Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 cohutta 100 mtb race

so my cohutta 100 began with a busy friday afternoon and a new saris bike rack arriving in a box for my car. my carpool buddy, ryan fawley, put together the bike rack and we got the car loaded and rolling around 5:45pm. we had some delicious quizno's and then made a stop for gas/potty break then arrived at the ocoee white water center around 11:00pm. we set up our renegade campsite behind some trees just out of the parking lot and went to sleep. we were very glad to see our friend rebecca t's car that had our race numbers/registration. thanks rebecca!!!

the bike race began with chilly temperatures, but warm enough that a jacket would be overkill. so i settled into the middle of the pack at the start line, unfortunately not being able to see floyd landis, chris eatough, harlan price, or any of the other pro's. the start reminded me of well, atlanta traffic. we stood up to pedal, clip-in, and then almost run into the person in front of us. blah, 300+ people starting a 100 mile race in a single lane of pavement was no good.

after a few miles of rolling two/three lane highway we turn hard right into the forest and onto singletrack. the singletrack was fun, but muddy due to the storms the night before. i began thinking negative thoughts about my choice of semi-slick tires but after a few miles of singletrack and a short steep that allowed us to pass a half dozen racers, i got settled with the traction that was provided. they hooked up a lot more than i thought!!! after nearly an hour we reached a creek crossing with large boulders set in it to make a sort of natural bridge. just before reaching this three fast guys (pro's who were late for the start??) passed and then managed to find themselves soaking in the creek and well, i rode right past them!! there were some spectators standing around and i'm pretty sure thats the only reason i had the skills to pay the bills. crossing the ocoee river and turning uphill led us on more amazing singletrack and to the first of many forest roads.

step 1: climb a big hill
step 2: descend a big hill
step 3: repeat for 60 miles

the only things to mention during this stage of the race are the rest stops, #2 and #3 had ziplock bags full of goodies for me!!! and i met a guy named mark from OMBA near macon, ga. we rode together for a majority of the race. the mechanic at rest area #3 was awesome. he lubed/cleaned my chain and sent me on my way with a smile. somewhere along the route i noticed a sign for jacks river trail and it reminded me of my boys (bobby, frank, jd, james) and their high school hiking trip to north georgia. it turns out that was the SAME jacks river trail/falls. i love those guys. after aid #3 we descended the long descent that is visible in the course profile:

after a long pavement/gravel/hot/dusty stretch i met up with mark again and we pacelined until i had to pull off to the side and pee. thankfully the inconvenience meant i was drinking enough (unlike my first endurance race, 07 ORAMM) so i didn't mind stopping. my nutrition plan was to eat two packages of shot bloks and drink a bottle of 2 scoops sustained enery/1 scoop heed and drink as much water as i could make myself every two hours. i was thankful for the two extra strength tylenol i took with me as well. i hit those around the 4 hour and 8 hour marks.

after all the gravel roads i managed to move a bit farther forward in the pack (from the last 1% to the last 3% or so) and rode with a nice guy with a twinsix bag for a while. he said he was from memphis and now lived in chattanooga. anyways, if you read this chattanooga guy it was nice riding with you. he bid me adieu after i kept shifting to my big ring (even at 9 hours with 20 miles to go i figured there's some way to finish sub-10 (my goal)).

entering the singletrack i tried to act happy and excited (there was an aid station with lots of people looking at me) and then caught some guy in a blue kit on a gary fisher (i think it was a fisher) and he told me to pass. i didn't really want to but i did and after a couple doubletrack style switchbacks i looked back and he was a few hundred feet back. i kept pushing and only managed to catch a few of the women on the last bit of singletrack (incredible by the way, have i mentioned the quality of the trail yet??) some kid along the way said 8 miles to go and its mostly downhill. i think someone told him that line because it made me feel better and smile but i am pretty sure i did a lot of climbing still beyond that point. cruising down some amazing stuff i rode last may (SERC race) i dumped out on gravel and some spectators told a car to wait so i could make the turn without coming to a complete stop (thanks!!) and i got into the big ring and started hammering. i'm sure all the paddlers that were driving by thought gosh those bike guys are idiots, and well, they are right.

anyways, i caught a guy with a number plate and his girlfriend/wife (who didn't have a number, maybe she was pacing him to the finish??) and then saw one more racer far ahead. i quick check of the right side rear wheel revealed we were in the same category, men's open 100, so i continued charging. nearing the bridge i had to scrub off some speed to not go over the handrail into the ocoee river below, and i knew the other racer could hear me now. i stood up and sprinted across the bridge, legs telling me to sit down, mind telling me to keep pushing and he almost cut me off!!!! i was about to pass on the inside and he nearly got me into the bridge hand railing!!! (rubbin's racing right dean??) and across the last hundred feet i was standing and sprinting and i passed the guy. i never got to tell him good job afterwards, but i did get a cool 'finisher's mug' and met up with ryan f. he grabbed me a soda and i got some BBQ chicken and rice. bliss at last, sitting on the ground, 10 hours 30 minutes after we started.

we watched the awards for some of our friends, dejay birtch 2nd singlespeed, rebecca t 5th woman (first woman singlespeed rigid), and honorable mention goes out to ryan f. he got 11th on the singlespeed. first time racing singlespeed since last summer!!! drew finished ahead of me, though not as quickly as he'd hoped, but he was fighting stomach problems and puking. so i think finishing at all was pretty dope.

i've got to thank columbus bike racing team for helping me get to events and KENDA for giving me awesome tires that turned out to work great (despite my first evaluation one hour into the race), my pseudo-coach max shute, shaw and sarah brown at boone bike for letting me have saturday off to race, my future in-laws doug and diane alexander for letting us crash saturday night at their place and supplying pizza and breakfast, and new leaf adventures for putting on a super-cool event. i will be back next year for sure. for now its a week of rest and then xc racing back at the ocoee white water center for the SERC #4. then a few weeks of preparation and long rides to get ready for the BURN 24 SOLO.

2008 cohutta 100 results (if they ever post them)

as always, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading and hopefully you're not too bored.

1 comment:

SpeedyChix said...

Great race (and write up). I think it was you that I was chasing coming through that final single track. Also recall passing the guy/gal combo near the parking lot.

I had on a Bicilibre jersey (blue/yellow/white vert pattern) and a 29r and one muddy blue hydropak. Thanks for the inspiration to motor in that final stretch of trail.

I'll get something updated on my blog at some point. I caught Paula/Dark Horse (blue kit) and another gal right after her in there as well.

fun day, great end to the race.
Kudos on making the distance!

- Anne (the 50+ racer)