Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stottlemeyer 30/60 Miler, Port Gamble WA

The Stottlemeyer 30/60 race in Port Gamble marked the series opener for the new NW Epic Series and the first race of an ever-growing endurance race scene here in WA.  I signed up for the 30 miler, but after watching the rain outside my window for the weeks leading up the race, I began to get a little nervous.  For one thing, I'd never ridden out there before and had no idea what the trails were like.  Mike rode the course a few weeks before the race, and said the course was "rooty, twisty and rooty, and rooty.  Did I mention it was rooty?  And there's a lot of climbing at the end.  Better tighten your cleats."  Capitol Forest has a huge variety of trails, but twisty, technical, root-strewn singletrack is not among them; I slow down to a crawl once I get in the stuff.  For another, this was the wettest spring on record, so adding mud to the mix certainly wouldn't help my time.  I headed up north with only three goals for the race 1) no injuries  2) no mechanicals  3) finish before the cut-off and put all my effort into the course.

Henry completing 60 miles!
Mike, FOCF regular Darin Handy, and Brian and Ann joined me on the 30 mile course, while Todd and Henry took on the 60 miler.  Todd, Henry and the 60 milers took off first, followed by us 30 milers half an hour later.  The first lap began with a two mile gravel road climb, after which we would enter the singletrack and do two loops.  Good thing too, because with over 118 racers all starting at once, and miles of singletrack ahead of us, we wanted to spread out a little.  The climb was a nice warm up, and then it was into the single track.  I had a fairly good position on the climb, but let a train of faster people go by me shortly after entering the trail.  The first 5-7 miles was exactly as Mike had described; twisty and rooty.  I took it easy, staying focused on the trail, conserving energy and keeping frustration at bay.  The singletrack ended in a fast gravel road section, a relief after the slow going in the technical stuff, which turned into some fast hardpacked singletrack.  I felt pretty good as I approached the first aid station and considered passing it by, but decided not to risk it.  I guzzled an FRS drink (my savior during the Cap. Forest 50 last year), crammed some shot blocks in my mouth, stuck three more on my stem, and off I went.  The fast, flowy trail continued, but there hadn't been a lot of elevation gain and I knew the last half of the course would dish out all the climbing.  I was right.  The singletrack became narrower, rootier, muddier, and twistier, and pretty soon I was slowly manuevering through a section much like the first part of the course, only this time, it was harder and had climbs thrown in for good measure.  I was still feeling fairly strong, but fatigue was slowly nibbling away at my legs.  The lap ended with a couple steep climbs, and a long, muddy, energy sucking false flat not unlike Lost Valley in CF.  Finally, the course went downhill, then climbed briefly up a gravel road to the second aid station the beginning of the second lap.
Erin pushing to the finish line

I fueled up again at this aid station, but as soon as I began my second lap, I lost my mojo.  I felt sick, took poor lines, and was generally a mountain biking mess.   The shot blocks I ate were a gelatinous lump in my stomach, my legs were beginning to ache dully, and I couldn't stay focused.  If there was one place where I lost time, this was definitely it.  Luckily I was over it by the time I hit the first road,  managed to put a smile on my face through the flowy section, and stayed focused through the climbs at the end, and finally I was DONE!  Even though Ann broke her chain five miles from the end and still beat me running/coasting to the finish, I felt accomplished finishing a 30 mile race so early in the season.  I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard, but I would also be lying if I said it wasn't a blast!

30 Miler
Open Women
Erin Roe, 12th, 73nd overall

Open Men
Brian Mitchell, 25th, 50th overall

Masters Men
John Curtin, 26th, 96th overall
Mike Scholl, 30th, 108th overall

60 Miler
Masters Men
Henry Gertje, 5th, 34th overall
Todd Davidson, 13th, 79th overall
Mike is all smiles at Stotty

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