This past weekends adventure took us out East for the first 100 mile running of the Hampshire 100. It hadn’t been since the National Championships was held at Mt Snow, VT that I’d made it back into the area. The course was a little more challenging than I had thought. After reading the race route preview, it seemed like the course would be a lot of jeep roads and rail trails, boy was I wrong about that.
The first 20 miles of the race is relatively tame and a large group stayed together for the most part. It wasn’t until the steep jeep climb that things began to break up. I held it together though and cleaned it to the top. My memory of the climb and slightly after seems pretty foggy, perhaps that’s because I was breathing through my eye balls trying to keep up. Soon after, we hit the powerline climb. I managed to ride most of it, but there were a few sections I had to run. I was glad it was over. I was riding with Zach Morey and Kevin Carter when I crested the top. The pace seemed manageable. Zach was riding the trails a lot better than I was, but I could power out the flatter less techy sections, so we were working well together.
I managed to get away, and for a long time, I was by myself, battling it out with the demons on what seemed like an endless session of techy, rocky singletrack and rutted out ATV trails. It seemed like the trail would send you through a few hundred yards of slow twisty rocky singeltrack, then throw you up a super steep granny gear pitch. Just repeat that over and over. The trails were slow and wet, and it didn’t look they got much use. At one point I remember walking through waste deep water with my bike on my back thinking this was insane! I remember passing Jeremiah with a flat. He fixed it and passed me right back. He was gone in a flash, and I couldn’t even stay with him for a minute. It was then that I realized how terribly slow I was riding this techy terrain.
Later on near the end of the 1st lap, Zach caught back up along with a few others including a very young guy named Dylon. They passed me while I was in full on inner demon battle mode, and I had zero moral to chase, so I let them go. I almost wanted to quit at the lap point, but I knew there was a long stretch of rail trails that I had a chance bridge on, so I kept moving forward. I grabbed my bottles from Janet (thanks Janet), lubed my chain, and I was on my way. I was feeling 20 times better on the roads and trails and went from inner demon battle mode to full on trucker mode. I chase down Dylon, and later on during the cut-off route, I caught Zach. With John Schottler bridging up, we had a group of 3. I was feeling good, so at one the last aid stations, I powered through and went on alone in an attempt to grab the 7th spot. The trails seemed to flow much better the 2nd time through, and I felt like I was riding them a lot better, but not better than Schottler. He caught me near the end, and I narrowly pulled off 8th overall. Congrats to Christian for the win, and everyone else who finished. It was a tough course.