This past Sunday marked the 10th Annual Shenandoah Mountain 100
. The SHT / DCCofD had a small entourage making the trek down to Stokesville, Virginia to partake in the fun. I was no exception, dear reader, but I made the trip with a little apprehension. You see, this race would be my longest mountain bike ride to date - the next longest being my solo attempt at the 2007 12 hours of Lodi Farm. And we all know how that ended
Never-the-less, I hopped into Peaches' truck with the Keg Breaker
and Tough Cookie
, and we left a trail of plaid as we followed Papa Smurf, L-Web, and Jeb in Spaceball One. On the ride down, we were treated to the Howard Stern and the Losers version of Court of the Crimson King
, and my worries began to melt away. "This will be fun" I told myself, and I didn't know how right I would be.
Registration. I mean Camp.
We set up camp, which as usual, was mistaken several times as registration. I guess that's what happens when you have a VW Crafter pulling an Airstream with matching awnings opening to a giant EZ-Up tent with 2 generators powering enough light to put the Luxor to shame. Did a little warm-up ride with Peaches, Jeb, and Buddy. Had an awesome dinner of spaghetti, meatballs, and PBR - now my 2nd favorite hipster beer after Miller High Life.
Sunset over the mountains.
Nick and Katie, and their friend John showed up as well, making out camp 10 deep. We all went to bed as a storm was approaching. The rain came down hard for an hour and a half only to relent to a tent full of yapping teenage girls and a barking dog. There would not be much sleep in camp that night.
At the start, racers jumped the gun and surrounded the lead moto that was supposed to pace the peloton to the first dirt road.
The next morning we awoke to a soggy camp, made some coffee and drained the bowels in the Airstream's luxurious facilities. We lined up, and the bearer of the bullhorn inadvertantly let us off the line. 500 racers jockeying for the holeshot in a 100 mile race - hilarious and unnecessary.
L-Web beat all of the SHT dudes after fearing she wouldn't be up to the race at all.
After a mile or two, I found myself next to No-Nickname-Nick. We talked it out and decided to ride together as long as possible. Turns out this was huge for me as I bent my chain at mile 18 and NNN helped me jury-rig it to make it to the checkpoint at mile 30 for a chain replacement. We both lost a little time to L-Web, Buddy, and Peaches who were riding together as it took about 20 minutes to get the whole thing sorted out.
Peaches finished well despite some flats.
But along we went. I was smiling a good portion of the time. Save for the bench-cut climb at mile 50 to the descent to Breyley's pond. That was a nice hike a bike and possibly the warmest it got that day. A nice descent brought us to Papa Smurf and Katie at CP#4. A Coke and a PopTart later, and we were rolling, ready to tackle the 20 mile climb to CP#5.
Crossing the line with No-Nickname-Nick.
iPaul(c) took care of me at CP#5 and we were ready to tackle the last 25 miles of the day. Rolled into camp 11 hours and 32 minutes after leaving that morning. Nick and I shook hands as we crossed. I know I was smiling as Tough Cookie had an ice cold beer waiting for me.
Post race beer.
This race was amazing. In many ways easier than I expected, though still demanding. I'd love to do it again and shoot for a better time. 11:32 included the broken chain and a little bit of waiting. 10.5 hour seems do-able. Sub 10 with a little more fitness. On top of that, major props to Chris Scott and his crew who put on the best event I have ever attended. It clicked like clockwork; all you had to do was ride your bike and eat their food.
The DCCofD / SHT had a great showing. Blair finished 11th overall, Jeb finished sub 10 hours. L-Web beat all of the men. We all finished and it was beautiful.