Thursday, June 8

Mountain Cat 100 '23: Part Two

Watts needs a Coke.  A magic elixir to turn his day around.  Sadly, there are no Cokes back at the Aid Station.  

But there is the gas station across the street with the bathroom we just hours earlier destroyed, so we head there.  We sit in front with our soda pops and debate what to do next.  Watts throws out the option that mebbe we just ride towards town and then mebbe hit some more trails if he feels better?  I'm still leaning towards the full quit since we're DNF bound on at least two levels.

Watts is just about done with his Mexican Coke when he sees a large group leaving the aid across the street.

"We should hop on with them."


A mad scramble to the bikes, a couple harder than I wanted to do efforts, and now we have new frands.  Again.

It's a nice lollygag back into town, and Watts seems to be a bit revived.  A modicum of life spark in his eye.  He's ambling around the Aid Station just outside of town behind the Outpost looking for yums.  He has the desire to try to jump on the train with some locals.  I concur... because there's too much daylight left to throw it all away if he's actually feeling froggy.

"Hey, Watts.  There's a good group leaving that we've ridden around before."

*Watts continues to fill bottles with hose water*

They leave.

"What about those guys?  We've been in the mix with them already."

*Watts continues to work on his Freezie Pop*

They leave.


*Watts moves with intent*

And so we came to find ourselves in the very best company with locals Drew and Ian (who was actually on a Roholff R.I.P. equipped bike).  We hold onto them with white knuckle energy.  Once we get to the not official next aid station, Drew says he's starting to cramp.  We let him know that they are our only hope, so no pressure, but we need you... because that's officially when my Wahoo died... with over thirty miles of twists and turns and roads and trails and railroad tracks and bushwhacking to go.  I started recording the ride on my phone with STRAVA in case... dunno.  Data?

We continued on at the most pleasant of paces all the way to the Aid Station at Hells Gate, location of the Yeet Ramp.

Hot dogs were a most welcome treat.  More than most.  Mostest.

And then we were all rolling again...

l-r; me, Drew, Watts, and Ian.   Without those two leading the way, we would have either been out there much longer staring at our phones or just given up.  I honestly don't know if we coulda figured out all this on our own:

Where my Wahoo died to the finish, 37 miles of which "way do we go now?"

That's not to say that the last third or so of the ride was without its challenges.  Drew's computer died, and at certain points, we were just down to Ian having operational equipment.   Our group grows and shrinks in numbers as people around us rally or falter.  One moment, someone is falling off the back, and on the next trail, they're blazing the path.  We did take the risk of losing our guides when we stopped at a creek crossing for a beer hand up, but Ian and Drew waited on us... so nice.

Anyways, we stick with Ian and Drew all the way to the finish, where I let promoter Emily know that we have no data, we're 99% sure we missed something anyways... but we're alive (sorta) and happy (to be done).

With time to Monday morning quarterback it, I can figure out some things and can't others.

By looking at Trailforks and my THREE separate ride files I have, a wrong turn at a crucial moment saw us in the wrong place.  We missed about two miles but added approximately a mile and a half... so we rode about 108 of the intended full 108.5 miles on the day.  I will not be ashamed of that.

For some odd reason, when I powered on my Wahoo and connected it to my phone at home, it said the Virginia map was "queuing."  Huh?  It was fully up the night before the event... I can't figure that one out.

Nor can I determine why Trail Forks thought I was in Massachusetts (not synced) instead of Virginia (definitely synced).

When I got the pre-race email, it was hard for me to sort it out to see which information would matter and how to apply it in my inevitable future.  I now know what I'd wanna jot down and keep handy w/o having to pull up the email and skim it on the trail.

Battery life.  Dammit. 

From the email:

"... your Strava file for this ride is your proof of completion! Protect it, keep it running, keep your phone battery alive. Consider packing a backup battery brick to keep all those electronics charged."

Duh.  I've never had my battery drain so fast on a ride with a route running.  I still can't explain it, but that said, I have plenty of charging blocks and will not find myself in this situation in the future.

Yeth, the future.  I have to go back to the Mountain Cat 100.  It was just such an awesome event, and Richmond is absolutely wonderful.  The amount of support was insane, and the volunteers and riders are a whole bunch of good eggs.  Obviously, I'll never be able to "race" this event, but I think that's the point.  It's a full day of adventure and smiles.  It's just that good.

Even if it's one hundred AND EIGHT miles long.  

1 comment:

hellbelly said...

RVA FTW! My old stomping grounds and where I first really sunk my fangs into mountain biking some thirty + years ago. I still love going back there to ride as it possesses some of the best single track trails within a city that are more than just for squirrel-watching crowd. FWIW, I'll be in Charlotte this coming Friday/Saturday for a course and plan to bring my sled to go pedal around Backyard.