Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NUE Stop #5 Wilderness 101

Sometimes just getting to the finish line of a race is a challenge. I swear the Wilderness 101 had it out for me this year. Michelle and I headed down to State Colleg PA early Friday morning with high hopes of bettering my 6th place finish at Breck 100 for the NUE points series. W101 is one of the rockier more technical courses in the series. Add 2” of rain the day before, and you’ve got slippery rocks and nasty mud. The race started out at the typical 7AM. A neutral rollout till we get to the first climb, then the pace immediately went up. We blasted up the first climb, and low and behold, there was an entire peloton behind us of maybe 20 riders, including all of the favorites. It stayed like this for a while until we passed aid station 1. My legs were feeling great, so I decided to try a little attack up the rocky ascent. Soon before the top, we had it whittled down to the top contenders. We rounded the summit, and began the fast rocky descent. This is where the first mechanical happened. Flat tire. All my efforts were for nothing as I watched rider after rider fly by. I fixed the tire and I was off in pursuit of the leaders. I had worked myself all the way back up to 9th at aid 2 and as I was nearing aid station 4 I had 7th. Things were going good and I was getting myself back into the race. Then at the top of the singletrack climb, I broke my chain. It took me forever to fix it. I finally got it fixed, only to rip my derailleur hanger off on the following descent. At that point I figured my race was over. I was starting to lose motivation, but I quickly got to work on the single speed conversion. I had to stop a few times, and bum a spare link from Ron Sanborn, but eventually I got the chain line just right. Rolling into aid 4, I really thought long and hard about quitting as Michelle was there with the van ready to go. But a lingering motivation to finish kept me moving forward. I finished the last 25 miles on a converted single speed and even managed to pick off a few more spots. Overall I was happy I toughed it out and decided to finish the race. Goal #1 at every one of these 100 milers is to just finish, and I’m happy to at least have accomplished that goal. Next up is Ore to Shore… the first round of the Midwest Triple Crown. I’m PUMPED!