You've read one of my NH100 recaps you've just about read them all. So I'm not gonna recap this years edition all that much. Instead we're going to go back through time to see just how far I've come. We'll start our journey in 2009...
2009 - My first go at the NH100. It was in its 3rd year, Adam had done it the year before. Seemed like a good challenge and I thought I was ready to step up. This was not correct. I had been racing SS in the EFTA series at this point but didn't think I was ready for SS at this distance so I built my Kona up as a 1x9. This edition broke me. 90+ degree heat, I didn't know the course and learned about the easy first half and brutal second half the hard way. Took me almost 9hrs to finish. Reading back over the recap now is funny to see me describing climbs etc. for the first time that I now know oh so well.
2010 - The fact that I even showed up this year after getting so thoroughly shattered the year prior is a testament to the severe chemical imbalance I have that allows me to enjoy such horrible experiences on a bike. Still didn't really think I was ready for SS at this distance and my Kona had become my SS bike so I raced the dumbest bike ever built. A 33lb rigid 69er with dirt drops. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?! This was when I started to realize that I can't really ride geared bikes anymore. I claimed the descents hurt more than the climbs and just barely broke the 8hr barrier.
2011 - NEMBA Racing is off and running and I'm racing quite a bit more. I finally decide I'm ready to race the 100 on a SS. I'm getting more acquainted with the course and what my body does under these kinds of efforts. Feels a bit more like racing. I stop to pee and lose the wheel of a guy that eventually beats me and I vow to piss myself the next year if I have to. Part way through the race I realize the 7hr mark might be attainable. I go for broke and come up short crossing the line at 7h16m. But the seed has been planted and the 7hr mark becomes the new goal.
2012 - This was a pretty good year for racing bikes. I had come off 8 weeks with a personal trainer in the Spring and my fitness / high end were probably the best they had ever been. I was hoping for a strong showing and I was well on my way...until my cleat fell off. This was the first year they added the 100mi option as part of the NUE series. Lots of racers this year and the production value of the event went way up. This was the year of the pit crew aid stations. I was in the middle of a solid effort, yo-yo'ing with another rider for 5th/6th position. Around mile 47 my left cleat went AWOL. I checked out mentally and tried to just keep moving as best I could to get back home. Before too long I realized I was still moving along decently. I also eventually noticed that despite my handicap it looked like the 7hr mark could still be in play. I went for broke again, doing my best to tear my own legs off and just made it in under at 6hr58m.
And here we are in 2013. After having technically fulfilled my 7hr goal I didn't really have anything concrete to shoot for this year. I figured that was better because really with a finish required to be inducted into the Hampshire Hardcores that had to be the priority. Just get across the line. But at this point just getting across the line is technically easy and I don't like easy I like horrible suffering so I decided since I had put up two times of 6h37m at my two previous 100K races this year that breaking 6h30m would be the new goal. This year was actually pretty damn uneventful. I know this course and my body at this distance so well now that everything was managed fairly well. Except for that really dark place I went from about mile 50 to 55 today. I was actually on a just under 6hr pace coming up to that point but I think I had been pushing my limits a bit more than I usually do at this race and paid for it a bit. Luckily things came back around and I was able to finish strong. Coming through the final singletrack I could tell the timing was going to be very close and I was looking at a repeat of last year having to put the head down and hurt as much as possible. Coming into the campground I was spinning like crazy, my legs were starting to go numb, lungs were on fire. But I got it, by 30secs.
So there you have it. Went from 9hrs on a 9sp to 6.5hrs on a rigid SS in 5 years. I'm pretty proud of that. My entrance back into racing was pretty rough for a pretty long time. Racked up lots of DFL's but I've seen it through and now I have a moisture wicking shirt and none of my joints work right. TOTALLY WORTH IT.