Shenandoah Mountain 100
Yesterday was the 10th annual Shenandoah Mountain 100. 100 miles and 14 thousand feet of pain. Pics here and here. Thanks to Punga for the first album of DCMTB riders at CP4. Jonathan Bruck took the rest. Results are up. 10:30:07 for me. Scardaville pics here.
Alastair and I rode down on Saturday morning to meet up with the DCMTB advance team. MattyD and Katie headed down on Friday to ensure that we had a spot for camping. We knew this was going to be a big year. Not only was it the 10th anniversary, but there seemed to be a buzz around the event this year.
I have heard rumors at races all year about who's coming to this event. And the rumors were that EVERYONE was going. And it sure looked that way. 550 people. The only reason it wasn't more was because that's all Chris asked for on his Forest Service permit. I know he's worried about too many people in the woods and the support required for that many but from a rider's perspective, nothing suffered with all of those people there. From the middle of the pack, things looked as good as ever. Thanks again, Chris.
Sunday's wake up call came too early, as usual. This year, we had the special pleasure of an increased knucklehead contingent, setting off fireworks well into the night and making plenty of noise down in the pavilion. I'm not some stud that can drink all night then get up and ride for 100 miles so I don't really have an appreciation for that anymore. Say what you will, I'm just not into it. I'm glad that Susan decided to keep the kids at home as it would have been an absolute nightmare trying to get them asleep and keep them asleep this year. As it was, I didn't sleep much but that was from just being too keyed up.
But I digress...
It was warmer just before dawn this year as opposed to year's passed. It was appreciated. MattyD, Alastair, Kent, Prince Harry, Alex, Evan and I suited up and headed down to the start. No shivering this year. And Chris joined in the race! Cool. We took up a chunk of the front line with Eric, Anna, Gwadz and Wheaton joining us on the starting line. That's 8 DCMTB team members. Cool.
The race start was only slight more of a CF with all of those people scrunching down to 14 feet wide to snake out of the campground and over the iron bridge. I rode with Prince Harry and Alastair for a while until the dirt. MattyD caught up and I took off just a bit. MattyD caught up with me on the first climb up to Cookie. We stayed pretty close with Roberts with Roberts and I riding the downhill together. We caught MattyD before the Lynn climb and rode the sketchy lower part together, cleaning it all. MattyD sat in right behind me as we passed walkers and cushioned ourselves so that people getting off wouldn't cause us to put a foot down. It worked and we continued up to the first switch back about half-way up. We both ended up getting off. We got in line and walked the rest of the way up the rocky switch backs. I flatted at the top of Wolf Ridge before the descent really got going. I flatted right where some dude was already changing a tube. While fixing my flat, another guy flatted. First guy left then another guy flatted. Tough spot. Weird, for sure.
I caught up to Joel who was stuck behind some roadies on the descent. At the bottom of Wolf on the fire road, I took off and stuck in behind two guys cooking on the road. Nice speed and nice rest. I caught Wheaton right before the aid station. He said that Matty was 5 minutes ahead. That would last for the rest of the day. All I could do was chase up Hankey Mountain, kill it on the descent into 3, climb up to and out of Ramsey's Draft up to the Dowell's descent into 4 then try to find some guys to work with on the road up to 5. I was on my own from 4 to 5. It sucked. I later found out that MattyD and Kent worked together up that section. If I didn't flat, I probably would have been close and might have been able to make all three of us faster but there was no way for them to know where I was. I made it up to 5 after Shawn let me know that I was still about five minutes behind him.
After a few pieces of pizza and a coke or two at 5, I headed up the rest of the way up Shenandoah Mountain for the fire road and meadows climb. Just so you know, there are 13 meadows up on Little Bald Knob. 13. I counted this year. I was all by myself and it was all I could do to keep motivated. I was actually counting each meadow like The Count from Sesame Street. Out loud, at the top of my voice you would have heard 'Ten! Ten meadows! Ah, ah, ah.' It was getting bad. But I felt pretty good. I was just trying to keep my mind off of the climb. It worked.
Two dudes jumped in front of me on the descent. I tried to cut one of them off going into the woods and dude asked if I minded if he rode behind his buddy. I blurted out 'Sure, but you guys better haul ass. I've been stuck behind knuckleheads all day.' Dude said, 'Don't worry about us' and took off into the woods. I ended up having to worry about them about 3/4 of a mile in. They graciously let me pass.
And I continued to haul the mail down the Chestnut Ridge. I was in a hurry. And it was fun. Really, really fun.
I passed a few more people coming down the rest of the descent into checkpoint 6. I stopped for some HEED and headed up to the final climb up Hankey Mountain, again. I didn't break any records heading up but I made it and got onto the fire road. I cranked around the fire road and caught up to a pair of horses at full gallop on the trail. They called me through and I passed quickly. They told me they were racing me to the bottom and I hollered 'Right on!' and kept hauling it. I dropped into the last singletrack through the campground and tried to holler but I couldn't find my voice. I kept trying and on the third try managed a proper 'WOOHOO!' It feld good. I was happy.
I cranked through the bottom part of the campground, turned into the finishing slot, rang the gong and grabbed my pint glass at 10:29. I was ten minutes behind MattyD. So close. I was only 2 minutes behind Roberts.
Fastest time. Last year, I wanted to finish under 10:30. This year, I wanted to ride with MattyD and have a good time. I got to do both. I started out slower, kept a great pace throughout the race and only pushed it at the tops of climbs and at the end of the race. I had power at the end which is a big goal of mine.
I want to see how many people DNF'd this year. I talked with a few people who had concerns about the number of novices were out there. I think the race got a lot of new people this year and I'm just hoping that it ended up being a good thing. I talked to a few racers out on course and half-way through, they were surprised at how hard it was. One guy had already done four 100s this year. And he was really worried at mile 60. People don't realize that there isn't somebody at each checkpoint waiting to shuttle you back to camp. They think that they can just opt out at any time. And for some reason, a lot off people think that it's all down hill from mile 75. Ouch. Did I mention 13 meadows? That's 13 climbs up to each meadow and that doesn't count the fire road climb just to get up to the meadows part of the climb. All after mile 75.
Whatever. The race is amazing as ever. Support crews at each aid station are worth their weight in gold. They almost hurry you out of the aid station with your camelbak and waterbottles full, lube on your chain and a handful of food. They are great and we all owe them a huge 'Thank You!' I thanked every one of them (I think, things got a little blurry).
Great time, thanks again Chris! See you next year? NO WAY!
Ok, maybe just one more time... Pics are (from top) our host Chris Scott of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, Evan, MattyD and Wheaton.