Thursday morning I got the following text from Cgerf*:
Well, you got a partner in leg-shaviness.
Casey's [his wife] doing the Mohican? Sweet!
I think he was a little self-conscious because he pointed out more than once other cyclists at the start that had silky smooth legs. I had a full week of letting my stubble “grow” after the Horsey Hundred so I had kinda forgotten that my legs looked shaved as well. For those that don’t know me IRL I have fine, blond hair, and even at 40 years old hardly have more than peach fuzz on my face. You can imagine the effect of shaving my legs for the first time. You can only see the hair on my legs when there’s mud caked to it anyway. I was looking forward to a bit of sticky trail grit to disguise my milky white calves.
One phenomenon of the trip was that Tjeff kept running into people he knew. There was a fisherman along the Mohican River that was his eight grade spring formal date's great uncle on her mother’s side. He also knew the waitress at the pizza joint. He'd once met her college roommate at a truck stop in Ames,Iowa on a skate tour. Fjeggph had also once painted some porch posts for the mayor of Loudonville but it was in another incarnation prior to his current one. When he wanted to pass he'd just call out the riders name in front of him and they'd let him by. He knew them by the shape of their shoulders and if they had any odd moles or birthmarks poking through their kits. That's why he finished first, but then went back out for another lap and finished the second one in 11 hours.
When we reached the first hill where everyone walked Gaeff just rode up it on the backs of all the other riders. That guy can climb! That’s where he left me, as I was caught up in the dogpile of weekend warriors that had started about 2/3 back from the start line.
I did get back on the bike sooner than most, and began riding while I could still see him climbing far ahead, but I never could get around the pack once we re-entered the singletrack.
It turns out Jeff did really well. He wasn’t a contender for the podium (only because he took a second lap), but he did finish his first 100 mile mountain bike race in just over 11 hours. Itwas a hard 100 miles. I know—I rode a third of it.
Jerf asked if the Mohican is harder than Leadville. I pondered. If Leadville could be temporarily transported to the middle of rural Ohio and I had the opportunity to ride both courses fresh on alternating days I think I would have to say that the Mohican kicks Leadville’s butt. Sorry Ken! At least, a wet and slimy Mohican kicks the butt of a nice and grippy Leadville. It’s not that there’s anything on the Mohican that comes close to being as difficult as Columbine outbound or Poweline inbound, but St. Kevins, Sugarloaf, the Pipeline, bombing down Columbine…cake compared to the continuous gruel of a sloppy Mohican.
At Leadville there are long sections where you can set the autopilot and go back to the cabin to visit with the passengers. You just can’t do that on the Mohican. You’re white-knuckled, going down in flames, engine’s dropping off your wings all the way to the scene of the crash.
I remember riding certain sections and thinking:
Wonder if Jeff bunny-hopped over that creek?
Jeff wouldn’t have slipped on that rock…
Jeff probably climbed up this 30% grade…
These guys wouldn’t pick on me like this if Jeff were around!
Hey Spike! Hey Spike!
Geez, I sure hope Jeff is having a good time…AHHHHHH, I’M GONNA DIE!
Pjef did well though. I wasn’t bitter that he finished and I didn’t. It wasn’t the best feeling seeing him come across the finish while I had failed. I wanted to be happy for him. I wanted to have different feelings altogether. I didn’t resent that he’d come with us either. In fact, his finish did make me feel somewhat redeemed for dragging everyone six hours to watch me fail (again), so it was good that he did so well.
I’m still struggling with my DNF. I’ve got a big ole tarnished pewter statue of a crashed tricycle on a cheap plastic base sitting on the mantel in my mind with the inscription:
Welcome to Loudonville, Quitter
Mohican MTB 100
June 1, 2013
Yeah, still struggling with that…
I know I did everything I could do. I know I am capable of finishing a 100 mile MTB race. I just haven’t done that many and so far I’m 1 – 2, mountain bike races up one.
My DNF might have been a little easier to swallow if more people had thrown up their hands and walked out of the woods in frustration. While my dropping out wasn’t directly related to my abilities it still was a blow to my ego. I know I didn’t fail, but I still feel like I failed.
So while I was stoked for Jeff it was hard for me to show it. He rode well and deserves the kudos. As his group of about five riders were approaching the finish line the announcer piped up and told everyone to make some noise for them because they had been out riding over 11 hours. And he was right; to still be going after that much time takes a lot of motivation and preparation. Even after he and his group came in there were still riders finishing. While everyone else was eating I heard riders’ numbers and names over the PA. That had to be 12+ hours out. You’ve got to give credit to those that came limping in right up until the cutoff. That takes some grit too.
The same guy that told us that next year we’d see a Proofer Memorial Statue in the town square also told us the official name of the race would be different next year too. Since Jefe managed to ride about half the course airborne while bunny-hopping over obstacles, and since he did two full laps and actually beat out the “official” winner (he was riding a fully rigid single speed, like that is believable) they have decided to rename the race the 2014 kenda Mozhican MTB 100.
I’d also like to add that Jyeph is not my Tyler Durden or Ferris Bueller. He is a real mountain biker who can bunny-hop over anything, who can climb any hill, who never gets migraines, and who is taller, skinnier, and more ruggedly good-looking than I am. Oh, and he has a lot of money and lives in the woods.
See, here is a photo of him crossing the finish line:
All joking aside, the guy has been a great riding partner over the past few months. I’ve never had a regular training companion and we both seem to enjoy the same kind of sick bikewhacking adventures that can only be found right out your own back door. I am bummed he’ll not be doing Leadville, too, as I need someone to motivate and inspire on down that path as well as he has up to this point.
I’ll give Tom back his boyfriend right after Leadville. I promise.
*I’m going to have to stop doing this. It’s getting out of hand. There are only so many variations of the name “Jeff” before it becomes ridiculous. I’ll let you know when that happens.