With my leg fully healed, I was coming with confidence to the Lumberjack 100. The forecast was showing the rain after the race; however it should feel hot and humid even with the overcast sky. The start is definitely the worst part for me; this year too many nervous racers managed to crash 100 yards into the single track. I navigated thru and was right where I wanted: the lead group.
As usual, lap #1 went by quickly even if sometimes I got a little anxious when the trail details disappeared in the dust cloud made by the bikes in front of me. It was no problems and one third into the second lap, I went to the lead and start making tempo. I was feeling good and the Epic 29 was doing its job; keeping me comfortable. However, the bike started to feel a little sketchy in the turns. Sure enough, my rear tire was really low.
Of course, pumping more air with a mini pump is not exactly what I prefer to do but it was a quick fix and towards the end of the lap I was back at the front.
I wish I knew what I did wrong to transform an acceptable day on the bike into a survival challenge? Anyway, starting the third lap, I suddenly experienced some digestive problems. I was in good company of Kevin Carter and Barry Wicks. The pace became less and less manageable and after 5 hours, I was ready to call it a day. My vision was shaking, my stomach was full of liquids but strangely enough, my legs were not sore.
I was leading our group of three but I could tell each pedal stroke was slower than the previous one. I was wondering what Kevin and Barry were waiting for. I imagined they were playing with me just like a cat playing with a mouse. Finally, an hour away from the finish; Kevin attacked; Barry was immediately behind his wheel. I would not see them until the finish.
Like most racers, I was wondering why I push myself so hard. Why don’t I stop and rest for an hour or two? The answer is simple: I want to do my best… and I did. I crossed the finish line totally exhausted. Even after cleaning up, eating and resting my vision was still shacking. It lasted for 3 hours after the race. I was such poor conditions that I missed the podium… my apologies; it was not my intention.
Riding 100 miles in the Manistee forest can be a lot of fun but bodies and equipment are put to the test. I guess my Garmin had its difficulties as well: “Satellite signal lost; press Enter to continue”; see the “straight lines” in my trace at www.strava.com