I’ve been quiet on the blog since I had to pull out of the Wilmington Whiteface 100k race. My right leg was sore, I was grumpy and I didn’t want to subject you all to any of my whining (you may thank me later). I went in to physical therapy for my hip/hamstring problem. That helped a lot and when I combined it with a bar roller and a lacrosse ball I was able to patiently get rid of the most painful muscle knots. Being more consistent with my post-ride stretching kept those knots at bay.
Getting those things under control allowed me to ramp up a little bit on my riding and to look ahead to a race I have wanted to do for a couple of years: The Hampshire 100. This race is part of the National Ultra Endurance Series, a year long series of 100 mile mtb races across the country. The Hampshire race and the Wilderness 101 are the two that are closest to my house and have been on my to-do list since I started mountain biking. The problem was that they happened to close to Leadville and so I put them on hold 2 years ago and then I raced in ORAM with my brother last year.
This year a had a large number of friends who were going to ride at Leadville. I would have loved to go out there and race with them but it really did not work from a family side. So instead I had both the Hampshire 100 and the Wilderness 101 circled on the calendar. In the end I picked Hampshire because the race venue was close to my luge friend Jim’s house in NH. Coreen and I planned on going down and spending the weekend.
The continuing theme of this years biking has been “distractions”. I was able to ramp up my biking, but “things” continued to get in the way of my training. My short distance speed was really good. I set a couple of PB’s on local routes that I use to benchmark how I am doing. But I had a real lack of distance training (and a little extra weight) under my belt and so I opted for the 100 km rather than the 100 mile version of the race. I almost registered in the novice group (since that’s honestly where I felt my endurance to be) but knew I would take some heat from the west coast and so I went sport.
Now, the distraction theme continued and struck the night before I was supposed to head to New Hampshire with Coreen. My oldest son was diagnosed with Lyme the week before and was on antibiotics. He was feeling pretty bad with his migraines acting up severely. We decided that a parent needed to stay home and I lost my co-pilot (i.e the person to drive me the 6 hours home after the race) the day before I left. The race was on Sunday and I needed to drive home right after the race. Something about a 100k race and then 6 hours driving in the car seemed like a bad idea. There was a mad scramble and I was able get my dad to drive with me. We ended up leaving early Saturday morning and arrived in New Hampshire at noon on Saturday.
Jim has gotten into bike racing in the last couple of years and was competing in the CX race Saturday evening. I wanted to do the pre-ride for the race. We loaded up and headed to the venue.
The CX race was hard core. Mostly because a severe thunderstorm was closing in on the venue. There was rain, there was lightening. There probably should not have been a race. BUT they got it in. Jim showed his incredible leg strength by breaking his derailleur hanger while pedaling. And then his dedication by running the last lap of the 1.6 mile course with a bike on his shoulders.
I did the pre-ride where they took us on some of the single track from the race. It was rocky, rooty and steep. As we headed back to the venue I asked the guy leading the pre-ride how much of the course was single track. “Probably at least half of it. Mostly like that.” Suddenly my prediction for a finish time on the race (which I had admittedly pulled out of my rear end) seamed, well silly.