Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wilderness 101

Here’s a quick report on the Wilderness 101. This is a back country race held near State College Pennsylvania. This is the first time I’ve done this race so I really didn’t know what to expect plus I was also going in on a new bike with these crazy big wheels. I had some doubts about how this whole thing was going to go down. In addition the weather was promising to be super hot and humid.

I've always enjoyed the start of these races. Everybody starts off in one mass group and we pretty much own the road as we make our way through town. The group stays together until we hit the first fireroad climb and guys start dropping off the back. I settle in with a big group of other singlespeeders and we get this kind of cool pace line thing going. All of us spinning our asses off.

The first 40 miles fly by and I find myself actually looking forward to climbing some hills after all this flat fireroad stuff. Well, as they say be careful what you wish for because we hit the first of two really long fireroad climbs and they absolutely destroy me. It’s getting hot and we are exposed to the sun the whole way up. I had to stop and one point because my heart rate got so hight that I started seeing blue spots. This seems to go one forever but finally I get to the top, get to go down a for a bit and then I had to do it all over again. Brutal.

I’m 71 miles in and feeling ok. I’ve found my 2nd wind and I’m climbing the hills better. It’s brutally hot and humid but I’m not cramping up. I’m walking some of the hills but that’s ok a lot of the other guys are too. I roll into checkpoint 5 with only 14 miles to go. I can see a light but is it the oncoming train? I grind out last few miles and roll in at 10 hours and 15 minutes. I had a rough goal of trying to finish in 11 so I’m really happy with my result. I ended up coming in 21st in the singlespeed class and 85th I think overall, 79th in men open

I need to talk about the bike for a bit. I was riding my new Vassago Jabberwocky, a 29 inch bike. I’ve never really bought into the whole 29er thing, I’ve always kind of thought it was fad. We’ll I’ve completely changed my mind. This course had a little bit of everything. Tons of fireroads, steep climbs, some twisty single track and rocky single track. The bike handled everything great. It does seem to let me go down hill a bit faster and I love climbing on it. It’s great on technical uphills where those big wheels seem to roll over the rocks with less effort. Even after being on the bike for 10 hours I felt less fatigued than I would have if I was riding my 26” bike. I was really happy with the WTB tires too. I was running a big fat 2.5 Weir Wolf up front and fast rolling Nano Raptor on the back. They worked great on the fireroads but I did wash out in some sand once. I also think that if it ever rains again that the Nano Raptor is going to get replaced with something a bit more aggressive.

So up next is 18 Hours on the Farm down in Richmond.

Few pictures.

Just part of the campsite. I there were 350+ racers?

A little reward after the ride

The open category winners

Singlespeed winners

Tandem Class winners (That's Rob Lichtenwalner (Vegan Rob) and his wife on the top spot. I was riding with them towards the end)


namrita o'dea said...

congrats!!! that's an awesome finish. i'd like to get up to that race next year. we'll see what happens with the schedule.

that beer looks mighty tasty. might have to go drink one now, thanks ;)

Kevin said...

Thanks! These races are so hard. All the fast guys on the East Coast show up. I was blown away when I found myself warming up behind Tinker Juarez.

Hmmm.... said...

Congrats Kev. Sounds like it was a good race. Looking forward to SM100!!!!!

See ya soon

Jason said...

Great finish and report!

Jay Heverly said...

Great race report! I camped right next to you with the xterra and the old farts!

Mike said...

I can't believe I haven't been up there yet. I've heard great things about the place. Think it's worth planning a fall weekend trip up there? Haven't done that in a while......

Kevin said...

Thanks everyone. Goal next year is top 20 sub 10 hours.

Mike, I don't know about a whole weekend. We did ride some nice singletrack and maybe there is more we didn't ride but I don't know if there is enough for a whole weekend. Michaux would be better I think.