Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cohutta 100 Recap


The Cohutta 100 started off on a great note, as we awoke to pouring rain on our tent at 2:30 in the morning. Luckily, the rain stopped around 6:00 as we were getting up, so we at least started the race dry. I rolled up to the start and got a spot around 30 riders back or so.

1 The race started with a 3 mile paved road climb to mix up the field. By the time everyone who started in front of me started rolling, I was 2 groups back from the Eatough peloton of 15 or 20 people that had formed up ahead. I didn't push it on the climb, but quickly passed the 2 groups and found myself a few hundred yards back of the front group. I should have been more aggressive and bridged the gap, but my brain was in enduro mode. Stupid brain... The brush creek singletrack wasn't in too bad of condition, and I managed to pass a few more gearies in the woods and on the paved descent down to old copper road. After about 30 miles or so, the singletrack ended and the fireroad of forever began.

2 Although people had told me the fireroad was steep, I had just shrugged it off, thinking it couldn't be that bad. I was definitely wrong. Most of the grades I was comfortable enough to spin, but they definitely wore on you as the hills just kept coming. It seemed like you were climbing forever. The "rollers" at the top of the plateau were probably the most painful because they were super steep and just kept coming at you. The fireroad was nice and sticky in most places, so it kind of bogged you down climbing. I wasn't aggressive at all on the descents, as there were lots of slick places and sliding gravel going on coming down. The big descent was a mixed blessing, as my back wasn't enjoying being in the roadie tuck for extended times.

3 After the big descent, there was a nice 10 mile flat section. This would have been awesome on gears, but it was pretty miserable on the SS. All you could really do is spin up, and then get in the roadie tuck and coast until you slowed down enough to get resistance on the pedals and spin back up. It was a weird mountain biking experience of looking over you shoulder hoping to see a geared guy who was going at the right speed so you could latch on and let them pull you up the road without getting dropped. This section ended with a turn off that quickly became two long steep climbs in succession.

4 I was so excited to finally hit the singletrack. The forever fireroad had definitely lost its charm, if it ever had any at all. My legs felt great, and I caught a few more gearies as I made my way up the first singletrack climb. Things were flowing nicely through the quartz loop and another connector heading up to the final descent down thunder rock. By this time in the day, the trail conditions were pristine. After thunder rock, all that remained was the long road section back up to the whitewater center. I tried to hang on to a geared guy who caught me on the road, but was way too spun out.


I rolled over the line with a time of 8:22:08. I was pretty excited about it until I realized that I was only 20 seconds off the podium and exactly four minutes off of Floyd Landis. Beating Floyd on a singlespeed would have been the stuff of legend... I guess there's always Shenandoah or maybe Fool's Gold to give it another shot. My nutrition planning ended up working perfectly, as I felt strong only drinking 7 bottles of Infinit and eating 1 pack of clif bloks for the whole race. I must have looked strong, as no one tried to convince me to eat a sandwich.

The singlespeed ended up being a good choice, and the 32x20 was perfect. I couldn't have pushed anything bigger up those fire road climbs. Overall it didn't really cause massive pain or suffering as expected, so I will probably do alot more of the longer stuff on the Rig. Being so close is definitely going to get me fired up to be more aggressive in these events. I didn't start far enough in the front and missed the lead group in the woods, and then I finished the race like I had more laps to do instead of going XC style and finishing with nothing left. Maybe I'll learn something from the experience...

Congrats to Rachel Apking, Andrew Howe, Jason Stephens, Greg Casteel, and Jen Smelser on their 100 mile finish, and to Phillip Burgess, and Jeremy Chandler on the 65. Jeremy was towing a bob trailer up all those steep hills, so I'm sure he had a fun day. Looks like Mark Morgan had a good 35 race as well, finishing just off the podium.

UPDATE:
Apparantly due to the SS winner supposedly getting extra feeds/support on the course, he has been DQed, which bumps me to 9th in SS. I can now complain about being 15 seconds off the podium instead of 20 seconds... It doesn't really feel any better. Looks like I was around 35th or so in the overall, not too shabby. Hard to tell what really happened, but it's kind of odd to DQ the guy when he won by over ten minutes for getting extra water bottles.

3 Comments:

  1. elizabeth said...
    Wow, sounds like you did a really great job up there! Thanks for numbering the paragraphs, reading is so hard!
    trail topher said...
    Great job man. I'm racing a G2 Rig out in Colorado this year and so far I am loving the bike. Your setup is almost identical to mine. Thanks for the ride report.
    Stephen & Rachel said...
    Thanks for the shout out Dave! I am totally doing the race again next year. I will train more though now that I know what the heck I am up against. I'll see you out on the trail or the road (Tuesday night ride next week)!
    Rach

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