Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wilderness 101

I had never done the Wilderness 101 before, so I was excited to see another race put on by Chris Scott, who also puts on the Shenandoah 100. Chris put on a great race with the best aid stations ever and the nicest volunteers that money doesn't have to buy. The volunteers fill up your Hammer Gel Flasks and lube chains. At Aid Station three there were homemade pickles made by by local girl, Michelle Stopper. I like Shenandoah 100 better because there is better singletrack, but the forest and creeks in Coburn are so beautiful and I like the singletrack between checkpoint three and four.

The course had tons of fire road and grown over double track. It was a fast start with 40 miles being completed in 2 1/2 hours. I rode with HaJimmy! for about 8-10 miles. That was a treat because he can really roll. But in retrospect that was probably a little too fast.

I never saw Pua. She was with the front guys. She ended up finishing 8th overall with a time of 7:46!. My time was 8:40. She is way out of my league nowadays and hopefully will make a good showing at Marathon World at the end of August. I had Betsty Shogren to ride with most of the race. She was way stronger than me on the climbs and was riding really well. She never seemed to capitalize on her good legs, though. Plus she is about the nicest racer you will ever meet and didn't seem to want to drop me. She dropped me finally and definitively on the last climb with about 5 or 6 miles to go. Then she missed the Fisherman's Trail and was bushwacking in the woods when I came back on her. I felt like I had be given a 10th chance at this race.

Just to back up...Before check point 4 I started cramping horribly on the inside of my legs. EVIL!! I was with Nahsay and he was cramping too. Did somebody say SLUMTOWN?. I had to get off the bike and walk a bit and straighten out my legs. Pretzel Pete stopped and gave me a magnesium pill. I did some (more) gel and drank more water and could go on, but it would continue the rest of the day intermittently. I was proud of myself to have pushed through and I just rode. There is always that idea that if I go too slow, it will take too long and make things worse. I didn't have too many self defeating thoughts, but this was my main one..."This is out of the scope of my fitness" I'm lucky to have so many miles in my legs over the years and experience at persevering.

So after 101 miles I sprinted Betsy to the line. Gunnar said she was starstruck, and she said that I'm a tough person to sprint against, but I don't think she even tried. Its funny because at the tour de burg I really wrestled with the fact that I didn't feel like I was trying very hard to go fast or be competitive. And if I didn't sprint her, I would of wondered or felt like I wasn't trying. I want to have healthy outlets for my competitive fire inside.

It was great seeing my old teammates Jeff Schalk and Chris Eatough. Those guys are so fast and such nice guys. It was also amazing how fast singlespeeders are going. There were so many at this race it was mind boggling.

Anyway I'm real sore today and have a dirty bike to clean.

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