Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I have been up to race up at Mohican no less than 5 times. Each time I race there I forget how those climbs can sneak up on you & rip your legs to shreds. It is never an easy ride. It does however give you satisfaction knowing you tamed it - a bit.
I decided the Sunday before the race that I was out. I hadn't had enough time to prepare, I was lacking some endurance race essentials, like a camelbak, repair stuff, energy food. I hadn't put in a ride longer than a few hours. It didn't make sense for me to go there to race 60+ miles in one day. Then, I got an email from a friend. He had a place we could stay. It was only 2 miles from the start. Dang, how could I say no! So, I put in my last minute request to get off work the friday before the race off so I could get my s*** together.
I ran around like crazy on friday getting everything together. I picked up a few last minute supplies and got my bike tuned up by the awesome guys at the Trek Store. They hooked me up big time by getting my bike all ready to go (of course I bought it by at the the last minute) for the race. Thanks Jacob, Justin.
Finally, it all came together and I headed out to pick up my husband James at work. We loaded up his commuter bike and we hit the road.
We made pretty good time and ended up getting to Camp Nuhop, to register just before 7. I got myself signed up and as I turned around I saw Floyd Landis there chatting it up with Ryan, the race director. My husband James & I were star struck. We should have both gotten a photo with him but we were in fear we would say something stupid.
We headed out of Camp Nuhop and to our hotel. When we pulled up we saw Bob, (area 106 Trek rep.) Travis & Michelle (of the Trek store Pittsburgh). We chatted with them a while. Chris Eatough came out to chat as well. Again, we were star struck. We were invited to head over to the Pizza Hut with the gang but I opted to get my things sorted for the next day and hit the hay.
I hit the hay early thinking I'd be able to sleep really great that night but when I laid down I couldn't sleep. I was worried about the next day; the 7am start, the 60+ miles I'd be doing. I couldn't help but think - what am I getting myself into?! Then about 3-4am the thunder and lightning rolled in. Again, what am I getting myself into?!
At 6 am I was tired but the pre-race nerves jolted me awake. I got my stuff together and James and I headed to downtown Loudonville for the start. The crowd of cyclists quickly gathered and before I knew it I was stuck out in the back. It was hard to get around and to pass in the bottlenecked area so I was stuck behind a group of riders with no way to gain ground. This is where I made a critical mistake. I never was able to make up for the lost time there. The next 15-20 miles I was hurting. My legs were stiff & slow. I knew I was in for a long day. I figured I'd ride it out to the first aid station and then see how I felt.
I knew that Chris would be there (owner of the Trek Store C-Bus, Cincy) and I was happy to see a familiar face to cheer me on. I stopped for a minute or two to get some Clif Blocks down and refill my Camelbak. I felt better when I got back on my bike and I knew that as tough but that I was going to be able to finish. The next 15ish miles were hard. Lots of bike hiking and narly trail. Truly some backwoods stuff. I got a few leg cramps in that hike-a-bike section and I thought I'd be a DNFer but for some reason; or some miracle, they never returned. The subsequent miles were much easier but with all of the mud I was getting major chain suck. I was wishing I'd have lubed it up at the midway point. My journey through the Mohican Wilderness was irritating because I was on/off, on/off my bike.
I hit the one of the last aid stations; got my chain lubed, got some quick refuels and was off. Sure, there were some monster climbs that never seemed to end but with each climb I could see the end in sight. I did loose a lot of time on the road sections. It was like ride, look for the signs, ride, stop, where am I going?! I dunno...I felt like there could have been about 50 more course markings. I finally rolled into the last aid station where I learned I only had about 7 miles left to go. I was no longer "racing" at this point. I had no idea who was ahead or who was behind. I really took my time finishing it off. I rolled into Camp Nuhop with 8:00 of riding time. It was good enough for a top 5 finish (out of 15) but not good enough to finish in the money. Dang! Well, it was fun, it was hard, and it was shear mayhem at times but I can't wait to do it all over again.
Great photos of the race by Bob Meyers here.
More on the race here.