the term technical, but on a rigid single speed, anything more than a paved bike path can be classified as “technical”), blistering fast, 42mph, downhills, 16mph flats, paved roads, two-track, dirt roads, and singletrack.
Had I not just ridden it, I would have never believed that there were so many hills in Ohio. CMo and I were discussing all weekend how much the landscape reminded us of West Virginia.
With 11,000 feet of climbing, it seemed like turn after turn there was another monster hill waiting for you. Even the downhills were tough to enjoy because you knew something else was coming up. Some parts of the course were cyclocross style, there is no way anyone (even the pros) rode this loose, sandy, steep two track stuff.
The race started out in downtown Loudonville which is sort of an archaic little town in rural Ohio with one stop light, one church and something like 5 or 6 bars. After a short ride from the campground, CMo and I lined up midpack and waited for the race to start.
Almost exactly 7am and the police siren went off.
The first challenge was navigating all the people, the second challenge was the gigantic hill we had to climb. After the funnel effect from 2 lane road to single track we filed in and basically walked the single track for about ½ mile. The first part of the race was through the Mohican State Park singletrack which is pretty amazing. 22 miles in I got the first flat I’ve ever had in a race. It was a quick fix, but I had to borrow a tire lever from another racer who had a flat at about the same spot I did. He was having troubles with his CO2 so I let him borrow my pump. Little did I know that we’d leap frog 4 or 5 times the rest of the day. At the end I found out that he went thought 5 tubes throughout the day.
I stopped at the 2nd aid station and refueled. Digging though the drop bags to find mine I saw that everyone else’s drop bags consisted of water bottles and gel packets. Mine had pierogies, baked potatoes, pretzels and almonds. I guess I’m the only one who needs real food on long rides. After the second aid station we got spit back on two tracks and dirt roads then eventually back on to some single track.
At this point I was contemplating my sanity, who the hell would ever sign up for a 100 mile mountain bike race?! Why do I do this to my self? I decided I was selling all my mountain bikes and sticking to road riding. Thankfully 10 or so miles later, I got my wits back started feeling a bit better. Aid station 4 came and I was glad to get a bit of a break.
The last 28 miles were a bit of a blur, paved roads, dirt roads and the remaining 4 miles of the Mohican state park trail. The trail spit us back out on route 3 right outside the campground, little did I remember that we’d have to climb all the hills that we’d descended in the campground on the way out. It felt great to cross the finish line and still have legs to carry me.
After the race CMo and I went back to the campsite to clean up a
bit then we headed back down for some post-race grub and suds. It was too bad all the good beer was gone and we had to drink some shit Budweiser swill. The food was Mongoilan BBQ style and was pretty good. But I had no appetite.
We hung out and watched the award ceremony and waited for the
swag to be given out. It was awesome to see some hometown boys up on the Men’s Open podium (Simonson and Tanguy).
Here’s what I learned from this race:
1. CMo is the MAN.
2. Camelbaks look dorky, but are necessity for rides longer than 25 miles or so.
2. Pierogies are superfood!
3. ALWAYS carry more tubes than you think you’ll need.
4. I am NOT selling my mountain bikes.
5. Listening to music helps take the edge off long rides. One ear only though!