Friday, June 7

Last Thoughts of the Mohican

We just couldn’t get over how well run the race was, how amazing the town was, how supportive the community seemed to be, and that everything was just so enjoyable and perfect.

Loudonville is the kind of small town you’d expect to see in a movie. It’s quaint to the point of gagging you.  Hey, that’s a good thing! Mohican State Memorial Forest/State Park is a picturesque place, if not stunning like the greater Appalachians or the Rocky Mountains.  Regardless, it was a beautiful place. I’m sorry I missed the rest of the 100 mile route.  Jeff said it was incredible. 
The area is more than bicycle friendly.  We all agreed it would be a great place to go back and take the families, ride on the paved paths near Butler, the singletrack in Mohican, and all around Loudonville.

On the edge of town near Mohican Adventures
There is boating on the river.  Obviously there is hiking, camping, and fishing.  We stayed at the Mohican River Inn, which was located along Wally Road, but up in the trees far enough away that traffic was unnoticeable. The room slept the five of us well, though if my mother-in-law had gone Tommy probably wouldn’t have been as keen to sleep on the pull-out couch.  It was a really nice place, and for the price we couldn’t have beaten it.
The other racers, far-flung and local alike, were for the most part positive and encouraging.  I mentioned the guys that commented on how well I was doing for not being familiar with the trails and the young lady that was helpful and suggested other places I could ride if I came back in the future. 
There was only one directly negative experience I had regarding other riders.  On the first climb where everyone except Jeff started walking, just after I got back on the bike, an older local came pedaling up, and as he approached the cyclist walking next to me he said with too much acid in his voice: “Guess I’m going to have to walk.”
I was riding on the edge of a steep dropoff, so I wasn’t budging, I just kept cranking.  The guy walking mumbled something and pulled out of the way.  As the local guy pedaled past I recognized him.  Just a few minutes earlier he had been riding along in front of me and with no warning, for no apparent reason, he had stopped dead in the trail.  Some people got all the class.
We saw a couple of crashes at the start.  The first one was two guys that looked to be riding together that got tangled up in each other’s cables.  The second was more serious and involved the guy with the dislocated shoulder just before the paved climb out of town.  I saw a few more less serious crashes.  I don’t think I saw anyone else get hurt seriously.  Everyone else I saw go down got back up, got on their bikes, and went on.
Tom transported the guy with the broken hand, and we heard about a girl that might have broken her hip, but we never confirmed that.  I saw a guy with a black eye at the finish and an older guy in a Leadville t-shirt with a bandaged forehead.  He DNFed too, and claimed he had podiummed in his age group at Leadville this past year. There were lots of nasty scrapes and bruises walking around the finish area the rest of the evening.
It was incredible that the course incorporated so much private land and trails that normally wouldn’t be opened to bikes at all.  There were a few sections that were normally opened to horses only, and there was a lot of private land.  
The organizers must have worked hard to make the 100 mile course possible.  There must be a strong sense of community or some amazing relationships in that area.  Kudos to those that made it all happen!
I could have complained that I paid to ride my bike, not push it through the mud, but that’s part of the fun of mountain biking.  I don’t ride my bike through the woods to stay clean and have a smooth ride.  I ride my bike through the woods to get the crap beat out of me and have mud hide all the contusions until someone hoses (Bros before hose) me off at the car wash.


Having lived in Ohio for a while as a kid (actually lived near Lebanon and went to school in Springboro) I used to hate the state with a fiery passion.  But the years have definitely revealed to me that it is a state of beauty and lots to offer.  If I were looking for a small town to settle in I’d pick Loudonville.  In fact, we just kept comparing Loudonville to our home and pointing out things our town should be doing like the communities we passed through on our way to race our mountain bikes.
Kim’s Bike Shop played a big part in the race.  It was good to see they were closed race day and that they are normally closed on Sundays.  Who says blue laws aren’t a good thing?
Eateries?  Cyclists have big appetites, and we are cyclists.  We ate dinner at Trails End, a pizza joint surrounded on three sides by Mohican Adventures.  They had a good pie for good prices.  We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-race dinner there.  

The race caterers (sorry, forgot the name) provided a MTBer scaled feast.  They had monster pork chops, chicken, veggie burgers and all the trimmings.  For 10 bucks you couldn’t beat it.  Our biggest complaint was the standard assumption that all MTBers drink beer.  Jeff and I wanted something substantial to drink with our meals but only had the option of hose water. 
And lastly, in the also quaint and sickeningly pastoral town of Butler we found the Whiffletree CafĂ©.  Good lord we ate Sunday morning breakfast like starving lunatics and paid only pennies on the dollar for it!  Mandy, Tom and I ate for about $20 and were disgustingly full as we waddled out to the cars parked next to the nice looking rail trail that went right through the middle of town.


Everyone talked about going back, taking the kids and making the bigger scene.  Jeff and I agreed we’d go back next year and do either the 100k or be apprentice proofers under the master.  While Jeff is satisfied not going back for the full monty I feel a creeping desire to redeem myself.  I think in better conditions without lugging around a migraine I might actually be able togive a good showing at the full-on Mohican (Mozhican) MTB 100 in 2014.
All in all it was a fantastic experience, both on the course and off. If you’re looking for a 100k or 100 mile mountain bike to throw yourself at, this would be a good one to aspire toward.  It’s a true challenge, not a giveaway, and well run.  But don’t be like me and assume that because it’s in Ohio that it’s not hard.  While there are no 14ers in north central Ohio there sure are a lot of brutal little climbs on the trails of Mohican State Park.

In conclusion, check out this video, it captures the Mohican quite well actually.  And if you look close we get a cameo at 9:10.  Jeff looks right at the camera.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a great time. I used to go to Mohican State Park with my family every year when I was growing up. Lots of fond memories of that area and Loudenville.