Where did the week go? Last week at this time I was getting ready to float across Lake Michigan to race in the LumberJack 100 and this morning I have a two year old sitting on my lap eating dry Cheerios and Life cereal. Time is just flying by with children and 24-9 just a month away.
For my late summary of last weekend's race I'll start with the weather. A few rain showers leading up to the race and some precipitation the night before made for perfect race conditions on a course that contains 90% or more singletrack. The only pavement present on the Lumberjack course is the mile down Udell Rd at the start. This year the pace was quite the stroll until we turned into the Big M trailhead/parking lot where the pace lit up just before the sand starts and the elevation of the trail shoots up. The first climb just after the lap begins turned into a hike-a-bike after one racer stopped moving forward. I got around quickly before remounting and moving forward to the top. Just like most endurance races for me, my initial few hours are always a suffer fest with this old body that takes a good two hours to warm up and get in a comfortable pace. During the first lap I even questioned my choice of my new double 27/40 Rotor Q-Rings on my bike until finding my legs finally on lap two. What I liked most about the chainrings was the range offered in the 40t ring where I rarely had to shift down into the 27t with the 11-34 cassette in the rear. Almost like a 1x9, but with a bailout option if needed and it was called for a few of the climbs towards the end of the race. I usually have a good pedal stroke and with the Q's I'm hoping to be even more efficient with less stress on my knees and hamstrings with more help getting through the dead spot in my pedal stroke. The bling factor can also be a bonus mentally if you think they make you faster because of the eye candy appeal. As the laps slowly clicked off I stayed consistent and moved from just outside the top twenty to where I finished at 13th overall in the open class(15th overall among all entrants). During the last few laps I had some good company with me that included Eddie O'Dea, Joe Kedrowski, and Brent Steinberg. My last lap was probably my best as I knew that it had to be a sub 2 hour effort to get my goal of finishing in eight hours or less. I left the pit area to start lap four with the clock at exactly 6h 00m knowing that a few of the climbs were going to determine hitting my goal or not. The right amount of calories and a quick stop at the aid station with about eight miles to go for a bottle refill that kept me hydrated and pedaling up all the climbs all the way around what seemed to be the shortest lap of the whole day. My legs surprisingly had a enough fight left in them at the end as I pushed hard over the last brutal climb and rode strong into the finish line to hit my goal with some fifty seconds to spare to break the eight hour mark. It's bad when you finish and your body is just starting to warm up in a race this long which is actually a good thing for me when a big 24hr solo effort is only one month away at 24-9. In all it was a great weekend with Mark finishing his 1st off-road 100 miler and also seeing Pat from our hometown of Jackson Michigan gut it out for one more lap(sorry if we put some pressure on you) to cross the finish line with a well earned ride along with Cameron Kohn from Jackson also having a good ride. Just to finish one of these events is a huge accomplishment for anybody.
A big thanks needs to go out to my friends Shari & Robin Scurr from Michigan for taking care of me in the pits throughout the day. Without their encouragement & support the day would not have gone as well as it did. Also needing to be thanked is Adventure 212, Specialized Bicycles, Ergon Grips(keeping my hands happy and the bike under control all day), Twin 6, Hidden Bay Sports and the Hostel Shoppe.
Last but MOST important is my wife Laura who puts up with a lot of crap to allow me to train for hours and travel for days to race. She is my most important supporter and without her support this guy would not be racing at all. Thanks Laura! Pedal on...