Rex kwan Do
I decided to drive out to Loudonville, Oh for the Mohican 100 MTB race. This is part of the National Ultra Endurance series. Yea, I know, Covid-190, Social D blah blah.Well if the wife wasn't ok with it I wasn't going but she was so nah nah nah nah poo poo. I left early Friday for the 8 hour drive out. That's the tough part. But at the last minute Jaime C came through and gave his hotel room he wasn't going to use(thanks!). Well I arrived at about 3pm and check in, well guess who my next door neighbor is?! Tinker! My idle growing up and to this day! He is the true definition of passion. So. after meeting him and snapping a pic and being for a few I met Nelson Odreman, Emra and another Brazilian from NJ for a short preside and then dinner. Guess what? In Ohio restaurants are open for sit down! You don't realize what you missing until it's gone. SO typical burger and fries to load up and then head back to the hotel(200' away from the start). Typical night before the race...prep my drop bags and everything for the am, have a couple glasses of wine, fall asleep too late, wake up too often and eventually too early...but hey, now it's race day!
Ah, it's the day of the race. Nerves, weather, vibe, stomach...blah blah. Anyways, despite all of these I was a prepared and feeling good. I was going off at 7:03 (4th wave, 1st was at 7:00am). So, here we go. I am completely ready for this abbreviated rain version(80 miles). I have a pretty stout gear on(34-17)and man was it fast. I was with a bunch of geared guys who were dragging me along at 25mph until...1st hill, well that's where SSers do there thing. Geared guys do all the work on the flats and users do all the work on the hills. I was now solo for the next 5 miles or so. Eventually we hit some single track and man was it way wetter than expected(like peanut butter with wet roots and rocks). Still, the gear felt good. I was able to ride most stuff but definitely lost some ground. I found myself back on the dirt roads again and caught and dropped another geared guy in the rollers.
Fast forward a bit and I am now at the head of the Mohican Rail trail(6 miles of also flat paved bike path, followed by for miles of the opposite(slight downhill). In the perfect situation a geared rider comes up right as you enter and it was glorious! Ryan Johnson, a U23 racer and Team Cannondale advocate was the guy with another rider in tow. Well he was surprised I was doing 22mph on an ss so he offered to help. We pace lined for the next 10 miles. About 5 miles in I caught 2nd and 3rd place ss, and they latched on. I put somer digs in as I had a stiffer gear but these guys weren't going anywhere. So we decided to work together and this made the vibe of the race til the end. These was slow singletrack, sketchy decent, brutally steep climbs I could not make on my gearing. Anyways, I lost site of those two guys with about 10 miles to go but on the last big climb which I was walking I caught a glimpse of Eli Orth(the 2019 NUE SS series champ who was previously leading) and he was walking the climb too. Well there it was, he was the target. I got on the bike as soon as possible and drilled it to the end. I was cramping, hurting, suffering and ultimately thinking I was in 4th or 5th place. The end came rather quickly as we were expecting 80 miles and it ended up being 70 miles. Long story short, this is where all the hard work pays off. I ended up 3rd places an on the podium! I beat the NUE SS champ by 30 seconds or so. Second place was less than 30 sec up(but this was chipped time/staggered start so he wasn't actually 30 seconds up the road) and he took 2nd at Leadville last year. The winner was a young kid Thad who is Don Powers'(multi time NUE winner) protege.
So after the race I enjoyed the hospitality of Ryan(the race promoter and NUE series promoter, Nelson, Emra, Vinnie and their families(thanks for the Brazilian and Argentenian food!). I drank 3 IPAS, took a 2 hour nap and left for home to surprise the family(normally I drive home the day after. The kids were all surprised to see daddy this morning!
The last of the highlights were meeting Logan Kasper(the race winner and getting a Flow Formula discount code from him, seeing countless Amish buggies along the route, the views, the camaraderie and the stoke. Thanks to Ryan Dell for being one of the only promoters nationwide to keep his race going. This is why we put in all the hard work over the years.