Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cascade Cream Puff (73 miles out of a) 100 miler

WARNING VERY LONG POST: but totally worth reading!! Sorry this took so long!!

Pictures to be added soon!! link at bottom of post...

This weekend I traveled down to Westfir/Oakridge, OR for the Cascade Cream Puff 100 mile mountain bike race. I left Tacoma Saturday at 11:30 and arrived rather quickly at 4pm. I set about picking up my registration packet and setting up my gear before the mandatory 6pom riders meeting. I ended up bumping into Mike Ripley and Carl from Corvallis, OR and set up camp next to them. Mike hosted the Test of Endurance 50 back in early June. Around 6pm all of the racers, about 120 plus family and volunteers, gathered in the Westfir School cafeteria to eat an amazing meal and then talk about race particulars. Around 8pm we finally started drawing for raffle prizes. Amazingly enough my number was picked shortly after starting the raffle, winning a sweet pair of Ergon grips! I was able to slip out and finish getting my race stuff situated due to the race starting at 5:15 am Sunday morning!!!

I slept "OK" in the rental tent. Due to the move I could not find our tent in the many boxes we have yet to unpack. I slept pretty close to the port-a-potty and people kept letting the door slam shut all night, next time pack ear plugs!! I was awake when my alarm went off at 3:45 am, giving me enough time to get dressed and go eat breakfast between 4 and 4:45. Let me tell you it was WAY too early! We had to roll out of camp for the 2 mile ride to the start line by no later than 5 am.

Once we got to the red cover bridge we had to check-in by race number and name in order to officially start the race. Running a few minutes behind we were off on a neutral roll out at 5:20 am down the paved road until we hit the base of the dirt fire road climb and the race was ON! Well at least it was for the fast racers, for me I started at the back of the pack just so 121 riders would not have to pass me by as I set in on my snails pace. I rode the climb with about 10 or 12 of the same people all the way up to Aid station #2. It was 11.2 miles from the red covered bridge to Aid #2 and we gained about 4000 feet of elevation! I spent about 15 or 20 minutes catching my breath and replenishing my liquid food supply, Hammer Nutrition MMmm good, stocking up on energy bars, and stripping off the early morning layers. I had an ice chest brought up to Aid #2 within it I had most of my water bottles pre-prepped. I also had some extra clothes and essentials should I need them. It was then that I realized that my gel flask full up mixed up Perpetuem paste had completely emptied out into the bottom of the ice chest! YUCK! What a mess, luckily my extra clothes were in a plastic bag and everything else was mostly unaffected. It still took extra time to wash some of the goop off and refill my hydration pack. As I was leaving Aid #2 I heard someone yell out "Bacon on the right" in response to all of the volunteers yelling "Water, gel, food, and sports drink on your left!". I said something to the effect of "I love bacon!!" and the next thing I knew I had my picture taken with a strip of bacon hanging out. I was soon back on the bike, munching away on my bacon strip, and pedaling my way up to Aid #3, more uphill fireroad. I got to a high point and called Christie around 7 am, waking her up, to say hi since I did not get any signal down in the campground. I told her I would call again later when I got a good signal.

I finally got to Aid #3 and plowed on through into my first taste of singletrack! I was riding with two other riders, an older dad 57 yo!, Frank, his 26 yo son was also racing and a former pro/team manager, Brent, that had not been on the bike in over three years! Both of these guys were kinda hurt'n so it was nice to just ride along with out feeling pressured to push the envelope. In hind sight I may have kept my heart rate down where it needed to be but I slowly, with out realizing, ate up my time to finish the full 100 miles. Before leaving Aid #3 the volunteers stopped me to gawk over the Black Sheep, they said it was the best looking bike present at the race (THANKS!!), and ask a few questions. I got to talking about my leg and the accident and pretty soon I off down the trail to hoots of "Go Black Sheep Go!!" After the amazing ride through the Jedi trail post Aid #3 I swung through Aid #2 on my way down to Aid #1 and finishing lap 1. I was determined, with as slow as I was riding, to take as many pictures as I could during the ride. I got some amazing shots but it too worked to slow me down overall. As Brent and I started the downhill singletrack neither one of us really realized how much downhill we were in for!! By the time we hit the half way point our brakes were smoking and our triceps where on fire!!

When we both hit Aid #1 around 10 am and Brent called it quits and DNF'ed. I checked in and continued down the trail that bordered the river all alone. They said it was chock full of poison oak but I didn't see much because I was moving trying to make up some time on my own for the first time since the start of the race. Soon enough I was climbing the steep fireroad. At least the first 3 miles, which were the steepest, were some what shaded. Beyond the mid way oasis it was nothing but mean, hot sun beating you about the head and shoulders. I slowed down alot up this part of the climb. My back really started to tighten up and ache, partly due to the 4.5 hour drive the day before and partly due to "sleeping" on a foam mattress in a tent the night prior. I got off and walked a bit just to stretch out my back and when I remounted I moved my hydration pack from my back to my front, fastening my sternum and waist straps behind me to keep it on. Boy let me tell you it was like taking a weight off my back!! I popped into Aid #2 again before I knew it! My legs felt GREAT I had not had a single twinge of a cramp all day so far, but I was very close to over heating!! Let me tell you how amazing this race was run! EVERY time I came into an aid station, especially Aid #2, I was overwhelmed with volunteers trying to help me out! A cold water spray bottle was in my face immediately and the cold water towel on my neck did the job of cooling me down!! I replenished my Hammer Nutrion bottles and water supply and set out for Aid #3. I gave Christie a call and talked for a few minutes on the way. I was also passed by the top two riders as I came into Aid #3. on their third lap! I was warm when I got to Aid #3 but I had them douse the towel on my neck and all was right in my world. When I came back into Aid #3 after the short loop we only had to do on Laps 1 and 2 they made me sit down and take a rest. I was coming up on 2pm and they told me the time cut-off for being able to leave Aid #3 to finish Lap #3 was 6:15pm. That gave four and a quarter hours to basically do a lap form Aid #3 and back. Four and a quarter was totally do able! I set out with a renewed since of purpose, I damn well wanted to finish all 104 miles and get my hat!

Well that started to wane as I road from Aid #3 to Aid #2. I hit Aid #2 around 3 pm and came to the realization that I still had over 10 0r 12 miles of serious downhill singletrack, then the three roller coaster miles along the river, and then the brutal 9 mile climb to Aid #2 and another 5 miles to Aid #3 BEFORE 6:15pm!!! As I rolled into Aid #2 I knew it just wasn't going to happen for me this year. I sure as hell did NOT want to ride all the way back up to Aid #3 just to get told that I could not go on and I was being pulled. So I walked over to the "Team Bacon Strip / Vulture Cycles flock" and ordered up a sweet,and rich dark homebrew beer and grabbed a few real food Subway sandwiches from the stacks of food the volunteers had for us, sat down and didn't move for about an hour! Around 4pm I decided I had better start my decent back down to Aid #1 to finish lap 2 and officially DNF (Did Not Finish). I could tell that my bike handling skillz had rapidly diminished and it turned into more of a hang on for dear life ballz out run downhill!!

When I crossed the finish line I was disappointed with my performance. I rode straight through without stopping, just want to get back to the campground and take a shower. Scott, the organizer, ran over to get my number and hand me a finisher's hat and I sadly snapped "I DNF'ed only got two laps, my number is M33!!" Scott said sorry and probably something else but I was already turned around and cranking out the final two miles back to camp. I am soooo sorry for snapping at you Scott! I was mad at myself for dinking around on the course and eating up my time to finish. My legs felt great and I had plenty of energy left, I just flat ran out of time. I crossed the line at Aid #1 at 5:06pm with almost 12 hours on course, here are the overall results for the race.

When I got back to camp I immediately showered in the School gym with Technu. Scott actually brought Technu on board as a sponsor! I then received my 20 minute professional massage form one of about 6 or 7 masseuses. Then dinner spread was great! I ate dinner and talked with Scott's wife Donna who massively helped with the race organization!!

Overall this was HANDS DOWN the best hosted, most well run race I have EVER attended!! Yes, the entry fee is steep, $222, but well worth EVERY penny!! I do plan to be back next year, as I can now pre-register as a veteran racer! Not a single person I talked to had any complaints. I may not have walked away with the ultimate finisher hat but I got a t-shirt, socks, three or four good quality water bottles, an awsome race, useable raffle schwag, free camping with showers and porcelain! Amazing singletrack, views to die for on course, a professional post-race massage, enough food to choke a horse, total support out on the course, and a feeling of having accomplished something (or at least most of) that only a handful of people get to do each year!!

I crashed out in my tent that night and woke up late the next morning!! Sorer than I have been in a long time!! My poor prostrate took one hell of a beating!! I went into Oakridge to have breakfast with the few people left in town. It was nice to just chat and throw ideas at Scott. I apologized for snapping at the finish and he said no prob like water off a ducks back.... I also learned that the folks that feed me bacon on my first lap were from AZ and the have a team called, "Team Bacon Strip"!!! Go figure!

This is the post for the 2007 CCP100 it has some great post race reviews of the

Most of my pictures are on my Flickr here!

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