Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wilderness 101 Race Report

Somebody shoot me now. Gwad it was a long drive down in the rain. Pennsylvania was the worst'est with it's many road work sections (where there wasn't even anyone working!).

Prepare to stop?!? I've been fugggin stopped for like 15 minutes now!

Just off the highway and headed towards Coburn I had to pass through much Amish land - check out the buggy ahead of me.

Thars pain in dem dere hills . . . . check out the horse shit in the middle of the road from the Amish buggyies. Yeah, I'm easily amused - Look! Horse shit! It's funny because it's horse shit.

Tents in a field at the community park in Coburn. My last photo before the camera shit the bed. It wasn't really raining at this point, it was the spray on the lens from all the humidity in the air when I stuck the camera out the window to take a picture of horse shit on the road.

* Fuggg . . . there's just too much to say in one post to keep anyone's attention long enough to read it all . . . . I'll do it in two parts - promise only two parts and won't make it a week and a half extravaganza.

A supposedly 7.5 hour drive turned into a 9.5 drive thanks to some road work in Pennsylvania - seems folks don't know how to merge and drive in one lane going any faster than 20km/hr . . . . just brutal. It rained the whole way there, clearing up just a few minutes before getting into the tiny town (more like a village - not even a convenience store or gas station). From the reports I read, it sounded like this part of Penn. was getting as much rain as we have been getting up in Ottawa - which I believe based on the slickness of the single track trails we rode.

Got set up and had a quick bite to eat before I hooked up with Montana and went for a real quick easy ride to loosen the legs up from the long car ride. Got a little taste of what the first climb of the day would be like within a kilometer and a half of pulling out of the community park that the majority of the 300+ racers were camped out in. Returned from the light spin, did a little work on the brakes to dial them in perfectly, got cleaned up, ate some pasta and chicken, chatted about and went to bed.

Surprisingly, I was not very nervous and managed to get to sleep quite easily. I woke up a few times during the night, which I hoped for and used the time to eat. I knew from the past that eating an hour or so before a ride does my stomach no good at all. So at 3am I was eating a bagel and peanut butter, 4:30am a banana and at 5:30am (when they got on the bull horn and did a racer wake up call) the last little bit of some trail mix. I also got up two more times other than when I ate to go take a leak - I had been very conscious of drinking lots all week. Nutrition and hydration were going to be key in finishing this race/ride.

6:45am and a racers briefing and before you know it 7am and we were rolling down the mainstreet in Coburn, PA with a leadout moto, 300 + riders buzzing along in the fog and humidity. Brought back memories of each day's start out last summer during the BC Bike Race. The neutral start was only about a mile in length before we made a hard left across a short bridge and started the first long climb of the day. What a way to wake the legs up, a 5-6 km climb (all the big ass climbs were in that ball park - they were sooooo long with so many false flat sections - you'd think you were done and you'd have another 10-15 minutes of climbing to do). I immediately felt relaxed once I hit the climb and my legs felt very fresh. Good news, cause it usually takes me 40-50 minutes to start feeling good. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I settled into an easy pace. I passed a lot of riders and got passed. I had it in my head days before that this was going to be a big ass ride, so I felt very relaxed about my pacing.

The first 30-40 kms were pretty uneventful - it was mostly all fire road climbs or descents attached together with flat sections. There were one or two, if I remember correctly, fast, fairly smooth ribbon like single track descents that were kind of fun. I remember a long flat section that led to the first aid station where I topped up my bottles quickly and rolled on. The climbs were long, but I didn't suffer incredibly - just paced myself up them. There were a few rocky single track descents before aid station two - I rode these much more cautiously than I normally would have, thus scrubbing off a little time. The rocks were much more plentiful than I anticipated and covered in slick as snot wetness from all the rain and humidity. I was slightly fearful of slicing a sidewall - I was only carrying one tube for two tubeless tires (yeah, I'm smart like that).

Got to aid station two met by eager volunteers with my drop bags in their hands, taking my bottles and filling them for me. This race is incredibly well organized from start to finish. The volunteers at the aid stations were the cat's pajamas. Got moving to be hit squarely in the cubes by another climb - this one knocked the crap out of me. It wasn't especially steep, it just wore me down. I walked for a few minutes at one point just to give my legs and back break from the constant repetitive pedaling motion. I seemed to recover from the climb on it's backside and managed to claw my way up the next climb and down to aid station three at the 60 mile (100 km) mark. Chugged some coke, volunteers filled my bottles, grabbed a banana and off I went. Not ten meters after the aid station and the course shot up to the left, up a rooty, rocky single track climb. I got a ways in and decided I was wasting more energy trying to ride up it than I would hiking it. A few geared riders went by, but I eventually caught them once they decided to opt for hiking it as well. To difficult to keep the back end down and keep up the momentum to be driving forward.

*Meh . . . just read this. . . . far too long and I'm only 100 km in . . . really, are you/do you want to read this?!? I think not. I have a hard time reading race reports . . . if there's lots of pictures I'll pay more attention to it - I read a lot of picture books. So, I'll give you most of the details, point form. If there's something you want to know, e-mail me and I'll get back to you.

This bridge was somewhere in the first 40-50km. I was the only one in a group of half a dozen riding three bridges in a row, I got across two of them when the guy in front of me stops walking and doesn't get out of my way (there was a big crowd there waiting for carnage to happen yelling at him to move). It was slipperier than a chickens snot and followed by a big ass rock garden.

In no real order:
  • everyone should do a 100 mile race at least once,
  • different crowd at these events - more lifestylers - good folk with lots of enthusiasm, different from the crowds you get at local races - many drove a lot longer (17+hrs) to come race,
  • at the end of the race I felt like I could have kept riding; I don't think I pushed hard enough despite cramping - no experience racing this length, next one (yes, there will be more!) will be different,
  • a met a different breed of racers for the most part - die hards, super fit and fast - they made me look like the poster boy for the before and after photos
  • I coulda avoided cramps by taking e-caps sooner (didn't start until I was already cramping - dumb! - but managed to get them under control),
  • I woulda not lost so much time due to the cramps,
  • I shoulda crossed the line sooner, like 30 mins sooner,
  • I heard my first rattle snake and thought, "What are the chances!"
  • I saw my second rattle snake two feet away on the trail all coiled up and looking/sounding pissed - was able to give a warning shout back to the Soiled Chamois, who I had just passed and seemed to be suffering pretty badly with an upset gut,
  • no cramping from the 5th check point on,
  • not once did I think that I couldn't finish the race and not once did I wish for a mechanical to put me out of the race;
  • it's dark in old railway tunnels . . . . very dark,
  • as soon as I got back to my tent I ate two slices of day old soggy pizza and it was the best pizza I ever had,
  • I showered (fully nude) under a playground structure in the middle of the park and did not care (there was a tarp - sheeesh!)
  • fastest time was just under 7 hrs (Jeff Shaulk), and the slowest was 14 hrs, 37 min.
  • I am sold on tubeless tire set up,
  • I ran 32 x 19 and thank Gwad I didn't go with an 18,
  • Every crowd of spectators that I rode past said, "Look a pink bike and I think that's a guy riding it." I smiled and waved,
  • Dill pickles and coke at aid station five tasted good together,
  • the people taking the longest to cross the finish lines got the loudest cheers,
  • Soooo many flat tires on the course,
  • miles are longer than kilometers,
  • I made up a shit load of time blowing down two of the toughest, steepest pitches and I was shit grinning the whole way - off camber uber rocky descent was wicked,
  • glad I left the rigid fork home,
  • nothing makes you feel better than having someone tell you to keep going & good job when you pass them except telling someone else to keep going & good job when they pass you - it's all for shits and giggles.
When I got home I found this in my jersey pocket - picked it up at the last checkpoint and must have forgotten to eat it. Mmmmmmm, was yummy on my cereal this morning.

That's it. No need for a day two report.

If you're looking for some much better race report reading, you may want to check these out:

Shockstar - great to meet Ben and hang out with him and his lovely wife Julie - Ben was motoring off the start of the race.
Knobby Meats - Montana and I did our quick, loosen up ride together Friday evening. Apparently he had a bad crash and got a little lost, but bounced back enough to pass me when I was suffering.
Soiled Chamois - good to put a face to the blog; he was looking super strong passing me on the first climb.
Cycling News.com - race report

Smile says it all.


* corrections:
144/279 overall
133/258 overall men
39/52 overall ss'ers


Jason said...

Nice meeting you in person. Now I feel slightly less creepy stalking your blog now.

Thanks for the shout out about the snake. It was gone by the time I got up there. I guess it didn't have all day to wait around to scare the shit out of me.

Great finish. Way to pick one of the hardest of the NUE series for your first one.

You pegged it with the atmosphere of these races. That it why they rock. Can you believe there were folks finishing in the dark?? Yikes!

Hope to see you at another one soon.


cornfed said...

heh heh, kilometers.

You're spot on about the quality of people at these events being a big draw for them over the shorter XC racer boy crowds.

Hundies, where the midpack is the place you wanna be. Just behind working your arse off but just ahead of draggin' your arse in.

Well done.

Peter Buckland said...

Best race in the world. Love it. Thanks for coming out.

Peter Keiller said...

That jersey is ALL WRONG on you.
I am working on a new one. Racer issue only...

Then again maybe it's the SPANFUCKINGDEX you're wearing after lecturing me for blowing mine off after 8 hrs of wet riding...ya, maybe that's it!

the original big ring said...

can it be pink?

The Vegan Vagabond said...

Great job BR. Better to go too easy than too hard.

I did the math from your stats. 21 women and 10 of them beat you. That is not a slight against you, its more of a wow. I so would have gotten my ass kicked! That's a lot of fast ladies.

Curiousity has gotten the best of me and so I will ask against my better judgement: how does one blow off their spandex, Peter?

msysing said...

Hey man, congrats! Sounds like the race was awesome! Question for ya, have you ever done the B.C bike race? Would you be interested?

P.S do you have a small fisticuff and vassago wear that got accidently sent to ya? Let me know.


Anonymous said...

You got chicked!
I use to keep up with Sue Haywood most of the time on those races. We'd weave in and out... then she would take off like a bat out of hell the last 10k or so...

Long long drive. I kind of like it though... I love American drivers. They still have fear in them. The cops are still fearless.
Great contrast coming into Canada from the US. Its like a war zone up here!

Love the Amish community. Everyone respects the horse and buggy. Up here, they would pile drive them!
As if anyone up here is going to live like them... we're too damn dependent.

It's a fantastic race. Chris Scott puts on an amazing race!
(one time by bearing blew, he game me his wheel without question...).
GF always has a great time being the main cook for the burgers.
Met some great folks as well. GF spent a whole day with Floyds parents last year.
Had many of beers with some great legends...

Love those hundies...

Disco Stu said...

Hey, where's the post race food report?!?!?!?

Somehow I don't think it consisted of half a banana and a pint of beer!

Montana said...

Oh man.. imagine living in one of Pennsylvania's road work sections. Government efficiency at its finest

Montana said...

Congrats on the finish though. It was some real tough riding

Big Bikes said...

Good job finishing up your first Hundred...and it ain't one of the easy ones.

You should shoot for SMT100 next year, I feel like that's the Grand Daddy of them all.

Hopefully I'll be out on that scene a bit myself next year (don't tell my employer).


rick is! said...

good to see you survived your first. maybe i'll see you at some next year.

Sandro said...

Thumbs up dude, and that on a SS bike.
As a post ride treatment, have you ever tried a ice-cold bath for +/-15min? I do that every time after a hard training or marathon and for me it helps.

James said...

A wilderness treatment center that works with adolescent drug treatment and can refer you to a sober college upon leaving.