Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good Times at the W101

The Wilderness 101 in Coburn, PA is one of my favorites of the NUE Series. The course just seems to suit me with the long fire road climbs and technical descents.  I guess this is because it is similar to the stuff I ride around my home in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.  The W101 is also a favorite of mine because there is always a good time to be had at the finishing line and this year was no exception.
To have a good race at the Wilderness 101, as a singlespeed racer, it is important to make an attempt at riding with the fastest geared riders up the first initial climb because the pack almost always splits apart on this climb. Riding with the lead pack over this section of the course helps time go by a lot quicker on these very fast and singerspeeder unfriendly roads which lead to checkpoint one. I was lucky enough to make this initial selection this year with only one other SS racer, Matt Ferrari, in a lead group that contained about 15 riders.
The lead group was split up a bit more on the next critical section of the course: the rocky climb after the first checkpoint. By the time we started the next climb, Christian Tanguy and two other riders had created a substantial gap over me and about 6 other racers riding in the second group.  Eventually, this group I was riding in was whittled down to my teammate Jesse Kelly, two riders from the DC MTB Team leading into the Three Bridges Trail. Our fast little group of four was riding very well together and stayed together until checkpoint two.  At that checkpoint, one of the DC MTB riders stopped to repair a mechanical and on the next big climb Mike Tabasko fell off the fast pace being set by Jesse up the climb.
Once we were alone, Jesse pulled me along on the flat fire roads like he was Team Sky member Richie Porte working for Chris Froome at the Tour.  Unfortunately, Jesse was not descending too quickly and he lost contact with me on one of the technical single track descents before check point three. During this time, I was also able to catch and pass the two riders who had initially escaped with Christian, which put me in second place overall.
The finish always feels good!
I rode by myself for a long time after that until being caught during the last five miles of the race on the Fisherman's Trail by Greg Jancaitis. I had broken my pedal a few minutes before being caught and was having a lot of difficulty riding the technical Fisherman’s Trail without the complete use of my pedal. I did manage to hang with Greg when he caught me, but there was no way for me to sprint or go hard with a broken pedal, not to mention only having one gear, so I was happy to limp across the finishing line with my broken pedal in third place overall and as the first SS racer.
The Wilderness 101 was a great time this year and I really enjoyed the new course changes. Thanks to Chris Scott and his most awesome group of volunteers for putting together a perfect race, once again!  It was certainly a good time!
Congrats to all of my CF Teammates that rocked the W101 course...  Christian Tanguy - 1st Overall, Kathleen Harding - 2nd Woman, Roger Masses - 2nd Master, Jesse Kelly - 4th Open Men and Jim Mayuric - 10th Open Men.

Happy Trails....  Gerry

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