My Mohican weekend in review
After becoming happily graduated from the Greensburg-Salem School District on Thursday June 1, I decided that a graduation party was in order. So what better way to celebrate a 12 year block of schoolwork than by tackling the Mohican 100 MTB race out in Loudonville, Ohio. To put things into simple terms, this was a race of attrition. Apparently, this portion of Ohio had been under a dry spell for about a month before recieveing about 5 days worth of rain the week before race weekend. Needless to say, the course was more than a bit f-ed up from the weather. And one can only imagine how bad it must have been when the race director, Garth Prosser of Cannondale, after questioned as to the condition of the trails said that, I quote, "This is going to suck". That left everyone a bit shaken and hoping for the best, expecting the worst. The next day began at 5:30 on a crisp late spring morning with clear skies with no forecast of rain for the day, perfect MTB weather. All the racers slowly began to rise and prepare for the 100 miles or 100 kilometres ahead. All gathered close to the 7 am hour at the entrance to the Mohican Hotel to hear the race instructions and line up for our "neutral" roll-out. Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform the state park police driving the lead vehicles about the concept of "neutral" when the pack rolled out at about 25-30 mph on the roads heading toward the dam hill to get the race underway. When the race was off at the bottom of the dam hill, I was fortunate to have good positioning in the front of the pack and with decent climb-abilities, kept that positioning over the hill and down into the singletrack. My race appeared to be going quite well, i was feeling ok, the new Cannondale Rush frame was a dream ride and everything was fast and fluid. Until about a half hour into it when my chain exploded. Every racers dream, a mechanical to ease the pressure of the next 95 miles ahead of you. After about 5 minutes of fumbling with the wonderous quick-link and getting the chain reattatched and in working order, i had only lost about 30 places, including hearing fellow racers, Nick Broskovich, Mike Maher, and Doug Miliken fly past during my ordeal. Just the boost i need to get my arse in gear. Off down the trail i go, probably at about 30k race pace, not so hot an idea when the race your in is 4 times that length. I passed by a few and eventually caught up to Mike and Doug furthur down the trails. Speaking of trails, at this point, they were slowly deteriorating into about half of the width of a normal trail from the complete washout they had recieved pre-race. Thanks to this I found the one moss covered rock to catch my now completely mud covered front tire with that threw me over the handlebars, onto my face, on a rock. Another confidence booster to happen at the beginning of a long race. With both face and knees torn apart from the fall, I got back onto the bike and made my way toward the back of the lead pack again, only to catch up as the race turned upward up the meanest hike-a-bike to ever take shape. A perfect time to grin and bear the calf-tearing pain. At the top of this hill, i made my way down the opposite side, only to be confronted by, miraculously, the front end of the pack, in a quandry as to which direction we were supposed to go to the first rest stop. Before deciding which way to go, another biker happend by who had broken his seatpost and was riding standing up for the last hour, the perseverance of a champion. After much debate, it was decided to continue up the SECOND huge hike-a-bike, equal in length and steepness as the one that we had done 30 seconds ago. This spilled out onto the correct trail to get to the rest stop, only we were going in the opposite direction that the race was supposed to go. After grabbing food at the first rest stop, the race basically restarted itself with everyone in the same place. The trail took us to the base of an on-road big-ring climb up to the next section of trail. And this is where everything deteriorated. The next 20 miles to the 2nd rest stop had us riding through completely washed-out horse trails, with streams actually running through the center of some trails, and other times with the trails falling into a river running parallel to the trails. Traction was minimal, hiking was often, not a fun part to speak of. After the race spilled out onto some more sturdy gravel sections, i was able to make up some more time. Between catching up with my Dad and Sheila at the 2nd rest stop, the quad-tearing climbs, the complete physical and mental destruction of the next 30 miles, and about 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, i can honestly say it was decent riding despite the pain that i had already brought onto myself by going out much harder than was necessary. Mostly the riding consisted of lots of gravel roads, a little bit of slick singletrack, and some long rails-to-trails, and a couple brutal muddy uphills. And then i arrived at the last aid station. The ladies there gave my racing mind a bit of calming by telling me there was only 11 more miles to the finish. Whew. The last 11 miles of singletrack were the same we had ridden out on, only backwards. Except for the very end, where the race was led up another excessively maicious run-up that would make the most hardy cyclo-crosser cry. Straight up the face of a 500 odd meter dam to the road ontop. At the top of the dam, the road led up again towards the Finish line where of this 10+ hr odyssey lay waiting. Unfortunately, the line lay at the top of another section of washed out mud caked trail and a 100 meter grass climb. At this point, i no longer cared. To be here was more than i could imagine. i collapsed after the line, completely and utterly mentally and physically spent from the effort. I left everything out on the trail. After laying face down in the grass for a good bit of time, the gods smiled upon my fate by granting me a room at the hotel for the night. I carried my bags down to the room, showered, and promptly passed out for about 6 hours. Waking up famished, i made my way down to the lounge and acquired a lovely 16'' pizza, which i devoured in its entirity, with the exception of 1 piece that my dad managed to get. At the end i came up with a top 20 placing overall, at about 10 hours 15 minutes over the 101.2 miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing in this race. Pictures to come.
Posted by Alex cox