Susitna 100

Good, bad.... good.

The good is that I tried something new, the Susitna 100.
The bad is that I wish I could say I was using it to warm up for the ITI…but I cannot line up at the ITI this year.
The good is that I can’t line up because our 2nd baby is due really really soon.

I foolishly thought I could sneak out of the house, finish the ITI and come home none the wiser. Silly me, I will just have to wait till next year.... 

It'll sure be strange to sit back and watch the ITI unfold this year, maybe even provide unabridged inappropriate commentary or something to compensate for armchairing it. I'll certainly try to round up a welcoming party for those fools going on to Nome this year, though my house is going to be off limits, new baby and all.  If I can get away by bike or snow machine I'll even try to capture on trail photos between Unalakleet and Nome. We'll see. 

Susitna 100

I suppose I should write up a race report of sorts for the su100.  I went into this race with very little motivation and expectation.  I signed up late and couldn't even make the prerace meeting as it was hard enough to get away from Nome.  To top it off I came down with significant head cold the day before I went to Anchorage.   However, I was able to get some professional wheel tweaking at Speedway before the race, which I was super glad to watch the pros working my bike.  The new wheel set made a huge difference on flotation especially after running large marges for so long.

On race day I arrived early, got my "late gear check ticket" (there were three of us that had to do a late gear check since we were not at the prerace) and pulled out my gear.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to socialize because I was trying to figure out how I was going to get my bike organized after the check. Jeff O was the only person I was able to talk with. It was good to see a familiar face in a sea of about 120 racers in all kinds of gear.  I knew a few ITI racers were signed up but couldn't find anyone else at the time.  After the rather casual 9am start the RD came over and assessed our gear and weighed it.  I don't really know how long it took, it sure seemed forever.  Kevin from Fairbanks (I think) was in the same boat as me.  He was biking and another guy was walking.  After I was checked out, I put it all back together ...again felt like forever... and took off almost dead last.   

Starting from the back is definitely a strategy I would not recommend.  The first few miles are on a side trail with what seemed like a herd of moose ran through.  I had to significantly deflate my tires to ride and worry about getting to close to people.  At least it kept me busy.  The first 22 miles to flathorn went by fast and the checkpoint folks were really awesome.  In fact the race seemed really well organized and all checkpoints were awesome.  The trail was in great shape, the weather even better; clear with temps from below zero to single digits. On dismal swamp I had to firm up my tires and Kevin passed me on his 29-er snowcats cruising.  There was some headwind on the river that became stronger as the day went on to some strong gusts up at Alexander Lake. Wind is my forte so I felt pretty charged going in to Alexander Lake.  The turnaround was now a tail wind, obviously a fun change.  According to the website it took me 7hrs 35 min to Alexander Lake (50 mile) and 6 hrs 52 min to return. I took no pictures which is too bad since there were some nice shots for the taking, hope someone grabbed a few. 

Overall, it was an enjoyable race that was very competitive, it's good to see the super fast leaders coming back on the trail too.  This felt like an ideal pre-ITI race too and sorely wish I were out there next week.  It's completely different but a great way to see how speedy/strong the legs are, check your gear and if things are running well.  I was also able to check my edema issues on this shorter race and was happy to see I had none.  I spent a lot of time "not" giving in to my thirst and balance the sodium/water levels better.  No weight gained and felt great with fast recovery.