Tuesday, August 25, 2009

High Cascades 100

Wow it's been a long time since the last post. Lots and lots of non-bike related things been going on the past 1.5 months. A combination of some more medical issues and starting a new job have consumed a significant portion of my time lately.

Since the 8 Hours of Independence race in July, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to race in the 1st Annual High Cascades 100 race held in Bend. Mike Ripley (Mudslinger Events) puts on some of the most epic events I've competed in throughout the country, and considering the race was going to be held in my back yard, how could I not. Fortunately, things began to fall into place and I was able to focus on the event and get in some good training efforts with Bruce Rogers. Thanks for motivating me Bruce.

The High Cascades 100 race is soon going to be an "A" race for many ultra-endurance junkies. Considering the location (beautiful Bend, OR), time of year (August in Central Oregon...nuf said), and difficulty (102 miles, 11,000 ft of climbing) this has to be listed on the "must-do" race list. The event took place on Aug 23rd this year but is supposed to be moved back to Aug 9th for 2010. Check the website for more info Mudslinger Events.

The race drew some strong riders for it's first year. Topping the list was Chris Sheppard. Doesn't matter the type of race he is always going to be a favorite. Also in attendance were "Fuzzy" (SS stud) and Evan Plews. I think there were close to 80 racers total (women/men).

Race began up near Mt. Bachelor at 6:15am with chilly temps hovering in the high 30's. That's right, 30's in late August. Right from the gun Sheppard laid down the hammer through the dusty trails. Within 10 minutes a group of 6 of us joined a paceline on the service road. On a few descents it was like riding with your eyes closed...literally. With the soft sand/dust terrain the trail was invisible. The first 45 miles consisted of lots of sand and lava rocks. Having the proper tire selection was a key factor; my choices were the Continental Race King 2.0 (rear) and Continental Mountain King 2.2 (front). I opted for the ProTection series over the UST tubeless to save weight and they provide more durability than the Supersonic series. The tires were great! No problems through the rough rocks.

photo complimentary of Oregon Velo

By the time I reached the first Aid Station I was in 4th place with 2 riders lose behind me. The climbs up Edison Lava Trail and Kwolh Butte were the most technical sections on the course. Lots of steep climbs with many sharp rocks lining the trails. The only rider who I saw have any trouble was Fuzzy, who sliced a tire. Riding a 29" Niner singlespeed I'm not sure how he fixed it, but he was able to continue and still finish 3rd overall. The guy can fly.

photo complimentary of Oregon Velo

After navigating my way through the rock garden it was on to the Swampy Loops (18.5 mile loop completed twice). This part of the trail will have you smiling for nearly 14 miles. Lots of fast, technical singletrack with a 4 mile climb up South Fork. By midway through the second loop I was 30 minutes behind Sheppard.

With the final 12 miles on tight freshly groomed singletrack trails (Funner, Tiddlywinks...don't ask me they named these) I just tried to ride smooth and not lose any time. The last 4 miles seemed to take an eternity though. Every time I would look down at my cyclometer to see how much farther I had ridden it was a mental blow. I'd ride .3 miles and think it was more like 1 mile. Once I could see the parking lot at Wanoga Snow Park I could breath a sigh of relief. I crossed the finish line in 9:26 in 2nd place nearly 50 minutes behind Sheppard who finished in 8:37 for the win.

photo complimentary of Barb Bohmbecker