Anyone riding the Shenandoah 100?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone riding the Shenandoah 100?

    I assume there's a good group of folks from here planning to ride it this year. I haven't done it before (or ever ridden in that area), but signed up this year. Could anyone comment on how it compares to riding around here (Pisgah area), say PMBAR?

    thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2
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    Paul- if you know the Pisgah map, Shenandoah is, IMO, significantly harder than PMBAR in terms of aerobic effort. The start is super duper early- really- you will have to be awake no later than 5:30am. It's worth it to go out fast enough to hit the first piece of singletrack with the top 100 or riders who are "serious"- this piece of singletrack is all rideable but a lot of people walk it. You'll get frustrated if you don't stay close-ish to the front. Pace yourself carefully but don't ride too conservatively- I finished faster when I was spending the last 5 miles dry heaving into my armpit pedaling granny on a false flat than the next year when I whistled away the ride and finished feeling fresh(the latter was way more fun than the former).

    Excepting PMBAR and Double Dare (which I treat as an event, not a race), this is by far my favorite event I've done. It's expensive, sure, but you get two nights camping , awesome support stops, lots of beer, two dinners and a breakfast, a T-shirt, and a pint glass if you finish. That's a lot for the $. The trails are awesome and most of the descending is on trail, not gravel road- a great balance of the two.

    Have fun!

  3. #3
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    Paul, SM100 is by far the best hundie on the national circuit.

    It's tough -- that part of the Appalachians is a fair bit rockier than here. That said, it's comparable.

    The start is a "neutral" scramble on pavement to a long fire road climb that spikes up toward the end. This is where it starts to break up quite a bit, even before the singletrack, which goes up some more before dropping down. Then you do some fire road before a super-steep singletrack ascent that apparently only 3 people can clean completely. (Sam Schultz says he can't do it; Jeremiah Bishop lives there and uses it for training ...) But it's also got rideable sections. I just remember people singing mountain songs as they worked their way up a few years ago.

    Fun descent into a river (two years ago my rotors steamed up so bad I couldn't see when I landed in it), then more fire road before climb number 3. Long descent, then road before climb number 4, which is the halfway point. Awesome descent on bench-cut trail to more fire road, then the soul-crushing ascent on fire road to aid station #5. And then you climb some more.

    Drop down, then back up the lower part of climb number 3, then drop down through the campground to the finish.

    Though it sounds like a lot of fire road, it's so perfectly spaced that you don't even notice, and the pedal sections give you a chance to eat and drink, and get in a group to ride it out. And the singletrack more than makes up for it! Some are crazy rocky erosion rut descents; others are super-fun, flowing sections through alpine-like meadows. It's phenomenal riding, a bit more rough-and-tumble than most of Pisgah (the GW Forest gets less two-wheel traffic than Pisgah) with a bit less trail maintenance (some of the FS "roads" are like 140A or 5031 and the like), but very similar. The grades are as steep, but the elevations are a bit less ...

    Like Mike said, you can take it either way: make your eyes bleed, or have fun with the course. The front of the race is wicked fast, but it's also fun to be out there with 350 of your closest friends, just enjoying a day riding trails in the mountains. The aid stations are top-notch (bottles-in, bottles-out -- they give you fresh bottles and take and wash yours for the next riders), the volunteers are incredible, and the post-race feed with ***FRESH-CUT FRENCH FRIES*** is unbelievable.

    If you're "serious" about it, go out and ride FS5000 in NMR to Bent Creek Gap, drop Spencer to Trace, then ride over to FS5051 and up. The top part of 5051 has a nasty steep switchback that reminds me of the opening climb of SM100. Turn around and ride Yellow Gap Trail (which doesn't go to Yellow Gap) down to the river. Turn around and ride back up. Back down to 1206, up and over Yellow Gap, then Laurel and down Pilot (or even reverse Laurel) to 1206 and back over YG to NMR. That's sort of a long "training ride" of what SM100 is sorta' like ...

    Otherwise, just get out and enjoy riding Pisgah, try to hit some bench cut downhills and feel comfortable on them, and go out and HAVE FUN at SM100!

  4. #4
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    thanks for the info guys. I figured it would be similar to pmbar because it's roughly the same amount of climbing and time in the saddle even though the distance is quite a bit longer. Despite a stretch of dehydration, i felt pretty good during pmbar, so I'm looking forward to the sm100.
    Last edited by tallpaul; 08-12-2010 at 07:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    Dowell's and Brailey's are just awesome. (SP? on both)

    Hanky, not so much. But Dowell's Draft and Brailey's Pond are just great. I liked that singletrack climb to Braley's too.

    Great event, really.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by seenvic
    Dowell's and Brailey's are just awesome. (SP? on both)

    Hanky, not so much. But Dowell's Draft and Brailey's Pond are just great. I liked that singletrack climb to Braley's too.

    Great event, really.
    Totally agree. I cut a gash in my leg two years ago just before dropping down Dowell's and into the marsh at the bottom. Rolled into the aid station, dude looks at the blood flowing down my leg, looks me in the eye and says, "you want to keep going, don't you?"

    Volunteers cleaned and lubed my bike and got me fresh bottles while he "stitched" me up. I still have a scar from where it got infected, but damn was it worth it!

  7. #7
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    "I still have a scar from where it got infected, but damn was it worth it!".........Hard core, I love it.
    "Roll your own..........." http://smokebikes.com/

  8. #8
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    thanks again for all the info. Anyone have tire suggestions for a tall clydesdale on a 29er hardtail? I'm running ardents front and rear (2.4/2.25) and like the traction, but I'm told that something with lower roller resistance, but still a good sidewall would be better. Maybe something like the bontrager xdx tlr?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tallpaul
    I'm told that something with lower roller resistance, but still a good sidewall would be better
    That advice is spot on. I've run a 69er with Kenda Karma/SB8 and SB8/SB8 in 2.1/2.0 widths with no problems the past two years. The SB8s were new, though -- and yes, the sidewalls got pretty thrashed, though thankfully held.

    This year I'm going Karma-Karma, just 'cause that's what I like to ride right now. Did me well for ORAMM, and SM100 is similar in some respects.

    That said, run tubeless if it's your style, and watch the weather forecast -- it's rocky there and holds water pretty well, but it can also be super muddy on some of those sections if they get a week-long downpour ahead of the race.

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