The So No Mas 100 miles turned into 100 Km about a month before the start. The race organizer (Carlos Perez with Bike Monkey) thought that the 100 mile technical course which consisted of 3 laps around Lake Sonoma would be too much in the heat and too difficult for most people to complete. I was a bit disappointed at first, but after finding out that the temperature was supposed to reach 100 degrees I didn't mind too much.
Eric and I drove up to Lake Sonoma on Friday after work. It was almost dark when we got there after a couple of rest stops in Santa Rosa to stretch our legs and in Healdsburg for dinner. It was still really warm even at sun-set and there were lots of mosquitoes. After picking up our number plates (literally numbers drawn in felt-pen on a paper plate) we set up our tent and went to sleep.
On Saturday morning it was cooking!! I felt like I was baking in the sun at 8 am. Our camp neighbor John Solomito shared some of his great Italian coffee, I cooked up some eggs and had a bagel for my pre-race meal. I realized I had left my hammer gel at home but I was able to get a few Gu's before the race started.
The 100 Km racers started at 9 am while the people doing 1 lap (50 Km) of the course went out an hour later. (In my opinion this race should have started at 5 am). We started out doing 2 short laps around the parking lot to thin out the field before getting onto the single track. I started out pretty slow, thinking that I was going to race in the heat for over 8 hrs. It was hard to pass people on the single track, but I was in no hurry. The course was really fun; smooth single track with steep ups and downs, all power climbing. I passed the 2 women in front of me and then started catching the guys. Everyone seemed pretty laid back, and no one started sprinting after me. After a couple of hours I caught Kurt Levy and obnoxiously yelled at him since we had been joking around before the start about beating each other. Kurt wasn't looking super spry and told me he was cramping. After putting him on to Therma tabs he brought some to the race, but was planning on grabbing them for the second lap. Some people never learn..... (all in good fun)
There were several check points on the course and at the 3rd one I stopped since I had finished my camel bak. After filling up on water and chugging a cold coke at the check point we got onto a road for a short while before dropping back onto a trail at the next checkpoint. I was right next to another racer at this point and we were told we were 11th and 12th. The trail got rougher and was really steep going down hill. After descending for quite some time we spotted a big group of riders coming toward us!!! They said they couldn't find any trail markers and had explored several trails without finding the right way. We turned around and followed them back up the steep hill to the check point. Apparently some joker had taken the trail markers and we were now re-directed onto the road going back to the start/finish area. Most of us were taking it pretty easy since we had been caught by a bunch of the riders behind us. I am not sure how much time the front guys lost, but I was on the side-trail for about 20 minutes. After cruising on the road back to the finish everyone stopped to find out what was going to happen next. Carlos was trying to make a decision about wether or not to call the race off. After a few minutes he decided that the heat was too much for everyones safety and called it off.
So the 100 mile race turned in to approximately 26, which was ok with most people. I think a couple of guys went back out for another lap but were told to go back at the first check point. Better than the race itself, was the post race celebration, but that will have to be another post.