Jason and I raced the Mohican 100 yesterday in Loudonville, Ohio. The weather leading up to the race was calling for rain but we didn't know how much they had actually received. It was raining on Friday as we approached the general area and after getting off the interstate and driving through the small towns we could see that the rivers and streams had flooded. We could only imagine what the trails must be like. It finally stopped raining about 6:00 pm that evening and all we could do was wait.
The next morning the race started about 7:15 with a rolling start out of the resort on to some more roads before hitting the first singletrack. We were immediately soaked with mud and had very slippery conditions. Having wet shorts in the first 15 minutes of a 100 mile race is not a pleasant condition. Eventually the shorts become more like sandpaper as the mud works its way inside the shorts.
It probably took us about two hours to go the first 15 miles and we were starting to wonder if we would even make the last checkpoint before the cutoff time. Fortunately there were some roads where we could make up time. At least those roads that weren't going straight uphill where it was almost as fast to walk as it was to ride.
Speaking of walking there were at least three or four hills that I don't think anyone could ride. They were on the trails and were so steep and long that they became conga lines of people pushing their bikes. Once we pushed to the top of one only to go down the other side and immediatley be met with another hill similar to the one we had just walked up. Probably the cruelest was about 4-5 miles from the finish where we came out of a trail that had been following a river only to have it end at the base of a dam. Yup, now we had to hike our bikes up the backside of the dam(n) to the road.
Looking from the top of the dam back down the trail we had to climb. The trail came in by the river near the center of the picture.
Jason commented that between being on a SS and the trail conditions he probably had to push the bike about five miles or more in total during the race. There were some spots along one of the bigger rivers where the trail was almost washed away and you had to be carefull not to slip and fall in. I heard of at least one racer who did and found that his bike actually floated.
For the record I finished 2nd in my class and not only won $100 but a free entry to next year's race. Jason finished 5th or 6th in the SS class and beat me by about 45 minutes to an hour. Unfortunately I made a wrong turn near the end and spent about 15 minutes climbing up a road before a car passed me and told me I was going the wrong way. I still wouldn't have won but it would have looked better on the results :-) A big congratulations to Michigan racer Dan Jansen who took 3rd overall on a SS.
I can't say enough good things about the Rush, it soaked up the rocks and roots and never malfunctioned the whole race. Of course the Hammer nutrition products were the only thing I used for the entire 12 hours on the bike. Thank goodness for Endurolytes which would stop any cramps I started to get. The Wingnut pack I used kept the weight low and the fatigue off my shoulders. Jason used one also and the only thing we did notice is that the roofs of our mouths were sore, we think it may have been from the Wingnut valves.
Overall the race was very well run, quick check-in and results, well stocked aid stations and helpfull staff at each one. There were some problems with some directional signs plus they were very small and could easily be missed, especially when coming down a road and you had to turn onto a trail. The scoring updates were neat, each aid station would periodically call in a list of racers that had checked in and back at the start area they had a big board with magnets for each racer which they would then move to show which aid station you had made. It was easy for those back at the start to follow the progess of the racers.
In two weeks is the Lumberjack 100 here in Michigan where I know the person who beat me at the Mohican will be racing as well. Plus there are a few local fast guys signed up. Depending on how I do at Lumberjack I will decide if I will continue to try the other races in the national series.