The word of the day was WOW.
Though it took about an hour less than I thought it would, it hurt a lot more than I thought it would.
My Michaux adventure actually started on Weds night at 7:15 PM with a bonehead move involving my Subaru, and my bike laying on the ground behind the car (instead of it being on the roof where I thought it was). A HUGE thank you to the The Bike Lane's Loren for quickly building me a new rear wheel, and to JoeP for delivering it my house on Sat. night. Seriously, home delivery. The Bike Lane folks make us feel like we're pro riders or something. Thank you.
Seems both Joe and I have trouble falling asleep the night before these early, big races. I saw 4:30 on the clock before I finally fell asleep, and Joe said he saw 3:30. Oh well, just like Shenandoah I figured.... Oh yeah, and then Joe locked the keys inside of his car, right next to his front wheel and helmet. Nice, at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. I called a locksmith in town who actually answered the phone, he said he'd be here in 15 minutes. He was here in 10, and got the job done. For only $40.
I lined up at the start of the race well away from the front of a huge crowd of 100 Monsters. My strategy was to start slow, stay slow, ride with friends, and finish strong. I also wanted to try to conserve some energy for the fun sections of trail, and not blow myself on some meaningless fireroad grind or something. Have fun wherever possible is what I wanted, particularly, Grave, 3-Mile, and Rattlesnake. The pace around me was pretty much like a SM 100, more casual pace. At one point early on, Joe and I were joined by Albert and Andy for a while, which I thought was fun. But those guys didn't want to be as social and chatty as I, and they all dropped me. My PA friends were all way out in front, all of 'em, Dr. Tom, Tomi, Pete, Bender, Joel, Buck. I rode briefly with Martin and Cheryl, but Martin got out for good after Dead Woman. Albert dropped me for good standing up and hammering up the Dead Woman Hollow climb, mashing his SS in 2 gears harder than I had. Good for him. I thought Albert would eventually come back to me, but he never did and had a great finish. I had Joe in front of me and in my sights for about 35 miles. I'd see him turn into a tiny red & yellow dot way off ahead, and then he'd occasionally come back toward me.
Joe and I rolled into the 3-Mile Trail aid station together, w/ Cheryl close behind, and we got ready to enjoy one of the coolest stretches of trail. But, Joe dropped back, not having the gas to enjoy anything at this point. When you exit 3-Mile, you stare right at the face of a soul-crushing road climb to get you to Rattlesnake Ridge, another primo trail to enjoy. I don't think Joe liked this much either, and I pulled away. Joe caught me at the last aid station where I was having some Troegs Pale Ale with Travis and crew working the aid station. That beer was reaalll nice, even better than the Miller High Life at the previous stop. Joe rolled in, had a little beer, and we took off together. The last 7 miles were pretty easy, and a nice gentle climb. Gentle enough that I knew it suited Joe's bigger gear more than mine, and I just knew he'd catch me after I opened a little gap. He'd been trying to drop me all day. I kept trying to look over my shoulder without being too obvious. I never saw Joe, and he rolled across the line a minute or so after I. Right before the finish, I spotted the 2 McClain kids standing on a berm on the side of trail. They were welcoming the finishers with thrown objects, and I got a direct hit to the helmet and some giggles. Then they ran off to find Oliver yelling that 'daddy Camp' was done. Oliver immediately said, 'can we go home now...', to which I said, yeah sure, right after about 3 or 4 beers and a massage.....