Mohican Mtb 100

On Saturday, May 30, John Willse represented SSSMST at the 2009 Mohican 100 mile/100k mountain bike race.  The race claims the challenge as “100 miles or 100k loop consisting of 11,000+ feet of climbing along mostly singletrack, doubletrack or dirt roads, spanning four counties through some of the most remote and scenic areas in the rolling hills of Mohican Country….” sounds like fun, right?  Read on for Willse’s commentary, where he managed to ride a little longer than he bargained for.

My race report covers my Mohican Mountain Bike 100/100k….er 103k!!

Race day was Saturday, 5/30. The Mohican MTB 100/100k race is part of the NUE (National Ultra Endurance) Mntn. Bike series which is a national series of 100 mile mountain bike races. It attracted some of the strongest mountain bikers from across the country including some top pros like Tinker Jaurez of Team Cannondale. Between the 2 races there were roughly 400 people on the start line at 7am in downtown Loudonville, OH.

Led out by a police cruiser, within 1/4 mile, we were going up our first significant (road) climb, making our way the the incredible single track Mohican has to offer. 62 miles on a mntn. bike, through single track, and the challenging terrain, does not equate to 62, 75, or even 100 miles on the road. With the exception of some connecting roads, and fire roads, there is no place to let your mind wander on the course. This is what I like so much more than the boredom that comes with endless road miles: the element of danger, and the total engagement of your mind throughout the race.

Within 10 minutes, the large group was spread out in single file as we hit the epic single track. The race started there. I wanted to pace myself, but also get up fairly far to mix in with the stronger riders. I knew it would be around a 6 hr day, so the old Ironman mentality really helped to keep my pace in check, but still aggressive.

The first 20 miles went very well. I was with a good group of 5-6 guys and we were fast and effieciant through a pretty technical segment of the race. I refueled at Feed Zone #1. A quick refill of my camelback, slamming of some shots & blocks, and I was off. Within 1/4 mile, I stopped to relieve my bladder. As I resumed, I hear “hey Spin/Second Sole!” It was “friend of Spin” Zak Dieringer, now riding for Dieringer. We settled into a great pace together for the next 5-6 miles….then…we got off course! A poorly marked turn from the main trail was missed as we were laser-locked on the main trail. We descended down roughly 100 more feet from the point we actually questioned each other “was that a turn off?” We came out of the woods, knowing something was wrong, but thought the course may have crossed over and picked up in a different area. Going out further, we see Brad Beeson (Team Spin) with 5-6 equally-beweildered racers. After the sinking feeling of a sabotaged race subsided, there was nothing left to do but back track and resume the race. The total ordeal cost all of us at least 25-30 minutes. So, and hopes of a high placing were now gone. But, with almost 40 miles to go, we simply got back to the course….and proceeded to hammer. Shortly after we got to the course, Brad and Zak were right on my wheel, but only for a short time. Maybe the well-harnessed anger, or maybe because I felt pretty good, but the next time I peaked back, I was alone. It took a while over the course snafu….but I proceeded to just reel in as many as possible over the many remaining miles.

I felt strong the rest of the way, working the hills and trying to be smooth and efficient carving through the single track descents. And I was thankful for no major crashes or mechanical problems.

The one thing, in addition to natural beauty at Mohican is hills, hills, and more hills. All told, Beeson’s Garmin registered 8,100 feet of ascent on the day! One ascent (on road section) was 1/2 mile long and registered 24 degree slope!

I had a very repectable race (6:39; 44 of 217), finishing ahead of Zak and Brad, but left feeling a bit empty knowing that my overall placing would have been drastically different if not for the “bonus” half hour spent lost.

I am as convinced now that the long-course mountain bike is here to stay for endurance junkies. Further, those that I shared the trails with were some of the strongest athletes I’ve competed against as a group. Where you will find some the best attitudes, and a race commeraderie that is second to none.

I am a shoe in for the 2010 race…maybe the 100 miles next time!

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