E100 race report- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2004

    E100 race report

    The E100 was set to start at 6:00AM on Saturday morning. 100 miles(95% singletrack) lay ahead with 18,600+ feet of climbing (some folks measured 22,000 feet by days end). As we stood ready in the darkness head honcho Boris counted down from ten in his thick accent to get us started. As a sign of our impending doom the floor of the balcony behind him gave way and a pair of legs were left dangling in the breeze. To punctuate the moment a small puppy fell from the sky through the same hole and landed on the ground shaken, but unscathed. Boris looked back to make sure everyone was OK and said " See, everyone be careful" and 3-2-1-GO!

    After shaking the memory of the surreal from our minds we headed off into the dark unknown. About half the riders had lights and the rest rode in usurped illumination. As we quickly rolled down the gravel road the field split up quickly. I found myself near the front with last year's second place single speeder Kenny Jones and Matt Ferrari (the only other Ultra MTB 100 series SS'er). When we got to the singletrack we were all nicely tucked up into the top ten spots. I followed Matt's wheel and talked a little smack to get us off on the right foot. Matt was riding strong and pushing a significantly larger gear than I was so I let him go. I figured his gear would cause him problems when we hit the real climbing of the day.

    As dawn broke I finally felt like I had a clear view of the trail. The narrow ribbon of earth was littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes, and the knee-high foliage seemed to be parted just enough to let a rider get through. I was feeling comfortable, and I settled into my 100 mile pace when fate intervened. I felt a rock take a bite into my rear tire and my North Carolina air was escaping into the Utah atmosphere. The Meatplow had taken a hit and needed attention stat. I knew I was in for a long day so I Iooked for a clearing so I could work on my bike in a sterile enviroment. Loosing a tool in the weeds could be a death sentenceto my hopes of finishing. Unfortunately there was no such thing as a clearing, so I just pitched my bike into the weeds and went to work with my ass hanging out in the trail. I had to move my butt just to let the other riders go by as I cautiously made my repair. I was hindered by a frozen CO2 nozzle, but luckily I had brought my mini-mini pump. After 3,345 sweaty strokes I got back on the trail still in the top thirty or so riders.

    All things considered I remained calm. I knew this was going to be a 12-14 hour day so I could always make up the 10-15 minutes I spent repairing my rig. I got my groove back and was humming along when I heard the same noise I heard just four weeks ago while racing at State College. It was the familiar sound of a fatal second flat. When I double flatted at the Wilderness 101 I had to run until I could get spare tube from a rider (who was DNF'ing from fatigue). Did I learn anything from the experience? Something like the importance of carrying two tubes? No, but I did learn how much I enjoyed running downhill with my bike. This time I had the pleasure of trying to run down a trail so narrow that it was nearly imposible to run alongside my bike. I had to jump into the bush every time a rider needed to get by, and "Heavens to Betsy" there were alot of riders going by me. My podium dreams were fading as I ran down into the valley below where I had two tubes in a drop bag at Aid Station One. As I ran I reminded myself of the distinct possibility that I might miss the three hour cut-off time and my race would be over just twenty miles in. A DNF at this race meant that I wouldn't have enough races in the Ultra Series to qualify for the podium I had been working towards all summer. Failure was not an option, so I ran down the mountain as fast as I could (looking as silly as possible I'm sure).

    I refused every offer of a assistance from the other riders as they rode past. I would not be responsible for ruining someone else's race due to my own stupidity. I made the cut-off time to Aid Station One with over 35 minutes to spare. I now had access to my two spare tubes, and I went straight to work. Someone handed me a floor pump and I jacked up the pressure front and rear (reducing my virtual suspension) to avoid any more flats. I would rather bounce around like a ping pong ball for the next 80 miles than fix another flat. In my haste I tossed my vest and arm warmers assunder, confident that they were no longer needed. With my bike ready for action I headed out on the steep climb that started stage two. Unfortunately I looked down to notice that my shadow was still wearing a helmet light. I was sure that I didn't want the extra weight on my head (and neither did my shadow), so we turned around and headed back to my drop bag to relieve ourselves of our burden. Onwards to stage two, finally.

    I had a large number of riders in front of me now. Normally I would consider them carrots dangling in front of me, but as the course was almost entirely singletrack I would have to fight to get back every place. As I started picking my way back through the field I realized I had only eaten one gel during the first stage, and in my haste I had left the aid station with only one gel in my pack. Hmmm, quick math time. 2 gels + 5 hours in the saddle + 1/2 hour jogging = 1 race ending bonk. There was supposed to be one intermediate aid station out on stage two (due to its extreme difficulty), but it was only stocked with water and Heed energy drink. I would have to stick it out until I reached the diluted calories that lie somewhere ahead. To make matters worse the temperature had been dropping, and I was shivering if I wasn't climbing. Regret and self loathing weighed heavy on my mind. (At this point I have to mention I don't do stupid things just to make a better story. I would much rather say I showed up, everything went as planned, and I won.)

    I rolled into the intermediate aid station and dumped out my water and filled my Wingnut with Heed. A spectator offered me a Cliff bar, and even though I was still cold I was back in business. I was now refueled mentally and physically, and I made my way to Aid Station Two. Upon my arrival I went straight to my drop bag. I grabbed my vest and another spare tube and headed over to the food table. To say I ate a few peanut butter sandwiches would be an understatement. I had a relationship with them as I loved them like no man had loved a sandwich before.

    I set out on stage three with a more positive outlook that lasted at least fifteen minutes. I think I rode into a black hole as time stood still and the earth turned under me. My relative position in the cosmos remained unchanged as the terrain rolled and switchbacked across the mounatins endlessly. I knew the valley below would never be mine, and I would be stuck in the hills forever. My painful eternity in the scrub brush was made worse with the constantly changing weather. Sunshine followed by rain, followed by more sunshine, and then hail. Rinse and repeat. I was out there chasing infinity, but to the rest of the world only two and a half hours went by until I reached Aid Station Three.

    I can only remember two significant moments from stage four. I climbed up a mountain until I think I bumped my head into a military satellite. I never quit cursing Boris every time he pushed us back over the 9,000 foot mark. After the climb the only other landmark moment was a conversation with a volunteer standing in a field. He said it was "all downhill from here". Of course, just like Costa Ricans and Canadians, people from Utah have a different idea of what "all downhill from here" means than the rest of the world. It was MOSTLY downhill, but physically it felt like going into the tenth round with Mike Tyson. Sure it was almost over, but I still had to take a few punches to the head and body to get through it.

    At Aid Station Four I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had ridden conservatively since stage two began and I was still feeling good (I use the term "good" loosely). I made the cut-off time to continue without lights and I could picture the cans of Budweiser that Boris had promised at the finish line. I rode and pushed my way back over 9,000 feet for the last time, and I thanked the Meatplow for seeing me through another adventure. The course traversed the mountains above the valley offering tantalizing views of the finish below. Finally the trail dropped brutally down, and my race was over. Before I knew it I was crossing the finish line and I had a coldie in hand.

    I can't imagine a harder 100 mile race. I was on the course just over thirteen hours, and I heard multiple people say they felt like they had been in a fight. There wasn't a "free" mile to be had out there in the beautiful mountains surrounding Park City. Boris, I take back every nasty thought and curse word I uttered. Thanks for putting on such a demanding, well run event. I am still hurting three days later.

    A big "thank you" from the bottom of my heart to Adam Lisonbee for all the logistical support from the moment I walked off the plane to the moment I got back on one. Head out this way anytime and see what the Eastside has to offer.

    I get paid 3 every time I post on MTBR.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: logbiter's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    wow, great read!
    congrats for finishing (sounds like a sufferfest)!!

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