Michaux Maximus by mj

WARNING: a 3.5 hour race causes a crazy long post…

As I was getting ready Sunday morning I could not get the thought of my first DNF and full fledged race bonk being just last fall at the Terror of Teaberry out of my head, so I was pretty nervous!  The 25 mile riders gather for the start and I hear my named called from behind me.  I scan the crowd and catch a glimpse of the East Coast Trek Factory Manager, Stephen Hoover amongst the riders!  After several years of getting to know Stephen and adding him to my list of race buds it was the first time I got to see him outside of his manager work scene and joining his team in the event and fun!  I am reminded this is definitely a race not to miss!

Go!  We headed up a gradual climb into a fast rolling section before we reached the first portion of single track.  The easier start kept a lot of us together though and I was quickly feeling the heat of the riders behind me, already pushing a little too hard and getting sloppy for so early in the race.  The long line of riders continue to single file it through the trails and we decend one of our first larger downhills and find the mud.. the crazy abundance of mud and bogs.. man eatting mud bogs as the race director put it.  I started seeing casualties everywhere.  I focus on maintaining a comfortable pace (back to riding and not so much “racing”) and am happy to clear as much as I did and decide this is a much better pace to maintain.  After more than enough bogs which I must have opted to walk around as many as I pedalled through we finally reach higher and drier ground.. thank goodness!  I take notice that not only is the sun shining, but its freaking gorgeous out!  I start feeling the fun, enjoying the challenges, loving my 69er and riding some of the best trails of PA!!  Woohoo!!  After a long, long section of climbing and short decents (the ratio slightly unkind) we finally reach what seemed like the top of the world!  I look left and see a most beautiful vista!  Grateful to catch my breathe and spin my legs I take note and appreciate the moment.  I always aim to appreciate all the race has to offer.. good, bad and ugly.    

We see the next arrow points us into some double track ROCKS!  Lots and lots and lots and lots and, yeah, no exaggeration amounts of rocks.  The trails were littered with neverending mounds of slow you down, hang you up, GOTTA be in the right gear, full body effort, test your skills..your will.. your bike, and split up the technical from the not-so-technical riders, no doubt!  Whew!!  Eventually things start to smooth out a bit and I have a moment of feeling proud.  My 69er and I handled all of it pretty darn strong and efficient (for me anyway).  I know its not over yet, but I was feeling good.  I quickly try to delete the thoughts and get back in a zone knowing thinking like that and I am asking for an accident to occur (does that happen to everyone or just me?)… which undoubtedly brings me to my first spill of the day.  

I was in some tight, twisty single track before that crazy long down hill.  Not even very technical, but before I know it my endo begins.  I try to glance ahead and see where I’m going to splatter and take note of the tree!!  I wack it like a true line backer…  GACK!!  Thats gonna leave a mark!!  We untangled, I excuse my behavior and pedal off.  I turned a little wussy after that, my confidence dwindled as I became overly concerned what could happen next, my shoulder throbbing some as a reminder to stay focused!!  The trail started dropping down to a short flat section and then a verrrry long down hill to the very bottom of… the earth!  Yeah, I’m getting tuckered by this point so exaggerations are definitely a possibility.  Its hard to appreciate (as much as I normally would have) such good trails when I cant stop thinking the finish line is at the top of a mountain.  I eventually reach the 50/25 split.  I literally have a moment of starting to pull left to the 50 course and think holy crap michelle, your doing 25 miles!  Now am I just running low of fuel and/or losing brain cells?  I cut back to the right and roll down to the road where a few helpers hang out and wave me through.  Maybe I need food.  A log crossing awaits and I am afraid to attempt it.  I walk over and decide to grab some Luna Moons.  As I am hoovering the little gummy moons and stuffing them in my cheeks (classy) I hear a friendly hey! and see Nancy Adams cruising past.  I notice she slows down a pinch waiting for me so I tuck my litter away and catch up.  She’s feeling a little tuckered too after racing the Cat Classic the day before, otherwise, I undoubtedly would not have seen her outside of the start line.  We are both pretty happy to see each other and agree to finish up together. 

Nancy confirms we have 7 more miles to go and I feel a slight sense of relief knowing I can do that and her presence will make it even easier.  She pulls me up the final climb forcing me to maintain my gear and pace.. funny that she’s the tired one and I’m struggling to keep up!  Again I am most thankful to have her company.  After what was a SERIOUSLY (yes, ALL CAPS worthy) long climb it flattens out and I take notice to the cars and people on the left.. the finish!!  Travis is standing ahead aiming the camera once again and looking slightly confused and asks “are you guys racing or out for a stroll?”  It was so funny as we were cruising up side by side with little to no race in us.. so, umm, yeah, I guess we were racing and now we’re strolling.  haha!  I’m on the left and cut into the small section of trail first before the shoots ahead.  I finished 1/100th of a second in front of Nancy!  Victory!!  SO kidding!  It was awesome to finish together!  Nancy is a great person and athlete.  A true mentor after trying just a few races finding herself in the expert level.  My body laughs at those kind of people…  HA HA HAAA!!

Ride time 3:32:24, finished 8-9 out of 11 women, thankfully only a few minor bumps and bruises, very proud and thrilled to complete the race (as every rider should be!), and I’m sooo happy with my Trek 69er once again.  I give her a pat (pat,pat,pat) and let her know… you did good!!  We did good!!  Life is good! 🙂 


One response to this post.

  1. Yay Luna Moons!


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