Race Report: Mohican 100k

by Richard Kolkovich

Last weekend was the Mohican 100(k), so I have now completed two of th efive races I have entered this year. This means that it’s time for yet another race report.

Race Day

I have been plagued by wet weather following me for the past few weeks; all of my cycling gear is muddy, and it has been challenging to find trails that are rideable with all this rain. That said, the week before the Mohican was relatively dry. But the race course was anything but dry. There were several sections of greasy mud and a general dampness to the trails. In many places, this made for great grip, if slightly more rolling resistance.

Where there was mud, however, it was gnarly.

There was a section of downhill which had several (probably a dozen or so) water bars. After each of these water bars was a pit of mud. As this section was approaching a road crossing, we had the benefit of several spectators on the sides of the “trail”, very much enjoying watching riders struggle to stay upright through the mud.

The larger offender, though, was the general muddiness in the opening ~15 miles of the race. We opened with about 5 miles on road and fire road, but this didn’t quite serve the intended purpose of spreading us out well enough. The refrains of miles 5-15 (maybe even up to mile 20 at the first Aid Station) were “Slowing” and “Stopping”. The worst part? Passing wouldn’t help. Until around mile 15, I could not justify expending the effort to pass the person in front of me because the conga line stretched as far as the eye could see. Somewhere around mile 15 is when I began to have opportunities to pass, as we were FINALLY breaking up into groups of manageable size.

Goals

To recap my goals set after the Big Frog 65:

  • finish without injury or bonk
  • ride without a pack
  • finish in 6 hours or less
  • Have fun!
  • Top 50% of the field

So, how did I do this time? With two career races under my belt, my goals were a lot more realistic for the third one. I crushed all except the 6h goal. My time was [6:54:59, and I placed 87th out of 195] finishers (not counting DNSs or DNFs) in the Men’s Open division.

Retrospective

Now, I changed a lot of things from my last race to this race, namely around hydration and nutrition, and I’m pretty stoked with the results of said changes. Rather than carrying my pack complete with two bladders (one for hydration, one for nutrition), I returned to my ketogenic diet, training and riding in a ketotic state and carrying two bottles for hydration. My nutrition was handled by a Ketogenic Sludge which consisted of a 2:1:1 ratio of: MCT oil, Superstarch, and BCAA Powder (I’ll be replacing this with EAA powder once I exhaust my current supply). I loaded this up in a 150mL flask for “easy” consumption. I also supplemented with Justin’s Nut Butter packets.

For the full effect, here’s what it looks like:

Keto Sludge

Nutrition notes

This race course specifically made eating and drinking fairly difficult. I was hard-pressed to consume water on the singletrack, and I did not even attempt sludge consumption except on a paved or fire road. Some of this is just practice, but I may evaluate a small, minimalistic bladder setup (i.e. - something like a 30-50oz bladder ONLY) to allow easier hydration during technical riding.

Outside of this, however, I have to say my nutrition plan was spot-on. I felt great and did not bonk. Score one for ketosis.

General observations

I feel good about my performance. I had a slight amount of knee discomfort in my right knee at some point (unsure when it started) in the race, but I felt like my endurance was where it should have been all race long. I missed my 6h goal, but I came to realize somewhere in that first 20 miles that 100k != 100k. That is…Comparing my raw times between races is not necessarily a valid metric. The number of racers, course conditions, weather conditions, course layout, etc. all influence how fast I can go.

Case in point: Andrew Dillman won both the Big Frog 65 and the Mohican 100k. His time on the 100k was almost 30 minutes slower, despite it being a 3 mile shorter course.

And so I’ve evolved my tracking to include metrics relative to the other competitors in the race. I feel like this more accurately captures my improvement (or lack thereof) over time. In that vein, here is what I am currently tracking:

Metrics

So even though my time was worse in the Mohican 100k, I performed better relative to the rest of the field than I did in the Big Frog 65 by every one of those relative metrics. And so I set a season goal here: track improvement in these metrics every single race.

Action

I don’t have specific goals for my next race, the Tatanka 50k, as it is a bit of an anomaly. Firstly, it’s only a 50k, so I’m not entirely certain how I’m going to approach it. Secondly, June will be a month full of social obligations and a LOT of driving for me, so my training schedule is going to be hard to maintain. Lastly, the Tatanka is in SD, so it will be vastly different, terrain-wise, from these first two races, and, I suspect, the field will be mostly different riders, save the hardcore who are traveling to race.

I plan to re-focus on crosstraining during the month of June, possibly dropping my riding down to 2-4x week. I want to incorporate 2x each yoga and HIIT sessions every week to keep my base fitness levels up and in check.

I won’t need quite the endurance for the Tatanka, so I will instead focus my cycling efforts on improving basics such as hill climbing and tempo endurance. My remaining season is back in the West, so I’ll be trading the rolling, punchy climbs of the East for the long, soul-sucking climbs I am used to.

Lastly, I would also like to focus on improving my technical skills. I came into mountain biking through general mountain bikers - not downhill or pump track riders. This has left me lagging behind on some basic technical skills such as bunny hopping, manualing, and even proper cornering. I’m not sure how much time I’ll be devoting to this during the next month, but I need to work it into my schedule consistently.

And so I can set a few goals for the Tatanka 50k:

  • finish, not last, without injury or bonk
  • show improvement in all relative metrics: – top 40% of finishers – 10%+ faster than average – 25% or less behind the winner
  • have fun

Until next time, keep the knobby side down! 🤙


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