Tuesday, September 3

2013 Shenandoah Mountain 100

Once again, as I've done every Labor Day weekend since 2006, the ugly (in distance), scenic drive to Stokesville.  We left early to get a good campsite.  Not early enough apparently.  Oh well.  On to Harrisonburg for some Indian food, back at camp, discussed riding, thought better of it, rain, registration...

No gel flasks this year.  I had counted on gel flasks as they have handed them out every year I've ever done it.  The only thing I brought that would fit in my pocket were boiled baby potatoes... those would have to do. My bad... never assume.

Pasta dinner time...

For some reason, our pasta tasted like it was boiled in the Fukushima Death Plume.  Inedible.  We were the unlucky few, as others were not so displeased.  Bill Nye said his was just fine... hard to get angry about free food.

I don't want to complain too much... people will call me Evan Plews Jr.

More rain and a few beers.  Just a few.  The days of the top single speeders drinking into the night are long gone.  I was in my hammock @9:30PM listening to the rain hit the tarp over my head.

Waking up to a gong at 5:00AM is enough of a hangover all by itself.

I lined up in the nine hour start grid.  Ahead of me, I see a hundred or maybe two hundred riders lined up in the seven and eight hour grids.  Really?  People I know up there that have no chance of breaking nine hours.  Meh.  I rolled up to join the back of the eight hour folks right as they told us to tighten up the ranks, and the race started immediately with the insanity of 650 riders jockeying for position.

Of course, I got dropped back on the flat paved approach and had to fight my way back into a decent place once we got to the rolling double track.  A mammoth-sized man made a tight pass on me without calling it out.  Joy.  A young single speeder referred to me as "old man."  I told myself I would catch him later and make him pay for his youthful exuberance.

The new single track on Narrowback was everything they said it would be... too bad I was stuck in a train led by the big guy who tried to kill me earlier with his tight passing skills.  Off the trail, I ended up strung out behind a mess of folks on the gravel road, catching them just in time for the first real hike-a-bike of the day.   I kept my place in line, and when the pitch became less severe, geared riders rolled past as I struggled to walk.

And then the fat-bike passed me.  I'll never live that down...

And then the 14 year old prodigy passed me.  Ouch.

On a slightly faster and chunky descent, I sensed a suspended rider coming up on me.  I announced that I would go right.  He went left... esque.  His line got super chunky, and he got bounced all the way over into me.  Together we jumbled and tumbled, first right, and then left.  Into the woods we went.  As I went over the bars, I saw that I was going to land chest-first on a log.

"I'm getting used to this kinda thing," I thought.  We got up, he apologized, I gave myself and the bike the up-down, and went on my way.

On another hot-footed descent, I tagged my right foot on a rock, almost halting my forward progress and knotting up my right hamstring.   That knot stayed there the rest of the day.  Doh.

When I popped out on the longest paved section after aid three, I was alone.  I was picked up by Vicki Barclay and some douchey guy that didn't wanna take a pull.  When another rider came blazing by something hot, I jumped his wheel until I blew the hell up.  On the next hike-a-bike where I've never been alone in the past, I went solo the whole way up.  On the following descent, I made up a few more places in the overall.

Things are fuzzy in my head on most of the details of the day.  I know I passed the prodigy back.  I also caught the fat-bike, lost him when I stopped to pee, and then passed him for the final time.  The pony tailed youth who called me "old man?"  I put him to bed on some random climb I can't remember.  Somewhere out there, it rained... back when I was around Vicki Barclay.  At one point, I saw a woman in pink pushing her bike up a stretch of steep single track.  Determined to stay on the bike, I closed in on her until I saw that she was Watts Dixon.  I told him he looked like a girl.

"See you at the finish line, fuckhead" was all I heard back.

I rode the approach to Shenadoah Mountain alone, my nether regions tingly from the long pulls in the saddle.  I caught a few more riders going up the long Reddish Knob ascent, lost one coming down Chestnut Ridge, and then reeled back in several others on the way to the finish.

Nine hours and seven minutes of my life... most of that time aside from a few incidents, just a blur.

photo cred: Chris Merriam
I felt good all day, aside from the incidents and accidents.  I drank maybe five bottles total, ate my baby potatoes, two gels, half a banana, a slice of pizza, and some french fries.  That's all my body asked for, so that's what it got.

Good for 9th in single speed.   I'll take that.

photo cred: Chris Merriam
More tomorrow, and more about why I can't focus as well.


scott scudamore said...

If your pasta was inedible next year please bring it back to us and we will make it right. We did have a few issues with overcooking the pasta. It did get fixed.

Scud the chief volunteer cook

dicky said...

Thanks, Scud. Figured it was a burnt pan or something... we just decided to eat back at camp instead of whining about free food. It had to have been the batch because Bill Nye went up five minutes after us and said his was perfectly fine.

dicky said...

And BTW: The fries at aid six were an unexpected godsend.

scott scudamore said...

we did the fries at aid 6 as a test to see if we could bring them back but on a smaller scale. it was successful. we will plan them for next year at aid 6 only


Durandal said...

Laughed my ass off from reading this blog! Thinking about doing this race with my Surly KM single...some folks believe I've lost my mind.

Great job on the race!