Su 100 report somebody has to start it
Here is my race report. I’d be curious to hear how it went for others. This really isn’t very interesting, so I apologize to anyone who reads all this.
There wasn’t quit as much snow out at the race start as in Anchorage and there was a nice firm base underneath the thin layer, but it did slow the riding down some because it made it difficult to find the hard patch of trail and was pretty slippery on those Endomorph tires. Of course everyone is hammering in the beginning. A group of four, Jamey Stull, Tom Peichel, Jim Jager, an I managed to ride together out to Flathorn in these conditions at about 13 mph. At the Flathorn checkpoint you have to walk up a hill to the cabin and check in. Three of us dropped our bikes at the base of the hill while Tom pushed his up to the cabin. We checked in and people proceeded to fill their water containers. I had plenty of water and headed back out. Jim and Jamey followed and Tom said he was caught by surprise after everyone had left, but he managed to hop on his bike and come speeding down the hill from the check point and pass Jamey and Jim on the lake. This turned out to be the order that we were in over most of the course of the race: me, Tom, Jim and Jamey. Across Flathorn and the dismal swamp there was a strong head wind, but the trail was good.
I tried to create a gap between me and the other guys by pedaling as hard as I could, which was about 11 mph in the wind. By the time I reached the Susitna and the trail into Eaglesong I couldn’t see anyone behind me. I knew Tom, Jim and Jamey weren’t too far back there and I was worried that they’d catch me. I was starting to feel pretty dehydrated and low on energy after fighting the headwind across the swamp, so now the challenge was to make it into Eaglesong without slowing down too much but also refuel while I was riding . The trail was rideable, but had a sugary surface and required some effort to maintain speed. My rear and only brake was making some awful noises the whole ride and as I was working my way into Eaglesong I couldn’t seem to ignore the annoying metallic scraping and clicking noises so I stopped a few times to see if I could fix it, but with no luck. I know when I get worked up over stupid little things like this, its because I’m tired and hungry, so I forced myself to just ignore it and concentrate on eating more food and pounding down the water. I passed through Eaglesong and then shortly after that the trail takes a hard right onto a 8 mile connector trail put in by the Susitna 100 folks. It doesn’t see much use and the first 4 miles were punchy and difficult to ride. I let out some air pressure in my tires and was able to ride with only a little on and off the bike at spots. I could see Wildfire’s tracks from earlier in the week and used those to help me locate the firmest part of the trail.
By the time I hit Luces the sun was out and it was getting warm. I forgot to bring my sunglasses so my eyes were feeling fried by the light bouncing off the snow. I wasted a few minutes at Luces for a bathroom break and then got back on the trail. The Yentna was fast, but there was a little wandering around to find the best spot in the trail. I stopped for a few minutes to pump up my tires that were still soft from the trail leaving Eaglesong. I saw a snowmobiler dragging a golf cart up the river on top of a huge sled. That’s really about the most interesting part of the race for me. After a few miles the trail turns off the Yentna onto a slew that leads to the Big Su. This section of trail started out really bad. Pushing and postholing for a bit, but then it firmed up as the trail got closer to meeting with the main Big Su trail. Once on the Big Su I was able to put it in the big ring and pedal out of the saddle for awhile giving my tired back a rest. Coming off the big Su, the trail reconnects with the trail we raced outbound on. At this point I started passing by a whole string of runners making their way out to Eaglesong.
The headwind was now a tailwind on the dismal swamp and across Flathorn. Now that nearly 60 racers had crossed over the trail, gravitating towards the firmest spot, I could follow their tracks instead of wandering around searching for the fast trail as I had been doing since the start of the race. This was a nice treat, and the trail seemed much faster all the way back to the finish.
After leaving Flathorn the trail has lots of small hills and I was feeling really beat at this point and not looking forward to this at all. Racing outbound, you’re full of energy and hardly notice the hills, but on the way back they’re a tough way to end the race. Somewhere around the Little Su check point, after going down a steep hill, about 18 miles from the end, I noticed that my brake was suddenly no longer making all those noises. It was also no longer working, so the rest of the time I just relied on my food to regulate my speed on the downhill which worked fine. It was nice to have some quite after listening to that thing for nearly 80 miles.
There appeared to be no one at the Little Su cp so I just rode by an yelled “Hey”. Looking back I noticed that some dude came stumbling out. I guess Adam and Pat were hanging out there as checkers? After the little Su checkpoint I was surprised to see about 13 50 k racers still out on the trail. I kept checking my clock and decided that I wanted to make it in under 11 hours so I just hammered out the last 15 miles or so, forgoing food breaks and taking a few sips of water.
Then it was over. The checkers told me Tom was the next person behind me by about 40 minutes. I hadn’t thought to check during the race where every one was. I hung out and waited for Tom drank some Capri Suns, ate a Cup O Noodles and then saw Jim Jager come in. Then I drove home and was disappointed to find out SNL was a re-run.
To dispose of all my food trash I stuffed all my candy bar wrappers in a water bottle mounted to my frame during the race so I can count up the calories that I ate during the race. I’m really not usually anal like this.
My food consisted of :
~ 12 Jumbo Red Vines
4 servings of beef jerky
Some nasty 20g protein bar
4 Chewy Granola bars
2 Nature Valley chewy Peanut Butter bars
2 Milky Way bars
3 Payday bars
1 square of cornbread from Flathorn
For a total of 3490 calories about 335 calories an hour and
~ 200 fl oz of water and one 287mg salt tablet
Great job Pete. I liked your strategy. Interesting choice of foods-I know eating gel can drive you nuts after awhile. A bit surprised at all the brake problems you all experienced. I had to wonder if having only one brake and carrying extra weight finally got the better of it. Anyway, again, well done and we''ll see you around.
Wood chips are stupid
Just one pee break. I'm impressed. If you do the math for a 350 mile race, that means just three pee breaks. You're gonna' kick some butt dude!
Kudos on the win friend.
"Trust me,you don't want a big baby."
Beware of Doggerel
[QUOTE=pbasinger] There appeared to be no one at the Little Su cp so I just rode by an yelled “Hey”. Looking back I noticed that some dude came stumbling out. I guess Adam and Pat were hanging out there as checkers?"
You were too damn fast. We were inside fiddling with the stove and cutting wood or something. We didn't have the lights on or anything yet. The last of the 50kers had gone by not too much earlier and we figured we had at least another hour before we would see the first 100 miler then we hear "Hey". Pat was the "some dude" who stumbled out. I never even saw you. After you went by we were talking about it and wondering if it you were a racer or just some guy out for a ride who wanted to say hi. It wasn't until Tom came into the checkpoint later that we figured out it was you. Seriously you were so fast we really didn't think it was a racer. We just put a "???" on the sheet and wrote in the time, then when Tom came through later we filled in your name. Amazing ride Pete.
Good job to thirstywork also. We had just gotten to the checkpoint at 11am on Saturday and you came blazing through, not too much after we got there, fast, strong and earlier than we expected.
We were there checking until about 3pm on Sunday when the next set of checkers got there. Not much sleeping going on. But lots of fun. It was neat to meet everyone and see what the race looks like from the checkers angle. Everyone seemed really happy and strong at our checkpoint. Lots of "thank yous" etcetera. Can't wait to hear more trail stories.
I wanna say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet, things will shortly get completely out of hand --T.M.G.
Way to go Pete!
Look forward to meeting you at the start of gdr if not before =)
Way to smoke 'em out there. I'm glad my tracks helped out on the Trail Ridge crossing, it's amazing they were still there after three days. I chased a couple moose off the trail on the way through and they were really postholing up the trail so it was probably pretty bumpy through there.
I'm pretty sure it was you. There were fat tracks with dog prints right next to them under a light dusting of snow. All the recent snowmachine traffic seemed to be trying to avoid the main track.
Yep, lots of moose prints.
Congrats, Pete! I interviewed Jill Homer on Friday and she was preparing for the race. I think she bested her previous time. Brrr...this Georgia Boy was feeling for you guys!
Hodge is still committed to going in June so maybe I'll see you guys in Rooseville.
Great job Pete, way to finish off your training for next weekend ha ha
Intresting way to calorie count, its always a big question of how much we all consume..
Way to go Pete
That was a great ride, but no surprise. You da man!
But you did miss some Johnny Cash tracks that were recorded especially for Adam. Man, that checkpoint was rockin'!
Oh, and technically speaking, you rode right by.....the checkpoint....ummmm.....never mind, we wrote in your name, so no worries. Great ride!
It warmed to 32 below today here in Barrow and the riding is pretty good.....
Grillin' & Chillin'
You were smokin' hot Pete. Way to kick some serious boo-tay. That's a great start to the 2007 MTB year. Keep up the good work and hard training and you'll probably be whoopin ass all summer.
Rookie report- SU 100
First of all nice work PeteB that was amazing. My little adventure was a bit different than the blistering pace that most bikers kept up. But maybe this information will helpful to those interested in doing the race but are maybe little unsure...
I first heard of the Iditabike in the early 90's when I was a bike messenger in Philadelphia and a guy got a job at our shop part time as training for the race, I though wow maybe someday. That day finally arrived last Saturday. I guess the point is that if you have ever had an inclination to do this thing you should go for it. The event is very well excecuted and the people involved are all really great- the trail is well marked , the checkpoints are appropriately spaced and safety is the first priority.
As I have been working remote in the Alaskan summers I had not really ridden my bike in many years prior to this fall. I started riding a little in September and began searching Craigslist and ebay for the required race gear. Being on a pretty tight budget I was thankful that I started early as I was able to wait for some bargains and pass on others on ebay etc. I started a training log on Oct 1 and got a long distance cycling book, which was essential as I had never done anything like this before. The weather made for near perfect trail conditions in Anchorage which made for good training. Wildfire laced up a set of downhill rims(dx32) for me , and I now had a basic snow rig. By about mid December I had my stuff so I sent in my entry fee. Though I got pretty lucky with a $75 sleeping bag (huge old school darkstar), and $25 rims- I was able to get all my gear (including a mountain bike) and entry fee for right at $1000. Mind you this set up is not the latetest and greatest but it is functional and perfectly safe for backcountry travel, so don't let the gear requirement intimidate you just start early and (ask around, bulletin board, internet etc).
The race itself was awesome- again I got lucky and had conditions that were absolutely the best possible (according to those who have experience). I traveled ridiculously slow (29hrs) as my goal was to finish and I had never ridden a hundred miles I was focused on being relaxed. Probably too relaxed: I took a few pictures and made some gear adjustments early on and got caught by skiers and yes the runners as well. So I was in the hills with the masses where I was passed on the uphills pushing my bike, and a nusance on the downhills, or otherwise trying to pass. I elected to just sit back as much as possible as I didn't want to be a jerk and screw up someones race due to my rookie errors and position on the trail. So it was pretty slow going but I was having great time soaking up the sun and marvelling at the physical capabilities of the runners and skiers. I had this stupid grin on my face for a loing time and I just kept thinking holy sh1t, I am actually doing this thing. Much like the skiers on the icy slopes of the east coast in jeans and leather jackets yelling to each other across the mountain-"Joey, I'm doin' it !"-I was doin' it.
I did a bunch of pushing in between Flathorn and Luces- it kept me warm and the stars were a nice treat. I got to Luces ready for a new pice of trail and enjoyed a cup of joe and a bagel sandwich before taking on the cold of the Yentna. The cold took the life out of my bar mounted headlight which was to be expected, I got to Scary Tree and dug out the headlamp, and left before I got warm. Travelling down the Big Su to Flathorn the trail was highway like though I was extremely sleepy and sort of weaving on down the road. My ass was killing me at this point so I did stretchs of walking and rode standing up a bit.
Flathorn was a welcome sight and the coziness factor of the cabin filled with sleeping racers made a nap the next priority. After a nap and some food and warmdrink it was back to the trail.
I knew that this portion of trail would require a lot of effort but I was feeling pretty good due to my low energy output strategy. I made my way to the mile 87 checkpoint slow and purposeful. The sun was up and things were going good so I made a quick stop for cocoa and some candy. About a mile past the checkpoint I stopped to air up my tires for the final section of trail. Click and ssssss was the sound of my pump breaking and all the air flowing out of my tire! Sweet, I was actually really happy that this hadn't happened at some other point in the race and was soon on my way back to the checkpoint where I knew a pump would be found. I was fortunate as Adam and Pat at mile 87 were bikers and had ridden to there checkpoint duties. When I got there Pat put his pump on the stem and snap- his pump broke also. Sadly we had to wake Adam up to ask him for his pump, but it had broken before he left. Thanks for the help (if you guys happen to read this), and godspeed on your upcoming adventures. Anyway with the broken pump I was able to force a few PSI into the tire and off I went on my spongy tire. The going was slow and after 3 miles or so the valve stem gave up. The sun was shining so I pulled out my shades and made do with the situation. I put in a new tube and was able to force a little more air in this time by refining my broken pump technique. I new my wife would be waiting at the finish so I was bummed about that, but I also knew that I was going to finish so I just had to be patient. I gingerly rode and walked my bike to the finish line, I kept thinking how I didn't want to drive back to Anchorage anyway so I was pretty content to be making my way slowly down the trail. After a while I was at Aurora dog mushers after 29 hours- a crazy long time but mission accomplished none the less.
It was great little adventure that I hope I can do again. I hope this information is useful to any newbies out there.- Frank M
Oh yeah- here are some things I would do differently next time- carry less weight my gear
weighed 32lbs so I will definitely lighten up the food load a bit, and maybe get a new sleeping bag. Go fast in the begining for trail spacing/ don't get overly intimidated by the distance.
Thanks for your race report Frank. I too heard of the Susitna 100, or rather it's precursor several years ago and it has captured my imagination. I hope to head up to AK next winter and 'compete" in the Susitna 100 myself. I'm glad to hear from a variety of perspectives since I figure I'll be somewhere between 1st and 38th place. Finishing is a victory.
Originally Posted by FrankM
I have a car. I made a choice. I ride my bike.
An Incredible Adventure!
Your story is every bit as inspiring as Pete's. You kept plugging away and refused to give up in spite of having to push your bike a lot, and a rash of defective pumps (those product testers probably don't test in zero degree weather). Having had a near-pump-disaster on the Yentna myself I can appreciate the discouragement that you must've felt. Way to persevere, though! Hopefully you will be lining up on the starting line next year!
Meanwhile, back at the hive....
Beware of Doggerel
Nice write up Frank. I only got to see you for a moment of your race its good to hear where you came from and where you went. Funny about thos pump heads shattering isn't it?. Mine broke from just banging around while riding. You would think 3 Alaskan bike riders would have figured this out.
In the end you finished and that's what matters. Good Ride
Originally Posted by FrankM
I wanna say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet, things will shortly get completely out of hand --T.M.G.