By Doug Bolling
I have “raced” the 100 MoN for the past 3 years. In fact, my first century ride ever was my first 100 MoN ride. Things are a little different for me this year. I am training for a “little” mtb race in Colorado in August [That would be the Leadville 100 - FC] and have a tune-up race next week. So I was trying to figure out how to fit the 100 MoN into my training schedule.
Looking at my training calendar I saw that I had a 5 hour ride on tap Sunday June 2. Perfect, except how to get 100 miles in 5 hours AND accomplish my training goals?
So I thought, and thought, and thought some more.
Then it struck…..a timed crit…..on my mountain bike……riding the dirt road short lap around my block! It’s a 2.7 mile loop that takes about 11 minutes. There are three “hills” (maybe 30 ft elevation gain each). One is an attention-getter (12% grade) the other two are a little more mellow. And let’s just do six hours instead of 5. With the course and time set, my division? The Potsdam, Training for a Big Race, Mountain Bike, Timed Criterium.
The weather was calling for scattered thunderstorms, and I started the ride in a downpour. The dirt roads were muddy and soft. But the rain only lasted about 2 laps, then it stopped. And gradually the roads dried a little bit, and got a little firmer.
I settled back into the ride: crank/sprint up the kicker hill, “recover” down the backside, temp the rest of the way around.
One of the things I like about this event is that it is meditative. You can settle into it and through repetition lose yourself. Yeah, OK that’s definitely the half full metaphysical version. 32 laps around my block was definitely tedious. :)
Coreen and the kids came out periodically and cheered me on. They got me bottle refills, and 3 hours in, brought me a coke (Yumm, best mid ride drink ever!).
The weather held pretty good until about 4 hours into the ride (2 hours to go) when it rained hard again for about 20 minutes. All that nice firming up of the dirt road, gone. It became soft and muddy again.
After 6 hours the GPS said I did 86 miles, with a 14.4 mph average and a 4400 ft elevation gain. Oh, and I won my division (go figure).
My most memorable moment of the day: hitting a big snapping turtle. It’s turtle-mating season here and they are all over the place. They like to lay eggs next to the roads. The incident occurred during the initial downpour. I had a face full of spray — was cleaning it out — and when I looked up, there she was: directly in my path. I swerved and clipped her. She was fine (me too!), but it could have been very ugly.
Cars? Only was passed by one the entire six hours. I love living on a dirt country road.