Lumberjack was the first race that I ever participated in 5 years ago. I signed up day of on my singlespeed, made it through half the race in 6 hours and DNF'ed. Next year was the year of the Epic flood, where I stuggled for a 10:40ish finish. Year 3 DNF due to a mechanical. 2010, horrible bonk for the middle 40 miles, 9:27. This year I had ridden a little more, but with alot more intensity than last year. After a strong ride at the Hanson Hills 100 on Memorial Day weekend, I was pretty confident I would break 9 hours, which was all I really set out to do. Here is my recap of 2011.
5am wake up call, drove the motorhome from the campground to the start. Just enough time to put our gear in the tent, chomp down a Clif bar breakfast, get our instructions at the 630am riders meeting and head 2 miles down the road for the road start.
7am. the gun goes off. I sit in the group toward the front 100 moving about 20-22mph behind the pace car. We hit LJ lodge, go around the circle and funnel into the singletrack where I got pinched a bit, but we filed in for the first climb, a slow easy grinder for about a mile or so. Found a good group to ride with and rode a comfortable pace.
8am. Get loose in some sand carving the singletrack and smack my shoulder on a tree. Hard. I swore something was broken. Lost my group for a bit, shook it off and hammered on. Arrived at the aid station to notice my number plate, which included my timing chip was ripped off. Shit.
9:43 Finished my first lap with a time of 2:43. Glad someone found my number plate and called the timing officials. They knew who I was, got my time in. I felt good, nutrition was dialed. Maybe 2 minutes in the pits to refill the camelback and I was off. for lap 2. Lap 2 was fairly un-eventful. Again I found a good group to work with. There was a new, really long grinding climb this year up to the fire tower than I was feeling a bit, but not too bad, especially since after there was a couple miles of downhill.
12:31 Finish lap 2 with a time of 2:47. In the pits I knew I had sub 9 hours in the bag. Took maybe 4 minutes to refill the camel back and pop a couple motrin for my aching shoulder, and headed out. I knew immediately during the first climb that this lap may be a little different. I was having trouble recovering on the climbs that are in the first 5-6 miles. They are steep, and soft. I hopped off on one to walk for a minute. After I was through those I regained some composure. Got back in a groove until I had to stop to pee and pull a stick out of my deraulleur. As I was doing that Mike Seaman passed me and I just on his wheel for 5 or 6 miles to the aid station, where I grabbed a small cup of coke. I was going to finish it out with Mike but he told me to go. I put my head down and rode hard, through the toughest part of the course knowing I had only 17 miles to go. Everything hurt. My arms, neck, legs. I started picking off a few people where were starting to fade. Seen my buddy Chris who usually kick my ass starting to get closer. He wished me luck, I rode a couple hills most people were walking, put myself totally in the red, heart pounding, seeing starts, only to get over the last hill and come into the last downhill knowing it would soon be over.
3:30 Finished in 8:30:45 I didnt think I had an 830 in me. My 3rd lap was solid at 2:59:10 but with the slow pit and the tough start, I was shocked. I finished 47th in open men (actually 46 but they gave the position to the guy I passed at the finish the spot, me not having a timing chip and all) To shave 57 minutes off my time from last year and gain 40 positions on a slightly different and tougher course, is extremely hard to do.
I am in rare form this year. Eating better, riding harder. Its all paying off. I finished ahead of alot of people at this race that train alot and normally kick my ass. I may do a couple small races before Ore 2 shore, we shall see. Feeling good about crushing the 48 miles there in August. I really want to make it to Shenandoah in Virgina on Labor Day but not sure I have a dog sitter..
Big thanks to my Dad who helped speed up my pit stops. It makes it so nice to have someone there to help you.