Alex Alexiades is racing for Corning No Tubes this summer, and recently battled rain and a few mechanical breakdowns to take 4th overall at the Wildcat 100 km Mountain Bike Race! He was kind enough to share this race report. Be sure to congratulate Alex!
I didn’t know what to expect for this race since it was my first 100km distance mountain bike race-so I thought it would be a great learning experience and I’d get some nice views of the Shawangunks. The rain killed the “views idea” so I was just there to learn how to pace myself over 100km and get in some extra training before my upcoming 24 hour solo race in the NY Hardcore 24 this July. I started out the race with Paul to get an idea of pacing. Since I have zero road experience, I was struggling to keep up on the road portion from Rosendale to Williams Lake. Once we hit the gnarly singletrack I was in my element and began passing people. Somehow I ended up breaking free of the masses and was able to enjoy the wet roots, mud, and sharp rocks. After the initial single track sections, it was back to battling to keep my position on the road. I ended up getting in with a fast group and we swapped leads through the flat sections and hills leading to the big ascent. Once we got back on double and singletrack for the long slog up to the first aid station I broke free of the group along with another racer, Simon. I really enjoyed the climb through the fog and mist up to the first aid station and settled into a good rhythm. After the aid station, which is where the 100 milers split off, I noticed that there were only two tracks ahead of me! I thought, well I better start racing to hold this position. I was swapping 3rd and 4th position with Simon for about 20 miles until he fell back. I held onto 3rd place until about mile 50 when I started having major drive train problems, probably due to the mud. My chain kept coming off and getting jammed in the derailleur and cassette. This happened several times, which really cost me time. That’s when the 3rd place finisher caught me. I was off my bike trying to fix it, watched him go by, and cheered him on. After several miles of horrendous muddy sections through farmland, I hit some more road sections, and my drivetrain was clean enough to stop giving me problems. Simon and another racer caught up with me by that point and we all decided to work together to catch up to the 3rd place guy and give him a run for his money. We got within sight of him on the rails to trails section and were gaining, when a woman in a truck started honking at us a road crossing. We figured we had gone the wrong way so we turned back and she asked us what we were doing! We realized she was just cheering us on, and by the time we were back on course, we lost the 3rd place guy! Bummer! At that point we decided to work together and finish as a group of 3. We pulled into the finish line like three amigos only to find out that we had another 1.5 miles of singletrack. I thought Bob was joking when he told me that. Once I got back on the singletrack though I got a second wind and was able to ride it clean for the most part. The other two couldn’t keep up, so I waited a bit since I felt like I owed some of the energy I still had to riding with them. By the last .5 mile, Simon was way back so I finished with the other guy. All in all, I really enjoyed the course. I would have liked a lot more technical singletrack and fewer muddy farm roads, but it was mostly a good time! I definitely didn’t expect to finish in the top 5, so it was a pleasant surprise. I just hope racing hard for the last half of the Wildcat 100 doesn’t keep me off the podium this weekend at the Rumble in the Jungle!