Tuesday, March 15, 2016

LandRun 100 + Gravel Road Race Stillwater, OK

TheLand Run pose
March 12th 2016 was the http://landrun100.com/ just a 107 mile stroll around Stillwater Oklahoma, the site of the Land run in the 1800's. What a day for all who just started the day. Overnight light rains meant what was dryish and fast was going to be a messy muddy slog. After a crazy rolling start out of town, (always such a dangerous thing) with 800 people it can be a bit crazy with slow rolling and lots of people just not paying close attention. I was just glad to get out of town without a wreck. The group was just getting split up a bit so I moved up to one of two groups just prior to hitting the dirt. Once we hit the dirt we had some fair roads and a few roller hills to then separate those people who just are not good hill climbers. I am not the best but I can hold my own when called too.
Creek bottom to Stairway to Heaven 
With more separation and rollers, the base of the day was set. The rode about 4-5 miles or so then it all became messy, real messy. The first real place we had to walk was this little hill. I started to ride up it but I had to finally get off and walk because so many people where all over the road. I finally got back on my rig and rolled into another area less than a mile from the first to find more people walking. I rode it and just kept a good fair pace. That was the plan from the start, keep it simple and steady, So more separation and so forth. From there it was muddy nasty roads mixed with crazy down hills into messy muddy crap. Did I mention it was a muddy messy? (check it here )There where plenty of places you just had to walk. In training one should not just ride ones bicycle but do a few
other things to prepare for anything, right! We walked into a reclaimed pathway, I think once was a creek bed they used for jeep ride training that led into a single track into a creek bottom raven that had a great place to wash off your bicycle. Then walk up this stair way from Heaven into you got it the old road that was reclaimed by the creek and used by Jeep training maybe. We finally came out of that hiking area and greeted by a few nice guys telling us its just a 3/4 mile hike to the next road. What this is a road, yes a mud road. Off we walked. At a few places me and a few guys got back on our bikes and rolled down the slope just for the sake of not carrying the bike. By this time we where about 23 or so miles in I think. Lots of broken derailleurs already. Got to the end of that mud road to a water stop and gravel roads. Cleaned the bike with my plastic pastry knife that fit into all the areas I needed it to and strong enough to hold up. Fit well into my cassette to clear mud. I did say it was muddy.
Back on fair roads that lead into more muddy tracks that lead into more areas I know those jeeps where not going to venture into cause they would have gotten stuck, then into more bike kike stuff. One photographer said sorry guys I'm sure we got some photos of you riding your bike too!  Yes and off we go ride and kike. After this there where just a few other place prior to arriving into Perry Ok the half way point I found to be better to walk just for energy savings and manage the drive train. Some place in-between the mud stuff and Perry I was rolling with Jim Cumming and had a flat. Jim ended up 3rd in our age-group. Known for my speed in fixing/changing a flat on the road led to a 40 min fight with my bike tire. I was running tubeless and the cut in the sidewall was not sealing. I had Orange Seal all over me. With all the mud and wet I could not get the bead of the tire to separate from the wheel. I was getting angry as I knew all those riders I had passed had now passed me. I kept my back to the road. I almost gave up! Almost! ONE last fight to unseat the tire and I got it. The tire was so tight on the wheel I could not get my lever under the bead to get it off. I had to get my multi tool out and poke a hole into the spoke hole to get it under the bead to then get my tool under it to get it over the rim. Thought I just screwed my self! I know I needed to put a tube in and now my rim strip was compromised. I said a few more choice words then calmed down and just put the tube in, not booting the tire or rim, pumped it up and decided I will let it roll as far as I can. By this time I had lost a full 40+ min. Back on the road and into Perry.
In Perry I found my drop bag easily. They had this area set up very well. Just no sign for the bathroom! Changed out hydration bag and water bottle, ate my sweet roll and drank my Coke, removed MUD from the bike and rolled. I was in Perry for 10min maybe.
Ok as I rolled out of Perry it started to rain but was short lived. The wind was picking up by then out of the south so the south road was tough. What the front part of the day was a muddy mange your drive-train ride, the back part was the relentless hill after hill after hill, did I mention hill ride. I was so glad to make that left hand turn, but wait more hills. Hey the roads where mostly dry with a few spots of slop but nothing like earlier in the day. So my tire issue. Periodically I would see orange seal on my tire as it rolled around! I was having to be cautious with it cause I did not need a flat. I just easily rolled through things trying to ride light.
What does one think about on your bicycle for so many hours? Well I was thinking about the dang hills and then I was wondering, when they did the land run back in the day did some of the people chose their plot of land due to the horses died from running up and down all the dang hills? Ok so every time we turned direction we turned into a hill. Just have to love the people who put this event together. Slug you with some mud, yes mud and then lets just toss in 56 miles or relentless hills, yes lets do that!
By the last little rest stop they said about 20 miles to go I took a short break there just to get of my ass. I was about 7 hours in I think. My drive train was making all the crazy noise one could imagine from all the grit and MUD. I was sure my bottom bracket was going to explode, creek grind creek grind clunk was a noise I heard for many hours. The finish was Outstanding. I was overwhelmed with emotions after such a fight with the elements and with the body. I had a great plan going into the day. I trained for all the aspects of the event and kept to my plan. Eat and drink, eat and drink. pedal pedal, pedal. Be consistent race your race, be consistent, tempo, tempo.
All in all one has some goals so mine going into the event was 7 hours. With the change in the weather and road conditions I figured 8 hours. With out my flat issue I would have been pretty close. For me I call it my perfect race. I had a great plan I stuck with the plan I came out real well. I had great support form the Velo+ race team and crew. I will go back in 2017 because I love hills and well mud.

See you on the next adventure.