After the first Michaux race in the spring I thought it was the toughest race I had ever done. After today I have to re-think that. The Curse of Dark Hollow (the 2nd race in the Michaux Mega Series) Proved to be a brutal race. I had done this race in the past but that was the sport loop, today it was the Monster. 35 miles of the most technical riding around, not to mention over 4000 feet of climbing. My goal for today was simple, ride my own pace and just finish the race. Ted Logic and I rolled into the parking lot at about 7:30am, our race started at 9:00.
There was going to be a stacked field for sure. The top 4 from the first race were all present, plus there were some additional fast guys to make it pretty strong group. There was a mass start so I had no idea how many single speeders there were. I tried to keep it nice and steady at the start, after all this was going to be 4+ hour race. I was happy with my position into the single track. Things were going well, I felt good and my beautiful Spot Brand 29er seemed to smooth out the rocks. I hooked up with Bob Elam and a few other single speeders for a while. I got caught behind some carnage and Bob rode away. I just kept reminding myself to ride my own race. I spent some time going back and forth with a couple of people, and just as I thought I was going to put them away I hit a sharp rock on the fastest descent of the day. I stopped, my Stans No-Tube seemed to seal the puncture, so I shot some Co2 into the tire and it started blowing air again. Finally I decided to ride a little more and try again later, the tire was low but not flat, and eventually it did hold air.
While trying to power up a short steep climb I heard a ping, I knew I had just broken a spoke. No big deal, I still had 31 others. The problem was now my rear wheel was rubbing on my chain stay. I stopped again and had to adjust the wheel in the drop out so it wasn't rubbing. This was about the time I hit the big fire road climb. It was long and had some really steep sections that I found myself walking. I was over 3 hours into the race and it was really starting to hurt. I found myself walking a little more that I normally would, but it didn't bother me just as long as I finished. While cruising what I thought was a nice section of the course I came up on Ed "big" Bush. It turns out we had missed a turn and ended up doing a little more that we should have.
Ed was hurting a bit too so the two of us rode the walked the rest of the race together. At the end Ed tried to make it look like he was blocking me out, so I figured I was playing along when I slipped past him at the end. The reality is, Ed got me through the last 10 miles of the race. He walked when I walked even though I thought he could have rode away from me. Thanks for hanging with me Ed.
It turned out to be a great day. It was good weather, a spectacular course, and I finished. In the end I think I was 12th in a time of 4:20. I would like to say nice job to everyone that finished the Monster loop. That alone is something to be happy about. Congats to Shawn "old man" Withers for taking the masters win. Elk took 2nd in the SS class followed by Topher. The toughest day award has to go to Ransom Weaver who despite 5 flats still finished the race. I think I am not racing again until the 18 hours On The Farm in August, followed by the Shenandoah Mountain 100.
This day marked a major step for my good friend Keith aka Bobbies boy.
This was Kieth's first race since beating cancer last year. He was a little unsure of what to expect so he did the sport race, which he won. He even said that he was back to racing expert now. I want to send a special congatulations to Kieth, well done my friend.
It is now time to rest and recover.