“I’m 78 miles in. The clock reads just over six hours have passed since this race started. My heart rate monitor says I’m in zone 3.5; slightly less than where I’ve been all day. My stomach is teetering on the verge of begging for more food and chucking up the liter of liquid I’ve been forcing down for the last hour. I am in the depths of the pain cave. I can barely turn the pedals anymore. If I had speed displayed on my computer I’d be screaming at myself but I intentionally won’t look at that page. The rate the road is travelling under my wheels tells me enough. I’m barely making any progress. Belch. There’ goes my stomach again. The leg cramps are threatening regularly. If I put any power at all into the pedals my legs will seize. Can a human be in this much pain and get through it? Where are the clouds? Where is the rain I went through at this point last year? Even if it were hail, the coolness would be nice. It’s so hot. I should put my RecoFit arm coolers back on before I get sunburned. I wish I had my earbuds. Maybe some music would help. I can’t get this damn Johnny Cash song out of my head. How come nobody is passing me? Where is everyone?
“Wait. Nobody is passing me. I’m not going backwards. I’m holding my own. My stomach hurts but I haven’t puked and I’d be in a lot worse shape if I had nothing in there. The pedals are still turning. Not fast, but they’re moving. I’m not in the granny gear. Maybe I can shift up and push just a little harder. I see a crest to this hill and I can hear the cheering volunteers at aid 9. Man that downhill will be sweet. Just a small break from turning the pedals and some wind will feel so nice. It’s not as bad as I thought. I can do this. I can race 100 miles. Again.”
Ah, the sweet sound of the madness in my head during the 2013 Bailey Hundo. This years event was just as good as the last. I really enjoy the pain. For two years in a row now I have challenged myself to race my Trek Superfly for 100 miles and I’m not disappointed at all. I rolled under the finish line in 7:35 for 5th place in the 30-39 age group. Mad props to Ergon International for keeping my hands and butt comfortable the entire time and to Maxxis Tires for helping me keep the rubber side down.
The start was fast and fun. I rocked out the first half on the singletrack without any issues. Well, I wish I had been able to hold on to the leaders a little longer but Green Mountain can really whip the gas right out of you after 35 miles of roller coaster fun. I backed it down after that just a bit and finished the rest of the track in good time. The asphalt to Deckers went by without a second thought too. But as soon as I started climbing the dirt road to Stony Pass I knew I was in for a fight. The Bailey Hundo boasts 53 miles of sweet singletrack and finishes the racers off with a 20 mile climb to heights above any of the trails on the map. It almost makes me hate being on a bike. Almost. The course makes up for the pain with a fun dirt road descent which traverses a creek to cool you off. After a few small rolling hills you drop fast back into camp and it’s easy to finish strong.
I love this race. I love the atmosphere, the trails, and the really cool people in camp. Huge thanks to all the volunteers that showed up. Your cheers and smiles kept me pushing on the long stretches between aid stations.