Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mohican 100 - DNF

To say I had a bad race at the Mohican 100 yesterday would be an understatement. The funny thing is that a few days before the race my body, mind and bike seemed completely prepared for the challenge. Heck, even wrote that I might be “unbeatable” and it kind of felt that way since I had won every NUE SS race after the Breckenridge 100 last July until yesterday, 7 consecutive wins.

My prepared feeling started to change Friday evening before bed. I noticed my throat was feeling a little raw and that the glands on my neck were a little swollen. I thought for a second I might be getting sick, but did my best to ignore the thought. I sucked on a cough drop before bed and hoped that would make things feel better by morning. I didn’t sleep too well the night before the race, but didn’t think too much about it because I usually never do. Anyway, come morning my throat was still scratchy and I had a throbbing headache also. I sucked on another cough drop while driving to the race and believed I would be fine by starting time.

At NUE #2, the Syllamo 125, my legs felt great on the first climb. My legs usually do feel great on most climbs and I feel like this is what gives me the ability to create the gaps needed to win races. My legs did NOT feel great going up the first steep road climb at Mohican. Actually, they felt like someone pored concrete into them. Regardless of how my legs were feeling, I was still mixed-in with the lead group of SS racers at the start. It was one of the biggest trains of SS riders I have ever seen stuck together for so long at the beginning of a NUE race.

The lead group for the first 20 miles or so consisted of me, Justin, Nathan, Dwayne and Matt. Justin and Nathan were riding the beginning single track like it was a cross county race and were creating gaps on the others and me. Eventually, Justin pulled away from the rest of us and Nathan came back to the group. During this time, I just wasn’t feeling comfortable on my bike and could not put out the power I felt capable of doing. I also noticed my heart rate was elevated, my breathing was labored and my headache had not disappeared.

On the steep road climb after the technical water bar descent, I was having trouble riding with the other single speeders up the hill and knew then something was very wrong. At that time, I looked down at my seat post and noticed the electric tape I use to mark my post position had sunken all the way into the frame.  I thought maybe this was the issue that was holding me back from riding at my potential and figured this was why I couldn't get enough power out of my pedal stroke. I stopped, raised my post and retightened my clamp. I couldn’t figure out why my post had dropped and never had an issue with this happening on this bike, but figured it was an oversight on my part when I tightened the clamp last.

I rode a short distance with my readjusted post, but almost immediately could tell the position was too high, so I had to stop again and readjust everything. Valuable time was ticking and my gap behind the leaders of the race was increasing, I was now stuck alone and knew my day was going to be a long one. Then, a couple miles outside checkpoint #2, another single speed rider, Ron Harding, caught me. Ron was riding with a big gear on his bike and was killing the road section. I was trying to hang with him, but was having trouble. My legs just didn’t want to roll and after riding with him for a few miles, I noticed my seat post had slipped about a half inch again. I didn’t want to stop, but knew that I was doing my body no favors by riding with my seat position being too low. This time when I stopped I wiped all the grease off my post and tightened the clamp until I thought it was about to strip.

After my adjustment, I was lucky enough to be caught by my friend and fast master racer, Ron Sanborn. Ron gave me a nice pull on the road section to the single track leading to checkpoint 3. During the ride into checkpoint three my seatpost position was finally holding, but my body and legs just weren’t coming around. I stopped at the checkpoint to get my bottles and remove a base layer under my jersey. I then started the long climb out of the checkpoint and was having trouble riding the climb that I have cleared with ease in previous years. The thing that made this even more irritating is that I was using a slightly easier gear on my bike than during previous attempts at this race.

To make matters worse, another SS racer caught me on the climb out of checkpoint three and I felt like I was going backwards faster than I was moving forward. With my finishing position not looking too good and my body feeling like crap, I made the hard decision to pull the plug at the top of the climb and to ride back down to the checkpoint. After getting back down to the checkpoint, I got directions for the quickest ride back to the finishing area and started my slow ride back. The road heading back was completely flat, but my legs could barely muster the energy for me to keep pedaling. I knew then my decision to quit the race was a wise one. I don’t like quitting or having a DNF next to my name on the results, but I do know it’s important to listen to what my body is saying and it wasn’t telling me anything good at the Mohican.

I’m not exactly sure what my health issue was yesterday, but it sure did kick my butt whatever it was. I’m going to take a few days to recover from all this and then start my preparations for the Lumberjack 100. Hopefully, I will be back on track by then.

Also, I can’t finish this post without saying congratulations to my TOP Gear Bike Shop teammate Justin Pokrivka for riding a strong race and getting the SS win. Nice ride, man!

Happy Trails… (kinda) - Gerry


  1. Always a bummer to come up ill for a big event. Hope you're next one is better. Love my SS, hope to compete someday, if there's a class for 62 yr olds.

  2. Seat post out of position is no excuse. I heard of a single speed rider who sheared off his seat post entirely and still won the race.

  3. It was only one of many excuses of the day for me, Shred. As it turned out, I had a nasty infection from a tick bite. I will be back with or without a functioning seat post!

  4. So glad to hear your Lyme Disease test came back negative. When's the next race?