I returned to the Wilderness 101 this weekend. I did the first two installments of Chris' version in 2001-2002, but then missed the next 5 of them. Hmmm, Oliver is 5 years old, coincidence??
I had a good, uneventful race, no flats, no mechanicals, no crashes, etc., but I'm not thrilled with my time of 10:55. I started in the very back and felt I stayed there, riding mostly alone until AS-3 or so when I finally started catching up to familiar faces like Frank and Harry. Funny how my mind works; last week in the blistering Curse, I told myself that the 101 would have to be easier. In the 101, I convinced myself that the SM 100 will be easier.
Looking back at those 01-02 results, I see that in the 2001 race, I was 17th overall at 9:17, interestingly, right behind Harry and Frank. I replaced my derailleur (with the spare I always carried) on the Fisherman's Path after ripping it off on the entrance rock. Would I have been sub-9? Seems absurd for me to say sub-9 anymore.... Jay Duffy won that race by more than 30 minutes with a 7:07. Kuhn-dog was 2nd, Jake von Gettier was 6th with an 8:15. Myracle Mark was 13th at 8:59.
In 2002, I rode the race with my friend Steve Viers who would be my Trans Rockies teammate later that summer. We rolled in with BarryOM at 9:52. Keefer won it that year with a 7:32, nowhere near Duffy's blazin' time. Was Jay juicing the year before?? Harlan was 8th.
So, the course is maybe a bit slower now with some more trail added since the first installments. I'm certainly slower and older, and riding my cheater bike in a race that isn't as cheater-friendly as say, Fountainhead is. My time is about an hour slower than 2002. I guess it isn't all that bad, but I sure seemed slow out there and started asking the questions.... This time the questions were turning into actual discussions in my head. Yet another reason I like doing these with lots of friends around....., they keep you safe........ from yourself.
Rollin' in pedal-file-style with Barry. This was also his 3rd 101, and he and Buchness are also members of the short bus that have done every one of the Shenandoah 100s.