Written by Eric Olds Thursday, 26 July 2018 00:00
I knew going into this year’s race that it was going to be especially painful. I always fall short of my fitness goals, but this year especially so with some early spring health issues. I figured the dry conditions compared to last year would make up for it a little at least. But, while it was much easier going on the dry trails, I actually finished over 10 minutes quicker in last years mud fest. So, not my best result but finishing felt like a satisfying accomplishment all the same.
At the Bond Brook Tread Fest my back seized up on me a couple hours in, so I tried to avoid that this time by not pushing too hard, too early. But still, I was more or less on the edge of agony for the first 45 miles. Again, this year I gave up time and positioning on a couple of the steep ski/snowmobile trail descents. With the grass hiding potential hazards along the edge of the trail I just haven’t been able to totally commit knowing that catching a pedal or hitting a loose rock kicked into the trail at high speed could be disastrous.
At mile 45 there is a rest stop on “Birthday Hill” where I always begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I took advantage of the food and a big cup of flat Coke to give myself a boost. Then I started slurping down the caffeinated energy gels every 30-40 minutes. I came alive after that and actually enjoyed the last 20 miles (mostly) and regained about 5 or 6 spots that I’d given up earlier. So, that felt good. I say "mostly enjoyed" because the climb up Crommett’s to Oak Knoll is a killer, especially the last steep pitches before the top. Still, passing 50K riders all the way up does restore your ego a bit after hours of suffering at the back of the 100K race.
Huge turnout this year with over 500 racers overall in the three distances. Great to see the event become so popular, I’m sure in part due to being added to the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Marathon series. But, the 50K is not part of the series but attracts the most riders of any of the three. Having always raced the 100K, I’m not sure I could do the shorter distance. I’m still gunning for a 6 hour finish, but I’ll have to work harder next spring to get there.
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