After a failure of a teaser, here’s the (real) first installment of my OT100 report:
I decided to do the OT100 a long time ago, not fully realizing what I was getting myself into. I’d started to consider the possibility of a 100 mile mountain bike race, but wasn’t sure if I was ready. How to make sure you’re ready? Just sign up! Seriously, I don’t buy gym memberships, I enter races. It’s working out this year…ish (turns out gym membership might be more cost effective. But way less awesome).
I started to worry when Peat and Dwayne (team noah!!) did a roughly 100 mile ride along most of the course, and reported that it was much harder than they expected. So much harder, that they were beginning to estimate the ride would take them 18 hours. Whoa. These are guys who do the NUE series (100 mile races – I think they usually take under 9 hours. For reference) and have a TON of experience riding mountain bikes far and fast, so…that was intimidating. Still, I was signed up and excited at the chance to do 100 continuous miles on a point-to-point, including a bunch of trails I’d never ridden.
Personal side note – what do you do when, 3 weeks before the biggest race you’ve ever attempted, you and the boyfriend break up? Not really a big deal… except, that the boy also races bikes. And in fact, is lending you a frame. And fork. And handlebars. And a bunch of other stuff. Luckily, peat’s pretty awesome and agreed that I could continue to borrow frank (the bike) through the OT race. Plus, he even agreed to help me set up some new stuff (yeah, I bought NEW things! That are mine!). I’m glad we’re still friends… and I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to try out the singlespeed option without buying an entirely new setup for myself (but, as you’ll see, I’m pretty sold).
The week of the race:
I’m a huge nerd, and was really worried about how long I was going to be on course, how much food and water I’d need (I sweat a TON), etc. So, like anyone, I made a spreadsheet! I started with a simple max pace (9 mph, which is totally unrealistic but I wanted to have a lower bound time-wise) and min pace (5 mph, which might be accurate given my ‘course intel’ from Dwayne and Peat). Later, I updated to more realistic estimates – 6.5 mph for the first section (start to CP1), then between 7.5 to 8 for the rest. Final estimate included 5 minutes per checkpoint for resting/changing socks.
I’ve come to work out my food and water a little better after some of the longer races I’ve done this year, which is exciting. It also means that I eat a bunch of energy food – not necessarily the most fun or tasty, but man it actually works! At least, when I drink enough water.
Luckily for me, Caroline was still looking for jobs after moving back to Ozark, so she agreed to be my crew! Meaning, she’d meet me at each of the checkpoints and bring my stuff, helping me stick to my goal of short (5 min) transitions and keeping me on track with eating and drinking. Yay for awesome friends! We met up at Bass to drop off my car and took bikes and stuff to the bike drop at the start of the course.
Enter: issue #1: Front Brake Adjustment Issues. I took frank off the top of the car and tried to put my front wheel on but… it didn’t work. I felt really stupid freaking out the day before the race even started. But my bike wasn’t happy! Gah! The pistons had slid back (got bumped somewhere) and were sticking out in the space where the caliper should go.
I eventually found things to push them out (with the help of Jim and a few other race volunteers – yay!) enough to get the wheel on. There was still a tiny bit of noise/rub, but I got everything set up the best I could and Caroline and I headed off to Sutton Bluff campground for the night!