|Ready to start the race|
|We are all anxiously awaiting to go!|
Loop 1 "The Start":
|Coming into crew point at the dam|
|Best crew a guy could ask for!|
|One loop down and three to go!|
Loop 2: "The Wheels Fall Off":
This loop is identical to the 27 mile route from loop one and it started off well. I was cruising along and even helped a guy that was struggling and out of water. I dumped about two thirds of my bottle of Tailwind into his water bottle to help him out. I made it to the next aid station at Gorge Overlook with ease. Jess and Jane were there hooking me up with everything I needed. I left there still feeling solid and settled into a nice little pace that seemed to work well. I reached the Fire Tower and after checking in I kept on rolling. A little less than a mile later was the crew access point where I took a little break and Jess and Jane helped me cool off as it was starting to get hot out. After refueling a bit I was off again. I ran into Jessica Meeker who is part of the Northwest Ohio contingent of trail runners and we shared a few miles in this section. Then I met a fellow trail runner from the Detroit area named Jesse and he, John, and I traded some good conversation and many miles together on this loop. The company was much needed because it was really hot at this point and I was starting to feel exhaustion set in from only sleeping an hour the night before. Going through the enchanted valley and the root climb was not as exciting as it was the first time. Although standing under the water fall and cooling off was maybe the highlight of the loop. I reached the the top of the Dam and was glad to see my crew. I ate some fruit and refueled again. I was in and out of the Covered Bridge aid station. After leaving here I ran into my good friend Steve Hannahs who informed me that Nick was struggling pretty bad. I started to worry about him because I know how much training he put in for this race.
|Completely destroyed after loop two|
Loop 3 "Second Wind, Snake, Skunk, Vomit, Cooler Temps, Wipeouts and Fun":
As my new running friend from the Detroit metro area, Jesse, kept saying in the first two loops "the real race does not begin until loop 3"! He was correct about that statement and that is true of every one hundred mile race because the first fifty miles is a lot different then the last fifty. As I set out onto loop 3 I had only one thing in mind. Just make it to the next aid station. Once I got on the trail and talked to a few other runners I actually started pulling out of my funk and was feeling decent! The temperature was starting to lower a bit which was a big relief. I saw a large black snake slither across the trail about a mile into this loop and it was kind of cool. I pressed on making it to the next aid station and was welcomed in by my friend Kevin Motsch who was working the evening shift at Gorge Overlook. After a brief chat with Kevin I was greeted by Jess and Jane who gave me some food and Tailwind along with my flashlight and backup headlamp.
|Loop 3, Gorge Overlook aid station: Second wind has arrived.|
I reached Fire tower aid station and Jess and Jane were there waiting for me. I got some extra batteries for my flashlight and also some food. The third and fourth loops were short loops so the next section of the race cut a few miles out including the pleasant hill dam crew point. So I would not see them again until I got back to the state park. I told them to go get a few hours of sleep and I would wake them up when I got done with the loop around 3:00 or 3:30 am. Since this segment was much shorter the 2.5 miles to covered bridge went by in a hurry. I was in and out of the aid station as I only needed to make sure my water was topped off. So I set out to tackle the climbs up to Hickory Ridge for a third time. During the first big climb I was in a group with a girl whose pacer found her a good walking stick to help her up the hills. She said it was working nicely and I started to see if I could find one for myself but then decided it took much mental power away from my mission and I gave up. Also in this group was Jessica Meeker and her pacer was dressed like a bunny. Literally she was only wearing a bikini, a rabbit tail, and rabbit ears and she called herself a pacer bunny. This time of night when running on little sleep and it's dark out, reality sometimes becomes blurred. I thought I was hallucinating but it turns out I was not. Jessica had told me earlier on loop 2 about her friend who was going to be her pacer bunny for loop 3 and she was not kidding. Steve and Brandi were also in the group as we were power hiking these long steep hills. A little bit later the girl with the walking stick was in front of me and she let out a loud burp followed by an "oh yeah here it comes" and then puked. I kept going around her so I could put that noise behind me!
|loop 3 Complete, walking zombie with blood on shirt|
Loop 4: "Let's put this thing to rest"
Before heading out on this loop I wanted to make sure I drank some broth as it was still the thing I craved the most. Once again the great volunteers of this race came through and gave me a huge cup of Ramen broth which I took "to go." I wanted to make sure I didn't waste any time because if I ended up walking a lot on this last loop then I would be close to the cutoffs. I realized I only had one battery left for my flashlight and got worried about that so Jane gave me her flashlight as a backup. I didn't want to deal with digging the headlamp out of my pack etc.. if my batteries all died. This late in the race my exhaustion made medial tasks seemed so monumental and I needed to avoid them at all cost. So I had a spare flashlight in one pocket and the big emtpy cup I used for broth in another pocket. My legs were completely shot at this point. I had never experienced severe quad issues in an ultra until this race. I think all the climbing had something to do with that. Every hill now seemed like a mountain but mentally I was ok with that because I knew I only had to traverse the course this one last time. I gladly to waved goodbye to each climb and each section of trail. When I got to Gorge Overlook aid station the first volunteer asked if I had any trash to get rid of. I was glad he asked because I forgot about the huge cup in my pocket and would of had to carry it to the next aid station if I did not discard it there.
|Loop 4: Daylight, pain, and persistence|
|Mustered up some energy to run across the finish|
|Excited to get my buckle from the race director Ryan O`Dell|
|It's official! The Mohican buckle will be worn with pride!|
This second one I believe is made by some videographers called Trail Hound Collective. It is nicely put together: 2016 Mohican 100 Trail Run