Saturday, Dave P and I trek on down to Virginia for the Shenandoah Mountain 100. I already scoped out where the Sonics and Starbucks are. The SM100 race director's update said to expect fast, dusty conditions, although some rain may move in later in the evening. It will be warm. My risk will not be thermally blowing up like on Mt Washington last month, but keeping hydration and electrolytes in balance.
The SM100 does not allow Camelbak drops. Originally I was hoping to do that, as the things take so long to fill. Plus, I do not want to use HEED or whatever Hammer Nutrition product they have on the course. That stuff destroyed me at the Everest Challenge two years ago. I think my plan will be to drop Ziploc baggies of Gatorade powder with electrolytes and have to mix that with water in my Camelbak. That will kill five minutes per stop, but it beats DNF'ing due to cataclysmic cramping. The food that will be offered should work for me, so I won't need to drop my own. At the low intensities I anticipate for the race, I should do well eating solid food. I seem to tolerate that better than most.
I suspect the closest thing I've done to the SM100 is the D2R2 ride. Both rides entail similar amounts of climbing, although SM100 has more dirt and lots of rugged singletrack. The SM100 will probably take an hour longer to finish too.
This will be my first time racing this duration. I have no lofty goals, say finishing in the top 30. My only goal is to simply finish. As such, I will ride very conservatively the first half of the race. If I'm still feeling good, I will hit the huge Shenandoah Mountain climb later in the race with whatever I have left. If the race goes well, I may try Leadville or other NUE events next year.
The Titus Racer-X is ready to go. I replaced the Panaracer Fire XC's with Kenda Nevagal's. The Fire XC's stick like glue to any kind of surface. They are not the greatest in mud, but grip slimy rocks and roots with a tenacious grip. So why ditch them? The soft rubber rolls like flat tires on pavement. They have very high rolling resistance on anything hard. They are less than ideal for racing. The Nevegal's are an in-betweeny tire, not full knobby, not semi-knobby. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. I put them on last weekend and only had one chance to ride them for an hour. I immediately noticed how fast they were on pavement, even at 28-30psi. I rode Mine Falls in Nashua where it was dry and hard, so I don't know how they do on greasy stuff. Hopefully we'll have none of that Sunday. The Nevegal's do hook up well on loose over hardpack as well as dry off-camber roots and rocks. The Bontrager XDX's I started out with on the Titus hooked up well on nothing but dry pavement unless I dropped the pressure to 15psi. I will probably race at 30psi since I lack any knowledge of the course. Definitely not lower. Might go a little higher if I learn knowledgeable others are doing so.
Dave P is going singly geared. I can't fathom hitting a hundred miler that I haven't ridden before with just one gear. He did some homework. We'll see how it works out. Dave's strength lies in ultra endurance. I'm sure he'll do well. He finished with lead pack at D2R2 in blistering heat a few weeks ago. The SM100 shouldn't be much harder for him.
Hope to properly meet Dave S. He came up to sample our 6-gaps ride this summer, riding with the early B-group. It turned out to be a spanker for him. I have a feeling the terrain down his way will be a spanker for me. That will make us even.