3rd Single Speed & 12th Overall at Lumberjack 100
This past weekend was the Lumberjack 100, again I would line up running a full rigid Pivot LES setup with a 32×18 gearing. Weather was looking nice as rain had pushed in late in the week to cool things down a bit and to keep the dust down.
The race loop consists of a mostly flat, fast and rolling course that has a very sandy soil that gets rutted up real good on the downhills. Kevin Carter probably described the feeling of the course best in a post race conversation describing it as almost like Star Wars where you are going warp speed and diving around dodging trees. It’s probably one of my favorite NUE’s in the series as even though your heart race is maxed and you are supposed to be all serious, it’s just a blast to be flying around in the woods going so fast.
But – with all that, the temps are usually high and so is the pace, so coupled with that and the temptation to quit coming every 33 miles, it makes extremely difficult. With it hot, I typically say that the halfway point comes around the beginning of the 3rd lap. Not so this year, as temps seemed to stick around the mid 70′s at the highest.
Race started as usual, down a road and a right hand turn into the lot. Seemed a lot slower and safer then in years past, so that was a good thing.
After getting pinched in the turn, and then pinched in again right before the single track, we twisted around into the first little climb of the day and I surged past a bunch of riders trying to keep the pace up.
I made it out of the single track good, and then onto the first long road sand section and that’s where a rather group in front of me was at… Spinning like crazy, I tried to stay on, but their attacks brought the speed up too high and I lost contact.
And so I pushed on. I was mostly by myself on that first lap, quickly catching and dropping geared riders and a few single speed too, but soon I wasn’t seeing any single speed riders.
And then up the little hike a bike…
Past that section, some more rollers and fast areas, into the last little climb and it’s the end of lap 1. Feeling great and concentrating on a fast stop I rip out with my camel back and forget my bottle. Duh. I quickly turn around and loose a minute, but I would be better off with it then without.
I then head back out and mash the pedals. I am now more in no mans land and I think I may catch one or two more single speed riders, but not many. Not really knowing, I push on.
With the miles and the effort starting to hurt, I start concentrating now on getting to the next section of the trail. I focus more on the section as opposed to the end and it seems to help my pace and state of mind.
Lap 3 comes and I get out of the pits super quick. Drinking down some nicely cooled fuel and some food, I suddenly start feeling a lot better as I look at my time and realize it’s possible to beat my last years GEARED time.
I get spurred on once again as nearing the end of the first climb, I catch a single speed rider and quickly distance myself.
With a sudden burst of late race energy, the miles seem to tick off really quick. I concentrate on riding hard in the single track, feeding when I can and thinking about fueling up with a full bottle of Coca Cola and the mid-way aid station.
I fill up with Coca Cola, grab a banana and make on my way.
I enjoy the remaining 15 miles or so of riding, thinking of some of enduro pals out west riding at solo 24 Hour Nats.
In retrospect, while I am happy for how some of them did out there, I must say that I was pretty stoked to get 3rd single speed for the day, 12th overall and to only miss beating my geared time from last year by about 5 minutes… And to finish the day off with a Founders Ale, was pretty sweet.
Hats off to race organizer Rick Plite for another well run event.
(photo credits to Jack Kunnen)
(photo credit to: Jack Kunnen)