Rolling into downtown Loudonville, it seemed we were almost late and lined up on the sideline near the front of the huge gathering preparing to ride out of town. Churning up the hill leading to the city limits was tough but I was pleased to be holding the wheel of my nearby competitors.
I skipped the 1st aid station and spent the remaining single track holding my position and focusing on smooth riding to keep my lead on the rider I could hear negotiating the trail a few turns behind me. Soon there was a ripping section that ended in hard left and a serious wall of washed out fall line trail. After hiking up this monster, I rode through the horse trail sections of the race, thankful that it was not a soaked as the last time I rode here in 2010.
Finally the trail gave way to road and gravel and it was a nice relief so I tried to drain my last bottle and realized that this freebie bottle I got at some race was terrible, I could barely get anything out!
After a bit I passed under a ranch style entrance to a farm and soon was at aid 2. Volunteers hooked me up and I was on my way in a flash. Next there was some fun double track that connected back to the country roads. At one point I passed a sign for a castle, odd. Back on the open road there were some strong winds and a steep gravel climb just after a farm had some strong smells to boot.
The single track just before aid 3 was a lot of fun, but tough because my legs were shot. I enjoyed some of the short techy bits that took my mind off pedaling. There are two hills in that single track section and I remembered from previous racing here that you see aid 3 only to plunge back into the woods for one more section of trails. At least aid three had cold coke and great volunteers. Then, just after aid 3 there is a green monster of a climb. It was not as bad as it looked, but the singe track afterwards was more up than down.
Back on rolling road and gravel, my legs were shot. Some friends catch up to me and I tell them I am “in the pain cave”. I rolled with them for a bit and climbed up and rode along a park that had Frisbee golf and horse stables. It was followed by some very nice single track rolling out to the road. After passing large barn with “chew mail pouch tobacco” painted on it, I got started on the long rails to trail passage. I came across a strange wedding group on the bridge, and kept on rolling. My knees started to hurt bad and I battled this problem until I finally popped back out into a small town and aid 4 where I scored some Motrin.
Following some single track there was a long suspension bridge that was a bit scary to tide across. Later, while rolling along the Mohican river I saw white water rafters and I knew I was getting close.
Finally I popped back out on the road and back into the state park. It was time to get busy and enjoy the last section of single track. The trails re-invigorated me and I gained a position motoring through the trail. I was surprised to take a left turn into the Mohican campground and I knew I was so close. I weaved through the campsites and rode the last bit of downhill and crossed through the RV park to the last 1/2 mile or so of paved access road. I looked back just in time to see the racer I had gapped in the single track making an attack, I had a pretty solid lead on him but shifted in afterburner just in case. There was a big crowd on bleachers and I pulled a nose wheelie as I crossed the finish and was surprised to be handed a growler, instead of a pint glass. Sweet! Then I saw more friends and soon hear the cheer of "Assman!!"
I had a tough day of racing and really fought through the pain on the rails to trail, but in the end, it is always worth it. I was pretty happy with my finish time of , almost 2 hours faster than my previous best here at Mohican.
I also made a video from my GoPro footage: