As of a week before the race, I was working almost every waking hour and up in the air about what would happen with my broken Niner frame. Joanna had run my frame over to Scott at Evolution Pro Bike on Saturday while I was racing the Misfit down at Fair Hill.
Scott took the bike and promised to check with Niner to see what my options were. On Monday afternoon, I got a call at work with some great news: Niner was warrantying the frame and sending a new one overnight on Tuesday and Scott said he could build it up in time for the race! The shop is closed on Wednesdays, so it actually arrived Thursday afternoon and Scott said it would be ready on Friday. That worked for me because I wouldn't have been able to pick it up on Thursday as it was since I was in the office until almost 8:00 that night.
I had planned to head down to Virginia early on Friday so I could pre-ride different sections of the course Friday and Saturday, but with the bike not being ready to go until Friday afternoon, I adjusted my plan and did one final local ride on the Misfit at Wissahickon Friday morning. Ultimately, I left PA around 3:00 Friday afternoon, getting to Harrisonburg around 7:30 or so. (Incidentally, I took the easy way out and actually drove down.)
Saturday morning, I wasted some time doing busy work - went to a supermarket for some water and food, ate a big breakfast at the hotel, and just hung out in my room for a bit. I did that on purpose so that I wouldn't have to waste time going back and forth to the venue more than once. My (new) plan was to get there in the early afternoon for a pre-ride and then hang out at the venue until it was time to pick up my registration packet. At that point, I probably should have just planned to make a new plan instead because that was out the window after less than half an hour into the pre-ride.
|The first climb on the SM100|
I started the climb feeling pretty good, but a little hot. It was oppressively hot and humid in Virginia on Saturday - probably around 90 degrees and a beating sun with humidity hovering as close as possible to rain without the sky actually opening up. I was soaking wet less than five minutes into the ride and felt terrible by the time I hit the new (to me) single track section of the first climb. And on top of that, my bike was making more noise than an orchestra and I quickly realized that my saddle was about an inch too low. It was a miserable pre-ride and I got back to the car and knew that I had to head back to Harrisonburg right away to get to the bike shop before it closed to get a new chain (the one I had was SS-specific and was grinding on the narrow-wide chain ring) and adjust the saddle height and a few other things. And to add one final insult, I also had to stop somewhere along the way and get some new walking-around shoes because, as I was riding, the glue on the bottom of my sneakers melted in the heat and the soles separated from the uppers. (Seriously, that was a thing I dealt with on Saturday.)
So I spent the rest of the afternoon racing around between Harrisonburg, my hotel and then back to Stokesville to pick up my registration packet. (I did find a very nice cheap pair of Converse All-Stars, though, so that was nice.) And for one final "screw you", I managed to forget my front wheel in the parking lot of the hotel when I was heading back to Stokesville, so I had to race back to the hotel after I realized my mistake to pick it up. (Despite my stupidity in forgetting it, I did have the wherewithal to call that hotel and ask them to go grab it the moment I realized it wasn't in the car, which they did.) Not a great way to finish out the day before a race. Exhausted from a very bizarre day, I decided to just pick up the packet and then head right back to the hotel and try to get some rest rather than stay in Stokesville for the pre-race dinner.
That night, before I went to sleep, I called Joanna and told her that, based on the way I felt during the pre-ride, I was expecting another 12 hour day so I probably wouldn't be calling her until well after 6:00 the next night. And then I went to bed terribly disappointed. I had said all year that I wasn't going to let myself get caught up in any level of expectation for this race because if I had learned one thing in the two previous attempts, it was that a lot of things can go wrong in the span of 100 miles. But I have to admit that it was a pretty bitter pill to swallow knowing that despite all the training and effort, that 12 hour estimate was probably pretty accurate. Still, I went to sleep that night repeating the phrase, "you did all you could to get ready" over and over.
Tomorrow, the race itself (and, mercifully, the end of this loooooooong story …)