First off, thanks to "Meiser and The Whiz" for putting on such a great/fun race. BTW guys, you can use that title for your future radio show. Super fun course, relaxed atmosphere, and great post race get together.
This is the race that I have wanted before it was even introduced, 100 miles of racing in the Cable, WI area on all of it's fine singletrack. Last year's inauguration I would miss, but not this year. I pulled up to the start with a big poo eating grin on my face; no matter how I felt, or how I was doing, nothing but fun trial lay before me. Having ridden just about every inch of the course at one point or another(I have a rentable cabin up there ya know), I was not concerned with the que sheets, my gps, or even a bike computer. Just time to "JFR" the trails.
The start on Rock Lake Road would be short before our singletrack entrance. I set off to get to the trail first for 2 reasons; not to be held up, not to have my single track fun distracted by a rider in front of me. Joe Curtes (whom I met in the race) and Heath Weisbrod would join me and we would chat during our singletrack fun, not trying to kill ourselves in the first 10 miles.
Along Rock Lake Road we cruised, Heath spinning away his SS all the way. A stretch on a 4 wheeler saw Heath drop back. Joe and I would hit the Esker Trail together and start the Ojibwe out of site of the rest of the riders. Soon after we hit Ojibwe's fun twisty stuff I lost my riding companion and found myself alone with about 75 mile to go.
Cruising along service roads we would end up climbing the infamous Firetower hill. I would crest the top with no one in site and the legs clicking over nicely. It is amazing how much easier it is to climb this when not going all out in the Chequamegon 40.
Off to the OO trailhead and then down the awesome Makwa Trail, down on the good time Hatchery Creek trail, and then the feed point at the Hatchery Creek trailhead. I would load up more water and fuel and leave before anyone else showed up. At no point did I know how far back anyone was besides the fact they were out of site.
Up Hatchery Creek to the Mosquito Brook Trailhead and I still was smiling, but starting to feel a little tired. Onto the Janet Road and then the Birkie ski trail. The Birkie trail was miserable, thick grass, soft dirt, and steep hills. Combine a tiring body and I ended up wishing for caffeine as I looked over my shoulder again and again waiting to finally be caught.
No one would show as I got back on to service roads, perked up, and headed back onto super fun singletrack that is Rock Lake, Patsy Lake, and then the Namekagon Trails. After riding the nastiest stuff long before, I thought I was home free. Then in an unassuming section I ripped a tire. A panicked tube install and hurried start still no one had caught up.
All along the trail I was tiring and slowing. I had not drank enough and my stomach was upset. In fact I would take in 320 calories the last half of the race. Still though, the trail was a blast and I kept on keeping on knowing I would soon be done and could survive no what is still in the belly. Soon I dumped out onto Rock Lake Road and headed down to the finish. There waited "Meiser and the Whiz", Ms. Whiz, beer, and snacks. The rain had started 20 minutes before I finished, but started to come down nice and hard after I stopped. Twenty minutes later Trek rider Todd Mcfadden would roll in for second place.
This was a super fun race and a race that I hoped to do well in this year. I have been looking forward to it since last year, but after the Sandwich, I thought my fitness was no where near what I needed. Luckily, I must have been in a short lived rut, as every race I seem to get stronger and stronger.
Oh, and the bike? Simply amazing. I felt like I was cheating on my Superfly 100 with Sram XX, Rock Shox f/r, Bontrager wheels/tires/seat, and Truvativ bar/seatpost. Simply awesome! I'll dive deeper into that later.