I had contacted a bike shop nearby the airport a week leading up to the event so that I would swing by and pick up a few CO2 cartridges. The shop would be closed but the gentleman I spoke with said he would come down and meet me at the shop, very cool. Well, at 6:20pm Jenny and I arrived at the shop (in a raining downpour nevertheless) only to not see anyone in sight. After a phone call that just resulted in a voicemail, we had to come up with a plan B. I figured I needed to get some CO2's before heading to the hotel not knowing if there were any opportunities at the race venue site (there were none at the Cohutta 100).
So we stopped to get some dinner in Westerville, OH and with the help of a guy at the restaurant we were going to be heading to the Easton Mall in Columbus where there was a shop that was open 'til 9pm.
I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. The shop Roll:turned out to be a BMC dealer and the owner (Stuart Hunter) was super helpful, and a very cool dude with an accent. He and a few staff were also doing the race for the first time so we chewed the shit about that for a while also.
Jenny's aunt was driving from Pittsburgh to watch the race and also help Jenny in the Aid Stations.
After a pre-ride of the first 15 miles of the course on Friday the legs were feeling pretty good and the course was in great condition. Ohio had received a ton of rain the weeks leading up to and even the Friday night before the race but the trails were nice and tacky. The trails were flooded with off-camber roots, so any precip would make the course even tougher. With a small amount of rain Friday night it was enough to make the trails pretty slick the first two hours; which was where the majority of the singletrack was.
The race begins at 7am in the town of Loudonville (pronounced just as it looks) on pavement, and the first 1/4 mile is flat then there is a steep climb for a 3/4 mile.
The pace was fast up the hill but was a good pace where I could stay towards the front and not go anaerobic. Once we hit the singletrack I was roughly in 12th place behind Greg Kuhn. Some real fun sections in the beginning got the cobwebs off and even a hike-a-bike within the first 10 miles kept the HR elevated. Reached Aid #1 (mile 20) 6 minutes behind the leaders. The next stretch of trails before Aid # were pretty damn sweet. Lots of fast flowing singletrack with lots of roots and another hike-a-bike just for fun. I rode most of this section along with TJ Platt of the G.F 29er team. The trails in this section were pretty muddy and sloppy at times causing some chainsuck ( a term used when your chain gets stuck between the chainrings and the chainstays due to mud. I was caught by a couple riders (Harlan Price, Bart Gillespie, Josh Tostado and Rob L) when putting my chain back on. I joined the group and rode together with them until Aid #2. Only Josh and I stopped for fuel while the others kept on. Rode with Josh for a while before losing him just before Aid #3. This next stretch was to be the longest on pavement/fireroads with lots of steep climbs. Damn those roads can get steeeeeep...in Ohio??? Yep! For 6 miles it was nothing but up and down and out of the saddle climbing, even breaking out the granny gear at times.
Between Aid #3 and #4 I was joined by Greg Kuhn, Scott Henry, and Brian Alders. We all took turns taking our pulls and seemed to motivate each other to keep the pace as high as we could. We rode together for the next 20-30 miles together before Greg attacked on one of the longest (1 mile) steep climbs in the race. I didn't have enough gas in my legs to go with him and it seemed neither did the other 2 riders. At Aid #5 just before the last singletrack section Scott managed to get in front of me and Brian and it would stay that way to the finish. I finished with a time of 7:36:11...good enough for 16th place. I did, however, notice that I was the fastest rider (besides Tinker) over the age of 35. Not really sure if that is something to be proud of or not.
Here are the Top 30 results: 104 total riders finished and 19 riders DNF'd
1, Jeremiah Bishop (Monavie Cannondale.com) 6.50.26
2, Chris Tanguy (Team Fraser)
3, Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-Op)
4, Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher 29er Crew)
5, Brandon Draugelis (Cannondale)
6, Tinker Juarez (Monavie-Cannondale.com)
7, Bart Gillespie (Monavie-Cannondale.com)
8, Rob Lichtenwalner (VisitPA.com)
9, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrications)
10, Alex Grant (Monavie-Cannondale.com)
11, Chris Eatough (Trek Racing Co-Op)
12, Greg Kuhn (Team Fraser)
13, Josh Tostado (Bach Builders)
14, Scott Henry (Team Hammerhead)
15, Sloane Anderson (Pureenergy-Proair)
16 Aaron Oakes (USA) Team Bulldog/Cycle Craft
17 Bryan Alders (USA) Monavie-Cannondale
18 Tim Finkel (USA) Gary Fisher 29er Crew
19 Andy Gorski (USA) SPK / Speedgoat / Salsa
20 Jesse Stevens (USA) Velocity Bicycles
21 Ernesto Marenchin (USA) Speedgoat.com
22 Jed Prentice (USA) Bike Doctor
23 Matt Ohran (USA) Monavie-Cannondale
24 Justin Farmer (USA)
25 Andy Applegate (USA) CCN / Cannondale
26 Thane Wright (USA) Voodoo Cycles
27 Robert Spreng (USA)
28 Fredrick Dreier (USA) Velo News
29 Scott Cole (USA) Adventure 212/Specialized/Ergon
30 Tj Platt (USA) Gary Fisher 29'er
The 100 mile-loop format is so much more enjoyable/challenging than riding laps on a 30 mile course. The course design was amazing and riding through some of the Amish country (saw a couple horse and buggies) gave me a chance to soak in some of the beauty of Ohio. I would never have thought though that the roads here would be so damn steep. Driving in a car on these roads can be a bit scary at times, especially when you come up a steep hill and can't see what is one the other side. Although I will say that I enjoy the feeling of your stomach dropping on some of the rollers.
Jenny and I stayed at a quite hotel (Mohican River Inn) 5 miles from downtown Loudonville where the owner (Andy) is very much into preserving the natural beauty of the land and offers great hospitality at a great price. I would highly recommend staying here if you do the Mohican race.
And lastly, I would like to mention that my BMC Fourstroke 01 once again rode superb. With non-stop roots along the trails, the bike soaked everything up and allowed my energy level to remain high and fatigue level low. The DT Swiss XRC 100 fork did a great job as well, especially on the steep climbs where I was able to fully, and I mean fully (well 98%) lock it out and not waste any energy. I don't ever take riding this equipment for granted. Even my Rudy Project glasses, which allow me to see the trails crystal clear, make riding in the saddle for 7+ hours a tad more enjoyable.