Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lumberjack 100 Race Report

Lumberjack 50 Race Report

I pride myself on finishing races. During my career as an amateur racer I have found the limits, reeked havoc on my engine and recovered. I have pushed, pedaled and stumbled across finishing lines with nothing left more times than I can count. I can recount my "did not finish" experiences on one hand.

#1 Whiskey Creek XC 2001 Broken Chain

#2 24 Hours of Snow Shoe 2003 Lost my mind in the pitch black wilderness

#3 12 Hours of Cowbell 2006 Hot sweaty dehydrated bloat

#4 Lumberjack 100 2008 Lack of Drive

The lumberjack 100 was my first A priority race of 2008. Base miles, weight training, diet and building phases by the book (Friel’s Training Bible) were going to lead to fireworks. I anticipated fresh legs, effortless accelerations and handling skills unlike any I had experienced before. I packed an extra Autism Speaks jersey for the podium and looked forward to spraying cheap champagne on the spectators and fellow competitors who would have followed the pain train only to hold up big fake checks with smaller amounts than mine.

Brian and I drove up Friday to meet some members of Team Active Racing. Jack Miner put us up in his cabin with posh amenities, food, cold beer and a roaring fire that kept the mosquitoes at bay and would have been worthy of a scout master’s praise.

We (Brian Y, Eric Cook, Joe K, Jack M., Mike B, Jim G. Mike B) put are feet up, shared stories and I was reminded of what Mountain Biking stands for.

Big M changes its face from year to year. The course can be a hilly dust bowl lined with roots, a sand box worthy of castles, pales, shovels and Tonka Trucks or a well groomed piece of single-track begging riders to take risks and let the tires grip in the corners.

Manistee had 11 inches of rain soaked into its gritty teeth making for great trail conditions. The lines were smooth, roots dry and all the grueling ups were preceded by white knuckle butt clenching downs.

For the 1st 2 miles of pavement I put the Mamasita in the dog and pulled riders up the road. I had solid snappy legs and needed to stay behind the fast kids for a decent result.

I settled in with a group of 8 riders for the first inner and outer loops. The pace was good and everyone carried their momentum through the twists and turns until we hit the swamp. All the rain collected in the low areas making for a messy push and pedal fiasco. It reminded me of the swamp of sadness in “The Never Ending Story if you have not seen the movie, rent it.

The pace continued into my 2nd inner loop but once I was half way through the outer I hit a brick and mortar wall of self doubt. I went from fast - flowing - smiling to suck. I came through the pits after 50 miles and Brian had a peeled Banana and fig newtons ready for another 10 second pit like all those we had rehearsed before.

I leaned my bike and contemplated pushing through my mental block, finishing the race and keeping my pride. I thought about the camp fire, the 1st 25 miles of fun riding, dinner at home, beer, mowing my lawn on Monday without burning legs and what mountain biking stands for. I hung my head and took the walk of shame to the race official’s table.

Rider Number 219, DNF

I was able to get in a fun ride, make new friends and spread the word about Autism

I will have a handful of pictures taken by Brian Yost in my photo dump by tomorrow.

Love dan


WPG said...

I had almost exactly the same experience. I finished her last year and did Cohutta this spring, and I don't know what happened saturday. It sucked all the same. Better luck next year. I'll be there.

Tom said...

It's a bummer but sometimes it just works out that way. Better luck at the w101 ? I am digging the photomontages.