Another uneventful Shenandoah Mountain 100 for me.
My favorite kind.
I don't like "events" like crashes, broken chains, flat tires, broken derailleurs, stomach problems, or the myriad other things that can go wrong at this 100-mile mountain bike epic.
I started slow (intentionally), finished strong, rode with many many friends all day, and had a blast as always. This was my 4th year doing it on a single-speed, and first doing it with a rigid fork. The fork had been a concern of mine, as I wondered if it would take the fun out of all the downhills, and add a new level of fatigue to the body. I didn't really enjoy the descent on Tea Creek Mountain Trail a few weeks ago at the Wild 100 because of the rigid fork. Well, the descents at the SM must be a hell of a lot smoother, because I had no problems at all. I felt just as confident as with a shock almost everywhere on the course. Particular highlights were the descent into CP-4 with Albert on my wheel, and the descent into CP-6 with MattyD and Mark Wigfield (2 guys that I seem to spend a lot of time with at the end of this race every year). Another highlight was pulling into 5 and seeing JoeP break into a big "I'm gonna beat Camp" grin. He left as soon as I got there, as I began searching for some chamois lube. One of the biggest highlights for me is having enough gas left to climb the Hankey > Lookout fire road the second time, and passing lots of geared riders. It was here that I passed Matt and Mark for the last time, and briefly passed my friend Frankie Maguire from Mt. Nittany. We chatted for a while on the Lookout trail until it dropped downhill, and I pulled off to let him fly it.
[insert some poached pics here when I find 'em]
I finished in about my usual time, with the same group of riders that I usually finish with. And this year, I also came close to another goal I always have: that of drinking one beer for every hour I spent on the course. I'm not sure if I made it to 10, but I tried. That's my incentive to do it in 7 hours. I know I can easily drink 7 beers, especially with all that extra time.
I was most impressed with many of my friends: JoeP climbing like a goat on testosterone; Andy Neal (pic) rocking on a fixed gear and being the talk of the SingleSpeed brethren; Steve who finally had a mechanical-free 100 and beat the 10-hour mark, and Brian from Bike Lane (aka 'BLS') who shows up on a borrowed bike 5 days after getting back in the country from Afghanistan.
Lookin' forward to the next one already!