Michaux Maximus

The three 40 mile races that are run in the 85,000 acre Michaux State Forest in South East Pennsylvania are among the toughest races I do all year.  To illustrate, my average moving speed for a 100 mile NUE race on average is around 12 MPH and that’s on single speed. On the other hand, my average for a typical Michaux race is only 8 or 9 MPH and that’s with a geared bike! Why? Raw, rocky, technical terrain. Ask anyone that’s ever raced in Michaux and more likely than not, they’ll classify it as one of the hardest races they’ve ever done. These races are epic and the three races that comprise the Michaux Endurance Series all use a different part of the forest.  The key to going fast it seems is to float over the rocks with practiced technique of a ballet dancer… or in my case with the superior bigness of the wheels on my Fisher.

I was hoping to race Maximus, the first race in the series, in the Masters (45+) category on my new geared Superfly… that is if the frame showed up in time. I was also prepared (but not looking forward) to race the tough 40 miles on single speed if need be. As if Travis Ott and the frame knew of my dilemma, the frame showed up on Friday.  Perfect timing!   I spent pretty much all day Saturday building my new geared Superfly with the SRAM XX and Bontrager components. Call it cliche, but at the end of the day, all I could say was WOW!   The bike is absolutely gorgeous! (pics coming in a future post) I took it out for a short ride Saturday late afternoon to dial in the fit and planned to race it Sunday in one of the hardest races all year. Crazy.

I had hoped to open the Michaux series with more rest… rather than doing the race the very next week following the Cohutta 100. In general, it takes me a full two weeks to recover from a 100 mile mountain bike race. But the schedule is never perfect and there will be races that need to be done with tired legs, Maximus 2010 was going to be one of them.

Bang!  After two or three minutes of racing, I knew I didn’t have the power of fresh legs, but if I throttled back a little bit, I actually felt ok. So I let the leaders Mike Capraro, Jay Dodge and Michael Funk go when my legs and my high heart rate told me to. Once I made that decision, I was relying on one or more of them to blow later on to get myself on the podium.

Master's 45+ Podium

Sure enough, I passed Mike Funk at about mile 30 on a fireroad climb. My legs didn’t have the goods to regain contact with 2nd place finisher Jay Dodge so I finished the day in 3rd. Here’s the Garmin Data if you ever find yourself with your bike in southern Pennsylvania with a Garmin and a day to kill.

The Superfly performed great! The Bontrager Race XXX lite 29er wheelset is stiff and light. The SRAM XX 2×10 suspension and drivetrain performed perfectly. It’s by far the best shifting, suspension and braking I’ve ever experienced on a mountain bike.  Did I tell you how much I like that bar mounted hydraulic lockout? The bike is everything I hoped it would be, a high performance machine designed for racing.  Next time, I hope to bring some legs to match!

Thanks for reading.

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