18 February 2018

Susitna 100 - 2018 edition

Short version 

I got 6th Place! Go me :D

Longer version

Another year another Susitna 100 in the books. See my previous versions here (2015 Su100, 2016 Su100) This was a good one for me. 
When I signed up for the race I set myself some goals. 

  • Have fun
  • Finish strong
  • Keep moving
  • 115% of winner time wise
  • Race own race don't get sucked into other people's strategies.

I have been training hard for this year's event however, unlike previous years where my only training has been cycling. This year I have been going to a gym (Elite Sports Performance) to work on my core strength. I have also been riding a trainer to try and increase my power for when the trail gets soft. All of this extra training seemed to work for me as I had my best performance at this event ever.

The race

As seems to be the way with this race it started off relatively quickly. Josh (1st Place) and Tim (2nd Place) had set off at a good pace and slowly increased their gap on all who followed along.
Josh and Tim in the distance, following Tom and Nico 

Looking back before saying bye to Megan

Frosty selfie
Around 25min into the race Megan passed me and jumped up towards Nico and another rider. I didn't have that pace in me so maintained my pace and rode mostly with Tom though to check point 1, Laura Fox had caught back up along with Mike Estes. We arrived arrived at checkpoint 1 around 3 min after Megan and 9 min after the leaders.

After checkpoint 1 we get on some really straight trails through to checkpoint 2 at Flat horn.


Still straight 

We all arrived at Flathorn around 10 min behind Megan and 18min behind the leaders. Tom took his bike up to the checkpoint (I didn't know you could do that) and that was the last I saw of him.
After leaving Flat Horn whilst trying to eat a burrito I almost crashed on some overflow on the lake. As I rode through the Dismal swamp Laura caught back up to me she had stopped to get water at the checkpoint. The trail was getting pretty soft as we approached the river. Once on the Su the trail was a lot firmer although bumpy. Laura and I set about trying to catch the people in front of us. We passed scary tree and the non racer in me stopped to get a photo.

Scary Tree

Selfie ;-)

As we got into 5*tent camp on the Deshka river we had caught up with Dusty Eroh. He was about to leave before we were ready however, when asked if he wanted to ride with us he said yes.
finally off the river and onto the swamps

Now the three of us started working together to try and catch those ahead/maintain our position in the race. We were sitting 6th through 9th at this point.
We rolled into Eagle Quest having passed another racer (not sure on their name) who was dealing with cramping on the river.
At Eagle Quest we were still around 9 min back on the group in front of us, another quick stop and we were off to Cow Lake.

This is us rolling out of Eagle Quest, thanks for the support Clint!

Swamp miles

Sunset is aproaching

This is fun with only 30 miles to go. 

A reroute this year took us on a trail called Stevies trail, no pictures but It was steep. We dropped onto Red shirt lake then took a right and before we knew it we popped out at Cow Lake. We were now 20min back on the group in front of us.

A little longer stop here to get water and hope that the trail to the finish was solid. We were chugging along pretty well and dealing with the mechanical issue that Laura's bike seemed to have developed. I stopped to put on my light and looked back and a guy called David Berg had caught up with me. I followed him and let him do the work until we caught up with Dusty and Laura. We rode well as a group of 4 when we came across Andy Duenow on the course who was out taking photos.

I stopped to chat with Andy and he asked where Megan and Tom were? I said "ahead of us". He said "nope, I have only seen Josh and Tim riding the course and I have been riding the course in reverse." I quickly started back after the group to tell them we were now chasing 3rd place and really we should get a move on in case the group we had been chasing caught back on. It seems that Megan, Nico and Tom took a wrong turn on the course which is really sad, but it is also part of this race.

We worked well together though the last checkpoint and carried on taking 0.5 mile pulls through the finish to maintain our pace. At mile 98 I was done and could no longer hold the wheel of the riders in front of me, I also really needed to pee. I let my fellow racers battle it out and I pushed on after a short pee break. This years edition was definitely tougher than the 2016 edition though not as bad as my first year.
All done and a little shell shocked - PC Clint

But happy I have finished 

Results vs goals

I achieved all of my goals with the exception of the 115% one. I was 116% of the winning time.
I am so stoked, even if Megan, Nico and Tom hadn't gotten lost I would still have been top 10 which is way better than I expected when I initially signed up. Go me :D

Full results should be at the following link
Holy crap 6th Place

What wilI I do differently next time?

The burritos I took were to big, though super tasty next time I will take smaller ones. My food seemed to work well. I would take more mix for the bottle though and fill it more frequently. My hydration pack worked well but I want a Wampack from Revelate Designs. It was to much of an issue to get the hose out as it is behind a couple of zips.

And finally

A huge thanks to all who put this event on, it is a blast and really well organised. I really couldn't do this type of event without the support of friends and more importantly family. Amanda once again I am eternally grateful for all that you do.

Strava file

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