Monday, June 05, 2006

Mohican 100 report

Mountain biking may just be the best thing to ever happen to me. I met my wife 10 years ago while mountain biking, (our 4th wedding anniversary is tomorrow) and the majority of my friends are comprised of mountain bikers. This weekend I met a few more people that fall in to the mountainbiker-friend category...

Jeff arranged for transport (mooched a ride for me) to the Mohican 100 via the Seven Cycles team van. We met up on Thursday afternoon at the Seven Cycles factory and was introduced to Skip Brown...super nice guy, legendary powerhouse mountain bike racer...and driver of the 14 passenger cargo van. Soon there after Kerry Combs (24 hour and endurance specialist for I.F.) arrived, along with Tiffany Mann (Skip's gf and super-fast I.F. racer) and Thom Parsons (I.F. single speeder and comedian). We packed six bikes, coolers and camping gear in the back of the bus and loaded in for an 8 hour cruise to Buck's house in Harrisburg Pa. Buck was friendly enough to let us crash Friday night at his place where we stayed up late watching videos of the 2005 single speed world championships (where buck was tattooed for winning the sswc! that's hard core!)
Buck riding his longboard home after devouring a huge breakfast Saturday morning.

We arrived at Mohican State Park in one piece (thanks to Skip and his skills behind the wheel, we survived a near crash exiting the highway in a rain storm somewhere in Pa.) on Saturday evening and met up with Harvey Minton (I.F. endurance racer) and checked in for the race.

It had rained for 3 or 4 days leading up to the race..Luckily the bad weather was heading east and the skys were clearing. Unfortunately the course was going to be muddy...The race started out with the 175 entrants traveling down the road in a two mile rolling start to a dam and from there it was on! We launched into the single track on a super fast pace. We rode on an extremely slippery, off chamber, thin brown ribbon of trail for the first 26 miles! The mud was super slick, best described as 4 inch deep wet talcum powder. I took two big crashes while cornering but didn't get too banged around till we hit the river. I was riding near another I.F. rider-sully (yes, there was a sea of green on the Mohican course) when I took a swim after attempting to ride a tight technical section and got owned.

From what I could tell I was somewhere in the top ten, riding along with a Cannondale rider at mile 26 when the trail ended at a campground...and when I say ended I mean ended...I frantically looked around for Mohican 100 course arrows but saw none. Spun down the road and concluded that some jerk must have removed the markers from the campground. 10 minutes of searching and now I am surrounded by a bunch of familiar faces and we're all lost.

Now about 15 of us peddling around the stupid campground aimlessly when Garth Prosser emerges from the woods and directs us straight up a 300 foot hike-a-bike climb to get back on course. Oh well, shit happens! Who ever did remove those markers it's a good thing we didn't catch you doing it...your mother would probably not recognize you after we got threw with ya!

Jeff and I (now reunited) pedal on, trying to regroup and shake out the mishap and hit up sag 1 for some fluids. Soon were flying along muddy double tracks and crossing streams again. The course takes us on big road climbs and on open country roads. It was about that time that we met up with Alex. We biked together from mile 26 to about 52 when my legs start giving me signals to slow the pace...seems that I hammered the road portions a bit too hard and didn't properly hydrate. It was time to spin slower and drink up so I said bye bye to Jeff and Alex, they disappeared in the single track.

I concentrated on drinking and eating my way back into the race. Spinning with my heart rate somewhere around 150's. Now on rural country roads, being passed by horse and buggy carts - weird, you just don't see that stuff in Massachusetts. I was looking at the driver of one buggy when I missed a left hand turn. Went up two miles and decided to turn around after not seeing a ribbon or an arrow for a while. Lots of concentration needed while out on the open roads, no more day-dreaming or I'll miss another turn!

Skip passed me on a flat double track like I was standing still at about mile 67. What was he doing behind me? Later he told me he had trouble with his chain a bunch of times.

I stopped in to sag 3 (mile 70?) for water and a banana and talked briefly to Harvey and Thom. They both were looking strong. They left and I continued eating and drinking. I ran into Harvey a bit later when we were confronted with a no-trespassers sign. Infact it said no bikes allowed, $500 fine?? But the course markers pointed that way so we gave it a go and were right...maybe the race officials should have put a mohican 100 sticker on the sign?

At sag four I met back up with Thom on his ss. We started together on the final 11 miles of single track. My legs were beat down and my body didn't want to play any longer. Thom dropped me early on the twisty climbing switch backs. I spun a slow pace in...looking back now I should have eaten some pb+j's at sag 4 when I had the chance...oh well...learn from that mistake.

The race was soon over. I believe I got 10th in the geared mountain bike devision and 15th overall but official results aren't out yet. I had a hell of a time and will be looking for a few long adventures before hopefully tearing up the Jay Challenge in late July.

Now some pics...
Kerry, Harvey,Sully,Thom,Jeff,Harlan,Tiffany,Andy
I didn't see too much of Harlan as he proceeded to kick the hell out of the race for the win!

Tiffany and Skip

Kerry looking on while Jeff and Alex show off their loot

me and Jason (aka soiled chamois)


rick said...

sweet write up. I guess a ride can't be epic without some detours.

Andy said...

no doubt...everyone getting lost at least once put us all on a level playing field.

JB said...

Nice write up and photos, looks like a great time.

Is it just me? I can't any photos to post. Really starting to pith me off.

Buddy said...

Nice job dude. I have heard a lot of horror stories about the marking, or lack of, on that course.
Are you doing the Wilderness 101?


alexdolpp said...

Stole one pic for my blog. Good work!


Andy said...

decisions, decisions...drop Jay Challenge for Wilderness 101...?

jeff said...

"drop jay for 101?"

you know i've been thinking 'bout it...

tiffany said the 101 is a lot tougher than the mohican. nice!

but the jay is the toughest 70m i know of...

decisions, decisions...

IF Chicks said...

I agree with Tiffany...although the W101 doesn't start out with all that singletrack (which was a harder way for me to start the first couple hours) There will also be a lot more competition at W101..the have some very fast locals.

Come on to W101 ! register soon to get the cheapest need to keep your "100 miler every two month momentum" flowing !

Jason said...

101 = much bigger/longer climbs and less single track, but it makes up for it by being rockier.

Good times though. Hope you guys come down.