Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saturday With the Stars

Tomorrow after work we head to lovely Udell, Michigan in the heart of the Manistee National Forest. The Lumberjack 100 is Michigan's contribution to the National Ultra Endurance Race Series. It's also run by Mr. Kisscross, Rick Plite, so you know it's a good one.

At Lumberjack, elite mountain bike racers challenge themselves with four, 25-mile laps of killer singletrack. Lumberjack is unique in the series, with 99% singletrack. The other races incorporate fire roads and two track.

Anyone can pay their money and try their hand at Lumberjack, not everyone finishes. I was amazed last year at the sheer number of people who race just to see how much of the race they can complete. It is my dream that one of these days I will be able to test my mettle at Lumberjack to see how much of it I can ride before collapsing in a sobbing heap on the side of the trail. I had hoped that might be next year, but judging from the way my endurance season began, I'd say the outlook for this looks bleak. Maybe my turn will come in 2011.

At any rate, for this weekend we will be mere spectators. We're working the aid station from 1 - 3 p.m. Last year, we worked the very last shift, and I am interested to see how the attitude of the racers differs. Last year, they were sometimes dillusioned, disoriented and completely spent. They were also grateful for a chance to stop and get some refreshment. This year, they’ll likely be fresher and have more energy. Maybe many of them won’t even stop.

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to the experience.

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