Monday, September 6, 2010

SM 100

The SM 100 was this past weekend, and it was the first time I had done this race or any 100 mile mountain bike race for that matter. Things kicked off on Friday in Patapsco for a dawn ride to make sure everything was running smoothly, then headed for the Stokesville Campground on Saturday morning. Upon arrival, Pat, Andy and myself did a quick loop on Boy Scout before setting up camp and socializing with other racers. As we got our bikes and gear prepped for the next morning, I realized that I had left my tool kit at home. I was able to scrounge together enough bits and tools to get by comfortably. The Observatory was open, so we got to see some pretty cool stuff through the telescope before hitting the sack. Up early on Sunday for a 630 start time to the 100. I started off in good position and rode with some familiar faces on Narrowback. On the downhill, I heard a rattling which I thought to be a loose water bottle cage. I pedaled out of one of the corners and dropped my chain to find out I had lost 2 out of 4 chainring bolts with the remaining 2 ready to fall out. I tighted what was left and scavenged another from my derailer hanger, so I could get to aid station 2 where they may have a fix. No chainring bolts, but Kurt worked some zip-tie magic and gave me a couple more for the road. Somewhere along the way I lost another bolt, so more zip-ties to the rescue. Now, I was way off my previous pace and was struggling to get by folks on the single track. Most were cool about letting me by, but others needed a bit more convincing. Some tire buzzing seemed to fill the bill nicely. I was stuck in heavy traffic on Dowell's, but ended up getting by 8 or 10 folks and I had it pinned for next half of that descent. Brailies was equally frustrating but at the top I got on a fellow's wheel who went downhill at a comfortable pace for. I was maybe 2 inches off his rear tire as we entered an off-camber sweeping left turn, when my pedal stuck something and sent me over the bars and into a tree. I never even saw the rock there. I shook myself off and remounted my pump after about 5 folks passed. I got back on and as soon as I started pedaling, felt a burning sensation across the front of my knee. I was thinking I tore my ACL in the crash, but then looked down to see a yellow jacket was stinging me. I got back in the grove and picked off every rider that passed plus the guy who I had been following for a slight feeling of redemption. The aid stations were well stocked and full of friendly folks eager to help. I was shaken down at 2 aid stations to see what my bike needed. I had the pleasure of riding with some old friends and making some new ones throughout the day. Some of them were smiling and some hurting. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing myself during my ride. The highs, the lows; the boredom and excitement. On the climb up Hankey, I stopped and casually sipped water from my bottle, thinking I would wait for a familiar face to roll by and get me motivated again. Some chick on a single speed rolled by and said, "Come on gorgeous, lets go!" With a comment like that, I dont need to be told twice. I jumped on and we rode for a minute before realizing how close to camp we were. As we started our descent into camp, I passed and left her behind. I realized it was kind of a dick move and looked back to see if I should wait, but she was nowhere to be seen. Oh, well. I finished in 10:29, 29 minutes more than I had hoped but not bad for my first 100. It could have been worse. I could have been Andy whose b/b took a dump on him, loosing his crank arm 3 times, or even worse, the guy who rolled in around 9:30 with no light and 1 pedal and crank arm. People rolled in until around 11pm. Thats bad ass. I told my friends of the chick and how she got me going again. They asked if I dropped her and I said yes to unanimous approval, but it would come back to haunt me for much of the night, as the rider in question came by to chat and hang with us. It all seemed to go by so fast, but I was able to catch breakfast with the JV squad and chat with them for a bit. Fun folks. Maybe some images to come.

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