Well, I was hoping to post another picture of me on top of the Mohican 100 NUE Series Single Speed Podium with this post. Unfortunately, the luck I needed for that win was not with me. I had a great race going up until just before the 3rd checkpoint. I was riding with last years NUE Series Single Speed Champion Fuzzy John and was feeling real good. We had a real big gap over the third place single speed rider and were in the top 15 riders overall before my bike had a mechanical issue which brought my race to an end.
On a steep downhill with railroad ties used as water bars, I heard a loud cracking noise right before checkpoint number 2. I knew the noise was nothing good, but the bike still seemed to be riding okay so I continued riding. The longer I rode the more creaking I heard coming from my bike. I started becoming pretty worried about the creaking and figured it was probably coming from my frame. Finally, on a long rocky descent going into checking point three, the creaking noise became so loud that I knew there was a major issue with the frame. I then lost contact with the group I was riding in going down into checkpoint three because I took the rest of the downhill very conservatively, in fear that I might completely snap my frame. When I arrived at checkpoint three, I examined my bike and found that indeed my frame was cracked on the top tube.
The frame I was using had about 3 years of use and actually had cracked at an indentation created by my handlebars coming around and smacking the frame last year, so it was definitely not caused by bad material or workmanship on the frame manufacturer's part. The sad thing about this story is my new frame was to arrive on Thursday before I left for the race, but did not actually arrive until after I left for the race on Friday. Talk about luck!
After leaving checkpoint three, I decided to ride back on the 100K course to get back to the camp ground where the race started. Surprisingly, the bike was still riding okay even with the cracked frame. I did not trust it though, so I rode the descents very slowly and cautiously and kept a constant eye on the crack. I ended up finishing the 100K course in third overall and as the first single speeder, even with my cautious riding and a cracked frame. I asked the race promoter if I was able to switch from the 100 mile race category to the 100K category after I finished, but he would not allow me to switch since I was registered for the other race.
Fuzzy John did end up winning the single speed class. In the men's open race (geared guys), Jeremiah Bishop took the overall win. The lead group was flying this year with the perfect trail conditions. Andy ended up finishing 19th overall with a time of about 7 hours 51 minutes and Ernesto finished 21st with a time just over 8 hours, which was not bad for those guys considering all the pro racers that showed up at the race. The NUE Series is becoming super competitive now with top pros coming to every race. It has been cool watching these events grow in popularity.
All in all, I was pretty happy with everything about the day and race except obviously the fact that I was not able to finish the 100 mile race in the way I had planned. My legs felt great and even the bike seemed to be working great other than my major frame issue. I feel pretty confident I will be able to pick-up where I left off at the next NUE Series race in Michigan in three weeks. So, I guess I will take solace from this race by considering it as a good, but very expensive training ride. Happy Trails - Gerry