I talked not only myself into doing this race again this year I talked Dustin into doing it as well. Although that isn't entirely the best term because talking Dustin into something as ridiculous as a 100K mountain bike race is actually really straight forward and does not require any kind of convincing whatsoever.
We camped out at Oak Park in Greenfield the night before, took a dip in Otter Lake, ate some pasta, etc. We saw a guy throw a frisbee at a girls face while she wasn't looking, she started crying and then he sat in the lake in shame for quite awhile by himself (for reference these people were probably our age, increasing the funny). Then we chatted with the mechanic EFTA had on hand who had a digital scale with him and I thought it would be neat to actually know how heavy my monster cross really is. 32.34lbs. It's like I'm hauling a nice heavy freeride bike around with plush, cushy suspension...without the suspension! So in short we got some excellent pre race prep in Saturday.
Home Sweet Home
Lots more racers camping out this year than last if I remember right. Which is good to see. I am hoping this race continues to garner more interest. I have never done the VT50 but from the race reports I have read I think the NH100 course is a better mix of terrain and just as challenging if not more. For some reason the 50 sells out in 5 minutes months before the race, I'm hoping the 100 will be there someday just to reward all the people who go through the trouble to put this all together. 70+ individual private landowners needed to be convinced to let us pass through their land on race day! No small feat and again this race is very well supported, marked, etc. A huge thanks to all the volunteers who worked the aid stations in the rain for hours on end.
Ok to racing...as you may remember from my post on this race last year the brain sort of ceases to function entirely over this distance and level of effort so recapping is kind of a crap shoot but I will do my best:
Things got going fairly well. I let most of the Experts ride away and just settled into my own thang. Sketchy railroad bridge at about mile 5 or so was much less sketchy this year which was nice but the sand pit at mile 15 or so seemed much deeper which was not nice. I was able to climb more of Hedgehog and the Powerlines this year than last with a fully geared bike but remember how I said the one thing the monster cross doesn't handle that awesome is really steep technical climbing? Guess what the 100 has a lot of? Yeah. And throw in the monster is a good 10lbs heavier than my 9 speed was and I was still walking some stuff. Similar to last year I was on about a 6 hour pace through the first 30 miles or so of the easier part of the course.
But this year I came to the realization that it isn't actually the climbing that killed me on the back half of this course, especially this year with my full complement of gears. It was the descending that was my undoing. Namely the fact that usually when you think descending you think "rest". Not so much. I had forgotten how every descent for the back half of the course was typically fairly steep and fairly riddled with boulders and washout and all kinds of other things that don't let you rest, at all.
I have also come to the realization that I do not ride a geared bike well anymore. I was extremely inefficient and lazy with my gearing choices at times and 'hitting my shifts' with old school friction shifters at mile 45+ wasn't really happening. Very typically instead of gearing down for a flat or descent I would just spin it out waiting for the inevitable climb that was sure to be coming, not the best strategy for speed but I was having issues convincing myself to put out those extra few watts.
My shifting wasn't the only thing to go south at mile 45(ish). I had my Garmin in my jersey pocket because I can't mount it to the stem of the monster with it being high rise the angle is too steep. I must have bumped it either when jamming an endurolyte wrapper in there or when checking mileage or something. So according to my data I imploded at mile 46.93.
Lots of great single track in the second half of the course, I recognized some of it from last year but I think some was new including a few miles at the very end of the course that was awesome. I wish I had been in a better frame of mind to enjoy it a bit more but by then I was just soaking wet and ready to be done. I finished in just under 8 hrs which was a goal of mine so I am pretty happy with this years race. Last year I assumed the heat added about an hour to my time and this confirms that give or take. Factor in a fully rigid bike that weighs almost 33lbs and I think that's a pretty decent ride. Dustin came in just under 2mins behind me, another strong ride, not really sure how 62mi would go for me on a SS but I'm not sure I could pull 8hrs...
Amanda and her parents came out to cheer us on at the final feed station, the last road crossing and the finish and I hear she got some sweet pics of trey that I will post up once they get digitized to the interwebs.
Gimme those nuts!
That's enough nuts
Gravestones = dropped. They didn't stand a chance when I opened it up
Ah the glamor of finishing 3hrs after the winners...
I have been putting a lot of thought in to how I end my season going forward from here. Another tri has been on the radar as well as a few other big rides and the Pinnacle Challenge. Getting hard to balance the fitness and get it all in, I think something is going to have to be tabled for another time I just have to figure out what. More at 11.