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...