Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cohutta 100 - The Tale Of The Gravel

Once again I made the trek to DuckTown, Tennessee to race in the Cohutta 100 mountain bike race. This year in tow was team mate Scott George, his first ever 100 mountain bike race, and Andrea Hilderband, returning to racing after 9 years. First let me start with Andrea. Entering and finishing a 100 mile mountain bike race as a return to the sport is insane. But if there is ever a tough enough chick it would be her. I wonder who put this race into her head - ummmmm - KELLY (once again getting people into trouble). Your spot is confirmed for next year - just go ahead and INK it on your calender!

The thing about Endurance races is they start so early - really before you start to wake up. So after we arrived at the race site, we realized the keys to unlock our bikes were back at the B&B. So we raced back to get them and made it back just in time to get ready and head for the start. The race started just as we rode up to the starting area so we were in the back. The three of us took off up the paved climb with a string of racers as far as the eye could see in front of us. Scott and I entered the single track together and settled into a comfortable pace - then I had to stop once after my seat bag fell off and lodged itself in my rear wheel and Scott, Megawatt, broke his chain at mile 18 - what a surprise:)). We spent at least 15 minutes gathering a chain tool and quick link from other racers and then had him back on route. We blew through the first check point and started the gravel road section which is about 65-70 miles long until you reach the last 10 or so miles of single track leading you to the finish. I settled quickly into a comfortable pace and Scott and I started catching and passing all the racers that passed us while we were busy with the chain repair. I looked back after a while and Scott was no where to be seen - I even waited at a switchback for 5 minutes or so and never saw him. I figured his chain broke again and so I decided to keep pushing on - he would catch me on the next climb for sure. I blew through check point 2 and started to the never ending and ever steeping climb up Potato Patch Mountain. I caught Stephen Huddle, a fellow Tour Divide racer, and passed him on the climb. Reaching check point 3 was a welcomed sight at the crest of the climb! I stopped and topped off my bottles, ate some real food and took off. From checkpoints 3 to 4, I lost my heed bottle and had to make an unplanned stop at 4 for a replacement. The heat of the day was kicking in and the stretch from checkpoint 4-5 was long and hot - I needed 2 bottles. At check point 5 I had to stop yet again - still thinking Scott would catch me at any moment. Stephen and I left together and hit the climb pacing along side one another. I would pass him on the climbs and then he would pass me on the down hills like a missile - impressive! But between all that we would end up riding with each other on and off for most of the day. By checkpoint 6, I had to stop yet again unplanned. I kinda waited on Stephen but then I took off into the last section - all single track - to the finish. It was nice to be in the shade but negotiating single track again after all the mindless gravel road riding was a shock to the system. I found my rhythm again and knew the end was near. Finishing with my best time ever and before they took the finish line down - I was in shock. Scott came in a little behind me completing his first ever 100 mile race with some good MacGyver stories to share - it is amazing what that boy can do with a skewer :)))). Scott and I cheered Andrea in, again both completely in awe of what she had just done with almost no riding to date! We all packed our finisher mugs up and started comparing our days. We all finished and with such different experiences - a little sore, very hungry, and laughing!

Cricket Butler - 9:44
Scott George - 10:28
Andrea Hilderbrand - 12:05

Link To Official Race Results And Photos:

1 comment:

  1. great seeing you out there cricket...that 29er must be fun. hope to see you and baker next year. cb