In the days preceding the race, I had some personal family issues going on and I didn’t think we would be able to get to the race. Just two days prior, I changed my mind and decided to race. I figured a day on the bike in the Mohican forest would be a great way to handle all of the stress I had going on.
And I was right.
Temps had dropped almost 40 degrees within 3 days and the day before the race, I woke up to pouring rain. It had not rained in weeks and I was in a state of panic. We loaded the car, leaving behind so much stuff, by the time we got to the campground, I was bumming out big time. Luckily I have friends who were able to spare extra blankets, sleeping bag and tent for Gnome (thanks Heidi!), and pillows (thanks Kathy and Fraser!). We went to dinner and then settled in for the night.
Russell woke me up at 5am, and when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t scared. Excitement kicked in. I was stoked. I got dressed, down some protein, found a microwave to nuke up some oatmeal, and then we hopped on our bikes and headed down the 2 mile bike path to the start of the race. I said my goodbyes to Dominic and Gnome and headed to the back of the pack where I planned to stay throughout the day.
The gun went off and I remember giggling to myself and smiling at all the spectators.
IT WAS ON!
Miles 1-20 – to aid station #1
Once up the huge hill in Loudonville, where we turned off into the trails, there was a cluster of racers just standing there, a huge traffic jam of bikes. I had heard the start of the trails were ultra muddy and they had to re-route some of the race. People were walking their bikes into the trail. Once I got through the worst of it, I got on my bike and pedaled. I remember thinking about how scared I was last year and just a year later, I was flowing easily along the trails, thinking, “I got this!”.
I took in the beauty of my surroundings, letting it sink deep into a part of my brain that will last forever. I pedaled up hills, down hills, over rocks and roots I couldn’t even comprehend last year. The trails were tacky and grippy, goddamn perfect conditions. I rode for 3+ hours which flew by so fast, all of the sudden I was at the first aid station. Gnome and Dominic were there snapping pictures. I hung out for a little bit, ate some food, pee’d, and then I left.
Miles 20-34 – to aid station #2
This was the most brutal part of the course. The hills were endless. The one I remember vividly from last year was a vertical climb so intense I could hardly push my bike up it. I kept playing cat and mouse with some dude who told me he wanted to go back to camp and drink beer. I tried to encourage him to keep going, but he was not into it. He DNF’d.
On and on the hills continued, one after another. I was determined at this point to get to the next aid station. I came to the end of the trail where a volunteer asked me if I wanted to quit – I told her HELL NO. Then there were some gravel roads, all hills, and finally I pedaled up the driveway to where aid station #2 was. There were no spectators allowed because it was private property.
About 5 racers who DNF’d were sitting around waiting for someone to come pick them up. One guy, Mr. Negative, told me I’d never make it to the next aid station before the cut off, which was 2 more hours. I wasn’t giving up. I downed some food and was on my way.
Miles 34-50 – to aid station #3
Mr. Negative stayed in my brain for the next 16 miles. There were a few miles of horse trails, some doubletrack, and then mostly paved or gravel roads with huge climbs and fun downhills. I kept looking at my watch. I remember telling Gnome and Dominic I’d be there around 3pm. I showed up a half hour late, but by God, I made it before the 4pm cut off. They shoo’d me off and told me to hurry up and finish the race so we could go home. The car had been packed since 10am.
Miles 50-57 – to aid station #5 (aid station #4 was on the 100m course only)
I can’t remember much of these 7 miles, all I know is that this point I was stoked that I would finish. The day was almost over and I was so very happy to be on my bike, pedaling.
I came into aid station #5 and they yelled out “FIVE MILES TO GO!” and pointed me towards the trails. The volunteer told me that there was about a mile and a half climb of singletrack and promised me some flat ground after that. I stopped and texted Gnome and Dominic that I had 5 miles to go and took off towards the finish.
Miles 57-62 – The finish
The 100 miler’s joined the course at this point, and I had to pull over to let them pass. I walked my bike up most of that last big hill, and then the trails flattened out and I pedaled and pedaled, knowing the finish line was close.
Out of a total of 631 participants, only a few women signed up:
26 women in the 100k and 18 finished.
19 women in the 100m and 17 finished.
I finished the 100K and 9000 feet of climbing.
DFL, but that beats the 7 DNF’s anydamnday.
Some pictures from our adventure:
Freezing our asses off the night before. Dominic, Russell and Gnome.
Random dude from a cabin near by the morning of the race rode over to tell me he followed me on DC. He had the socks, and wants a jersey.
DC reader and commenter who shall remain nameless – his mooseknucle and sticker.
The start of the race.
Bob from 616 Bicycle Fabrication lined up next to me on the only fat bike I saw.
The joy I feel on my bike is clearly displayed in this picture taken by Gnome.
At aid station #1, the volunteers asked if I needed anything and I asked for a tampon and made everyone really uncomfortable. Ended up being a false alarm, though.
Crossing the finish line was awesome! I spent 10+ hours on my bike, in the woods, and had THE BEST time! Everyone was drunk by the time I got there but they screamed my name really loud.
Michael and Russell – just two guys I have made friends with through DrunkCyclist.com. I think it’s really cool that DC brings people on bikes together. Congrats to Russell for finishing the 100K in 6 hours flat, and to Michael for finishing the full 100 miles (his race report here).
Heidi, official BAF, came in 2nd in the 100K for the 3rd year in a row. We’ve become friends through Facebook over the last year, and I like her a lot. We just can’t ride bikes together cuz she is way too fast.
Heidi crashed just a few miles into the race and still killed it. Note that she is also a drunk cyclist.
So that’s it. My one and only race for 2012 is over. It’s done and I feel really good about it. I am pretty sure I will do the 100K again next year, and the next year after that. I love it up there.by