If you’re reading this, and you raced the X100, congrats: you survived.
The X100’s debut edition drew out some local talent and imported some as well. The race, which started this morning at 7am at Ranch Rudolf, had over 100 starters in the 100 mile race, with others taking on separate challenges that paralleled the main event. Jorden Wakeley was overwhelming favorite and confirmed those expectations from the gun, with a line of other riders queued up on his wheel for a very long day in the saddle.
Early estimates on the duration of the race put the winner around 8 hours. That memo failed to pass around the office, or so it would appear. Wakeley put in a 7:47:44 on the day, with a noble chase from Einstein Racing’s Jason Lowetz coming up short in the end. Riding above his limit to try to stay in contact, Lowetz eventually ceded forty minutes to Wakeley, but the pair were still head and shoulders above the rest. That forty minute margin from Wakeley to Lowetz would seem like nothing to the bulk of the race. Brockmiller Elite Endurance athlete and regular 12 and 24 hour racer Dave Silvers held on for third place, a further twenty minutes back, riding steady as rider after rider retired and gave way. In all, the top twelve finishers were spread over two hours on the clock. They were the lucky ones.
The original cut-off time was scheduled for 3pm at Kalkaska. When only a handful of riders made it, it was extended. Already, dozens of riders had called it quits, many of them still 20 miles from reaching Kalkaska. No less than half of the women’s field had already abandoned, some at the very first aid station. Equal in numbers were men dropping out, with the run in to Kalkaska looking rather like a walk to face the wall in front of a firing squad.
Just two super-women survived, with Marylin Kamp coming in at 10 hours and fifteen minutes, an outstanding time that would have put her in the top twenty of the dwindled-down men’s race. Brenda Carlson-Brown battled through the sand, taking second place. The other four starters failed to finish, perfectly acceptable in a race with over 50% DNF rate in the men’s race, and over 70% in the women’s.
Of the nearly 80 starters, only 39 men finished. Last place went to Andy McDonald, a misleading title for a rider that survived a race, and a time cut, that claimed over 40 riders. By comparison, the Lumberjack 100 had 173 riders finish of 216, a DNF rate of 19%.
Even proven 100 milers were still well back with many expected to finish after 7pm, a full 12 hours after the start time and close to fours hours behind the winner.
The 100 Mile Relay couldn’t keep pace with Wakeley, even with three legs. Team Slackers, with Brent Wiersma, John Kerkof and Bart Collins, took the win by eight minutes. McLain Race Team and Hagerty Old Dawgs battled all day, and after nearly ten and a half hours, it came down to a sprint. Marc Brunette finished it off in dramatic style for Eric Grassa and Jack Kline for second place. The Old Dawgs would be content with third on the day behind the efforts of Dan Hofstra, Hal BeVier and Norm Licht.
The X50 Singletrack started at a much more reasonable 10.30am, kicked off by a fierce start from Keegan Meyers. Behind, Tom White patiently waited before reeling in Myers, setting up a five to seven man group that battled for much of the day. Top riders like Einstein Cycles’ Dave Walston, Hagerty’s Dave Bucholtz, and Brian Carrigan were tailed off with Meyers leading the way. Tom White, who did much of the course design, bided his time before moving off for the win, with Meyers, in his first mountain bike race ever, held on for an impressive third place on the day. Second place went to Trevor Smela, an inspired ride from the man from Petoskey. Brian Carrigan was fourth, with Steve Neal rounding out the top five.
The Women’s Singletrack went 1-2 for Hagerty Cycling, with Lauri Brockmiller putting on a clinic in handling and steady efforts. She put nearly forty minutes into teammate Rachel Decker, who is having a stellar season thus far. The pair, like Wakeley and Lowetz, were in their own race, with third placed Sandra Dunn coming in with a smile. Beth Collins’ fifth place put four Brockmiller Elite Endurance athletes in the top five on a day where DNFs were nearly as common as finishes.
The X50 Gravel Road Race was split between cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes. Aside from 15 fast miles from Ranch Rudolf to Kalkaska, the rest of the race included singletrack, two-tracks and mile after mile of sandy road. The early selection on Brown Bridge Road included John Leach and Ryan Bolin from Einstein Racing, plus the women’s race leaders Bridget Widrig and Jane Van Hoff keeping careful tabs. Two accelerations through some rough parts early drew away a group of just five less than ten miles into the race. Leach and Bolin were both present and correct, joined by Cody Sovis of Hagerty-TOLaw U-25. Also on hand were Michael Hills and Michael Manning. Manning’s 29er and Leach’s Krampus kept pace before ultimately tearing off in the sand and the singletrack, leaving the cyclocross bikes to plow their own lonely furrows, literally, for the final 20 miles. Hills battled bravely to try to stay in touch, but the sand was too deep and the road too long. He nearly made contact, but was about 15 seconds down after Leach and Manning tore into the final 100 meters. Leach came up the winner in a sprint, unbelievable after nearly three hours of painful, creeping racing.
The women’s race was nearly as close, with Van Hof riding her way through the sand and singletrack to overtake Widrig, who was ushered home and cheered to the line by Ryan Bolin. Van Hof picks up massively important Top Banana Competition points, with Widrig also pocketed some valuable points with a busy fall on the horizon. It was along ways back to third place.
It was a truly grueling day, with congratulations in order for everyone who finished, and those who gave it their all.