As of Friday morning, I had not pre-registered for the Mohican 100 so it was still undecided whether I would do the 100 mile or 100k (65 miles). I have competed (and finished) the 100 mile version three times with some good results and some not so good. All of these 100 milers involve some degree of pain and suffering. Within days of completing one of these events, the memories of the 8 to 10 hours of suffering fade but the experience is burned into your brain luring you back year after year.
Ultimately, as the race was to be part of a family camping trip, I decided to do the 100k so I would not be MIA all fricken day (plus I am getting soft and 100k seemed much more sensible/rational).
We loaded up my parent’s motorhome and were on the road by 6pm or so on Friday evening. We arrived around 7:30pm at the new for this year venue at Mohican Adventures on SR 3 by Wally Road. We rented a camp spot for two nights and started getting set up. Got the EZ Up set up just in time for a little rain sprinkle.
Once we got set up, I went to register, but unfortunately they were gone for the night. So I had to add “register” to my list of things to do the next morning before the 7am start time. So I went back to camp, started a fire and we made the kids some smores.
Under the cover of darkness (aided by light) I then proceeded to swap out my rear derailleur, cable and shifter which was busted up from the race last weekend at The Knob. Without too much trouble, I finished that up and spun around the campground for 1 minute shakedown. Good to go!
We put the kids to bed around 10pm and the wife and I sat by the fire and enjoyed a glass of wine. We crashed at 11:30 to the sounds of rain on the RV rooftop.
Got up in the morning and walked down to the convenient store for some coffee and greasy breakfast sandwiches. Got dressed and rode the 1 mile to downtown Loudonville for the start. I found a spot near the front and at 7am sharp we were off. The weather and trails were perfect. Could not have been any better! Low humidity, 70s, light breeze, clear skies, lots of buff single track!
I went semi-hard on the initial climb to stay near the front. Other than that the first 4-5 miles were done at a moderate to high pace. Once we got to the 25 mile State Park loop, I was riding with 3-4 other riders. Then Wes Jones caught and passed me sporting his rigid single speed. I latched onto him and benefited from his pace for the next 15 or so miles. We were together all the way to where we exited the loop for the hike a bike at mile 22 or so (same place many people turned right instead up left up the big hill). Thanks Wes!
After some horse trails we got out onto the dirt roads and a couple steep punchy climbs. I was with several 100 mile riders who where riding pretty conservative pace. I pulled though a couple times and looked back and had a gap; I guess they were conserving for the 100 miles. So I sat up and joined the paceline (at their pace) until we eventually caught and passed Mike Gorman and later John Lorson. I rode with Lorson and the others until just before the Mohican Wilderness section that takes you to the Aid Station which serves as the split for the 100 mile and 100k.
It felt AWESOME knowing I only had 20 miles to go versus 60 miles (in past years when I raced the 100 miler)! Lorson and I left the aid station together and proceeded down Wally Road at a moderate pace. The big gravel road climb to the left lay ahead. Lorson cleaned the whole thing on his single speed. That climb is much easier with 40 miles in your legs versus 80, go figure:) I middle ringed the climb (could not get into the granny). Rode the big rollers with John and I surged at the right turn at the top that leads to the big grassy field.
From that point I rode by myself and did not see anyone until the end. The last 6 miles seemed longer than 6 miles and the sections near the finish were cruel. At the end of the day I finished in 5:38 or so in 7th place overall for the 100k. I felt fresh at the end, so I took the kids fishing and we slayed it catching a few bass in one of the lakes on site.
We stuck around for the evening festivities which included kegs of Sierra Nevada and my favorite..Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold! Got to spend some time with the boys from SoupCan Racing and Bruce from Pisgah Works, among others.
After a night of revelry, we got up early on Sunday morning and I made camp breakfast of eggs and bacon for the kids. After breakfast and a swim in the pool and hottub, we loaded up the RV and did a 6 mile canoe ride with clear skies and perfect weather.
Thanks to Ryan K. for the Mohican Valley canoe referral. All in all a great family weekend with a little bike riding time for Brett thrown in for good measure.