hit you like a karate chop to your face

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mohican Wilderness 12 hour race.

Mohican Wilderness 12 hour race, Ohio- 17,000+ feet of climbing, east coast rocks and roots, major rock gardens and super tight single track... This race was really hard. Usually I am able to stay pretty focused until the 7 hr mark or so. This race I was trying to think of ways to quit 2 hours into it.

It was a 12-12 race but the temperature dropped over night and was a little windy and about 50* at start time. I like to race in the heat and usually don't have to warm up too much. I didn't and that was a mistake. I was about 5th on the bike after the Lemans start letting the super-fast team guys set the pace, right behind me was another 12 solo rider (Bob Mika), followed by another 12 hour solo # plate.

It's hard to explain the first climb on this course. It's pretty much straight up, narrow, rocky rooty single-track with short sections where you go side to side before going straight up again. No joke. The real kicker was the last 100 meters was the stiffest straight up a power line climb on loose stuff. The first lap was carnage. Occasionally I would take a look back and see guys in the 2cd group walking- and this was with fresh legs. I let the front runners go and tried to get some rhythm going but my heart rate was red-lined already. I looked back at the crest of the first climb to see everyone was dropped except for the guy who had a 12 hr # plate. I realized that he was riding a single speed and attacked him in the flat field at the top of the climb. I yo yo'ed him for awhile until I decided it was time to find my groove and settle in. I was riding with a Sierra Nevada duo guy when he came up behind us. We all rode together for awhile and caught another team guy, so the four of us just rode at a XC race pace. When we hit the last climb that led into a rippin downhill and then a long flat big ring section that led back into the start finish area he attacked me. The guys in front of us hadn't been riding the downhills well so I think his plan was to get a gap on me. I wasn't too worried though because I knew I would catch him on the flats, which I did, and then attacked him so I could grab a bottle coming out of the start finish. The fastest lap of the day was 47 minutes set by a guy on a 4 person team, our first lap was 51 and change. I was worried with the pace.

He was back on the trail first since he didn't have to stop but I caught him pretty quick by drafting someone up to him on a flat and then attacked him again. I knew his gears were his biggest weakness and was racing like it was a 2 lap XC race. I kept looking back on the big climb and would see him get close and then drop back some or see him walking the super steep sections. My second lap was 52 minutes again and I had put 1:30 on to him.

My next lap was about trying to find some rhythm and ride smooth, but it was nearly impossible to do on this course. It was all pretty much up and down and the descents were really technical and very narrow. I talked myself into slowing up a little figuring he would never be able to climb like this all day and I was right. My third lap was 55 minutes and he was no where to be seen. I later found out that he stopped to put an easier gear on the back apparently his crew told him that the race director had given him the wrong number plate and I wasn't in his class. He was doing the 24 solo! I didn't see him again until I lapped him about 3 laps later.

It was really odd for me but I had to keep telling myself to stay focused and that it was this hard for everyone. The course was just brutal. I did manage to find a decent groove and my next 3 lap times were all right around 58 minutes. I was riding all the rock gardens well and was spinning up most of the steep ups in my 24t and passing people on the climbs almost every lap.

At about the six hour mark I lapped the # 2 guy and stopped for some Red Bull. I was feeling ok but there was still half of the race left and two riders not too far behind. An hour isn't all that much of a lead when you consider a major mechanical or cramping. I wanted to open up my lead
so I headed out for one more lap before putting my lights on. I was still turning just under 1 hr laps and had found a little groove but was physically being beaten down. My lower back was torched from all the seated climbing, my wrists and hands were very sore and my arms and neck were screaming from pulling on the bars so hard on parts of the climbs. The legs were pretty good though...

I stopped just before 7 and grabbed my back-up helmet with my Light and Morion ARC, put on some knee warmers, a long sleeve jersey and another sip of Red Bull. I needed some wings to get up these climbs. I didn't have to turn the light on until 8 and my lap time slowed to just over an hour. On the next lap I stopped to grab the Ipod and started out with some sweet Peaches> Mind Left Bowie Phish. First it was switching to the gel gloves, then the Red Bull, then some Advil, and then some more Advil- the music was all I had left to look forwards to except for a Little Debbies oatmeal creme sandwich and winning. The "best of Phish jams" compiled from about 1000+ bootlegs works great for me, the Little Debbie messed me up on my last lap...

But then it was over. For the second 12 hour race in a row I had set a new course record and lapped the field. Cannondale/ Bear Naked Pro team rider Garth Prosser did 8 laps last year (first year for the 12 hour race) as well as the guy he beat and Tinker did 16 laps in 24 hours in 2005 on the same course. I did 11 laps in just over 11 hours. It was hard. Bob Mika was really strong and ended up with 10 laps in just about 12 hours and the third place rider did 9 I think?

Jen rocked the house in her first 12 hour a stuck with it way longer then I thought she was going to on that course. She finished 7 laps in 11:47. For someone who hates super technical riding this was SUPER impressive. She would have been Furby if he had shown up for sure....

Today we ate some kick-ass RECOVERY breakfast at a smoke free Waffle House, drove for six hours and then ate some awesome RECOVERY steak burgers, fries and milkshakes at Steak and Shake before we drove the remaining couple hours only to some home to find that the kitties had a big party this weekend while we were gone....

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5 comments:

cploch said...

nice, you seem to have a good handle on anything thats thrown at you. i've raced garth a couple of times he a fast dude and you burried his record. keep it up!

Brian said...

If I had shown up I'm sure I would have "been" your girlfriend! Your choice of words, not mine!

In all seriousness, I've raced against some pretty kick-ass guys and you're a really strong regional racer. You've put up some really strong results this year. You should be proud.

Davey B said...

Thanks!

I wouldn't have to drive so far to find stronger guys if D-Wayne and Chris were showing up...

Dwayne G said...

Congrats again,that amount of climbing is totally sick!! just the thought that you think I would be a challenge is motivation enough to do CB! I will find a way to recover...

Rob said...

Right on DB. Keep up the pace and recovery and we see 24 Solo's in the future. Rockboy