While James Ignash and the rest of team O2 were kicking butt at the Cherry Roubaix race on Saturday, I was at the Lumberjack 100 mountain bike race (lumberjack100.com) near Manistee.
For the LJ 100, I set three goals; 1) to finish, 2) to finish without being completely spent and 3) to finish less than 10 hours. I followed a 12-week training program developed by Chris Eatough (chriseatough.com).
RACE DAY began with the “not-so-mandatory” 6:30 am rider meeting. While on my way to the mass start I saw a familiar 02 jersey – it was Al Lake. Al is a LJ 100 veteran and gave me tips regarding the start. He advised that we start on the left so we don’t get pinched on the inside as we turned from pavement to the trail in a clockwise direction.
At the start, nearly 400 riders took off in a sprint. I stayed on Al’s wheel as he safely led me to the single track. As soon as we got on the dusty trail, I was amazed how many riders continued to push it at max power and redline their heart rates. I kept my heart rate down and settled into a comfortable pace.
The first 33 mile lap felt good. The dusty trail made breathing tough at times but I felt strong after L1. A quick bottle change from Mary and the rest of my “pit crew” and I was off for lap 2.
During L2 I conserved energy by allowing gravity to give my legs intermittent reprieves on the descents. A crash on a sandy decent and a broken chain cost me about 15 minutes to repair. Considering the lost time, I was happy with L2.
I had 67 miles behind me and fresh bottles for L3. On the first climb I realized I may suffer on this last lap. I coasted on most descents to conserve energy. Although my legs felt good, my upper body started to feel the cumulative effect of the race with about 20 miles to go. With about 15 miles to the finish, my handlebar clipped a tree and I sailed over the bike; no permanent harm to man or machine. I ultimately crossed the finish line at mile 100 in one piece and accomplished my goals.
In summary, the LJ 100 was a great experience. Although the route is sandy with a lot of climbing and steep descents, I would not consider it technical. It was great starting with Al Lake who guided me safely during the first treacherous mile. His endurance was evident as he climbed past me as I pushed my bike up a sandy section towards the end of the race. My pit crew of Mary and a couple other family members made the race a very special day.
Feel free to contact me with any questions,
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