Wednesday, July 27, 2016

TK Lawless XC Recap

We were gone in Nashville for a week leading into this past weekend. I was scheduled to run a 5k down there, but I bailed. The main reasons were that I didn't want to get up at 5am to run...and it was crazy hot down there...even at 6am. Not sure what this has to do with anything......history I guess.

I was on the fence still about racing at TK on Sunday. I love the course. I was indecisive because it was raining Saturday. Heavy. And I told myself I wouldn't race if it was nasty. When I got up Sunday the rain had subsided and the forecast appeared to be clear of rain. I loaded up and headed down to Vandalia to test my luck.
Lucky #7....twice
 When I got to Lawless the lot was filling up. I saw a handful of team members and found a place to park. I wandered over to registration to get signed up. The parking lot was soft....mushy. I had the thought right then to just bail and not race. Then I thought to just drove down here....race. I asked about a Sport Clyde class to which I got the response that they just don't have that class in this series because nobody races in it. I was holding my money.....again wavering about my decision to race today...knowing that I would get waxed in the Sport 40-49 class where my speedy teammate Jay was already signed up. The people collecting the entries suggested that I give Sport Open a shot. "there are only 2 signed up, so your chances are better". Hmm.....almost afraid to ask I blurted out "what is sport open?". It is exactly what you would think it would be.....a class for Expert riders that are not fast enough to be Expert riders....but too fast to be considered Sport riders. 
Photo courtesy of Brandon Krutsch

With a smile I said "why not" and threw down the cash to join the Sport open category. Podium guaranteed. I lined up in the first wave of Sport...where I clearly didn't belong. I chatted with a guy and then it was time to go. 3, 2, 1..GO. One guy blasted off the front and I slid into second before hitting the first turn. I kept the leader in sight for a minute....watching as he blew a sharp corner before I was thru the corner too....straight into the woods. Whoops. We both got back onto the trail and he accelerated up a hill and I never saw him again. Making a right turn there was big mud pit. I blasted thru it and was hoping that the rest of the course wasn't going to be like this. This section wasn't part of the normal singletrack so I wasn't too concerned.....but I was also being realistic that it was going to be a slog thru the mud today. As I broke out into the picnic area my parents waved and yelled "good luck". It was good to see them while I was racing, even if just for a minute.

I was pushing pretty hard knowing that I had one guy in my class behind me...but also knowing that the entire Sport race would be closing in on me before too long. I made it a few miles before riders started streaming past. I was maxed. The trail was fairly stable, but some of the corners were soft and slick. It was hard to judge them as some would be perfect while the bike would drift on others. Thankfully I stayed up right. After a barrage of people passing I was riding alone. Around mile 5 I started to settle into my pace. The first lap wasn't great, but I was still sitting in 2nd place. I crossed the finish line and stopped at the picnic area to swap bottles. Then back into the woods for lap 2. 

 I finally was feeling like I could ride faster. Conditions were drying out and I was settled into my comfort zone. I started to hear someone behind me with about 8 miles to I pressed a bit. At Lawless it is hard to tell where people are in relation to where you are. The trail passes close to itself numerous times so you can pass someone that is close....or someone that is way behind.....or possibly way ahead. I kept catching glimpses of the guy behind me but I couldn't tell if he was closing. The miles ticked by and I got to the last 4 mile section...still holding him off. I saw that he wasn't in my class, but I still was pressing. He didn't catch me and I crossed the finish line confident I had taken 2nd place. When they called the podiums it was confirmed....2nd place! My highest Sport finish ever. Too bad this race doesn't count in the MMBA series.

Still, it was a fun day on the bike and I was happy that I actually beat someone this time. Next up is Big M on Sunday and at this moment there are only 3 in my class, but I know this will change. I will ride my race and see what happens. I will see if I can make it 3 podiums in a row.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

No point to deny it....

This week has been good. Not gonna lie. Here are some highlights

1. I have been eating less.
2. I ran 2 miles without stopping.
3. I am having a solid positive emotional week
4. I feel excited about training again

The first step to over-coming an addiction is to admit you have a problem. I do believe I have some type of food addiction. Laugh if you want, but the garbage that I tend to put into my body has an extremely adverse effect on my chemistry. ohhhh...he is gonna use science?!?! Yes, look at any nutrition plan and you will see the underlying effects for reasons people gain weight. Not the only reason, but a definitive example of how a McDonald's chicken nugget can tear up your system more than say.....a piece of lettuce. 

My point is this....I am finally willing to admit that I have problem with food. I could launch a barrage of excuses, but these excuses have landed me where I am now. Heavy. The actual number is not important. Just know, that for 3 months I put my body under more stress than I ever though imaginable....just with food. No exercise to speak of. The pounds were sticking to me like blacktop to the highway. Glued.

Mentally I was blown. I had numerous "what's the point" moments which I have thankfully surpassed. Don't get me wrong....mentally I am still touch and go.....I could very easily slide back into a deep depression and let the scale show me high numbers again. But right am doing very good. I am not "on a diet" so to speak. I have just cut back what I am eating. Mentally making myself stop can be a difficult thing to do...especially because I love food so much. I will have setbacks....that is a normal occurrence. But I cannot let a setback completely derail the accomplishments. I have to accept the setback and put a stake in the ground...then continue.

I stepped on the scale at work last Friday. As of today I am down 6 pounds. Yes, it might seem like a lot in a week but I put over 20 pounds on in just a few I will be able to drop a healthy 15 to 20 very quickly to get me back to where I was this winter. Today, I am 21 pounds heavier than when I did Lumberjack 100  in 2016. I was strong, albeit still heavy....even for a Clyde. But feeling better is going to be more important than a number on the scale. Yes, that number is important....but I am not going to be defined by it.

Maybe a different approach is what I have needed. Maybe hitting rock bottom is what I needed. Maybe I will go right back into my addictive so many addicts do. But maybe this time will be the time that I do it right...that I open up about things...that I am more honest....that I learn...that I succeed.

Crank Casey from the movie Robots had a good line "never try never fail". I have used that many times over the year. I believe Yoda had better wisdom with his "Do or do not....there is no try". I am here now.....doing. I need to continue to DO...and stop "trying". 

Success is earned...not given.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Treetops XC Recap

I was up and out of bed at 6:15 to head to Gaylord. Why so early? Well, it is a 3-1/2 drive from my town south of Grand Rapids all the way up to Gaylord. Why was I going? Well, as of Friday when registration closed...there were zero people signed up in my class. So why not? Originally a few teammates were planning on going but other responsibilities arose and I headed up solo.

That hill doesn't look "that bad"
The drive was fairly uneventful. The skies kept changing from a full blanket of clouds to a light blanket of clouds to some light rain. When I arrived the clouds opened and the temperature rose to the mid 70's. I waltzed to the registration table and signed up. At that time...I was the second person in my class. Off to a good start....all I have to do is finish for a 2nd place. Sweet. Worth the drive.

Watching the Experts and Elites I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into. When the fast guys are riding slower....that is never good for a rider like me. But....oh well....still have 2nd right?

Then it was time to line up. The Sport class was pretty thin. They were combining and riders were sliding by to the start line. When it was time to go there were three Sport Clydes on the line. Sweet. All I have to do is finish. 
Half way up the first climb
Ready. Set. GO!

Done. The first climb was awful. Best part....only 3 more times. I was around a small group of riders as I got to the top. I caught a guy from the class in front of me and never saw him again. The first climb just kept going and going. Then it kicked. I don't know if I could have ridden that hill last year when I was the strongest I have ever been. It was so steep. At the top you get a short bit of respite. A quick downhill to a small paved uphill. Then to the singletrack. The trail shoots off a cart path for the golf course and dives into the woods between the driving range and one of the tee boxes. The trail is rough. Barely ridden. Tight. Loose dirt. Tough.

I meander my way though the woods and shoot out onto the back side of the ski hill. Then the second nasty climb. It is short...but crazy steep. I have to walk. Doesn't matter. I push up the hill and cruise back down the front of the ski hill....actually crossing the uphill from the first climb. There are already people coming through on their second lap. I am crushed already. HA. I press on.

The next climb is ugly. Long. Steep. Never ending. Awful. I barely even put a dent into it before I have to walk again. Have I mentioned I am heavy...and a strict non-climber? Yeah...that is rearing it's ugly head at this point. After an eternity I reach the top. Grab a drink of water and dive into the next singletrack section. Decent little stretch then BOOM. Huge steep climb. Legs are already cooked. I walk. So what. I am here. Trying my best. Doing what I love. After some very dodgy and technical downhill switchbacks the trail gives way to the pavement and I bomb down to the start finish line. That was only 1 lap....ugh.

View back down the first climb

Second lap was worse. 8 minutes slower than the first. But I was in what little groove I had. This course is hard to find any rhythm on. Just when you do there is a nasty switchback or a kicker or just something else. Mentally I checked out on the first lap. I was just riding at this point....there was no "race" left in me. Just finish.

The trees finally give way again and I head down to the start finish area. Halfway done. Sweet. I swing to the right of the hill where I stashed my cooler and swapped bottles. Just as I get back on my bike I hear "keep pushing dude"....from the guy that is in 2nd place in my class. Lapped....half way through the race. But....I had 3rd locked up. So....again...whatever.

Another view from the top of the ski hill

Slowly I churned away. I was tired. I was still trying to ride what I could...which wasn't much. Still, the people I did see where offering encouragement. Keep going. Just keep those wheels rolling Sean. you got this.  Lap 3....finally finished. I crossed the line and I hear Ted R on the microphone. "Passing thru is Sean Evans! He is in 3rd place. Keep going buddy! Still a smile on his face". Yes, for some damn reason I was still smiling. Maybe I was still having fun as miserable as it was. No, I really was still having fun. Like it or not....I was in 3rd place rolling on the hardest course I have ever ridden. Ever. Worse than LJ100. Worse than Ore 2 Shore. Worse than anything. Brent said "this is the toughest course in Michigan".....I agree. 

Dirt tan

Last lap....walking. More walking. Then as I pass across the course on the front of the ski hill I hear Ted calling the awards. Ugh. I didn't even make it back for awards. lol. Oh well. Top of the last steep climb I grab a banana and fuel up. Then I hit the last singletrack. I get that excitement that I am almost done...but it left as soon as I hit the nasty climb in that section. I just smile and say "what the hell am I doing out here" which I remember "taking 3rd". So I trek down the switchbacks and the woods open up one last time to the pavement. I get a spark and bomb down the hill and crush the finish. Surely this was the fastest I had ridden all day. Hey, people are watching after all. 


I get cleaned up and catch the last part of Beginner awards. Ted calls me up and I collect my plaque. Earned. The single hardest race I have ever done. So yes.....I was slow. Doesn't matter. I showed up...and I raced to my current level. Crushed? Sure, but that doesn't matter either. I took a chance that I would land a podium and I was successful. My second sport podium. 

Will I ever do this race again? Well, depends on how many people sign up.....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Get the scale...

Not going to lie....I was frustrated when I witnessed the podium of Sport Clyde at Sweat Shaker last weekend. I know the guy that finished 3rd rolls right around 215 lbs. But when I see the guys that finish in 2nd and 1st....I get pissed. "those dudes need to get on a scale" I say out loud. Internally, I was even more frustrated.

My wager, these dudes were a legit 200+ pounds. But they don't look it. They are my height...maybe taller...and jacked. Meaning....they are not built like I am. They look like guys that are in shape while I look like a guy that isn't. So lets say they touch the scale at 210-220. That still puts me 40-50 pounds heavier than they are. Internally, I was more pissed off. I kept thinking to myself "dudes are sandbagging" and "no way are they 200 pounds, fuck this sucks". But as much as they crushed me....they would probably get crushed in age group...because some of those guys will have 30-50 pounds less than them. Touche'

So I started thinking a bit deeper after I got calmed down some. I mean, I did take 6th place afterall. I was pretty excited to place that high (whether it was DFL or not is another story ;)  ). My thoughts drifted to myself. I did ok at that race. I got killed. Why? The reason I was so far behind was simple...I am not fast enough. Why am I not fast enough? Well....that leads to some deeper reasons.

1. I didn't ride for 1.5 months

Literally. I was signed up for 4 races early this year and I skipped the first one because it rained the night before. Excuse. I then skipped other races because the felt like I had not trained enough to compete. That kind of thinking led me down the path of not riding. I allowed myself to sink to a level where I was thinking "what is the point" to even ride...let alone race. Life was coming at me from all angles and I allowed it to affect my riding.

2. I am heavy

Sure I have always been heavy, but I am really heavy right now. The heaviest I have ever been in fact. So for me to race at all...that is an achievement. Because of not riding and sliding into depression I was eating more and more.

3. Life continues to happen

And honestly, dealing with it wasn't easy. I can hide behind all kinds of excuses. But that doesn't get me anywhere...much like sitting on the couch. At least I am to the point where I can admit I have an issue. My issue....I love food. It would be easy to say that I am addicted to food.....and I can admit that. I know I have an I need to do something about it. Mainly, stop emotional eating. Learn now to put the food down. Learn to make a healthy choice.....carrots instead of a donut....tuna instead of a burger...ect. I can do it.....and getting back on the bike has me more conscience of the whole thing. Well, that and the fact that my clothes are all super tight.

In closing, I guess a person has to actually stop and look around to see how far they have actually fallen. After seeing a pic of myself in my new kit it hit home even more. My choices are to continue down this path....or to get to work. I plan to get to work...stay tuned.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sweat Shaker 2016......good to be back

This year was different....clearly. New team members. New bike. New course. New me....not really in the good sense....but I am different now than I was a year ago. Not in nearly the same shape as last year, but that wasn't really the point. I had my a race...for the first time in exactly one year. If you remember....last year this race was called the "Deer Shaker" due to the senseless attack from the 4-legged bastard last year. At any rate.....we made it there safely this year.

New Team Kit

Mark, Mike and I met up by Gun Lake Casino and headed out. We arrived at Mid-Michigan Community College a little after 9. We found a parking spot and went to check in. After check in we geared up and found the rest of the team. The first year I went up to Sweat Shaker was 2 years ago and I made the trip solo. Last year I coerced Jay and Lisa into going and it was all good until the deer. Then I stood and watched while they raced to 7th and 2nd place finishes respectively. This year there was a bigger group. David brought his 2 boys. Greg brought his son. Ken, Mike, Mark and myself round out the rest of the team. Good to have support. Plus there was a handful of family there too.

Myself, Mike, Mark, Greg, and Dillon (the rest of the team was scattered still)
This event isn't a mass start, but all the classes start in waves at 10am. Every minute a new wave would go off. They called Sport Clyde and Open Fat bike in the same wave. I was trying to tell how many people and it looked like 8 in Clyde, but I wasn't sure. 


Off we go. Knowing full well that my fitness isn't top notch I simply just dropped into the back of the pack. It thinned out pretty fast and I was second to last in my wave when we hit the singletrack. Only a fat biker was behind me. I held on to the back of the group for the first mile, but then I had to settle into my own pace. It wasn't long before the waves behind me were catching and passing me. Like I said, it was to be expected. 

This course is pretty rough. Not tough, but bumpy, rocky, rooty fun. I was grinding away the miles. As I got about a mile or two from the finish Mark caught me. Right behind him in the group was Dilan. Boom, they were gone. I just kept plugging away begging my legs to go faster. They were ignoring me. I came in my first lap, swapped bottles and headed out for my second lap. 

About a mile into this lap my legs started to feel better. I felt like I was riding faster, but I was also comfortable. The miles just ticked by and then I noticed a group of fast riders coming. Great, now I get to deal with Expert and Elite riders closing in on me...which can be bad if they are not patient. As the first group approached the leader called out "RIDERS BACK" and I moved over as three guys flew past. Every few minutes another guy or a group would come by, but they were all decent and I didn't have any issues. I just wanted to stay out of there way. Thankfully I didn't get caught in any super tight areas. 

Finally I the trees open up and I know I am nearing the end. Not too all things considered. I took a solid 6th place. Just don't ask how many were in my class ;)

The rest of the team had a good showing. The kids all reached the podium in their classes. The adults all had good efforts and represented the team well. It was a good day with the group. With the early start we were back in town by 5pm. All in all a good day.

Next up.....Treetops XC. From the looks of it....lots of climbing. Not a course that suits a human with a excessive gravity such as myself. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Finding my place

Saturday I set off for Mid-Michigan community college with my bike and a few teammates. This event has been both a HIGH...and a LOW of my Sport Clyde career.

The event: Sweat Shaker

2014 Highlights

It seemed strange to race on a bike I had only ridden one time. Stranger yet, I picked up the bike the night before the race. I hit this even solo. Strategy was to start hard from the gun. I wanted to test my luck in staying with the lead group and holding on as long as I could. Not exactly sure what place I was when we hit the singletrack but I was with the leaders as we started to string out. 5 miles in I was alone again.....but still riding strong. 1st lap was a blur. I remember going through the finish area and thinking...that was quick...I wonder what place I am in?!?

A few miles from the finish line I caught a guy that was in my class. How do I know? Well, I recognized him...and I heard him say "awww shit" as I flew past him. I was still riding super strong and he was stalled on a tough climb. I crossed the line and timers wouldn't tell me where I finished. It was a surprise I guess. So I waited until the awards.

now to sport 3rd place.....Sean Evans. Huh? I actually hit my first sport podium and there were 8 people in my class. Sweet.

2015 Highlights

The week before this race I had just finished Lumberjack 100. Surely the top accomplishment of my cycling career. Heading to Sweat Shaker I was confident. Strong. Relaxed. Ready to take another podium on a course that favors me. 

.......shit shit shit shit....boom.....

The deer incident less than 2 miles from the exit ended my race before I even started. Jay's mirror gone. Doors on the driver side caved in. 3 race bikes mauled. Bike rack destroyed. Lisa's bike had a damaged fork and wheels...but she rocked the race to a solid 2nd place. Jay, wobbly wheel...managed to race without crashing to a 7th place finish. Honestly, still don't know how the hell he did it because the wheel was awful.

Me....well I was forced into a spectator role as my front wheel was demolished and my frame was actually bent. I said goodbye to a bike I had for only a year. A bike that I took my first sport podium on..and that I had just finished 100 miles on the week before. For a short career....the bike saw a lot of action.  
The night before LJ100, 2015

Watching was fun....but I was left to wonder what could have been. All the pieces were in place for me to have a solid outing. Confidence. Endurance. Favorable course. All I was missing was a bike. Darn.

But, we move on. I have a new bike now. But that is where the puzzle falls apart. Endurance is ok...I will be able to finish the race.....but I won't be fast. Confidence is wavering. I won't be able to ride angry or to ride with enough confidence to compete with the top flight of the class. I am simply not in good enough shape. My fault. Life happens. But, that won't stop me from trying. As I write this there are only 4 in my category. If nobody else were to sign up my chances of a podium are good....even with the current circumstances. 

This will be my first race of 2016. I hope to write a positive race recap.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A year ago

A year ago I was lining up for The Lumberjack 100. The preparation was done. The nervousness was still there, because the daunting task of 100 miles stood in my path. A task that many riders stronger than me have failed. The only thing left to do.....was ride.

I have a handful of teammates heading to the Manistee area today to prepare for the race tomorrow. They have done the work. Now they just need to ride. The anniversary of this event got my brain working and thinking about how the hell I even finished such a long race. Blank. My mind was blank, but I was taken back to last year and I remembered some of the details. Here are some of them.

The start
For me, back of the pack. No reason to be a hero here. I was at the race to finish and I know my limitations. Brian and I headed to the last row and a few people trickled in around us. Nervous. It was more nervous back here than it was in the middle of the pack. It seemed more nervous back here than the it was in the front row. Of course, they are professionals....but the nervous conversations between the riders back here was interesting. Not all were confident. Some were over-confident. Most were excited to try to finish.

First Lap
The pavement leading to the singletrack seemed a lot longer than it was. The roar of 300+ sets of mountain bike tires on pavement sounded like a parade of monster trucks. The nerves were growing here because reality was setting in that we were riding 100 miles. The first major climb was a conga line, 2 wide....and as long as I could see. The leaders were gone. I didn't see them again until later, when they lapped me. Patience. Gotta have patience. Can't blow myself up on the first lap and risk not finishing. Gotta go fast enough to make the cutoff time. Dang this hill is long. The thoughts are bouncing all over the place. Pace. Pace. Pace. That is what was I was trying to focus on the most. Pace. Ride your race. Don't hurry. Pace. When I reached the aid station at 17 miles in I was happy. But at the same time I was thinking "holy hell...that was only 17 miles??". It seemed like a long time to get there but I was keeping my steady pace. Feeling pretty good. Grab some food. Go. It really starts to thin out for me. Still seeing people around every bend. Riding with a few here and there. But people are settling in and riding their own races now. I see the sign that says 5 miles to go. Whoo! Almost done with the first lap. 4, 3, 2....the miles tick away and I am feeling pretty good. Just keep that pace, don't blow up. Drink. Crud.....I am behind on fluids. Drink, pace, drink, pace...oh...parking lot. Lap 1 done. People cheering like crazy for us as we roll through. Hit the tent. People are helping like I can relax a second. Bike...good. Camelback swap. Bottles. Go get em'. Nothing but encouragement from teammates and friends. Leaving the pit area people are still cheering. 2 to go.

Lap 2
It is quieter now. The trail looks different. Much more defined than a few hours ago. How long until cutoff time? Still have plenty of time because I was on pace for my first lap. That cutoff time is the only thing I am worried about now. Well, the cutoff time and this long climb that doesn't want to end. Where is everyone? Feels like I am alone....wait.....there are a few people. Good. I am on course. Pace. Cutoff time. Pace. Cutoff time. 40 miles in. Not feeling too bad. Drink. Pace. Cutoff. Drink. I wonder how Brian is doing. Hope he got his tire fixed. Drink. Pace. Wow, this flat feels amazing. I am holding a decent pace right now. Drink. Rider....closing in on him fast. It is Todd. He looks like he is struggling....
"whats up Todd?"
"HEY SEAN!!!! Rockin, your looking good! Go Go"
"keep on truckin'
Dang, he is struggling. Hope he can keep going. Must have started too fast. I am feeling pretty good and DRINK. Pace. I gotta get to that aid station before the leaders.....RIDERS BACK.
You have got to be kidding me. I am only 44 miles in...better slide over. Holy shit they are flying. Jordan, Tinker, Tanguy leading and a guy I don't know. Wow. Fuck they are fast. Gone already. lol. Just keep spinning man...they are just want to finish. Cutoff. Pace tells me I am doing alright. Where the hell is that aid station. Ribbons.....finally. Half way home. The aid station is like a party....but everyone already went home. lol. The workers are awesome....tons of encouragement. Half way there Sean, see you next lap. After the aid station it is quiet again. I have to walk more hills because I just can't justify killing myself to try to slowly climb. Plus, the walk gives my body a break from the bike. The bike is working good though. How is my time? Average speed tells me I should make the cutoff. Drink. 5 miles to go on the second I am doing alright but that last lap is gonna suck. Don't think about it. Just get back to the pit. 4, 3, 2.....ah....I hear the pit area. Seriously.....only 1 to go. You got this. Roll into the pit and swap bottles and camel. The worker bees attend to the bike and clean out some leaves. Good. Tom says "Hey, you made the good job. Also, every person we have sent out on the third lap has finished. You have all day now....enjoy it....but get your ass back out there....see you in a few hours". 
There were a lot of people finished. Doesn't matter. Just go. The crowd is already shrinking but it doesn't matter. The ones that are there cheer and wish good luck as I leave the pit area. Then, the solitary confinement begins.....

Final lap...33 miles to go
This cliff bar tastes like shit. I throw it out into the woods because I just can't eat anymore. I am full. Legs are tired. Body is tired. But I only have 33 miles to go. I can do that. Trail looks like a highway now. Holy hell this climb is long. A rider? hmm. Just keep spinning...just keep spinning. It is beautiful out here. What a cool place to ride. The event has been cool. I just want to finish and get that patch. Plaid. lol. I wonder where Rick got that idea. At this point my mind is all over the place. But I keep plugging away. The miles slowly fade away and I am thinking about the aid station. Hey, there are a few riders. Not surprising....everyone is fading now. I am doing plan to pace has worked well for me and I feel like I can finish. The people that started too hard are who I am catching now. The conversations are short. Hey. Hey. that is about it. A woman asks me how I am doing and we ride together for a while. I stated that I just want a finisher patch and she was excited to learn of this award. I accidentally gave her a reason to continue by talking about the patch. It was nice to have a conversation with someone who was suffering just as much as I was. Someone that was experiencing the same emotions....totally in the moment. We catch another guy and the three of us are talking about how we are feeling, drinking, and just enjoying the situation. Eventually I have to leave them because I had to ride the pace I was comfortable with. Wow, I left them. I am feeling good. Aid station? Hmm. Seemed longer last lap, must have been the conversation. Now the aid station looks like the aftermath of woodstock. desolate. just the workers. These people are amazing, coke, snacks...anything else? Gotta go, 17 miles to go. I am going to finish this damn race. Cathy says "see you at the finish Sean, good luck". Off I go into solitary again. The climbs seem longer. Legs are blown. A rider? Yeah, this dick is gaining on me like I am sitting still. "Hey man, you need anything...I am support....have water, gels....anything?". No, I am good but thanks. Hey is there anyone behind me...or am I last? "dude, there are a handful of people back are surely not last....keep plugging away". Cool. Not last. Would it matter? Nope. Finishing dead last in a 100 mile race is better than not finishing. Where is that 5 miles to go sign. I am ready to be done. Ugh, I need to drink more. Holy shit, I don't remember this climb. Am I getting delusional? Nah, I'm good. I am doing this. I see it....5 miles to go.....oh man. Maybe I can quicken my pace....hahahahaha....yeah right. Just keep spinning. 4. As the 3 miles to go sing passes I catch the glimmer of a rider ahead of me. Sweet, maybe I can catch him. This keeps my mind occupied for the next mile as I finally catch Fred. Took me 98 miles to catch you but here we are. We continue on towards the finish and I just keep pace with was nice to have someone to talk to. Suddenly, the parking lot. Oh dude....we did it.....

I did it...100 fucking miles on my mountain bike. I wanna take a shower. My family? Wow, that is cool. All these people congratulating me. Dang. Maybe this is bigger than I realize.
"well done man"
"love you honey, proud of you"
"awesome job"
"1st try!!! awesome"

It was finally over. I was done. I had my finishers patch. I wasn't last. I had a plan of attack for this race and I followed it. It worked. I paced. I drank enough. I didn't blow myself up trying to be a hero. I just had a very long ride in the woods.

Good luck to my friends racing Lumberjack 100 tomorrow. Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. You guys are awesome and I wish you nothing but success.