Hey all you fans of endurance racing out there. Or, just those who happened by here to see if there was anything new. I went and did the Lumberjack 100 last weekend up in Manistee, MI. It was my first 100 mile MTB race since Leadville several years ago. A few of us tried to get in, but due to the popularity, Twister was the only one to get an entry. I was lucky enough to buy the entry from him and begin the "training" back in April. I can't say that I did a very good job of training until late May and early June. Which was probably way too late to be ready for a race in Mid-June. However, I did manage to finish without major issues and had a blast doing it.
Steph and I left for Manistee on Thursday and made a layover in Holland, MI. We stayed right downtown in a really swanky energy efficient award winning hotel. We tried out the local New Holland Brewery and each had a sampler. It was right after their IPA fest, so that had about every conceivable type of IPA available. Most were pretty good and a good night was spent in Holland.
Friday, we got up and drove to the race to get some pre-riding in. It was a beautiful day, but we soon could feel the humidity and the pesky mosquito's. We set up the EZ-UP in the pit area and battened it down for the evening. I ended up riding the first 6 miles and last 6 miles or so. I could tell it was going to be a fast race with lot's of fun singletrack, but hard because of some steep little ups. Mitch the Mashor told me it was all about momentum and I now know what he meant.
Saturday was race day and another beautiful one weather wise. We got there really early to make sure we could park near the start. The racers rode down the paved road 2-3 miles for the start. I managed to squeeze my way in the starting line about 100 or so back. When the gun went off I got on the back wheel of a guy that was motoring along and moving up. I'd say I went into the singletrack in the top 75 or so. My plan was to ride hard for the first 30 minutes to make sure I wasn't stuck behind the social groups and then kick it back to a 10-11 mph average. My goal was to finish the race at around 10 hours. The trail was so fun and fast that it was hard to slow down. After the first 33 mile lap, I had done a 12 mph average and just under 3 hours. I knew that was going to hurt me on the next two. And sure enough my 2nd lap was pretty tough. About midway I had a brief cramp which turned out to be the only one of the day. Amazing! I did recover a little and came in around 3:30 for lap 2. Lap 3 was way slower at 4 hours, but I felt pretty decent as I just was riding to finish and not push it too much. I had a great time chatting with the racers that I would catch or had caught me. I used Perpetuem and chomped Enervit tablets most of the day. I probably only did 3 GU's all day. Steph had peanut butter and honey sandwiches and a banana ready for me between laps. Throw in a couple cokes and a bunch of water and that was my diet for the day. I think I should have done more GU, but I was afraid of knotting up my stomach. It did really help my energy though when I did start using it later in the race.
I ended up finishing in 10 hours and 24 minutes. My ride time was well under 10 hours, but I spent too much time between laps and at the midpoint aid station and cost myself a lot of time. I was pretty happy with the way I felt and performed especially considering my preparation was not the best.
All I can say is if you haven't done a 100 miler and your interested, the Lumberjack 100 is a great choice for your first. The trail is a ton of fun without any real technical challenge. It's deceiving though because it is really easy to push your pace without even realizing it.
Thanks for reading,