Cohutta 100

Posted on April 30, 2013

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Wanted to do a race report from this years Cohutta 100 race, decided to work of my draft from last years Cohutta. When I opened it, I found the following text (a message I had send to my Odyssey AR teammates post race):

Cohutta 100 Course Map

Cohutta 100 Course Map

“Got 9/27. Crazy tough course. They added more single track and 2,000 ft more climbing than previous course. Increased winning time by 40 min. My time was 10:03, Eddie 9:30. My prev time was 10:15. My new time is prob equiv to 8:50-9:00 on old course. Bonked on last section. Last 13 miles took 1:40. Very tough day. Hard for me to train for this shit. Said I’d never do it again, but already thinking about next year.”

I can’t help but to smile and laugh out loud. All the suffering and pain that I went through during that race. It all disappears once you cross the finish line. It’s only a memory, a great one at that.

Maybe some year I’ll give this course a try without having completed a 24+ hour adventure race the weekend prior. In 2009 it was the Odyssey 3.5 Day E-Fix, in 2010 it was the 30 Hr Nocatee Conquest, and in 2011 I sustained a knee injury in early March that sidelined me from my planned adventure race/Cohutta back to back weekends. In 2012 it was the Rev3 Epic 26 Hr.

This year, after wanting so bad to be fresh on the start line and promising myself last year I wouldn’t do it again, I did. I just can’t stay away from adventure racing! I raced the Rev3 Epic 26 Hr Adventure Race last weekend and it was BRUTAL! So brutal, that when I rode some trails at the Ocoee Whitewater Center on Friday afternoon before the race, I wondered how I would pace myself to survive. My legs we still toast from last weekend even before the race started. Not only were my legs toast, but bad weather was on it’s way. There were forecasts for day long rains and cold weather.

Tanasi Trails. Cold and wet!

Tanasi Trails. Cold and wet!

Sporting my new Rose Bandits kit with an Icebreaker 200GT wool short sleeve shirt underneath, and a waterproof jacket I’d have off most of the race, I felt ready to rock. It is what it is, and I’m not holding back. Well, I guess I did for the first few minutes as I missed the start while messing with gear. Oops! This however, is part of the reason I think I felt good the ENTIRE

After 11:20, I'm done! 4th place, woohoo!

After 11:20, I’m done! 4th place, woohoo!

race (that’s never happened before)! Starting from the back of the race with no one around (except Rob who was going to try and ride the whole 100 miles with me), was like any and all pressure to stay with someone (like Fast Eddie) was off my shoulders. It was now my race. I pushed hard for the first three mile climb up the road in order to get a decent position in the trails, but once in, everyone was pretty well spaced out and passing riders was pretty easy. And I’m sure passing all those people was helping to boost my moral. Rob, however, wasn’t passing people fast enough while riding with my so he took off about five miles into the race. I kept pushing at as hard a pace as I felt I could sustain for the duration, well, at least most of it.

2013-04-27_18-58-49_360

All smiles! What a great event!

The aid stations were stocked with great food and more importantly, amazingly kind volunteers. I was sticking to my nutrition plan though, stopping just long enough to fill up on water and clean my glasses of water and mud so I could see again without peeking out the top.

Not too far after the first aid station (that I stopped at), maybe about 25 miles in, I found Rob suffering on a climb. He’d blown up and it was going to be a long day. We rode together for about 20 seconds, but I had to keep moving my pace…my happy pace.

At this point it was 45 degrees and raining. Not a drizzle, but a downpour. The forest roads were starting to get saturated (it had also rained through the night prior) and create a big drag on the wheels. Just past the half way point, the Pinhoti Trail was loaded with mu and sloppy, only to get worse as the race went on. Some sections were hardly rideable. On the long, ~12 mi climb back out from the far south loop, I ended up riding with two really cool dudes. The brief conversations in between super steep sections kept things interesting and time flies when you’re having fun!

Took a long soak and now cleaning up my mud facial.

Took a long soak and now cleaning up my mud facial.

The long downhill, yes, downhill, was one of my struggling points of the race. I started getting a bit sleepy and my power and cadence slowed. I also had to stop and squat to pee no less than

Need new chain, cassette, front chain rings, brake bads...Cha-Ching!

Need new chain, cassette, front chain rings, brake bads…Cha-Ching!

five times on that downhill and false fat section. This ace was also my first experience with bibs, not by choice. And not a good one for endurance racing. I am NOT going to was time taking off a jersey to get to the bibs, so I just peed. I was wet and a muddy mess anyway.  Anyway, with the stopping, downhill, and air cooling pee on my legs, I started to shiver which didn’t help my sleepiness.

13+ hrs and one happy dude. Happy for the suffering to be over!

13+ hrs and one happy dude. Happy for the suffering to be over!

As I approached the last aid station (well, last one I’d stop at), the volunteers screamed words of encouragement to me. We had a few laughs together and they said I was only the 4th female they saw for the day. I could hardly believe it! I was only there a moment to get a refill and another chick was coming in right behind me. I high tailed it out of there, heading for a long climb and never looked back. The thick cake-like mud on the last trail section was crazy deep. Like, to your spokes deep. But I was feeling great again and held onto that through the finish.

What a great race! I wouldn’t have ever guessed I could get in the podium at Cohutta, but the adverse conditions took at toll on most riders. My ride time slowed 1:17 over last year for a total time of 11:20. Right after the line I headed to the river to start the recovery process. Cold to the core, muddy, and all smiles!

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Posted in: Racing