Monday, July 16, 2007


Yesterday was the Curse of Dark Hollow at Michaux. Unlike the other 2 Michaux races this one was 100k, as opposed to 50 miles. I know what your thinking, it's only 12 more miles, how hard can it be. Well at Michaux 12 miles can be a life time.

I knew this was going to be a hard race, in fact I had thoughts of it quite possibly being one of the hardest. I headed out on Saturday and met up with Jamie and Scott and set up camp.

This race drew some pretty fast single speeders like, Tim Dougherty, Buck, Topher, Jamie, Genital Ben, The Litter Bug, and many, many more. It was going to be a long hard day, but I was looking forward to it. I had been feeling good the past couple of weeks and was hoping for a good day in the saddle.

After very little sleep and probably too many beers the night before I was ready to go. The course started off the same as last year fast loose descent in traffic followed by a little climb. I found myself in a nice single speed group being led by Jamie. He was setting a nice early pace, knowing it was a long race. Things were going well, I was feeling pretty good and I was with the right group. Then I dropped my chain, while fumbling with it I lost a couple of spots, no big deal, like I said it is a long race. I get rolling again, then heard the ping of a broken spoke. I stopped to take care of that, and was off once more. A mile or so later I dropped my chain again, F-@#, This time I took a minute to tighten it, and managed to lose a couple of more spots. I got going again and things seemed to finally be going well, when I heard the ping of another broken spoke, luckily it was on the other wheel, so I just kept rolling. The next descent was a blast, I cruised through all the technical stuff, then towards the bottom , my front wheel washed out on a sharp switchback and I went down hard. That seemed to take a lot out of me. But I managed to get going again.

I rolled into the the first real aid station 25 miles in. Jake and Tomi hooked me up, with water, food and beer. Feeling refreshed I was off again. A few miles later I felt the onset of Boo Boo Belly, I came prepared this time and popped a few Tums hoping to settle things down a little. I kept drinking, but food was getting hard to put down, and my body was starting to let me know I was lacking fuel, I was starting to fall apart. My mind started to drift, I started doubting whether I could finish, or even wanted to. I popped out of the single track and started seeing the beginners, I knew I was close to the end of loop 1. I would have a chance to quit, Loop 1 ended at the start-finish which was 42 miles into the race. I was having serious doubts again, I was hurting, the water in my camel back was warm and not very appealing, I hadn't had any real food in a while, and I still had 20 miles to go.

I rolled into the start finish which was also the next aid station. I asked about the next loop, and was told it wasn't that bad. I was able to re-fill my Camelbak with fresh ice cold water, nibbled on some food and decided I had to finish this race. I knew what was coming. Loop2 was basically 20 miles of the Maximus course. Basically it was a long descent, followed by a climb, I started feeling sick, I stopped for a second, popped some more Tums and took some water to wash them down. It didn't work very well, but I did leave nice colorful display on the side of the trail. After a couple more little episodes I actually felt a little better and was able to drink, but the just the sight of food would bring on the dry heaves. After the long climb it was onto 3 Mile trail, which is 3 miles of big rocks and more rocks. Normally I love this trail, not today though, I was exhausted, and making lots of mistakes, I couldn't seem to make the bike go up even the tiniest hill. After 3 mile trail was a water stop. I met up with a couple of fellow single speeders, drank more fresh water, and started the long 3 mile fire rod climb. I was in a real bad place at this point. I was pedaling along when a truck carrying the Litterbug went by. I put my head down, I didn't want to think about quitting. As bad as I felt I was determined to finish, even if it was dead last. Finally the top, next was the scary fast descent of Dead Woman Hollow, this is usually a brutal climb in the Maximus race, but today it was a 2.5 mile, 30mph descent. Net up was Graveyard ridge, up and over, again this is one of my favorite trails at Michaux, but today it was just torture.

I did enjoy the descent off the ridge but the trail at the bottom was unbelievable, it was an old ATV trail, filled with deep rutted roots and unridable rocks. I ended up walking most of it, and it seemed to go on forever. After it smoothed out, I was able to ride some, but of course it was up hill. I rolled into the last water stop, which was just 2 miles form the finish, which were of course up hill. I rode some and I walked some. It was longest 2 miles of my life. Finally it stopped climbing and rode into the finish. I was shattered to say the least, I had hoped to finish in around 7.5 hours, instead it took 8:20, but at least I did finish.

This was by far the hardest race I have ever done. I told the promoter how he out did himself this time, and said there won't be another 100K at Michaux. Thank You for that.

Congrats to Buck for pulling in the win in the SS class, Jamie was close second and Topher pulled in third, plus Genital Ben rounded out the podium in 5Th. Old Man Whithers took the old guy class, with Craig not far behind, and Harlan won the overall beating out Chris Eatough, nice job too anybody that came out to this race and survived, it doesn't get any tougher than this.

Now it is time for some much needed rest and recovery. I am not sure what the rest of my race season holds, I will take a couple of days to think about it.




rotten said...

somehow these shitty events always start to look better in hindsight, especially when you are able to suffer through. nice work on finishing.

huber said...

i guess that's why they call it the "curse of the dark hollow." great job!

camps said...

Nice work there Buddy,
that's a lot of juju you had to overcome.
Eight-twenty is damn fine.

Suki said...

way to finish out.

don't sweat it, budster...

bad days find us all.

Tomi said...

way to roll that one gear, tough stuff out there, got some good pics of ya up on the Smug.

IF Chicks said...

good job buddy..
tough course for single, but you did it..the W101 is going to be a piece of cake after this one !
see you again soon.

Frank Brigandi said...

what gearing did you use?

Buddy said...

I was running 32x20 on a 29er. I actually could have gone easier. But, I don't think that was my problem, it was the upset stomach...

Frank Brigandi said...

32X20... what do you normally use?
hmm, stomach issue, absorbtion maybe? Once you super overheat, you stomach will give you the ol' "Negatory" on anything diwn there until your core temop drops and your alkaline/acid ratio finds an equalibrium. Also, when you feel ill or get sicks, your adrenal glans work a little overtime, so you may experience a crash and a sweet high from it afterward...

JenBob said...

nice job! way to finish!

Buddy said...

Thanks for all the encouraging words.
I normally roll a 32x19.
As far as the stomach issue, do you have any suggestions?

Frank Brigandi said...

First Suggestion I can make to wake up your body before a race or try this before a training ride,
Take vitamin B-12 an hour before you ride. For some reason it counteracts the effects of panic and nervousness before a race and also gives you a wake up effect, more clarity, increased reaction time that kind of stuff. But, when I used to have to deal with stomach/digestive issues, they were mostly caused by heavy breathing or my stomach not being able to empty which was due to overheating. So, I'd train in a way that I could recreate that feeling and experiment with different solutions. The end result that solved my problems, was I'd enure that I stayed as cool as possible internally. or if I;d get the jiggies, I'd ease up and try to keep something soft in me ( all before jels and stuff.
Overdrinking can reek havoc on your stomach, it'l just slosh around in there and cause evacuation and also restrict your breathing depth, which will also make you hurl.
Drinking steadily to balance your effort is an art, with the evolution of hydration packs, you tend to drink too much, because it;s easy. Bottle feeding redusec your ability to over do it with the fluids and you drink when you have to, which is in most cases better. But on a long haul you can;t always bring enough fluids.
And when I raced I used Cytomax/ Exceed, or a mix of Water, Orange juice and salt. that worked best for me. CYtomax used to get me all crazy and amped up for some reason.
32X19 eh? Hmm, I have a 32X18 on my 29er... it gets tough grinding up a hill with one leg in that gear. I think I'm going to go easier for sure.
Riding with one good leg is hard work.