Ack! Three days! Three days! Three days!
I’m not nervous. Nope. I’m ready to wipe out the Mohican.
Every time I’ve mentioned to someone that I might opt to do the 100k versus the full 100 mile race I get: “NO! You’re doing the hundred miles!”
My wife says: “Go big or go home!”
The thing that concerns me is my lack of mileage compared to my preparation for Leadville last year.
The difference is…[hand to mouth]…is that the lesser amount of riding I am doing seems to be of much higher quality. After Lead…[gulp]…ville last year I identified some of my weaknesses. I knew I needed to focus on my technical skills. I knew I needed to be more comfortable riding the distance, not necessarily having ridden a whole freakin’ lot of miles in short bursts. I knew I needed to go light, leave the hydration pack and kitchen sink behind and trust in my minimal gear and the aid stations to carry me through. I knew I needed to develop my core and strengthen my upper body.
Of the four things I really only feel like I’m lacking in the last one. I’ve got two months to condition myself. After I return from the Mohican I will totally reassess, but I’m confident that my shortcomings will be in overall fitness and in the other areas I will have excelled. So beginning June 2 I will focus hard on conditioning and strength. I should have been doing this all along, but with our move and transience since the beginning of the year I just didn’t have the ability to do what I needed to do. Mine is the training plan of opportunity, not of need. That goes along with my overall philosophy though: to show the world that an Average Joe can pull this off without investing exorbitant resources in ensuring success.
June and July aren’t typically the best months to do hard mountain biking in the Southeast. It might be best if I focus on general conditioning, dropping the weight, and riding short and hard when I can to build speed. I know the first two will benefit me greatly regardless of timing.
Since Leadville I’ve ridden a lot more technical singletrack. On the Cougar Slayer I got comfortable riding clipped in over technical terrain. Sam and I fell over more times that we could count, and I finally started to be loose on the bike and stay clipped in longer and longer. The last few months in Colorado I rode a lot of rocky, technical terrain and stayed clipped most of the time. I took some lumps, but learned to trust the bike.
As far as distance goes, the Horsey Hundred was my third century ride ever. I did the Triple Bypass in ’09, the Corona Pass ride from my house last year, and then the Horsey. Before Leadville I will have also ridden the Mohican and the Preservation Pedal this summer. I’ve also done quite a few 60-80 mile rides since Leadville. I’m pretty good at that distance. A hunnert is far, and hurts a lot, but anything up to 80 feels fine. Of course, many of those have been road rides, but most have included some significant climbing too.
The minimalist in me has come out with a vengeance. I’ve gone tubeless, cut down to a single bottle cage (up until time for the Mohican), and I’ve pared away most of the extraneous stuff from my bike and kit. If I could pare the extraneous fat from my midsection as easily we’d be in business. But the Alpine Odyssey gave me confidence in going fast and light on the bike.It also convinced me that fueling from the aid stations is key;and employing a strategery that incorporates them is crucial to minimalistic success.
I’ve neglected my general conditioning. I’m a dog to apathy. When I’m tired I put down my tomahawk to feed its laziness. From the Mohican forward that cannot be the case.
One thing I didn’t fully realize I needed was the company and influence of others. Riding with Gihoff has shown me other areas where I need to improve and has motivated me to do more than I would have alone. I kinda wish he were in this Leadville quest with me. I know we’ll still ride together after the Mohican, but having him there talking about tactics and working through all the racing problems has made a difference. It’s been much easier to get out on the bike and push through some of the harder rides having another person riding toward the same goal.
I’m also counting on the “fluke factor” a bit. The Alpine Odyssey was a fluke. That might have been my best day on the bike ever, but it was also one of the hardest efforts I’ve ever been confronted with. Somehow my body chemistry, the weather, gravity, and my mental game all came together that day. I pedaled like a fiend and the bike rocketed around Crested Butte like nobody’s business. A little fluke magic on Saturday would be welcomed.
This (the past five years) has been a long crazy ride…sometimes I forget how crazy it’s been. Being on the saddle, hunched over the bars, cranking away…well, you just don’t always get to look around at the scenery, and you should! Mandy and I made a point to take full advantage of living in Colorado and we’re glad we did. We packed in a decade’s worth of adventure during the five years we were there. To say we maximized our time and broadened our horizons is an understatement. I’m confident we’ll carry over that energy into the new chapter of our lives here in Kentucky.
The Mohican is the common thread between the two worlds in a way. It’s like Leadville, but it’s distinctly Eastern. It has aligned my thinking back to my Colorado programming. Or it at least has the potential to do so. I’ve got just under three days to get back into my old skin for a good solid go at mountain biking glory.