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  1. #1
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    Going for a big one (for me), Mohican 100k

    I have been doing a little research on training and food, but would appreciate any "wish someone would have told me" advice from more experienced guys. Especially if you have done the Mohican. My goal is to finish.

    I started riding two years ago, mostly to lose weight. But I am thoroughly hooked on MTB and now do it every chance I get. I did the 2018 Iceman Cometh Challenge (50k, which was awesome) and decided to try a bigger ride for 2019.

  2. #2
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    Going from Iceman to Mohican is a BIG jump. Instead I would have suggested the Lumberjack 100, which is a great first MTB 100. The Lumberjack 100 is 3 laps and mostly smooth flowing singletrack. It also allows you to revisit your base/support camp on every lap for resuply and your support crew assistance (wife in my case). As my first MTB 100 and only training for XC racing I finished the Lumberjack 100 in just over 9 hours in 2018. My goal was just to finish as well but I surprised myself a bit. Biggest obstacle was the mental challenge. As long as your hydration and fuel is adequate, your mind will be quitting well ahead of your body. Mental toughness and the ability to suffer is where those who finish and those that DNF usually part.

    The Mohican is a tough technical MTB 100, significantly harder than the Lumberjack and not even comparable to Iceman. As a first timer 12+ hours for Mohican is realistic if you have some technical ability. Also, the Mohican doesn’t have laps so you’ll be relying on what you bring on the bike, what’s at aid stations and/or if your support crew can help out during the “race” along the route. The biggest thing from now until your MTB 100 will be getting in some long rides 4-6 hours where you can test hydration, fueling and your gear you’ll be using/wearing come race day. You don’t want anything new on race day that you haven’t tested works for you previously.

    My BIG challenge in 2019 is the Marji Gesick 100 that I’m signed up for😬. So we’ll both be suffering this year!
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  3. #3
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    Well, I am only doing the 100k (62 miles), hopefully that helps. My brother in law and father in law have offered to "crew" since we all live in Ohio. I don't live too far from Mohican and can definitely get training rides on the actual singletrack loop. From what I understand my home trails are similar (off camber roots, rocks and chunk).

    The Lumberjack will be first on my list if I ever decide I am ready for 100 miles but it doesn't look like they have a 100k version. Maybe the organizers could add that in, 2 out of 3 laps seems like it could be organized easily. Plus that part of Michigan is beautiful.

    Marji Gesick looks rediculously hard, but SO beautiful. I went to the UP for the first time two years ago, and I think part of me was left there. I loved it (all the way down to the smoked fish and pasties).

  4. #4
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    Going for a big one (for me), Mohican 100k-4885279d467d0e649d80b00324dd7b1aad566cb6b3f201b23c5cc426238e4c3cc36d52f70b1041eb6f93001bd3bd9b82.jpg
    I've done Mohican three times and am already registered to go back for my fourth in 2019. The first two times I rode Mohican I did the 100K (1st time on hardtail, 2nd time on FS bike). Similar to what MI-XC said, if you've not done events like this before, you'll find it very challenging, but SOOOO rewarding.
    The race is super-well organized, super-well marked, supported by an army of volunteers, and has some of the best aid stations I've ever had (in fact, maybe the best). There is no excuse to go hungry at Mohican.
    The course is impacted significantly by the previous week's weather. In ideal conditions, you can ride like the wind. When sloppy, you will get slowed down significantly. IMHO, don't set a target finish time. Set a goal of FINISHING. Doing so will take a lot of preparation and even more perseverance (that stretch of horse trail as you approach AS 3 messes with me still -- resetting my brain at AS 3 is my biggest hurdle). When you see this sign, you made it!
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    Definitely get in at least one 100K road ride per month between now and then, with a couple more 4-hour MTB rides per month. These rides will condition you (and your belly) for your hydration and nutrition needs.
    Finally, read, watch, and learn. Read as much as you can about the event. Watch any/all YouTube videos you can about the event (especially the funny one about the water bars -- Classic!). And humbly learn that many, many people have conquered Mohican before and that with adequate preparation, you can to.
    I hope to see you out there!
    _Matt E.
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  5. #5
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    If you can finish the 100k at Mohican you can do Lumberjack.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4mula1 View Post
    If you can finish the 100k at Mohican you can do Lumberjack.
    4mula1, are you doing LJ? I'm hoping to get in four NUEs this year (Mohican, W101, SM100, and one more). So Cohutta or LJ make the most sense. I like the idea of LJ, but only 2 weeks after Mohican. What are you doing?
    Thanks,
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    I just wanna ride...

  7. #7
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    After doing LJ last year for the first time I decided it was going to be my only time. I didn't find the course challenging so this year it's back to Mohican. I'm also doing W101 and plan on SM100 but beyond that I don't think my schedule will allow another 100 mile NUE race.

    I think I'm in for the 100k race at Carrabassett and I'm trying to decide if I want to do the Iron Mountain 100k, Hilly Billy Roubaix, or Coast to Coast. The last three are all on the same weekend so it's a tough call.

  8. #8
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    I watched some of the videos, I think I need some bigger gears. Are there bathrooms at the aid stations?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketexmex View Post
    I watched some of the videos, I think I need some bigger gears. Are there bathrooms at the aid stations?
    Yes, Yes, and lots of trees.
    I just wanna ride...

  10. #10
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    Regarding your thoughts of the Lumberjack adding in a 100k option, I asked last year. Ryan O'dell (NUE race series director & Mohican race coordinator) replied that they cannot due to the limited number of people they can insure to race. (Ryan is a super nice guy too.)
    IMHO, Its worked for the last few years and I don't expect a change (Lumberjack sold out in 2 hrs this year if that tells ya anything).
    Having raced a few NUE races, pace and nutrition is everything. Preride the same or similar terrain for a min of four hours and dial in everything from your equiptment to your cloths to your nutrition/hydration. For first timers, I'd suggest you set a timer to go off every 15 min to remind yourself to eat and drink.
    The BIGGEST mistake is to let the excitment distract you from eating and drinking. Its super hard to get out of the bonk with X miles yet to go.
    Good luck and have fun!

  11. #11
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    So I rode the Mohican State Park loop, is the whole 100k similar in terms of grade, technical challenge, etc? That climb after the covered bridge is a beast.

  12. #12
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    The first ~30 miles is pretty heavy with singletrack, then you get a lot of paved and gravel roads until just before Aid 3 which sends you back into more singletrack at Mohican Wilderness which I find more challenging than the state park. After Aid 3 the 100k rolls more roads back to the state park where you ride the last 3 or 4 miles of singletrack to the finish.

  13. #13
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    We did the Mohican (62) last year for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. At least you have the 50K under your belt for some level of comparison.

    I'd say build up your riding time between now and then, paying attention to how you feel and what kind of pace is reasonable that won't blow you up. There are plenty of good reads online for detailed suggestions and training plans.

    On course, take advantage of all aid stations to refuel. You'll need that. Also carry some fuel on you for in-between those stops. The last thing you want to happen is a nasty bonk. There's no recovering from that; your day is done at that point.

    I agree with 4mula1's sentiments above...just when you think you're done with the 62, you have some relatively challenging singletrack to manage at the end when you're pretty much spent. Save some gas for that.
    You can't get a suntan on the moon...

  14. #14
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    If the whole course was like the state park I think I would have bit off more than I could chew. But if there is some gravel and pavement in the middle, I have a chance. I still have a lot of work to do

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketexmex View Post
    If the whole course was like the state park I think I would have bit off more than I could chew. But if there is some gravel and pavement in the middle, I have a chance. I still have a lot of work to do
    I’ve done it 4 or 5 times now and have signed up yet again, one of my favourite races. When describing it to my buddies (2 have signed up this year) I told them there is just enough pavement to break up the singletrack (I think there is one stretch of gravel that robs my legs but that is another story). I found when I need a break from the singletrack I hit pavement/gravel and when I’m tired of the road back into the trail, a pretty decent balance and now that the rail trail is paved even better as the crushed shale that it used to be made me want to stab my eyes out with a dull fork.

    D
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    I’ve done it 4 or 5 times now and have signed up yet again, one of my favourite races. When describing it to my buddies (2 have signed up this year) I told them there is just enough pavement to break up the singletrack (I think there is one stretch of gravel that robs my legs but that is another story). I found when I need a break from the singletrack I hit pavement/gravel and when I’m tired of the road back into the trail, a pretty decent balance and now that the rail trail is paved even better as the crushed shale that it used to be made me want to stab my eyes out with a dull fork.

    D
    I remember a tough gravel climb heading out of the rest stop that splits the 62 and 100 milers.
    You can't get a suntan on the moon...

  17. #17
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    Mine looks something like this:

    Take two chain links, Multitool, KMC levers with the chainbreak. 3 zipties, Dynaplug megaplugs. Tube, 2 C02, small framepump, presta core.

    I run Gatorade Endurance mixed exactly as they recommend in a 70 oz cameback. Long race would take an empty bottle with the powder scoops in it ready to fill with water.
    I take cliff blocks with 3x salt (may grab the ones with Caffeine for late in race)
    Caffeine pill or redbull. deep in the race.
    Take some food that tastes different in case you get sick of the same stuff.
    Take an anti cramping fix (mustard packet, Pickle shot, hotshot.) They function by being in your mouth, not by eating them, so dont just down it or it wont really work.

    I would try to take in 200-400 per hour. Start eating immediately in the first hour and just keep eating. do NOT try to catch up.

    I can do a 50K hard and not even eat and barely drink if its cold enough, but the next 50K would be terrible. Its a completely different thing.

    I have also found it important to go pretty hard in the beginning to be in the right group. ride how I want in the middle, and empty the tank for the last 10 miles while you pass people who are completely blown up and easy to pass. This is course dependent, but applies to most races I have done. I have found going too slow in the beginning results in getting stuck behind people who ride inefficiently and burn up all of your energy re-accelerating. This is one of the reasons they finish where they do.

    Try not to brake. If you are accelerating up and having to break for the next turn over and over, Tried riding more smooth. Try riding slower and cornering without the brakes. This will make a massive difference over a race of that distance and keep you fresh.

    Lastly, don't be afraid to stop if needed. I've had an 8 minute mechanical and gotten back on the lead group. It is not worth dropping nutrition if you are having trouble getting to it and you aren't in it to podium.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketexmex View Post
    I have been doing a little research on training and food, but would appreciate any "wish someone would have told me" advice from more experienced guys. Especially if you have done the Mohican. My goal is to finish.

    I started riding two years ago, mostly to lose weight. But I am thoroughly hooked on MTB and now do it every chance I get. I did the 2018 Iceman Cometh Challenge (50k, which was awesome) and decided to try a bigger ride for 2019.
    This is exactly me...like I could have typed that. Did Iceman in 2:31 from wave 31 btw. And I’m reading this forum because I’m also intrigued by a 100 mile race but probably for 2020. Thinking Barry in April but probably just 22 or 36, Ore2Shore in Aug, and Iceman again in Nov. This summer I’ll mix in some really long training rides to see if I enjoy it and have the ability to stay on my bike long enough to do 100 miles.

    Great info in this thread.

  19. #19
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    I did the Mohican 100 miler and really enjoyed it. Good variety of trails, picturesque Ohio countryside, Amish folk dotting the countryside. Finished in 8:40. There were a couple of hike-a-bikes but overall very ridable.

    I did the Wilderness 101 and, as luck would have it, it has Amish folk along the way, too. I found it to be much more difficult; twice the climbing, and alternately long, boring dirt roads and super-technical trails, some very difficult to ride with a twitchy XC bike of 5 years ago.

  20. #20
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    Good for you OP, I got that kick about 12 years ago and tried my hand at a few endurance races, biggest key is, as said, nutrition. I used an on top tube bento box when I tried, but did not have the experience to know this little tid bit, if you're going to take any bars, whether chocolate or fuel/energy, cut them up into small little 1cm cubes, makes life a lot easier when you're trying to pedal and eat and is about the right size to allow you to chew while under pressure without choking. Start eating early, don't wait until you start to feel the need, because then it's too late and you'll have to do some serious recovery to get back with it.

    My first race was the Laramie Enduro 111km and I finished in just over 9 hours, "bonked" twice during it because I was havign so much fun on the sweet ST trails, which happened just about when I should be fueling, but didn't, but managed to recover and finish, like the description of this one, they had a nasty climb right at the end that nearly killed me, was already signed up for LT100 2 weeks later (not a good idea for s first timer to do those 2, 2 weeks apart) and managed to complete 87 miles/140km in 10 hours, but had to pull out because of bad nutritional intake on the PL climb section and pushing too hard the previous 20 miles, while not fueling properly.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  21. #21
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    IMO, Mohican is really easy to do some damage to your day by swinging for the fences on the road section out of town. Yes, you need to work to position yourself better for the single track, but there is a prime for the opening climb and less experienced riders can easily get caught up in the excitement and go deeper than they should. Better to hold back a little on that climb and work the draft afterwards IMO. I passed a lot of people on the road after that climb who were already cracking a bit from the effort and we weren't even 5 miles in to the day.

    You do need to figure out what your nutrition strategy is going to look like. If your stomach can't turn 400cal/hr and that's what you eat, you'll be hating life. Also, you need water to digest food, and too many forget that aspect. I'm not big on the "eat early, eat often" mantra either, as I've found that at least for me I can dig out of a deficit far faster than I can dig out of a "too many calories, not enough water" scenario. My power falls off faster when I feel like I'm going to puke then it does if I'm just hungry or thirsty, but everyone is different.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    IMO, Mohican is really easy to do some damage to your day by swinging for the fences on the road section out of town. Yes, you need to work to position yourself better for the single track, but there is a prime for the opening climb and less experienced riders can easily get caught up in the excitement and go deeper than they should. Better to hold back a little on that climb and work the draft afterwards IMO. I passed a lot of people on the road after that climb who were already cracking a bit from the effort and we weren't even 5 miles in to the day.

    You do need to figure out what your nutrition strategy is going to look like. If your stomach can't turn 400cal/hr and that's what you eat, you'll be hating life. Also, you need water to digest food, and too many forget that aspect. I'm not big on the "eat early, eat often" mantra either, as I've found that at least for me I can dig out of a deficit far faster than I can dig out of a "too many calories, not enough water" scenario. My power falls off faster when I feel like I'm going to puke then it does if I'm just hungry or thirsty, but everyone is different.
    Ive made this mistake too. I did a 50 mile a couple seasons ago and decided to start killing my calorie bottle 30 minutes into the race. Like Mohican, it had a nasty road climb right out of the gate. The first drop into single track ALWAYS piles up due to inexperienced roadies being terrified of roots and rocks, so I went deep (and I was on my single speed) to get in front of the hike a bike crowd.

    By mile 40 I felt so bloated I wanted to puke. I usually pace better and don't take anything in until around any hour and a half. Not sure if it would have made a huge difference in a century due to the pacing, but at 50 mile pace that extra hour without calories makes a big difference. I too prefer to toe the edge of bonk territory and then pull myself out with pacing and nutrition. My stomach ends up much more comfortable when I use that approach.

  23. #23
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    I think those that have had “eating issues” that caused stomach distress have misinterpreted the advice “eat early and often.” That’s doesn’t mean slam your fuel bottle and cram as much food in your pie hole as you can. The “typical” body can handle on average about 250-300 calories an hour on the bike (though some can go as high as 400+). That doesn’t mean 250-300 calories at once, but rather gradually throughout the hour.

    Eat early and often means have a consistent fueling and hydration strategy that you start from the beginning. You can’t replace 100% of food and water on the bike, so you will slowly be working yourself into an ever increasing inevitable deficit as the day goes on. The goal is to minimize this and have enough fuel/hydration to push on. So, slowly sipping on a fuel bottle (Hammer Perpetuem for example) and drinking electrolytes (hydration pack) every 15 mins or so establishes a routine of continuous fuel/hydration. Then you may also have an hour goal to consume 1 gel, Blok, or whatever small calorie intake you choose. All of this will have been tested on a previous 4-5 hour ride and proven not to cause stomach distress. Many choose to put a timer on their bike computer to remind them every 15 mins, because it easy to get caught up in the race/event and forget to eat and drink consistently.
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  24. #24
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    This EXACTLY what I meant and I think most others when they said to eat early and not wait until you start to feel like you need to.

    Quote Originally Posted by MI-XC View Post
    I think those that have had “eating issues” that caused stomach distress have misinterpreted the advice “eat early and often.” That’s doesn’t mean slam your fuel bottle and cram as much food in your pie hole as you can. The “typical” body can handle on average about 250-300 calories an hour on the bike (though some can go as high as 400+). That doesn’t mean 250-300 calories at once, but rather gradually throughout the hour.

    Eat early and often means have a consistent fueling and hydration strategy that you start from the beginning. You can’t replace 100% of food and water on the bike, so you will slowly be working yourself into an ever increasing inevitable deficit as the day goes on. The goal is to minimize this and have enough fuel/hydration to push on. So, slowly sipping on a fuel bottle (Hammer Perpetuem for example) and drinking electrolytes (hydration pack) every 15 mins or so establishes a routine of continuous fuel/hydration. Then you may also have an hour goal to consume 1 gel, Blok, or whatever small calorie intake you choose. All of this will have been tested on a previous 4-5 hour ride and proven not to cause stomach distress. Many choose to put a timer on their bike computer to remind them every 15 mins, because it easy to get caught up in the race/event and forget to eat and drink consistently.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI-XC View Post
    I think those that have had “eating issues” that caused stomach distress have misinterpreted the advice “eat early and often.” That’s doesn’t mean slam your fuel bottle and cram as much food in your pie hole as you can. The “typical” body can handle on average about 250-300 calories an hour on the bike (though some can go as high as 400+). That doesn’t mean 250-300 calories at once, but rather gradually throughout the hour.
    My personal feeling is that "eat early, eat often" can be misinterpreted in many different ways, one of which you detailed. I've also seen people eat more calories than they need using this method (e.g. 600cal taken in gradually over an hour). Hell, I've done that more than once by grabbing something that looked good at an aid station and not adjusting my on-bike intake. The take away which I think is really my point is that everyone is different and you need to get some hours under your belt to figure out just what you need and how to read the signals your body sends. When I first started doing endurance stuff, I think my big gains from my long rides was learning what I needed to do for nutrition. The fitness gains didn't hurt, but poor fitness doesn't end races early like nutrition issues do.

  26. #26
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    I have done Mohican 10+ times. For me the toughest part of prepping for it is doing actual mountain bike training/rides previous to June 3/4th. I live near Cleveland and typically the trails are closed most of the spring. So I end up doing most of my training on the road.

    Road conditioning and Mtn Bike conditioning is just not the same. For me, Mohican is a bunch of short 2-3 minute 100%+ effort climbs. Over and over. I can't seem to simulate that on a road bike. I guess I could do more intervals. Or get in the car and drive to open trails... I don't like doing either.

    I'm hoping for a dry spring.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by NPeak View Post
    I have done Mohican 10+ times. For me the toughest part of prepping for it is doing actual mountain bike training/rides previous to June 3/4th. I live near Cleveland and typically the trails are closed most of the spring. So I end up doing most of my training on the road.

    Road conditioning and Mtn Bike conditioning is just not the same. For me, Mohican is a bunch of short 2-3 minute 100%+ effort climbs. Over and over. I can't seem to simulate that on a road bike. I guess I could do more intervals. Or get in the car and drive to open trails... I don't like doing either.

    I'm hoping for a dry spring.
    I didn't think about that until after I signed up. I am near Columbus so our spring is about the same. I hope we have a dry spring too.

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    Do more intervals and have a structured program. I did 90% of my training on the road last year, didn't hold me back.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Do more intervals and have a structured program. I did 90% of my training on the road last year, didn't hold me back.
    I agree, I use TrainerRoad for the majority of my rides, however since it’s interval based, structured and the plans I choose are tailored to MTB specifically, it prepares me (fitness wise) better than just riding trails.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDHutch View Post
    This is exactly me...like I could have typed that. Did Iceman in 2:31 from wave 31 btw. And I’m reading this forum because I’m also intrigued by a 100 mile race but probably for 2020. Thinking Barry in April but probably just 22 or 36, Ore2Shore in Aug, and Iceman again in Nov. This summer I’ll mix in some really long training rides to see if I enjoy it and have the ability to stay on my bike long enough to do 100 miles.

    Great info in this thread.
    yeah, you were way faster than me. That's a really fast time. I just don't go fast enough to be competitive, but that's not really why I'm doing it. Two years ago I couldn't have completed the first hill at Mohican SP. I was a health train wreck. Last month I rode the whole thing. The 100k will definitely be a challenge, but signing up for it has definitely motivated me to work out harder. I started minding my diet better too.

    I did learn some things at the iceman, for example I definitely need more than just a bottle of water and a clif bar. I dressed too warm and really cooked myself. Walking is better than burning a match you don't have.

    Thanks everyone for your input on this. I will definitely keep checking in and let you guys know my results.

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