22 June, 2015

To Hell and Back: Mohican 100

The good news is that I have waited sufficiently long to write this blog, so my memory of the event has been dulled.  For you that means a shorter post.

We departed early Friday.  The gang was the Cohutta Crew plus one.  We were a few minutes ahead of schedule, so after hitting the highway, we circled back to get Brain's phone.  The drive down was uneventful, other than a quick pit stop for a turnpike whopper.

We drove straight to the trail for a bit of a pre-ride of the finishing singletrack.  Kenny on rides for 30 minutes the day before any race, so after 15 minutes and seeing roughly 1.012 miles of the course, he turned around.  Brain on the other hand manned up and rode the whole 4 mile loop.

The it was off to packet pickup.  Things were pretty organized here, we got out numbers and built our drop bags.  Then we went to the drop off area and found spots for stations 3, 4, and 5.  However, the race propaganda stated drops were at 2, 3, and 4.  After asking around for a bit, we discovered nobody was in charge.  One lady took it upon herself to change the 5 to a 2.  We waited to confirm with some organizer that it was correct.  After showing her the race website, she confirmed the change and we headed for the hotel.  Then it was dinner, a luke-warm soak in a highly chlorinated hot tub, and bed.

Up before down and back to the finish.   The morning was relaxed, the weather was nice and anticipation was high, even if spirits were not.  1.5 miles to downtown was the warm-up.  We packed the middle of the street with hundred of our closest 63 and 100 mile friends, and shortly after we were off.

A frenzy was unleashed down the road through town.  I spun my legs off as I slowly work my way backwards.  Soon we hit the first climb and traffic slowed.  I worked my way back upstream through the slowly churning crowd.  At the top things were thinning out and it was just some paved riding towards the trail.  There was some tire rubbing, and a crash close by buy I made it through safe.  It was (over?) 30 minutes before we touched dirt.

Mohican singletrack is nice.   It is a handful though, and finding time to eat was a challenge.  I think my first chance was the covered bridge 10 miles in, or probably close to 90 minutes of racing.  This part of the trail I had seen before, so i was prepped for the climbing and swoopy descents.

As I was approaching Aid 1, I tried to hang up my Camelback hose when my front wheel caught something and threw me to the floor.  A face full, some hilarious commenting by the crowd (note the sarcasm), a forgotten bottle and I was rolling again.

Sometime after here was the transition from MTB to horse trail, with a near-vertical hike which made me wish somebody had recommended crampons before the race.

Finally off the trail, we hit some roads and I made my way to station 2.  With only 1 bottle, I added my Half-Evil pack to refill and gave it to the aid worker for water.  Topped off the Camelback and I was rolling again.  This next section continued to pummel me with rock, roots, and more walking than I anticipated.  To top things off, my gut wasn't feeling all that well. [Hindsight: After the race I realized that the aid worked added Heed to my Carborocket bottle, so I was pulling on this 500 calorie gut bomb until the next station]

Miles rattled along, I felt like crap, legs flat, and at mile 40 we turned into some mere "singletrack torture" and hiking.  I hit Aid 3 about 5 hours in, and for the first time really considered not finishing.  after a couple LJ100's and a Cohutta, I wasn't expecting the kick to the head that is Mohican.  As the metric folks headed out to the left, I made the turn to the right.

Some more roads, some more trail, some gravel climb where I got passed by a tractor, it all became a blur of dead quads, hiking, and spinning.  I think around mile 60 was a 8 mile, false flat rail trail.  I merged with a couple geared guys and another SS.  The gearries pulled for a while, then we started rotating through.  After my second pull the group fell apart and I was alone again.  Rain was threatening, and it began to sprinkle, cooling things down a bit.

I connected with the back of 2 more geared guys and sat on their wheel as the pulled me through to Aid 4.  Another bottle (I got my own water this time), topped off my Camelhump and made a push to the end.

This last part is mostly a blur of mental misery.  I could still spin on the flats, but had nothing to climb with, and some dude at the aid station was saying "$ big climbs left," one of which was a 12 minute walk.

Finally back to the Mohican singletrack, 8 miles to go.  I finished this section on pure spite.  Rolled across the line for my longest duration 100 miler, only to be greeted by chipper and showered Kenny and Brain.  They were ready for dinner and I could not unbuckle my shoes.

As I gingerly sipped from my half full growler,it was then when I decided that I had enough Mohican, and I never needed to go back...

13 May, 2015

Cohutta 100: Rain and Shine

There are some of you that have been waiting for this report.  I think you might want to seek professional assistance.  The rest of you are probably bored during lunch or sitting in the bathroom at work and want to kill a few minutes.  This is for you.

The week leading up to my first Cohutta was not promising.  Ever since the 10-day forecast was visible, there was 90-100% chance of rain.  Being from Michigan, I held out hope for a few days knowing no forecast can be accurate that far out.  As the day drew closer I began second guessing the sanity of the trip and considered skipping, saving on 18 hours of driving and hotel room fees.
In the end the conclusion was that I have more will than common sense, and we met at 5 am on the Friday before and made the trek south.  It has been long enough that I don’t recall specifics, but it was blustery cold in the mitten when we left, and nice and warm upon our arrival at Ocoee Whitewater center.  We made our way to the check in, got our race numbers, plus all the M&Ms/Moon Pies that we could carry.

Starting area.  A lot green than home.

This would be my first race using drop bags, so I wasn’t sure how to plan.  I tossed in a couple Honey Stinger gels, waffles and chews into each of the 3 bags, plus a single serve pouch of CarboRocket.  Dropping the bags into the designated containers, I saw a whole gambit of preparation.  One bag had 3 bottles of Gatorade, another contained only 2 tubes and 4 CO2s, a third had half a box of Girl Scout Cookies.

The start of the pre-ride.

Then it was time for a bit of a pre-ride.  My partner did not want to ride up the opening hill, electing to conserve all energy for the next day.  We drove to the parking area at the top of the hill, and entered the trail for an ever-so-brief 5-mile/30-minute cruise of some singletrack.  It was warm, sunny, and dry.  Terrific weather and I considered staying out all afternoon and skipping the event.  This was the reason why I came 3 states away. [Hindsight says that we should have ridden from the start, up to the trail and back down just to see the second portion of singletrack]

Local entertainment.

Packed up we headed to Blue Ridge, Ga. (4th sate) and checked into our hotel.  This was the nicest place ever, with the desk clerk telling us “just wheel your bikes in right through the lobby here hun!”  Never have I been invited to bring my bike in, but often told to leave it outside.  We headed back to the quaint downtown for some dinner.  And what pre-race prep isn’t complete without a couple/few cold beers out on the patio?  Full, buzzed, and tired it was back to the room for a few hours of sleep before the race began.  One last check of the weather, no reprieve in site, it was just some fitful sleep between me and 100 miles.

Morning radar.
The blue dot in the middle-right was our location.

We woke in the morning to a steady rain, and no matter how many different radars I checked, things didn’t look promising.   I hit the hotel breakfast (open at 5:00 am!) and we loaded the car to head back to Ocoee.  I think we got there approaching 6.  It was grey, dark, and we were surrounded by cars full of riders huddled from the elements.  Motivation was low as I pulled the bike off the rack and prepared it for the race.  I noticed there was a puddle forming by our truck, and paid it no mind.  Back inside I began to change.  The thought was not wearing a ton of material as I didn’t want to become a sponge.  I settled on the standard kit and a rain jacket.  As I exited the car I stepped into the puddle which was not ankle deep.  I had dry feet for 1.7 seconds total this race.
In my hesitation to avoid misery, I didn’t keep track of the time, only to realize it was 6:58 and everybody was lining up.  I grabbed my bottles ad sloshed to the back of the line.  It wasn’t a big deal; my first attempt was to finish, not to “win”. I did manage to leave my Rocklytes behind to remain warm and dry.

Without much fanfare we headed off.  I stayed in the pack getting sprayed as we exited the Whitewater center.  The rain jacket was smart thinking.   Once onto the road I continued to pedal an easy pace, what my singlespeed gearing will do for me.  I wasn’t attacking, but I wasn’t coasting.  I passed a surprising amount of people, but there weren’t many behind me chasing for the front.  I hit the singletrack in a medium sized group containing Danielle Musto and some of her cohorts.
This was not the singletrack we rode the previous day.  The surface was now flowing with water, slick roots, sharp rocks and slimy mud.  I just stayed in the pace line and focused on not spinning out.  With 95+ miles to go, I didn’t need to risk any passing here.  We hit a brief paved section and the group I was with splintered.  At the other end I was pretty much alone with a few riders visible ahead.  It has been a while, so I decided to try and eat.  I pulled a sleeve of chews out and popped one in my mouth.  Just then I hit a rough patch and grabbed back onto the bars.  Unfortunately, the impact caused the rest of my food to launch into the air like a roman candle.  At least there would be some energized squirrels now.  And when I say “visible” I meant a fuzzy shape that could be a rider, or a bear, or just mud and fog on my glasses.

It was at this point we hit a massively rooty section.  I wish I had pre-ridden this area to know if a viable line existed.  Just then the rider in front of me went down; I adjusted to go around when my back tire spun on an angled root.  Bzzzzt went Ralph and I hit the ground.  Smacking my knee good, I took quick inventory, jumped up and ran to the top of the section.  I remounted only to make it a short distance to a creek crossing.  All the rain mad the flow pretty decent, and as I tried to pedal across the concrete slabs my back tire washed around until I was facing upstream.  Off again and running through the water.  The puddle this morning prepared me for this.

I babied the bike across the long, wet bridge signaling our exit from the start area and onto some more rough, wet rooty riding.  After somewhere between 1:45 and 2 hours it was finally to the fire roads.  It was then that I noticed it had stopped raining.  I was grateful the all day rain was not coming, but I was still steadily getting sprayed from the wet roads.  As I rolled past station 1 I realized I was deep into the race and barely touched a bottle, and had only one chomp.  Not even 25% in and already in a nutritional debt.

Aid 2 I grabbed my first bag.  Gulped some food, filled my one partially drained bottle and took back off.  This section was full of rolling hills.  It was climb and descent, repeat ad nauseam.  I don’t recall any flat areas around.  On every other climb I would take a swig of water, spitting half back out to clean my lenses.  On the downhill they would fill back up with mud.  No need to stop at aid 3, and headed onto the first loop.  Here another single speeder passed me.  The only one that did all day (that I recall).  Red-headed fellow, pony-tail and a giant hub, like a Hive Chub or something.  Determined to stay with him, he pulled away on the climbs here.  I was already fading, losing energy.  I took in more food and tried to maintain.  I also notice my chain was sounding pretty rough; I planned to address that at the next station.

Finally to station 4.  I took half my food, filled my bottles, and one of the workers cleaned my glasses.  I also ditched the rain coat, as I wouldn’t need it on the next 35 mile leg.  I spent this portion keeping the pace, listening to my chain grind, and continually doing math.  If I reach 50 miles at 4 hours…. 66 miles in 6 hours… etc.  I made it to station 5 in under 7 hours.  21 miles to go, easy peasy.  I grabbed the last of my food, mixed my bottle of 333, threw on my jacket and took off. 
The 10 miles to the next station about killed me.  I had nothing left, and each little rise was a struggle.  After way too long I got to station 6 (83 miles).  I finally remembered to lube my chain and when I took off that was a bit better sounding.  However, it was at the top of the next rise when I realized I was overheating, steaming like a salmon filet in my rain coat.   I took this back off, then rolled it up and wrapped it around my waist beneath my jersey.  This made things better, but the damage was done.

Bike left to drain and dry.

I weakly rode past the final aid stations, and into the singletrack for the final 10 miles.  I don’t know if this section was particularly brutal, or if I had nothing remaining.  I struggled through here for what felt like an hour.  More wet roots, slick rocks and mud holes.  I had no idea where I was, just wanted to be done.  I was desperate to hear a truck on the road, or something to signal the end. 
Finally I popped out behind a dam and crossed the concrete bridge.  I was a bit confused to see another rider coming at me across the bridge in the opposite direction.  However, I did not care because I wasn’t going back the other way.  The final section of road seemed endless, and I just kept spinning, hoping not to be passed, but not caring if I did.  Once across the line I was glad to be done.  Muddy and soaked all I wanted was dry clothes.

Luckily much of the dirt dried and flaked off towards the end.

I took off my shoes and my insoles had silt filling the spaces between my toes and arches.  I finished with custom orthotics. [Side note, I had not foot, toe, or any issues during the race.  I should have kept the dirt perhaps].   I joined a slew of other racers down at the river, pole rinsing in the water, bunking bikes and beating clothes against the rocks.

The nice lady at the finish cleaned my glasses.

Slightly cleaner, I pulled out a chair, grabbed a beer, and ate my finisher turkey wrap while waiting for my companion.  A couple beers later, he crossed the line after his first MTB hundie.  I am sure this would remain extra memorable for him.  I pushed him into the river, loaded the gear back up and we headed for Knoxville to complete the adventure.

Credit to Sara Kristen.

Shout out to Twin Six for the new kit, CarboRocket for the elixir of life, ESI Grips for keeping my hands connected all day, Tire Maniacs for the tread, Squirt Lube, and the rest of the folks that got me to and through this race.

02 August, 2013

Tree. Farm. Really?


Brighton. Wrecked.

I just came to the realization that I never posted a report for the Brighton race. It feels like it was a lifetime ago.  I guess I will keep it brief, since at my age, my memory ain't what it used to be.

I had been riding Brighton a bit more frequently, as it is somewhat of a local trail for me now.  I did not have aspirations of riding away, but I knew it was my last chance to keep B-Rad from walking away with a near sweep of the USAC series.

I arrived a bit before the race, and parked next to T-Payn, mostly because his sobbing calms my nerves.  I checked out the start loop, and was somewhat relieved to see the grassy knoll was not included in the loop.

During my warm-up, I overheard that a technical rooty section was bypassed, making the lap a mile shorter, and pretty much an all out sprint for 4 laps.

Time to line up, and the mood was pretty jovial.  Some of the usual folks were there, and others didn't make the trip.

Once the start approached, it was all business.  When the gun went off, Brad took off like the finish line was 200 meters away.  He practically blew through the first turn, which was the only reason I was able to catch back on.  Not even onto the trail, and I was redlined.

It was easy to see Lako had 2 goals in mind.  First was to wrap off this series with a tremendous showing off riding off the front for the entirety of the race.  Second was to tear the legs off anybody that wanted to try to hang on.

After the first lap it remained Lako, Fedewa and myself in the lead group.

About a mile into the second lap, and Andy the Rhino washed out in a sandy corner, and I moved up to second directly behind Brad.  I could tell he sensed my back there, and kept turning the screws.  I thought my hart was going to explode, but I hung on.

Lap 3 and Brad was pulling away.  Unfortunately, I washed out on the same corner the Andy went down in a lap before.  At the point Brad was gone, and I never saw him again until the finish.

I tried to keep the onus, to hang on to second.  But a bit later the Hooligan Neidlinger came by and I could not match his pace.

Lap 4 and I was struggling to keep third.  I don't know how far Fedewa was behind me, but I wanted to hang on to one of the steps.

I faded badly and when the end came, I did manage third, around 1 minute ahead of the charging Rhino.  But 3 minutes behind Brad and the winner Neidlinger.

So, with another 3rd place, I remained a solid second in the series.  Brad was able to clinch his victor.  Another dominating performance with 4 victories and this second place.  My only hope is that I was able to make it a bit of a challenge for him, so it wasn't as easy as he made it seem.

06 July, 2013


I was going to make this another Facebook rant, but as I thought about it, the more I felt it would make a better blog post.  This should make T-Payn happy as it will contain no self-deprecating race analysis.

As several of you know, I put in a little bike ride after work on wednesday, and in the course of pedaling, a "bee" (bee, wasp, hornet, etc.) flew into my helmet vent and stung me above the left temple.

This wasn't the first time I was stung while riding, but the third time in the cranial area (the other was my ear during the first lap of the Boyne Marathon), and the first time in 2 years.

So today was the day when I had recovered enough emotionally and physically to try riding again.  The swelling had gone down enough that my helmet fit, and the sobbing was only occasional.

I headed back out on a merry jaunt on my bicycle, although I was a bit gun shy.  I had a couple insects enter into a helmet vent, but I was able to shack them out.  About halfway through my last lap, I was just cruising along when I felt something enter a vent again.

For the second time in 2 rides, I again had some suicidal flying fuck penetrate my head and ejaculate venom into my skull.  So I did what any normal person would do... I grabbed a handful of front brake and went flying over the handle bars.  I figured the impact would dislodge whatever cranial rapist was taking advantage of my scalp.

After dusting myself off, I sprayed off my head with some cold water (which did nothing), and went to finish my ride.  At this point there is a fine line of what kind of pace to maintain.  Too fast and the poison circulates through my entire system, and I fall over and die.  Too slow and I collapse and die right there.

So, as I ride out at a moderate pace, my mind is left to analyze the situation.  Am I breathing harder than normal?  Is my tongue swelling?  What does fluid in your lungs feel like?  Is my nose running, or is that a brain hemorrhage?

I made it back to my car, and safely home.  I tried to disinfect the area with some Pert Plus (wash and go!), but my head still hurts. Fortunately it is the opposite side from last time.

My plan is to lock myself inside for the next 48 hours.  I do not want to end up going to work on Monday looking any more like Rocky Dennis.

I will take the time to reassess my riding practices.
1) No more rosewater dabbed behind my ears.  Although smelling nice is important, I think it may be doing more harm than good.

2) Retire my highly vented helmet for something less cool (in more ways than one).

3) Continue with my mega-dose of beer, taken internally.

4) Cancel my botox appointment before I end up looking like the cat lady.

They say that all the bees are dying, I say, not fast enough....

01 July, 2013

Bloomer. Park. Wilted.

I don't know how long this will be, so bear with me.

Bloomer Park isn't one of my favorite race courses.  It isn't that I don't like the race, or the trail, just that the terrain doesn't work well with my hack style of riding.  So the week leading in, I wasn't feeling terribly confident or excited.

Of course, the constant onslaught of rain all week did not bode well for my training leading in, add to that my lack of motivation to ride the sit-and-spin, and  is a recipe for flat legs.  The only ride I was able to squeeze in was a short 3 hours the day before.  Was this the smartest idea? Probably not.  But with my history of this race in mind, I went with it.

I arrived at the park as the gates were opened.  I was anxious to to a preview of some of the course to determine how the reroutes affected the course.  It seemed it was a mile shorter than usual, with some climbing removed.  I was able to notice the branch left as the trail crosses the road near the finish.  I think several riders did not.

Time to line up for the start, and like usual, nobody wanted to stand next to Lako, so I stood there so it looked like he had friends.  Soon things filled up with Pongo, Osgood and Anthony.  The standard collection.

When the race started, we all took off up the short grassy climb, It was a bit of a match sprint.  Nobody wanted to jump on the front, and it was becoming a slow speed stalemate.  I eventually took the lead as I figured I wouldn't be surprised by any of the trail features, and my slow speed wouldn't allow me to get dropped.

I don't know how hard I was going.  I just tried to get through the early sections a cleanly as possible.   During the ups ans downs I noticed we were a bit spread out, but reasonably close, with Brad and Anthony on my wheel.  Through the switchbacks relatively cleanly, and onto the first flats.  I stayed right hoping somebody would pull through, but no joy.  180 degrees on the next flat and still no relief.  I rode up on another ride just as we turned back onto the trail, and splashed straight through a puddle.

Unfortunately, we were supposed to turn right, as I quickly realized.  I yelled out "We missed the turn" and jumped off the bike, ran through the creek and up the hill.  Back on the course I could not put in an effort to put in any time on the others as I could not get clipped back in.  Fortunately for me, nobody wanted to come around still, and I was back on the front.  I pulled through until the cricket field, where I pulled up and Brad and Anthony came around.

I stuck to their wheels for the rest of the lap, and most of the second lap.  They put in some space on the field again, and a bit more in the last section of singletrack before the start finish.

Lap three they continued to pull away.  My lap times showed some consistency through this lap, but I was unable to close in on the two leaders.

Lap 4 and I think the previous days efforts were starting to show.  Early on I still felt like I was working hard, but not getting anyplace fast.  I had essentially resigned myself to trying to remain in 3rd place.  Along one of the straights, I heard 2 riders coming up quickly, so I move to the right (off the good line) to let them by.  As I did, one rider yelled "Right, right" as he was already passing.  So I moved left to give some room when the other guy yelled "Left, left!"

My mind quickly formed the response of "Oh, I am so sorry gentlemen, I did not realize that there was an ongoing bicycle race and you two were the only participants.  Please allow me to to clear the way to ease you in your travels" but unfortunately, all that came out was "Call your passes fuckers!"  Not quite as eloquent, but it must have had an impact as the both turned around.

Finishing up the race, I heard the sprint finish of Lako and Anthony as I was turning in alongside the road to the final dirt before the finish.  I rolled across solo.  I continued back out back towards the cricket field to cheer on Brain and Aryn as the come in to finish.

Once we were all in, it was time to swap stories (2 missed turns at the water, and one missed left at the road), and have a beer.

Then it was the time for the awards.  Brad was top step yet again, Anthony second, I had third, and it was good to have Johnny up front as well.  Aryn moved up a bit in his result, and Brian put in a solid effort as well.

All in all it was a good day.  A third place at a race I normally don't do well in, and course I didn't feel suited for.  My only regret was not bringing more beer.

Thanks to Gail Osgood for taking some nice pictures in the absence of our team archivist.

18 June, 2013

Lumberjack 100. Shay.

A while ago I decided to add Lumberjack 100 to my race list for the season.  I haven't done the race before, but I like to add one endurance race to my schedule each year just to test  myself.

Brian from the Motor club and I went up Friday before the race, and were settled into the cabin by early afternoon.  A quick hour on the bike to wake up the legs, then dinner before turning in for the night, as it would be an early morning.

We were on the road before dawn, spotting several deer on the way to the trailhead.  We arrived at 5:20, and began to set up camp.  We were pretty well situated, although there were plenty more well-versed groups there with nice camp set-ups.

There was no reason (or motivation) to warm up, so a bit before 7 we hit the road to the starting point, about 1.5 miles away.  As we left the camp area, it got cold!  It felt like an Iceman start and I was rethinking that warm-up.

By the time we got to the starting line, a huge mass of people had formed.  I took the first clear spot I could find, maybe halfway back.  At 7 am, we were supposed to go.  It seemed we were late getting going, but at 7:04 the surge in front of us began.  Maybe it did start on time!

I was immediately separated from Brain worked my way through the crowd as much as possible without burning a match.  It felt like I passed 100 people and made it to the end of a large group that was covering the whole road.  So I settled in and prepared to turn into the dirt.

There was a bit of a bottleneck, but I didn't come to a complete stop.  Onto the trail it was slow going.  Conga lines as far as the eye could see.  The trail had a lot of dead fall.  A LOT of deadfall.  I was working my way forward when I could, which usually meant the climbs.  At mile 2 I got a nice large stick wrapped into my chain and rear derailleur.  It was big enough I immediately pulled off, I didn't want my race to be done before 7:30.

With the stick removed, I had to try and get back on course.  I lost every spot I had already gained, and then some.  The long lines did give me the opportunity to practice riding my brakes on every downhill.  This is a skill I have not worked on much.  On the first two track section I laid down a decent effort to get by as many people as possible, and met up with Trevor for the first time.   He is one badass singlespeeder and I knew if I hung with him I would have a great race.

Eventually we made t to the area I can only recall as "The pine trees with the blue dots" where I had to shift into the small ring just to keep the cranks turning.  It was like 4 MPH and softpedalling for 20 minutes.  We reached the aid station, and I pushed past to make up some positions.

Soon it was time for the first Firetower climb.  Already riders were doing a death march trudge up the hill, so I threw my bike on my shoulder and ran up in my best CX effort.  Making up ~10 more spots, I then blasted down the gravel road on the backside.  It was nice for some speed, but the gravel was sketchy.

At the 2 right after, I met with Trev again.  This time we hung together as traffic was clearing a bit (except on the climbs).  It was around here that I saw Lako for the first time.

We were now through lap 1 of the race.  I pulled into the pit for some food, and fresh bottles.  I wasn't feeling bad, but knew it was a long way to go.

A few minutes later I head out for lap 2, and Erin, Trev's wife yells that he is 4 minutes up on me.  I figured I could work a bit harder on this lap, and possible close the gap a bit.  About 16 minutes in I saw Trev coming the other way.  That would be the last time I saw hime racing that day.

A bit later I called a pass on a rider and he waved me through just as we were crossing one of the perpendicular road sections.  My front got crossed up in the sand, and I flew off the bars into sand with a soft thud.  The riders asked if I was Ok, and I told him "Yes, I'm fine.  Just go on and I will pass again in a few minutes."  I also took this time to make my one and only pee brake until later that evening.

I skipped the aid station again because I was once again caught behind a slower rider, and wanted to make up positions.  Up the tower climb again (no running), back down and towards the finish.  I think this is where I saw Brad again, and he was just moving his own pace.

Lap 2 was done, and I stopped for more food and a coke.  Damn, I forgot to drink one on the first lap.
Heading back out Erin yelled  "He is only 10 minutes ahead, you can catch him!" to which I could only laugh.  Time for some math, I had to ride 9 more miles before 6 hours elapsed.  9 miles later and I was a couple minutes behind.  Next was mid-point before 1:20 into the lap.  I worked the best I could, but my body was starting to revolt.

My shoulder and wrists were sore (possible from the crash).  I had taken my gloves off on lap 2 as they felt small that day.  I pounded my first bottle 20 minutes in, and knew I needed a refill this lap.

I hit the aid station at 1:20, and knew if I could hang on, I could make it, but it would be close.  More coke, a banana, and a bottle of water and I was on my way.  The water bottle wash was a bonus, and I wished I just buried my face in the fritos bowl.

Things were starting to go downhill, and I was soon unable to drop into the small ring.  This was gonna suck.
There were a few climbs left and I wasn't looking forward to the grunt.  There was one climb I had to walk (middle of 3 successive I think, pretty steep).  All of the other ones were spent shouting "Why won't you fucking shift you piece of shit.  Just shift!  Are you too good to shift?  Do it!"  It was no help.

The last sections before the final downhill, and I caught another rider.  He wasn't willing to let my by, and the trail was tight.  I just sat on his wheel and casually pedaled across the line.  7:57 and change.

My outward goal was 9 hours or less.  My private goal was 8 hours.  Could I have been faster, perhaps.  I enjoyed my brief stops, got to see my wife, and never felt like I was going to break.

The Diesel Motor came through at 8:22.  An excellent performance, considering he finished 200 km at Michigan Mountain Mayhem a week before.

After cleaning up a bit, it was time for a burrito, a couple IPAs, and some sitting.  We packed up camp as the 11-ish hour riders were coming in, headed back to camp for a shower and more beer (and more food!).

Early in the race I recall thinking "This is great, I should do this every year!"  Lap 2 was "I should possibly consider doing this again next year" and lap 3 became "Let's just wait and see".

Excellent event put on by great folks.  I expected nothing less.Now I have to figure out just how many days I can sit on the couch before "recovery" just becomes laziness....