First up was the Cohutta 100, the NUE series opening race. I was very excited to compete in this race. I finally felt that my part time gig as a bike racer could match up to the Pro ranks. I had put in many more miles than prior years and I had more than just some racing under my belt. Usually I am worried if I can even ride the 100 miles Cohutta has to offer. I was stoked. I gave it my all and came in a personal PR of 8:03. But it wasn't enough to overstep the ever powerful Amanda Carey. She is smoking. I did ride with her for awhile and felt great, but she turned up the heat after mile 30 and got away. There is a lot of should of's could of's that I am fighting off, but the bottom line is she is fast. I need to get out of a survival individual time trail mode and start being a little more aggressive. I was also surprised that I wasn't getting that "flying" feeling like I was hoping for. A lot of people asked if I was recovered from the Cape Epic. It was something I had not even considered. Maybe, Maybe not. Working on my mind games this year. My own mind that is! The season is long and I'm all in. Stay away "CREEPS"!
Next up Michaux Maximus. A 40 mile race held in Michaux State Forest. And not just any 40 mile race. It is 90% or more technical, rocky single track. So even on a good day I was looking at close to a 5 hour day. The Maximus is the first race of the Michaux Endurance Series. Michaux hosts my favorite trails I just could not pass up this first race since I planned on completing the series.
It all seemed so simple. It is just like a two day stage race. No problem. I kept trying to ignore the fact that it took 10 hours to get to TN and then it would take another 10 hours to get back to PA. Sometimes the travel takes more of a toll than the racing. Fortunately, my husband Lee voluteered to help us out by tagging along to help divy up the driving. I am so grateful he came along. It was comforting to have him around and he was a trooper to take the witching hours of the drive from 2:00pm until 4:30 pm. We left TN after 6 pm and rolled into PA at 4:30 am. Roger and I rested for another hour and 1/2 and then took off for the start of the Maximus. We were feeling a little run over, but neither of us would call uncle. I think if we did not have each other it would have been very easy to stay home. Thank you Roger.
Just as I tried to ignore the drive I also tried to ignore the weather. It ended up being a wet sloppy affair, but well worth all the effort. I love Michaux. Although I was tired and sore and the trails are unforgiving, I love to solve the puzzles the terrain throws at you. It also ended up being a special day because I spent it with a friend. That does not always happen. Usually you can find yourself all alone for most of the day. There were moments when we would have distance between us, but for the most part we were content with each others pace. However, we did agree that the finish was up for grabs. So toward the end of the race there was a long slog up a rooty "creek" That is where Sue tried to take it. I was matching her effort, but right at the top I went to change gears and got some chain suck. I stopped to make it right and she got away down the road towards the finish. I put my head down and sprinted at my target. Much to my surprise I caught her and then passed her right before we were to turn left into the finish chute. I took the inside line into the chute and came across some diagnol slippy roots. I could not stay in line and bobbled. Sure enough Sue took the outside and snuck by me. Oh well. Never did look at the finish chute prior to race start. Lesson learned. Regardless, I was stoked to battle it out and the day was a blast. I had visions of it being a horror show and it wasn't. Most of all I did not miss out on seeing all the good peeps, new and old, that find their way to Michaux.
A big shout out to Specialized for making awesome bikes. For the Cohutta I opted to use the super light and quick s works 29'r hard tail. Super Sweet. For the Maximus I switched out to 26 inch wheel s works Era. That bike is fun, just as quick and a welcome squish for post 100 mile soreness.