High Cascades 100

Howdy peeps!!!!! Well I (Geoff) am here to tell ya that my last “A” race for the mtb season is in the books and man what a doozy!..So Anna and I headed up to Bend to spend a couple of days preparing for my first 100 mile mtb race. My good buddy Jeff Dengel (the other half of the “Geoff and Jeff show”) opened his doors for my wife and I (and the dogs of course) for three days of fun in the sun. We arrived in Bend on Friday…those of you who have visited this little gem of a town know just how beautiful it is. The Dechuetes River flows through the middle of town. There is a great park, and TONS of rad trials. We kicked back after the long drive on Friday in anticipation of getting some saddle time in the evening. We headed over to Web Cyclery (where Jeff works) and checked out the new bling. Web Cyclery is a great little shop that just got a bit bigger with a great expansion allowing for more bikes and gear. After hanging out and chatting about the upcoming race we headed for some food and then a ride. Jeff and I have ridden tons of trial together and we always have a blast. We hit up the local trails and chased each other for about an hour as the sun started to set on the distant mountain tops. My legs felt awesome and well rested from my last training cycle. Saturday consisted of more rest and some easy spinning. Anna joined Jeff and I on our last pre race ride and realized she REALLY likes riding in Bend. The ride was great and I really envy riders in Bend for the fact that they can just ride out their front door and hit the trails! We had our mandatory racers meeting at Sunny Side Sports and then hit up the pasta for dinner. I was very anxious for the race and spent a restless night unintentionally abusing my wife with my “gator roll”. This is where I continually roll in a counter clockwise direction…slowly rolling all the blankets off my wife and around me. Needless to say, 4:30 a.m. comes quickly when you can’t sleep. 6:15 was our start time so we headed up to the the base of Mt. Bachelor at 5:30. It was just starting to get light out when the gun went off and then it was 7 miles of double track up to the top of the first climb. We had 89 riders starting in the chilly morning air (30 ish degrees) and they all made it a point to exploit my single gear at the start. I just stuck to my game plan and reeled them in as the climb steepened. At the top of the climb I was sitting in 8th place and feeling good. As we hit the single track I caught several riders and moved closer to the top 5. After about an hour I caught up with my buddy Jeff D and we hammered through the first aid station at mile 25. A quick pit stop and it was off to the start of the second climb. The second climb took us up a very sandy and rocky double track section that left most gasping for air. As I said in the beginning…I had a game plan…and that was to stay aerobic as much as possible. This plan included walking the very steep sections if needed. Matter of fact I passed the 3rd place rider on that very climb while walking my bike. At the bottom of the decent of the second climb I caught up with Fuzzy..(three time single speed National Champion). He had a nasty tear in his tire and looked to be in trouble. See here is where it gets good…and this is why I love bike racing so much. Here was the guy that I needed to beat to win the single speed class and possibly podium overall…standing on the side of the trail with a flat and I STOPPED TO HELP! I offered him a C02 to help try and seal up his tubeless tire but a serious boot or possibly a new tire was the only way he was going to continue. I wanted to help..but I also wanted to win so I headed off after my short attempt at helping a fellow racer. I rolled into aid two (mile 45ish) just after hitting the four hour mark. My wife was there and she yelled “babe you are in THIRD OVERALL” I couldn’t believe it…but before I could start feeling good about myself the rider I passed on the previous climb rolled into the aid station and after a short stop for bottles we headed out together. Now this rider was riding a geared full-sus so there was no way to hold his wheel on the flat downhill double track section that followed the aid station. I kept my cool and was able to keep his dust in sight as I hammered along. A little while later I noticed my rear tire was getting soft so I stopped and used a bit of my second Co2 in hopes of sealing up the tubeless system. I thought it worked but just a bit later I “rimmed” a rock and then…psssssssss…..a real deal flat. I didn’t panic though because I had a tube and Co2. I quickly int stalled the tube and started to fill it with the remainder of my Co2….but…there…was…..only….about…20 lbs of pressure in my last chance Co2. Plus I noticed a tear in my tire so I was double screwed. As the feeling total dis pair started to set in I couldn’t believe my race was over….here I was having one of my best races ever and I was about to start a sad hour long walk back to aid two….THEN…..wait…whats this? NO WAY!!!! Its Fuzzy….and he is STOPPING!!! I asked him if he had any air and….YES…..HE….DID. He didn’t hesitate to pull out another Co2 to pay back the one I had given him earlier and then headed off to try and catch the leaders. Now relieved I collected myself…installed an empty Hammer Gel packet into my tire to act as a boot (great little trick I must say) and raced off down the trail. The course took us through aid two twice and I was able to grab another tube and some much needed confidence. Luckily no other racers passed me in my time of need and I was still fighting for a top five spot overall. I rode alone for the next forty plus miles feeling good. Mile 45 through mile 70 consisted of two laps of one section..I cruised through the first lap and then through the second when……psssssssss…yes…another flat. Now I am a good sport and usually keep my head but everyone has their limits. As I stooped there on the side of the trail to fix another flat I wondered if I would make it through. I fixed the flat and cruised into aid three at mile 82 still in 5Th. As I grabbed more bottles, the aid station mechanic noticed that my chain ring bolts were all loose…my chain was loose….and my rear brake was rubbing. As I sat there waiting for my bike to get fixed…another geared rider stopped and quickly pushed off to start the last 18 mile finishing loop. I was a bit distraught at this point..but headed out couple of minutes later in hopes of catching ‘MY” fifth place spot. I cleared my head and just focused on catching that carrot. About three miles into the finishing loop I caught my guy and quickly passed him. Feeling better now I hammered the rest of the lap and finished the race with a big smile and a second place podium for the single speed class! I really enjoyed myself during this race (even through all the mechanical and suffering) and can’t wait to do another…..I think Leadville has my name on it next year. Fuzzy chatted with my wife and I during most of the post race festivities and we all enjoyed some great BBQ and cold beer. I look forward to next season with great anticipation and take this experience with me into another wet winter of cross racing and training. I have had a fantastic season racing here in California with Team Lost Coast and Marin Bikes this year and can’t wait to get back out there to do it all again…Cheers friends and see you at the races…..Geoff