Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2014 Pisgah Stage Race

The pounding my body was taking was starting to piss me off. Frustration was the dominant emotion flowing out of my core as I fought my way through each rock strewn switch back nearing the big rock garden on the Pilot Mountain descent. I took a wide line on one of the last switch backs and a menacing Rhododendron grabbed hold of my left hand and I flopped hard to the ground. I cursed… a lot… remounted, and hurtled myself towards the rock garden.

Scene from Blue Ridge Adventure's awesome event videos
I sped by film maker Eric Crews who was shooting video of a chunky section and wondered if he heard my tirade from just up the hill. No matter, the rock garden was at hand and oddly enough seemed to be the easiest part of Pilot for me this day. I was actually looking forward to the few miles of gravel grind that would lead me to the finish.

I’ll bet no one totally bombs and shreds Pilot. I’ve raced it several times, some much better than this day. Each time it’s a duality of attack and survival. It’s like a boxing match where you cannot KO your opponent, but you have no choice to be fully in the fight..

Scene from Blue Ridge Adventure's awesome event videos
I know of at least one racer’s bike that blew out a rear shock on the Pilot descent.

My heal was throbbing, and I knew I had earned a fresh trail tattoo on my right shoulder that would come into its own a few days later. I felt a bit defeated as I rolled through the timing gate at the end of the Enduro segment. You gotta respect the mountain.

Stage 4 of the 2014 Pisgah Stage Race was nearing the end for me and  through the fog racing a I smiled while gasping for air as my thoughts drifted back to earlier parts of the stage. It had been an awesome stage race so far and I tucked in tight and pedaled for all I was worth. I craned my neck looking back at each major straight to see how hard I would have to fight to keep my 4th place position, a theme I had gotten used to this week with my inauguration to the stiff competition in the 40+ masters category.

We had started from the Cradle of Forestry earlier in the morning. I’m not sure how many racers knew, but there is a tree on this site that was grown from a seed that has visited the moon on an Apollo mission with an astronaut.

Scene from Blue Ridge Adventure's awesome event videos

B Rad pushed out hard from the start and was chasing the pace Subaru. The race pack turned left in chase onto the gravel and soon were throwing ourselves into the climb up Club Gap. Black Mountain’s steep and rocky side was tough because the trail is pretty ‘dirty’. When I finally got on top and started rolling the trail towards Buckhorn, my front end took a vacation in a turn that was traction challenged. Somehow I saved it, yelled out with a big hoot, and got right back on the gas, braaap.

I came across Evan Plews, who was hobbling along with his bike. Lacerated knee… that sucks. Then I got ready for the steep ‘stair’ section that ended this portion of Black. I slowed a bit and plopped down it much easier than I had thought I would. Dropper post rock!

Soon I was rolling down Buckhorn in my biggest gear and caught up with Aaron Albright and then we caught Garth. I took the lead and we sped down the rest of Buckhorn and South Mills River towards the slipperiest suspension bridge I’ve nancied across all year.

My front derailleur refused to budge as we started up Squirrel Gap and I had to kick it…to drop into my little chain ring. I was relieved to have the smaller gear on the 1st steep and relentless section of Squirrel.

During Stage 1 I had felt great and really attacked Squirrel gap well coming from the opposite direction. This day the trail was much wetter and there was 3 days of racing in my legs. I rode well and finally caught Garth near the end of Squirrel, just after Jon Stang had passed me. Jon was riding very well this day, just like he had been all week. I managed to keep him in my sights as we zoomed down Laurel and Bradley creek trails.

As I closed in on the top of the climb on FS 5015, I thought it odd that Garth had not passed me yet. When he did, I asked if he had gotten a flat. I think he thought it was giving him shit, but I was serious. He rode off into the distance and flashed me the bird. If only I could have mustered more strength to pester him on the techy bits of Laurel Mountain.

Climbing Laurel was fairly enjoyable, very nice temps and some cool foggy mountain scenery. That pleasantness disappeared during the hike a bike. Just when you think the hiking’s over….well that’s just when it really begins. Finally I arrived at the Enduro section start, but was bummed that it began with a fair bit of climbing made harder by my thoroughly spent legs.

At last! The descent started and I discovered my dropper was stuck in the fully extended position. I fiddled with it while ripping down the top section. Not an advisable thing to do there because it’s hard just to hold onto the bike through that speedy chunk on top. At last, the post ceased to be disobedient and I entered the ring with the Pilot Mountain descent… and so it went.

The gravel seemed to just keep going. Surely this was the slight rise followed by the right hand turn that would lead to the pavement…I had stopped checking behind me a few turns ago. My legs were giving all they would. I don’t know if I could have pushed harder, even if a coked up black bear had been in pursuit. It had been a tough day, but overall my race had gone pretty well. Sure, I went a few rounds on Pilot, but some days you take a punch or two.

My race house mates and I stopped by the Barbecue joint where our Australian import ignored Carolina BBQ tradition and ordered a hamburger and fried pickles. Cheesus and I dispatched some Barbecue platters while B Rad did the same while also taking fire from a couple of Torpedoes from the Sierras. We noticed an odd juxtaposition provided by the cute stuffed pigs and cartoon drawings colored in by artistic little carnivores. It would be like Chick Fil A replacing the Cow campaign with Chickens saying… eat more chicken. I guess you’re the butcher or you’re the pig. The barbecue was delicious, and of course there were a few obligatory Pulp Fiction quotes.

Next up was a stop at the Oscar Blues brewery where we grabbed a couple of pitchers and sat our tired buts down for a few pints. It didn’t take long, but soon our table was flanked by other groups. Packs of Bro’s stoked about their rides, EPIC trails, and no doubt some Sick Edits, Brah!... Fist bumps abounded.

The Dale’s Pale Ale was great, but the day was quickly departing and I had a bike to clean, maintenance tasks, clothes to wash, wounds to lick, and beer at the house... all Bro free. Cheesus and I stopped at the Ingles market and picked up some much needed re-supply.

We returned to the house we were renting, greeted by the eclectic décor that B Rad described as “leaving no culture unmolested”. Claire thought she saw a weird bust of Jesus popping out of the wall, but realized it was the face of a creepy polar native seemingly birthed through a strange furry apparatus. In her room there was a wall hanging with a figure… whose eyes seemed to follow you around the room. I have no idea how she slept in there!

Somehow we seemed destined to run into Brevard’s finest. A day or two before while we were eating a late lunch, some odd young ladies pestered us trying to sell cleaning products door to door. An hour or so later, the cops showed up and were escorting them out of the neighborhood.

Garchiapet’s wacky GPS phone had gone missing and she was convinced someone had stolen it from her car parked in front of the house. So… she called the police after the insurance company told here a police report was needed to cover the phone with insurance. In a Flight of the Concords style of dialog, she told the police she wanted to ‘get a report’ and they asked her when she had filed one… “ No, I need to Get a report because someone stole my phone” …classic. Later the phone’s mysterious disappearance was solved, fortunately before the local constabulary had dispatched to our temporary residence to get a report.

Mayor McCheese and I had also taken in some local flair at the aptly named Food Matters Market. The sandwich lady running the take out operation was keenly efficient and to the point. Like a carving knife… she was all business. I made sure to know my bread and cheese selections after witnessing Cheesus’s interactions with the curt maiden of cold cuts and Panini. Next, a completely different interaction graced me in the checkout line. I proudly waited to buy a six pack of Green Man IPA. The fella in front of me said I should go ahead of him because I was young and had things to do. He then explained that he had been speculating about how many times his heart had beat over the last 92 years. I was grateful for his kindness and patience… and he let his big heart beat a little bit extra so I would not have to wait… while “lightning”, the gabby checkout clerk, queried him on all his purchase selections.

There were a number of Bee incidents for racers during the week. Fortunately I escaped without a single sting. I had my EpiPens with me the whole time, but I’d much rather leave them in my jersey pocket, and not test the effectiveness of my venom therapy... at least not during the stage race.

Saturday morning arrived all too soon and we headed over to the Brevard Music Center for the last stage. Farlow Gap was beckoning and I recalled the long bumpy ride in a Cheese Wagon from last year. I took care not to drink too much water before getting on the bus. It’s funny how just riding in a school bus can make you feel like a kid again.

Hitting the climb up to Farlow really smacks you in the face on day 5. It’s long and fairly boring, but there are some nice views if you can pull your head up from the rigors of climbing. I charged near the top even though my legs were not in agreement. Nabbing a few positions afforded me a nice clear entrance rolling into Farlow. I was able to ride more than I have before, but got unclipped and discombobulated about ¾ of the way down the main rocky trail steep, where it seemed the mountain itself had vomited.

Then Farlow opens up a bit with some fast, steep, and challenging trail that reminds me of riding in Squamish BC. It is ride able, but you need to commit.

The majority of hike a bike sections were over and lower Farlow’s fast, technical, and surprisingly pedaly single track, takes you to the steep stairs, switchbacks, drops, and rocky trail that ultimately crosses on the top of a waterfall. I walked the waterfall. Anyone ride it?

Daniel Ridge was up next and I was a bit distracted by camera flashes while trying to float over a bunch of rocks and roots at speed. However, the photos posted by Icon Media Asheville were well worth it! Near the end of Daniel Ridge, I hesitated and walked a silly steep little hump and blown out whoop dip. I got heckled by a spectator, but like Kenny says…“You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em”.

Passing by the Aid station I felt a little guilty as I dropped my water bottle like a torpedo from a dive bomber, hollering about which bag to please put it in. Sorry fellas, race brain was not thinking to clear.

Upon turning right into the Fish Hatchery, I took care speeding towards the next double track climb. There were a lot of moving cars, people, and non-race signage everywhere, all in a whirl of activity.

The double track climb up to Bracken Mountain just never seemed to end. I pushed a solid pace but was saving some braaap for the Enduro segment at the end. But Rick Hatfield from Michigan had other ideas… and soon I was battling with him over 4th place. It was tough, but the battle certainly made the last couple of  miles of double track go by faster! Some chain woes stuck his bike, and I punched it towards the final descent down Bracken Mountain.

I declined the whiskey hand up as I rolled through the Enduro start. I was going to need all my focus to try and win this Enduro segment! My ride down Bracken went well and I rallied through much of the trail. In the middle of the segment there was a moderate, but unwelcome climb. I gasped for air, looking a fool,  as I passed by a course marshal. Soon enough, I was heading back down and into the pedaly blaze red section of Bracken. I left my dropper post up because I wanted to maximize my pedaling power and still stay efficient. I dropped it back down for the final blue blazed decent and put on full steam, balls out, till I reached the finish.

Later at the awards dinner, I had reviewed the results and was bummed that to not have gotten a podium spot… Then later, I heard someone announcing, “… from Richmond, Virginia… racing for Design Physics…”  Hey, what the?  “...Jeff Plassman” I was sort of dumfounded. I walked up to the podium and asked Heather if I was supposed to get on the top step?… I was! Finally! I got on the Podium at the Pisgah Stage Race for the 40+ Enduro Win for the Stage, and it sure felt great after 5 days of hard charging.

After a great dinner, awesome awards ceremony, and plenty of good libations, the pie eating contest got under way… The skinniest volunteer up there decided to take off his shirt in an odd display. So… one by one all the racers who were volunteered by the MC Tyler Crotts, came to the pie table… through peer pressure, or some odd ritual energy that had entered the room … all went bare chested and commenced pie eating… on one side of the table kids eating pies, and on the other side… beefcake! It was like a train wreck, you just had to watch as it unfolded, no matter the cost to your psyche. Some things can never be unseen.

Popeye joined us for the festivities as well. He was just one of the many awesome folks guiding us through the stages and just plain taking care of business. One of my favorite things about Popeye was that he never seemed to break character, no matter what the situation was.

I graduated to the 40+ masters racing category this year. There was a lot of heat in our category. I traded paint with Garth Prosser, Bruce Myer, and Jon Stang all week. These guys are all class acts and super-fast to boot. Some days I could get my wheels out in front for a while, but they always reeled me in. The three of them had a battle royal going all week, often finishing within a minute or so of each other. Other 40+ stand outs that kept me honest were John Kuhn and Rick Hatfield.

Blue Ridge Adventures really knows how to put on a stage race. The routes are planned very well, marked clearly, and staffed by a great crew. Not to mention the pre-stage dinners and happy hours where Todd guides you through the upcoming stages and lends valuable knowledge and advice. There’s an awesome printed race guide for each stage, top tube/handle bar elevation profiles, stocked aid stations, friendly volunteers, and incredible race videos. All of these made for a cycling adventure in Pisgah that should be on everyone’s bucket list! The Pisgah Stage Race is one of the best ways you can do it. Put it on your list, and I guarantee you be glad you did!

Icon Media Asheville


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Pisgah Stage Race - Stage 1

Man there is a lot of heat in the 40+ category this year! Garth, Wes, John, Bruce...all super fast!

I'm hoping I've got a chance to touch the wood today...that's stand on the podium in common parlance. It's gonna be tough with all these fast guys though.

Here is a video recap:

This morning at 9:00am we kicked off the 1st stage of this years Pisgah Stage Race. Thankfully a certain Toronto team was not here to force a sprint on the road
prologue. A nice civilized warm up on the highway to Turkey Pen Road.

Turkey Pen came soon enough and that's when things get real. We charged the gravel towards the 1st descent. The 1st descent is no joke with water bars, some small
drops, and classic Pisgah character. I bombed down it and gained positions I had lost on the gravel. Soon we crossed a suspension bridge and started up Mullinax which led to a lengthy and technical ride on one of the tightest trails in Pisgah. I really like riding Squirrel Gap in this direction.

I gained a few spots on the last 3rd of Squirrel chasing down Bruce. At the turn for the climb up Horse Cove, Popeye gave directions... and I ascended.

Garth Passed me back on Funnel top and I would not see him again till I finished.

A quick stop at the aid station and I hammered some water on the way to the climb up Buckhorn. I knew I needed extra hydration to avoid the cramps on the hike a bike
up Black Mountain. Buckhorn was long and mild as far as climbs go, but the real punishment awaited on Black. I sure which I could hike faster...

Finally, after what seemed like an endless series of hike a bike sections, the real challenge began. The descent on upper black is totally blown out. There is a 3 foot ravine with "holes within holes" (Brad quote) and I wiggled down as much as I bombed. I smacked my wide bars and almost bought the farm but managed to save it. This is one descent that I think everyone is gad when it's finished.

Now the last section of the Stage! Up and over lower Black Mountain, and it's a timed enduro section. The short but steep climbing section is killing me because I know I'm losing a lot of time here. I'm just trying to keep my legs from cramping.

Finally, the big descent down Lower Black and home to the finish. What a fun day of riding.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Prologue - Pisgah Stage

Adventure Awaits


There is always something appealing to me about a road trip. I think a lot of people also share in the same need for setting out on some type of adventure.So it begins as my latest adventure unfolds with the start of my 4th Pisgah Stage Race.

I've been completely consumed (obsessed even) with getting my gear and bikes ready for this event. Some of the tasks are routine maintenance that I've put off too long, and others are just part of prepping for a race. Re-tensioning wheels, truing rims, fixing those nagging cable problems, replacing wheels bearings I found were bad, and … well the list goes on.

There are also some nonstandard items such as testing and setting up one of my race bikes as a Franken bike. 650b in the rear, and I grafted a 29er front end on for Pisgah. It actually works pretty darn well, much better than the whole 26er with a 650b front wheel escapade I tried for a couple of years. Oh yeah, that's 27.5 in street terms...God bless Pacenti!

There were other experiments as well, such as inverting my front shifter to the right side so I can have my precious dropper post switch on the left. Other things were ghetto rigged as well. No integrated down tube protector on my Turner... Pisgah's got some big ass loose rocks, and I felt it would be pure neglect if I did not develop some solution. I fabricated one out of some vinyl floor baseboard material using a cardboard pattern of the down-tube shape I prototyped.

I spent some hours organizing my ramshackle assortment of bike tools into a respectable mechanics kit and also organized the cleaning tub and spare parts bin for two bikes and five days of stage acing. Like most bike racers, I'm my own mechanic, medic, and coach.

What about 5 days of race kit, spare shoes, spare gloves, did I pack those extra cleats? What about spare tires, do I have enough tubes, was my saddle this high last race? Crap that cable is frayed… oh these pedals need grease… now I’m trimming the steer tube that I’ve been putting off… Uh oh, that rear tires got a sketchy looking sidewall scuff…does that brake need bleeding, Arrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!

Countless hour prepping and stressing so I can get it to all go smoothly, at least that's the plan. We'll see.

So finally, Fri night before I leave, the car is all packed, and I'm finally ready! I'm so relieved to have the last week and a half of prepping done.

I watch Ace Ventura Pet Detective, drink beer, laugh my ass off, and sleep soundly knowing the adventure starts in 6 hours...

Ramble On

5:00 am and it's time to get up, eat breakfast, feed the bottomless beasts I call cats, and bug out! The light from the sunrise bathes Richmond and I watch the skyline of my hometown fade in the rear view mirror.

The road trip is special because it's a transition to the non-normal, the new and uncertain adventure. Even though events are well planned, you never know what will happen. It’s different every time, both in the good and the not so awesome. World class stage racing like the PMBSR is cool because, you will make new friends, from all over the USA and the World. You will also find unexpected challenges and often transcendence.

Early into the drive, the old playlist I dug up has me going sentimental. I burned this one in 2011 when I was travelling back and forth to Huntington WV while my wife was teaching at Marshall University.

I learned that year of travelling 6 hours one way, back and forth from Richmond to Huntington every other weekend, what this saying really means: "You don't really know where you’re from, till you leave it all behind." You see, there was a very real possibility I would have been moving there and leaving RVA and everything I know behind. Those long drives in the middle of the night made me realize how much I love my home town, how much I love my wife, how much the everyday means... and how easy it is to get bogged down in the familiar grind we all get accustomed too and forget how good we have it.

I seek adventure to escape the mundane and be in transition. Transition creates an instability that's exciting, dangerous, and a valuable counterpoint. Transition helps highlight the good in the cyclical every day and provides an opportunity we all have to transition and explore our world.

Mo Bikes, Mo Problems
After arriving in Brevard and getting my campsite established, I head over to Dupont to spin the legs out and identify any bike set up issues. The 1st loop I make of burnt mountain left me feeling a little insecure of my set up. I try different settings, realize it's probably me to some extent, try both of my bike out, and ultimately discover my head game was a big part of it.

Having two different bikes to ride can be very handy, but it can also mess with you if they are not identical. Riding downhill fast in Pisgah will often have you riding close to the intersection of control and not control. That’s when subtle differences in how different bikes handle really become noticeable.

It’s the People you meet on the Way

While getting my whips dialed at Dupont, I passed a group of guys a few times on the climbs and the descents. We traded places, and I zoomed by a couple of guys as they let me by or were waiting for one of their riding buddies to catch up. I was focused on how my bike was riding and did slow down to chat. Sorry guys, I was on my own little mission.

As I cleaned up at the car, the three riders rolled up and were parked right next to me. We said hi to each other, and then chatted a bit about the ride. They were a cool bunch of guys from Grenville SC. They offered me a beer and we exchanged bike stories and descriptions of riding in our home towns.

I was really glad to have stopped focusing so much on my own ride and have the chance to relax. That’s the thing about riding mountains bikes. You are almost always guaranteed to meet some really cool and friendly people in just about any corner of the world where there is mountain biking.

Local Flavor

The next day I spent some time pre-riding / hiking a trail that turns into a huge ravine. I figured out a line for the last 1/3 or the section, but determined first 2/3 are basically not to be ridden, at least not by me. Later I found out this part of the course had been changed and would not be included. Oh well, I was satisfied that I figured out the line I did anyway.

Afterwards I traveled over to Asheville for the best Shrimp and Grits to be had in the south at Sunny Point Café. Mmmmmm….so good.

Next up was a stop at the local bike shops. Sycamore Cycles always has the gear I need. Then I went over to The Hub and caught up with some folks I’ve met before down here over a nice cold beer.

Home away from Home

I checked into the house we have rented out for the week and got settled in. The décor is an "eclectic mix… leaving no culture unmolested" (thanks for the awesome quote Brad!).  

It’s also a great place to stage from for the race.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014 Shenandoah Mountain 100

Damn, I’m sweating already just getting my bike and my kit ready. It’s soooo humid. I’m fussing with the GoPro, but today it’s just not going to make it. I’ve had to make some last minute adjustments to my seat mounted tool bag and tube strategy and I burned up all my time. No warm up, but really, that’s probably just fine.

It’s always good to say hi to all my friends at the start line. Having a relaxing chat with good racing buddies is much better than being stressed out about strategy and the like. I forgot some of my food, Doh! No worries, no time to change right before the start.

We’re off! Alright everyone, let’s just get to the pavement with no dramatics.

Conditions were much drier this year, and when we started climbing festival this was evident. There are a few small rock sections that folks spun out on last year, but this time the climb was going a lot smoother. I settled in behind a few riders on Narrowback then had a lot of fun chasing another rider on the upper part of the tower trails. We were having fun hitting the sweet table top jumps and railing the corners.

I settled in with a pace line on Tillman and picked the pace up a bit as we headed for the paved road section leading to briery branch dam. I was getting some low back pain and wondered if I had set my saddle up correct when I swapped sea posts the other day.

Lynn trail was nice and dry, and in great shape after all the awesome trail wok to get it ready for the race. I was pleased, having managed to clean pretty much the whole climb. The secret to Lynn is to not push too hard in any one spot, but to take it at a light to moderate pace, and then crush the ridgeline and descent on Wolf Ridge.

I rode the majority of Tillman back to Aid 2 solo. I tried to pace line with another rider but he was just a bit stronger than I could go. So after a couple of pulls I popped off. However, I knew the pet cemetery area was coming up were Tillman heads mostly downhill back towards aid 2. Another pace line invited me to join and soon I was rolling into Aid 2 with a fast group.

I called out for my bag and the awesome volunteers had it to me in short order. They always take such great care of us racers!

The climb up Hankey was a sharp contrast to the first to two climbs. Basically an “easy” gravel climb instead of single track. I always find single track easier because it takes my mind off the toil. Another racer voiced some solid advice that I’ve also come to learn over the past few years. Ride the grass between the double track if it’s not too high. Usually it’s a bit smoother and less sandy than the mild double track ruts.

OK, so now my lower back was hurting more than it should, I backed off the pace a bit and that helped, but I needed to go a little slower than I wanted to.

Eventually Hankey Mountain’s rolling gravel gave way to a very steep grassy climb towards Dowels Draft. A super strong single speeder rode passed me in one spot laying down the Watts. The rest of Hankey went well and I rallied down Dowel’s Draft snagging a pass here and there and then ripped down to the final set of jumps into aid 3.

Ahhhh… 250… I always cramp up a bit on the road section of 250. Sure I play switch foot on Dowel’s but I always cramp a bit here. Nothing a little diesel fumes from a dually hauling ass a few feet off your left shoulder can’t cure. Get R Done!

OK, everyone needs to thank Bryan Wright for clearing a sweet line in the rocks that cross the creek just before the climb up Bridge Hollow. It’s super sweet to ride that bit!

Bridge Hollow is a tough climb, but if your patient, you can clean the whole thing. Definitely a case where a bit of tortoise works in your favor. I’ve seen a lot of rabbits charge this and then fall over on techy bits. Fortunately, I had a good run, with just a minor dab in one of the rock gardens.

The descent down Braley’s was fast, dry, and loose. Good stuff. One of my favorite descents in Virginia, just watch that last right.

 On the next bit of trail an unfortunate rider crashed a bit in front of me and I believe he broke his nose. He was walking along OK, in some pain no doubt, but he indicated he would be alright. So I rolled to aid 4 got my drops, and gave them a heads up about the injured rider.

Soon I passed some oncoming racers from aid 3 and set to knocking out the pavement and gravel leading to the death climb. A couple of guys on road bikes passed me, but declined to trade whips for this section.

I don’t think it’s the “death climb” that gets me. I always have trouble on the deceptive climb up the fire road leading to the death climb. It doesn’t look bad, but it always seems to punch me square in the nuts. This day was no different, and I felt awful as I got into the climb to aid 5. That’s when I knew something had to give.

If you can’t change the player, change the game.

So I stopped, took a break to eat some cliff blocks, and drank some water.
I knew I did not have in me what I needed to push the pace I wanted to...I wanted to stop.  

So I changed my goals away from a good finish time, got my mind into party pace, and shifted into ‘fahgettaboudit’.

The rest of the climb up to aid 5 was much more pleasant now. Sure, a steady parade of riders was passing me, and it was fine. I’ve done enough of these 100 milers not to get too serious. I mean, I still wanted to crush it, but I had a new reality to deal with, and going fast was just not in cards at that moment. I looked at wild flowers as I creeped up to aid 5 and dreamt of PBR hand-ups. I spent some time at aid 5 and got some much needed supplies. The rest of the endless double track climbs and grassy fields went by OK and I got my spirit and my legs back just as the Chesnutt descent began. I had a lot of fun attacking the loose and rocky turns and chutes. I crossed my fingers mentally a few times as I felt my rear rim ting off the off rock or three. Stan’s No Tubes baby, tube less is the only way to go!

Freshly invigorated, I skipped aid 6 and powered the pavement back for the second climb up Hankey. I made it up better than I thought I would, but not as fast as I wanted to. A fellow racer was holding my tail as we zoomed down Shaffer Hollow. I enjoyed having someone to keep me honest on the last descent and felt pretty good when he revealed that he was on a 6 six inch travel bike. That’s a lot of bike for 100 miles!

I rolled a section of the last bit of gravel with an SM100 legend, Ramponi. He was on his trip-cycle, and you know he was on it All Day!

Finally, the bomber section through the camp ground led way to the best finish of any hundred out there. It’s like rolling into heaven, with cheers all around, all your great friends, and a well-earned sense of self accomplishment and triumph.

Thank you so much to Chris Scott, everyone at Shenandoah Mountain Touring, and all the incredible volunteers!

Not my best finish time at the SM100, but not my worst either. I came in with a smile, and really that’s the only result that matters.


Oh Yeah, some highlights from the results:

Open Men
1          Jeremiah Bishop
2          Sam Koerber
3          Brian Schworm
4          Keck Baker
5          Cameron Cogburn
6          Gered Dunne
8          Ryan Steers
9          Lee Hauber
10        Joe Fish

Open Women
1          Selene Yeager
2          Laura Hamm
3          Kaysee Armstrong
4          Trish Koerber
5          Carla Williams
6          Linda Shin
7          Anne Pike
8          Misty Tilson
9          Simona Vincenciova
10        Denelle Grant

Single Speed
1          Gordon Wadsworth
2          Gerry Pflug
3          Ernesto Marenchin
4          Daniel Rapp
5          Donald Powers
6          Dennis Baldwin
7          Dwayne Goscinski
8          Watts Dixon
9          Todd Ace
10        Peat Henry

Masters Men
1          Roger Masse
2          Henry Loving
3          Alex Hawkins
4          Anthony Hergert
5          Michael Ramponi
6          Terry Blanchet
7          Michael Boyes
8          David Jolin
9          Jim Miller
10        Joseph Baremore

1          Joshua Draper
2          John Lewis
3          Joel Kelly
4          Mark Bates
5          Chad Sexton
6          Sid Rappe
7          Robbe Smith
8          Brian Parr
9          Tim Kelley
10        Daniel Abate