Well... sort of OK. I'm still a little stiff and sore. 300 racers came out to Northern Michigan this past weekend to test themselves for round #3 of the NUE 100 miler series. The weather was great and the course was fast with the 3 lap format and some two track added in this year.
Once we hit the singletrack, things started to heat up as Christian took a pull up the gradual climb. Soon after, Jeff took over and continued to push the pace. Then I took a couple digs on the two track sections, followed by Derek Graham setting a blistering pace through Road Monkey. I was feeling pretty good, then that's where my luck ran out. I could feel my front tire going soft on me. For a brief moment I thought about just hitting it with the C02, but then memories from Cohutta crept in and I decided to put a tube in it. It was a pretty smooth fix, and I was off to regain as many positions as possible. Near the end of the 1st lap I rolled up on Derek Graham in which he had suffered the same fate I had. I tossed him the rest of my Big Air cannister and wished him luck.
By the end of the 1st lap, I was back into the top 5 and feeling strong riding with Bells superstar Steve "McDreamy" Dempsey. I continued to push the pace and worked my way all the way back up to 2nd place! I heard Scott Chambers yell out "Jeff's 8 minutes up, Christian's right there!" I worked my way around Christian, but there was no shaking him completely. He rose from the dead and came flying around me.
At this point I tried to ralley and make a charge, but the hard chase after the flat left me a little gassed. The heat of the mid day sun began to take its tole and I was feeling uncomfortable. I kept pushing as hard as I could just trying not to redline. Then sure enough, Derek Graham came flying by me like a torpedo on the two track near the end of the 3rd lap. I latched on for a moment, then my body decided it didn't want any part of that.
I went into total survival mode on the last few climbs. A quick glance down the trail on the last climb and I saw the Aussie bridging. I threw everything I had left into the final 2 miles and crossed the line in 4th. Not quite the place I was looking for, but it was my best effort and I'm happy. So that's a 3rd, a 2nd, and a 4th. Not looking too bad so far in the series.
A big thanks goes out to my in-laws Dan and Sandy for the awesome hospitality and volunteer work. Well done! As always, thanks to the sponsors as well. The full suspension SF100 was a real treat on the lumpy course. Next up is a couple marathon races right here in Michigan, to prepare the mid season surge for Wilderness and Fool's Gold. Thanks for reading!