This weeks adventure brings us to middle Ohio for round 3 of the National Ultra Endurance Series. With fast singletrack and ample rolling dirt rds, this race is typically a good course for me. Throw in the cooler temps, and the conditions were perfect. The short 3-1/2 hr drive to the venue was a welcome change from the epic road trips of the first two rounds.
Thanks to Rochester Bike Shop, I decided to utilize my new Superfly hardtail for this race. I figured it would help with all the dirt rds and the agonizing “buggy trail”. It proved to be a good choice. No mechanicals to speak of, although my back is feeling it today. The race got off to a quick start with the hill climb prime just outside of town. Native Michigander Jordan Wakely lit up the sprint and took home the extra $200. I decided to lay low near the front and save my effort for the shoot. I managed to be first into the shoot. The trails were dialed. Not much mud to speak of, which was surprising with the rain the day before. The opening climbs strung things out nicely.
As we made our way into the Mohican Singletrack I found myself struggling a little to keep up with the pace. The hardtail had me bouncing all over the roots. I decided to lay low and let a few guys go. I figured I could catch up with all the dirt rds later on. Christian Tanguy turned on the afterburners in the remaining singletrack and built himself up a 12min lead. I found myself working with Kevin Carter, Chris Peariso, and Jordan Wakely. Kevin kept a nice smooth pace as we motored along. Sure enough, out on the dirt rds, we swept up Brandon Draugelis, and Rob Spring, but Tanguy was long gone.
We developed a pace line on the dirt rds out to Mohican Wilderness. I was feeling good, so I decided I would try and break away on the climb out of aid 3. I had a small gap near the top just as we made our way back out onto the dirt rds. I dug in hard and found myself alone, free to open up the motor on the remaining dirt rds.
I kept getting the time splits from people out on the trail. I’d hear 5min, then 4min, then at the end of the buggy trail in aid 4, my wife Michelle yelled 2min. There was a chance! It kept me motivated. But, it was too little, too late. Once I started hitting the steeper climbs near the end, I could feel myself slowing down a bit and paying for my efforts. Christian was going to win. Perhaps if one of the others had broken away and joined me, we would have had enough horsepower to pin it back.
Even though I was tiring, I managed to keep the motor running and held off the chase pack to finish in 2nd. I was really happy with the performance. No crashes, no mechanicals, and no wrong turns. It was a clean race, and I felt good the whole way through. I managed to take about 30min off my time from last year, so that’s a good sign for the upcoming Lumberjack right here in my home state of Michigan.