16 September 2008

stop 6- Shenandoah 100 mtb race

The best way to describe the Shenandoah 100 is as a 24-hour party with a 100-mile mountain bike race in the middle. The race has beautiful views, long climbs and fun, fast technical single-track. An awesome awesome first mountain bike race.

Saturday afternoon we hung out at the group campground and pavilion where the race starts/end with hundreds of other riders (and there partners, kids and dogs). Ate, kicked it with the Dirt Rag magazine guys, went for a short cruise, scoped the observatory and settled in for an early night. Then there was a huge thunderstorm! I was dry in a bivy sac, but it was raining so hard it was hitting me through the material. Lots of lightening and thunder. Man, I dislike rain when I have to deal with it, but a thunderstorm in the summer is such a beautiful thing. It stormed about an hour. Then within minutes fireworks went off. Ah, the east coast. Apparently some West Virginia kids think the ride only counts if you party the entire night before. Love it.

Here is the recap in Cycling News and Steevo's account of the day.

Race starts at day break

500 people signed up for the race. How would they corral that? Well, they didn't. They said go and everyone rode away. I stayed way in the back, unsure of where I'd end up, riding rigid single speed and all. With that many riders the first 15 or so miles were tight.

Virginia woods

As I have never raced mountain bikes or ridden one 100 miles, I had no plan. Just ride and stay safe. I love riding single speed. On long dirt or gravel sections packs would form and I was able to stay with the faster geared guys by just tucking and pumping or riding a wheel really tightly, both skills acquired from BMX and road riding, respectively that apparently carry over. Sweet.

Luckily only a few short sections early on were like this

The course had awesome downhill single track. Miles at a time. Nothing like cresting a hill out of breath and cross-eyed and then navigating rocks, ruts, roots, turns, trees and wet leaves at 15 MPH. It was scary and amazing at the same time. Again, I thought I would be passed on these types of sections, but it rarely happened.

During the really fun sections
I didn't want to stop so this is what you get

37th/71 in single speed and somewhere in the top third overall at 10hr 55min. It was a long day, but so much fun. Will road riding seem boring?

At the post-race meal I ran into an old BMX friend I have not seen in many years. That's always fun. Jamie had also just seen Steph Surch another former BMX at a mountain bike race and the same friend I ran into at the Philadelphia marathon in 2006. Crazy.

Then Steevo and I drove 5 hrs to Pittsburgh, I packed, slept a few hours then flew 4 hours back to Los Angeles. Totally worth it. Thanks Steevo and Amy!

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John said...
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