Not sure if I went in overtrained, but I knew from the get-go that I left my racing-legs in NJ. It didn't help that I couldn't sleep the night before the race.

  • crazy start up 20 deg. incline out of town - I went out too hard and a burned a match or two by the time we reached the city limits
  • first sharpish turn on gravel road, I burped my rear tire and almost slipped out, kept riding on under-inflated rear until aid #2 at mile 34

 

  • blissful 20 miles of single-track at start of race was fun on the Anthem, the 650b tires are very responsive, was on Scrapple's wheel and right behind Roger Masse, the winner of the Master's field, for first hour
  • started losing contact on steepish climbs, initially was able to get back on once things flattened out, but we all know that's a losing proposition - soon after the rubber band popped
  • lower back starts cramping and being really unhappy - feel like I'm only able to put out 75% because of back pain
  • one moment of inattentiveness and I smack down on back of seat and leave it pointing skyward, bumping the front of seat with my butt straightens it out for the time being
  • adjust my riding to avoid moving seat again, making lower back even more unhappy (devil on shoulder: you can stop now, back pain is a valid out)
  • 45 minutes and a few seat movements later I got the brilliant idea to stop and tighten the seat-clamp bolt - it fixed the problem, and standing for two minutes while wrenching actually un-clinched my back
  • out of fluids (1 bottle and double-bottle camelbak), where is aid #2 - was supposed to be at mile 34, we hit it closer to 36; start drinking coke, which I usually save for the last aid station of the day; feeling pretty crappy
  • keep riding, only 12 miles to aid 3 - fake out: 14 miles, 4 or 5 crazy steep walk-ups and lots of fresh greasy single-track later I roll into aid 3; more coke, dump cold water on head, fresh bottles, go
  • find myself yo-yoing with same guy in orange kit, we agree to stay together so we can work together on road sections and the upcoming 10 mile stretch of rail-trail - am reminded why I like racing - Ed Surin(?) is from Michigan, super-nice guy we chat a bit and suffer together
  • fall over sideways when trying to unclip at bottom of yet another walk-up, just missing nasty rock with my shoulder (post race inspection reveals I completed mangled one side of my left pedal)
  • continue to dig deeper than I ever have, hit rail-trail and take turns pulling with Ed - 14-15 mph on uphill stretch, 19-20 on downhill into aid 4 (mile 75, supposedly mile 72)
  • goose-bumps in 80+ degrees, heat-stroke(?) - took an extra minute or two at aid 4 in the shade, Ed and Igor Danko, NJ single speeder who ended up riding with us for stretch as well, take off without me
  • settle in and just do my thing, keep going, lots of gravel roads, two long and steep gravel road climbs, aid 5 doesn't come a minute too soon, and is actually at mile 92, as advertised - that was definitely a big motivator - only 8 more miles of single track, and I'm done
  • hit the single-track hard, the Anthem and I are flying, passing a bunch of the 100k riders who at this point have re-joined the 100 mile course like they're standing still - spot an orange kit just ahead of me - I almost caught back up with Ed, way cool
  • sign for 2 miles to go, a little more single track, then downhill gravel road through campground towards finish; maybe I can catch Ed?
  • nope, overcooked a sweeping right-hander on the downhill gravel road, tried to lean Anthem into turn but no luck, wheels went out from under me and I went down pretty hard and kissed the gravel - system check: handle bar crooked, fixed; blood on lip, who cares; legs and shoulders feel fine; let's go
  • a minute later I crossed the finish line at 8:57, earning me a 5th place finish in the Master's' field
  • toughest day I've ever had on the bike, but glad I didn't quit, and believe me, I really wanted to soooo many times.

Congrats to Ryan and Lucky for their efforts, that was truly an insane experience.