3, 2, 1… with his shotgun raised to the sky, Steve Andrus pulled the trigger and off we went. The 2012 Mt Ogden 100K race was underway. After the neutral start, we hit the dirt. The pace was calm and easy, but slowly picking up as the tension began to build. Jason Sager led the group up the first short climb to the Green Pond trail as the rest followed.
It’s been a while since the Wasatch has seen any rain. The trails were dry and dusty, which, for the most part, is pretty common at Snowbasin. I did my best to stay with the lead group while not spending too much, too early in the race. Based on last years race, I had a much better second lap than the first. Even though it seemed to be much hotter than it was this time around. I was coming into the 2012 race with what felt to be great fitness. The best miles and rest in the legs that I could, given the time a working guy with a family can give. I felt confident though, and was anticipating a good race. I felt ready.
About halfway through up the first climb to the top, I began to get a little discourage. It seemed as though I was lacking the power and intensity I hoped would be there. And when I couldn’t respond to a few passing riders, my thoughts began to turn on me.
If only I could record my thoughts while on the trail. Racing especially. There’s a huge difference when you’re moving fast, putting time into others and riding smooth vs riding like you’ve been soaking in a hot tub for 2 days while eating Philly cheese steak sandwiches. I’m sure someone knows how that feels, right? I sort of felt like I couldn’t get out of my own way. I pressed on, assuming the good thoughts would accompany good legs on lap #2.
Lap # 2 began. The race was spread out by now and there weren’t may people up the trail to chase down. So, I put my head down and kept pushing through, looking for better legs. As I traversed the Green Pond trail and made my way to the major climb that winded its way up the Strawberry area of Snowbasin, I soon realized, that lap #2 might just end up worse than lap #1. Instead of letting the negative thoughts flood through my head, I kept a close eye on the riders behind me. The gaps were pretty big, but there were sections on the course where you could see a few other racers, slowly closing them up.
“Keep pushing.” “Don’t let Casey Zaugg catch you.” “You can hold him off.” “Oh! you’re gaining time on Alex Pond.” “It’s ok if Casey catches you, because you’re about to catch Alex.” Lots of talk, justification and random thoughts. If I can limit my time to the top, I can limit my losses on the DH. Despite feeling in the dumps, a full bottle of cold water on my back and one to dine on was just the ticket. I poked slowly over the top of the climb and anticipated the long and hopefully fast descent to the bottom. Less than half way down the mountain, I caught and passed Alex. I was excited so I pushed a little harder to gain more time on him. Near the bottom I had almost caught back up to Casey as well as Reed Wycoff.
I got one of the best hand-off’s ever. An ice cold Coke. I pounded it and tossed the bottle and began to make my way up the last, long climb before a short descent to the final paved climb to the finish. I was able to catch and pass Reed, and reel Casey in a bit, but at the same time got caught and passed by Alex. When we got to the paved climb to the finish, Alex stood up on the pedals and took off. He caught and passed Casey before the finish. Meanwhile, I kept a steady, manageable tempo up the pavement, to the finish line.
Nearly 5 bottles of Carbo Rocket, 1 1/2 bottles of water with another on my back and about half a can of Coke, I was done. The race was over and I couldn’t have been happier. Thankfully I kept enough in the tank so I wasn’t sick when I crossed the line, but I was physically tapped. It was a brutal race for me and one I was hoping to have a much better result, but in the end, after the dust had settled, I was happy with how it ended up.
Steve Andrus and his crew did a fantastic job. Snowbasin is a world class venue and, a home away from home for me. It’s always a great place to visit, ride, race and ski. And the best part, share it all with the family.
I couldn’t thank my father enough, for the time and effort he spent on Sat, running, riding and chasing me around the course. Handing bottles and gels. I’d probably still be out there, hunkered under a tree if it weren’t’ for him. And of course, a HUGE thank you to my dear S-Day, for her support. Packing up the kids and all their supplies is not an easy thing to do. Even if she makes it look that way. She is one of those, all together, all knowing mother that knows how to get it done and support her husbands lack-luster professional cycling career. 528, Shan.