Well, another Nasty Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series race is in the books. Whoa, that was pretty crazy.
The trip started out with beautiful weather as Simonster, Mitch, and I rolled down to Loudonville, OH on Friday, but then, just on queue we arrived to thunderstorms, perfect. We stayed overnight with Kuhncappi and company in one of the Mohican Adventures luxury tree forts. I never saw so many people hit their head's on a ceiling before. I'm still amazed that besides the wasp's nest hanging from the ceiling that there weren't more insects in the tree fort, with no screens in the windows. Don't they have Mosquitoes in Ohio?
I slept surprisingly well, but that darn 4:00 AM alarm came way too soon. Two bagels with peanut butter, and some Gatorade for breakfast. More pouring rain outside. 4:20 AM get back in bed. :-) We finally got our act together and got over to the start. By then the skies had cleared and looked like maybe we'd just have wet trials to deal with (no such luck). Race starts out with a steep paved climb out of town with a $200 preem at the city limit so we all got warmed up quick. Soon after getting out of town we entered some trails.
From there the layout of the course is all a bit of a blur for me. I’d never ridden any of it before and with the weather conditions, my glasses fogged up and mud splattered most of the day, well, I never really knew where I was or what was around the next corner. I was happy to find my neighbor, teammate, and good friend the Finkelstein after a few miles in that first trail section. Tim did the race in 2009 and was able to recall some of the course enough to warn me about some of the tricky spots.
Besides the weather and trail conditions, I feel my race went pretty well. I had only planned on stopping to get my drops at aid stations 2 and 4 but because of the slow trail I added a stop at 3 and the return to 3 for some extra fuel. All total I consumed 208 oz of Gatorade 33 oz of Heed 12 oz of Coca-Cola 18 gels, 1.5 PowerBars, half a PB & J sandwich and 2 slices of watermelon for an average of 448 calories and 27 oz of fluid per hour. These ultra races are partially just eating contests.
It was neat when mid race another 29er crewmate, Jason Pruitt, caught up to Tim and I on his Superfly SS. We looked pretty slick there for the next 25 miles in matching kits and bikes. Speaking of Superflys, besides my rear tire puncture at about mile 70 my equipment performed great given the abusive conditions.
The weather got especially ugly in the last 20 miles of my race. I'm kinda glad I didn't know there were tornados in the area while we were racing, but it doesn't surprise me now. It got so dark at one point in the race that I was wishing I had my lights. The trail conditions were not Herriman friendly at all. In that last 6 miles of sloppy single-track I was imagining the rivers of muddy water we were riding through were chocolate milk, this made me laugh.
Looking back at the race when it’s all over it seems like it was 100% fun even though I know there were times I wanted it to be over. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you like that.
Congrats to my fellow Michigan buddies Mike Simonson 2nd and Greg Kuhn 4th open men and for making the mitten proud. To everyone else who finished, you are all champions and just a little crazy.