Highlights from the Shenandoah Mountain 100

Hurricane Isaac might’ve put a damper dampening on the racing at this year’s SM100, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t memorable times to be had.

Inspiring Bromance:

  • When teammate Todd cartwheeled over the handlebars in a significant way, Scott’s thought was “at least now I can quit, because I won’t leave Todd out here until help arrives.” But Todd was uninjured, so the pair continued onto their glorious, mud-caked finish.
  • I’d decided to call it a day at Aid Station #3, but as it turns out, I didn’t need to go that far. Brent and Mac, 2 pals who do long mountain bike races on a tandem while wearing tuxedo jerseys, were coming back down the mountain toward me.  They were turning around too, and knew a shortcut back to the campground. I followed their fishtailing tandem as it slip-slided down the raging torrent of mud and water, a singlespeed remora zipping around a muddy red whale. It was the most fun I had during the whole race.

Moments of Transcendence:

  • I don’t generally like riding in the rain and mud, and I’m not great in slippery conditions. (I’m not really that great in dry conditions, either, but it gets worse.) On the first long downhill, I was tentative in the mud-chute of rocks. Water was flowing off my helmet and I reached a low point. Then something snapped, and I just started letting it rip. The rain was exhilarating, and I couldn’t imagine anything more awesome.
  • Riding up the first big climb, I felt unprepared to deal with the reality of slogging through the race for 14 or so hours. Then I caught up to tattoo guy, a skinny dude with a tattoo on his calf that looked like a knee sock. He was complaining about the blisters on his feet and his sore butt. I was suddenly glad that NOTHING on me hurt–no blisters, no sore butt (at least partially due to my awesome Voler shorts). But seriously–it was like 25 miles in….whose butt hurts after that?

Brief Moments of Awesome:

  • Hanging out. I was the last of our team to cross the finish line last year at the Wilderness 101, so it was actually kind of cool to see everyone else finish this time. By the late afternoon, the sun cleared out a big sky filled with postcard-perfect white clouds. Nothing wrong with relaxing on a blanket, drinking a beer and watching mud-encrusted racers ride down the hill.
  • The full moon at 2 a.m. Proper hydration meant numerous trips to the potties in the middle of the night. Pretty cool to see the moon shining down on all the tents and bikes, anticipating the early morning start.
  • The portable shower truck. It may be one of the best inventions of the century. After a disgusting racing experience, it was amazing to be able to stand under a warm shower and wash it all away.

Of course, there’s also some footage of the whole experience:

About Jesse Piersol

Griot. Filmmaker. Fatbike aficionado.
This entry was posted in Road Trips, Singlespeed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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