Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Honorary Captain

. . . got beat by my buddy Alex at the Cohutta 100 this weekend. He caught the HC just before the finish, and ended up beating him by 5-10 minutes. Alex is a strong rider. But the Honorary Captain won some big badass race in France a few years back. Wierd.

Here's the full story:

It rained all night before the race and continued to sprinkle throughout the first half of the race. The course was rather muddy, slower than last year, but still very rideable. A good number of the big boys of endurance mtn biking were there (Chris Eatough, his Trek teammate Schalk (sp?), Harlan Price, etc.) and they were determine dot hit Floyd hard from the start. The race starts with a 3 mile road climb before diving into singletrack and they just took off. I started midpack and was 15 sec behind before I had even pedaled one revolution. I killed myself trying to catch up, passed a ton of people thereby positioning myself between the lead pack and everyone else, but was still 15 sec behind when they turned off of the road. Except for Floyd I never saw them again. But apparently they kept the pace high the whole time. By mile 30 Floyd was hurting. Most of the singletrack is over by then, but the gravel road climbs are just getting started. It climbs almost endlessly till about mile 65. The Shenandoah 100 links its climbs together with long level road sections where you can recover to some extent, especially if you are a road racer I would assume. But Cohutta is usually either up or down. Anyway, eventually Floyd blew up.

Well, seven and a half hours later I am cruising along on the last 10 miles of singltrack before the finish. I am still pushing it b/c I've been chasing the same guy for the last 30 miles and I am trying to beat my time from last year. (I missed it by 5 min, but still think it was a better ride b/c of the muddy conditions. Last year's winner, Eatough, finished 15 min slower and said he thinks he is as strong, that it was all b/c of the conditions.) For the last 45 min I have been catching and passing riders from the shorter 65 mile race. They all know that they are the slower riders in their ride and we are the faster riders in our ride so they gladly move aside when asked. I approach these two guys stalled out on a slick twisty rooty section and call out "rider back." Although they proceed to move aside the first guys yells "No way fucker. I'm not moving for you." He is also sort of laughing as he says this. As I get right up on them I realize this is FLoyd and blurt out, as if I know him, "Oh hey Floyd. What are you doing here?" He starts to respond "Well ah, . . ." but I am past him and on down the trail. Five miles later I cross the finish line 5-10 min before him. Pretty crazy.
OTT: Jim White, Strange Candy

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