Labor Day Weekend brings together mountain bikers ranging from your average Jane and Joe to the Pros for the wonderful festival and epic race that is the Shenandoah Mountain 100 p/b Shenandoah Mountain Touring.
Making the trek down to Stokesville to race the SM100, were riders Chris Dobroth, Chris Lane, Emily McDonald, Jeff Niner, John Kromis, Kathleen Sheehan, Kathryn Hansen, Marco Demartin, Noah Flaxman, and Tom Howe. Joining them for support were fellow teammate Mary Dobroth, Tom Neumann, and Noah‘s Family.
For our riders, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
For the 6:30a start, things were looking up as the skies were clear, but the humidity was high. The high humidity would later prove to be the bane of existence for many of the riders as they each suffered through their own personal version of purgatory.
The rain the day before had not adversely affected the start of the race as everyone took off from the starting corrals like a greyhound chasing down a rabbit. All restraint was thrown aside as everyone raced off towards the first single track as though it was a short XC race and not an Ultra Endurance race.
The paced was pushed unusually high as everyone wanted to get to the new Narrowback Trail and the Tillman West Trail descent to AS-1.
Some riders were lucky enough to be able to ride most of the way up Lynn, but most of the riders had to walk the switchbacks as the single track eventually backed up with all of the congestion before the descent down Wolf Ridge to AS-2.
The long climb up Hankey began to take its toll on the field as everyone was looking forward to the descent down Dowells Draft to AS-3.
Throughout the day, it torrentially rained on the field four times. Some riders suffered through the rain while others had to deal with its immediate aftermath. In either case, the descents down Dowells Draft, Braley’s Pond, and Chestnut Ridge became slicker and wetter as the day wore on.
Long sections of Braley’s Pond turned into a hike a bike before setting up for the descent into AS-4.
Next came the Death March Climb as riders rode from AS-4 to AS-5.
After leaving AS-5, riders had to climb through another 10-12 meadows before being rewarded with the Chestnut Ridge Descent into AS-6.
Which set the table for one last climb up Hankey before turning left to head back towards the campground with a another pair of fun single track descents mixed in.
Chris Lane finished 82nd Overall racing Open Men with his personal best time of 09:35:57 (HH:MM:SS). Chris‘ secret? Pedaling through the pain. And minimizing his stops at the Aid Stations. He tops off his water and grabs some food to eat as he pedals away.
Next Emily McDonald finished 221st Overall racing Open Women with a time of 11:12:22 (HH:MM:SS).
Not far behind, Chris Dobroth finished 230th Overall racing Open Men with a personal best time of 11:16:55 (HH:MM:SS). Chris decided that he was going to race the night before the race. Not too shabby!
Kathleen Sheehan finished 289th Overall with her personal best time of 12:00:27 (HH:MM:SS).
Jeff Niner was next to the line finishing 423rd Overall in the dark racing Open Men in 14:32:45 (HH:MM:SS).
Kathryn Hansen was our last rider across the line finishing 428th in the dark racing Open Women in 14:44:54 (HH:MM:SS). Kat overcome a flat before AS-1 and made up time all day long in order to be able to finish within the time cut-offs.
Not able to have the satisfaction of ringing the gong and being able to partake in a pint of beer at the line with his coveted finishers’ pint class, Tom Howe was cut at AS-6 in the dark as he arrived just a few minutes after the sweep had departed. Tom battled brutal cramps and the humidity all day long as he tried to press on to the finish. It was his worst day on a bike… ever.
When racing a 100 mile race, highs and lows are inevitable. Emily, Kathleen, Jeff, and Kat all picked up and cheered on our teammates with their indomitable spirits when they needed it most to ensure everyone pressed on.
Huge thanks to all of the sponsors and volunteers along with their support that makes the SM100 a truly wonderful event each year!
Results: 2013 SM100 – Preliminary