Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mohican race report

Yesterday I lined up with 400 other racers for the start of the Mohican 100 races in Loudonville Ohio. The start was right on Main Street going west and up a long climb to spread the pack. The siren went off and I settled into a comfortable pace without red lining at the beginning, I didn't want to burn too many matches in the first mile. We rounded the first corner and headed to the first section of single track I sprinted ahead of a bunch of riders that were going too slow. My team mate Steve told me that as soon as I saw or smelled the pig farm to try to get ahead of as many riders as possible before hitting the single track. In retrospect I probably should have gone all out and then try to settle into a comfortable pace, it was a long snake or riders I was following. I must have entered the single track somewhere in the top 150 riders. In what has become a habit when I race the mountain bike, I fell 3 times within the first 5 miles. The first time I hit a wet root while I was leaning on a turn and went down hard but was able to get up quickly without anybody passing me. The second time I was very close to the rider in front of me following his line when he took the wrong line but was able to correct himself, I wasn't fast enough and hit a tree stump (big one) with my right pedal and went down harder than the first time. I hit the stem with my stomach and lost a bit of air. Still I was able to mount up as fast as I went down. But then the noise started, when I fell the front derrailleur got bent and the chain was rubbing and making a terrible loud noise. I rode a few miles like that because I didn't want to loose any more time, finally I had to stop to make repairs and it was another few minutes. Didn't get it fully straight but it wasn't making as much noise. Through out the next 15 miles or so of single track through the state forest I played a game of cat and mouse , chase, catch, rest, pass. Made it through the first aid station took a quick pit stop and took off, 14 miles to the next station. Made the mistake of not filling one of my empty bottles and rode the last 3 miles to aid station 2 without any liquids. Made it to station two and downed one full bottle of water while one of the volunteers went to get my drop bag. Pulled out my hammer stuff re-filled my bottles, two on the bike one in my back pocket and took off, in and out in less than 3 minutes, 12 miles to the next aid station where I decided to have my second drop bag. This section had mostly gravel and paved roads but the hills where long and steep. I fought cramps after the first aid station when I lost all my endurolytes somewhere in the trail and didn't notice until I reached for them. Everytime there was a hike a bike section I was begging for any type of electrolytes from the other riders and was lucky enough to find a few riders with extras, I even took 3 Ibuprofens from one of the single speed racers. The electrolytes helped but once you start cramping is like they are always present every time you try to push it. The way I fight cramps is hitting the area with my nuckles until it alleviates the cramp. It works, try it sometime. Made it to aid station 5 and only had 6 more miles to go. Took a few more endurolytes from one of the volunteers own stach and took off, caught another two riders, rode behind them for a few seconds to catch my breath and then passed them. 4 miles of the state forest single track that we had rode in the morning but this time in reverse. rode those 4 miles like the devil was chasing me but it was just a racer from Indianapolis, enough to give me insentive not to let him pass me which he said he tried a couuple of times but that I was going too fast to pass. When I race I'm a totally different person, I take more chances and ride stuf that sometimes I dismount and walk it. We made it to the bike path together and thought it was over when we took a turn and started going up the same trail we had come down in the morning. This is where he couldn't push it anymore, it was the last hike a bike section (too steep to ride) I threw the bike over my shoulders and practically ran up so he couldn't follow. I passed a few more racers that had very little gas left and made it to the finish line in what appeared to be 6:28 and second place in the masters 50+ division. I was happy to say the least, my goal was sub-7 hours and top 5 in the 50+. Decided to go back home and take a shower rest and go back to the awards presentation at 7pm. Showed up to the awards and to my surprise they had changed my time to 6:46 and 3rd place. I asked the promoter and he said the times had been adjusted. I'm not one to make a scene and start and argument and decided just to go home and send the promoter an e-mail asking why were the times adjusted and hope that he answers. As soon as I hit the line I was loooking for the time clock but they didn't have one so I asked my time and I was told 6:28. My bike computer says 6:26 and I figured I lost a few minutes on the hike a bike sections but not over 20 minutes. I've talked to several people that have done the race and they all have the same complaint, no timing clock and there's always some type of controversy with this race.
Overall I had a lot of fun doing the race and felt good most of the race other than a few miles after aid station 1 where I started feeling fatigued as the race went on the stronger I felt.
I was surprised as how many people just hung around the aid stations wasting time. I was in and out no waste of time, did what I needed to do and that was it. My Team mate Steve finished second overall in the 100K race in the open division. I think Ross finished in the top 10. Denny Stevenson aka Bruce finished as one of the top single speeders.

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