Apr 22, 2008

Crossing state lines: Cohutta 100

Everything in it's place..........
It's this weird thing where I've felt lazy about updating this. Maybe it's a common blog syndrome. First couple of years are exciting, then at some point it's as if there isn't anythig to report anymore. I started to get a little self conscious, not believing it to be interesting for people to read. So my apologies, to you and my future self. Cause after all it's supposed to be a log for me, and i'll be the one missing out later.
Booger Hollow is just down the street from my cousin's place in Georgia. I visited him and his wife Lisa at the end of Reister Rd. They were excited about the Cohutta, and planned to come and support at the race. My Uncle Rob was also making the drive up from FL, and I was pretty excited about seeing him. Oh and shouts to Cuz Jessica and Benny for coming also.
So to the point. It was boring.
Well maybe they had a good time waiting for me to come back at the end of 7hrs, and they didn't say it was boring, but I kept looking for them on the race course, and I felt bad thinking about their day in the hot sun waiting for me. Sorry guys, but I'm glad you came.
Race reporting:
Landis is back! Evan Plews came from Oregon! Jeff Shalk has a point to prove! Chris Eatough eats rocks for breakfast! (After sorting them first by size then weight, then color to determine the most efficient way to crush them.) That's a metaphor.
Then there are all the others, who threaten, shaking big sticks, warning of the day. And you can't forget the dark horses. Ninjas; quiet and unassuming while killing you with a cat whisker.
I swear the start to these 100 milers are becoming less and less distinguishable from a regular xc race. It used to be that the first hour was relatively neutral. Now it's everyman or woman for themselves. What happened to the love of a long ride with only the stress of finishing. Now i'm racing other people besides myself.
My road trip south started with the acquisition of Elk and Topher. I put a new hitch on my car and with the borrowed rack from Keith, we managed to squeeze all of our stuff up inside the little green rally machine. Three tanks of gas later or $120, we arrived at the cousin's place, and proceeded to do the things, one does, when at my cousins house. A highly nourishing pulled-pork meal later, we took to the basement for some sleep, and woke up just in time to eat again.
The race start was about 45min away, across the state line in Tennessee. Sunny skies, southern accents and firework stands greeted us. A note of interest about the southern convenience store was the abundance of knives for sale. Usually next to the sunglasses. And they had strange names like "The Ambassador", or "Stalker". I imagine those people naming them were thinking of the kind of stalking one does when hunter deer with a knife.
Topher, the "Ambassador"....
So after getting ourselves together, we head out on a preride. I have this problem with Jersey Barriers, I like to ride them and pretend it's a wall ride. So on the way out I do the usual stunting, and my foot does the unusual pop out. Chaos ensues, and my front wheel, is now out of true. Not bad, but annoying. I'm surprised it only went out as far as it did. We do a little true job on the side of the road and take off. I'm a little pissed at myself for stunting too much the day before a race. Worst thing about racing is regulating the amount of stupid fun. But I'm happy to say that the Industry Nine wheels held up beautifully for the rest of the race. I'm more impressed with these things every day.
Course is the same as last year. You can read the archive if you like. A quick synopsis is that it's fast, narrow, buff and a high on the fun factor.
The problem is the heart of the course. The 65 miles or so of gravel road that is sandwiched by the excellent but too short singletrack. It's one 3-10 minute climb after another. Legs the descents are frequent, but your legs cool down in time to hammer up the next side. At hour 3 or 4 the best thing to do is erase from your head the thought that you aren't even half way. The four hour mark never felt like it would come. Probably because the race felt so intense from the start, and my brain was in overdrive, calculating what was happening, who was doing what, would I try to stick to the moves, or would I back off? Can I hold this 175 heart rate for another hour? I've never really ridden a 100miler with a HR monitor and It is truly an evil electronic devise.
After getting the drop at aid station 2 I tried to bridge back up with out going totally ballistic, but all I could do was watch Shalk, Vaillencourt and Plews drift away for the next 20 min, till they were completely lost. Then I got to watch Eatough pull back up through the fog and strange cold drafts for 20 minutes or so. I thought I would be able to hang on that steady pace but even then at almost exactly the 4th hour I went off the back. It was hour 4-6 that saw me questioning my participation in these events, and thoughts of naps crept into my head. When Simonson and Tanguey caught me I figured it was only a matter of time before the whole field swallowed me like yesterday's fish in a cat's bowl. Fortunately pushing through always pays off, and I continued my strong Cohutta finish tradition, and got to not look to chewed up as I rode past my cousins and uncle Rob coming into the finish line.
Overall it was another humbling experience that highlighted a few things wrong with the world. Number one being the protestant work ethic. Curses to the founding fathers.
I'd like to make a comment about the cycingnews race report. First of all it's a pretty stressful endeavor. I apologize to people who might get left out, or some facts that might be misplaced.
Nothing intentional, but there is only so much space and time. I think of all the things that didn't make it in there, and I can only strive to do better. Let me know if something bothers you. In Particular I want Danielle Musto to know that she deserved some mention, for being a top contender, who's unfortunate accidents early in the race took her out of contention.
And too the single speeders out there. Oops! Sorry, but there was a little contention about what was going on. From now on...I swear.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

On behalf of the sser's at the race it's ok:)
TimmyD

Anonymous said...

good job!

Jcote.

Dan Frayer said...

I still think your mustache is legitimate.

love dan
www.danfrayer.blogspot.com

Danielle said...

Harlan...I think you are a pretty nice guy :-)

Lenore said...

nice mud face mister.

Tomi said...

that's the last long winded interview I ever give you. hear ya man.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Also just letting you know that people still read your blog, even on the west coast. wink wink!

Anonymous said...

i used to write ALOT, and after awhile i found i was just saying different things the same way or same things different ways. it really showed me that it didn't matter. after awhile i just got it all out, then i stopped.