This was my second year racing the High Cascade 100 and it has become a must do race for me. Even with the huge amount of snow (still blocking some of the course from the previous year), race promoter Mike Ripley put together another outstanding mountain bike race.
The hardest thing about this race is the 5:30 AM race start, which was damn early! With the temps in the upper 30’s, it was damn cold as well! On the other hand the best thing about this race (besides 80 miles of single track) is the mellow paced start up a paved climb. Once we hit the dirt it was on to a double track descent for 3 or 4 miles, it was a dicey decent with guys jockeying for position. I wasn’t comfortable with these antics, so I jumped to the front and hit the gas. I continued to push the pace into the first single-track section and after about 15 minutes it was just Cary Smith and myself. I continued the pace setting and was feeling great when we came into a descent with a bunch of banked turns and some rhythm sections leading to a section of rollers. I decided to gap one of the doubles and got loose on the landing and slammed straight into a small tree, the impact stopped me dead and all the force of the dead stop snapped my saddle in half and it fell of leaving the saddle rails sticking up, ready to impale my nether regions!
My first thought was “you are a complete idiot” and I continued racing on, out of the saddle, unable to sit down. After some doubts of being able to finish the race, I figured I could make it to the start / finish area, which was about 20 miles of (standing) racing away. There I could beg, borrow or steal a saddle. Luckily race promoter Mike Ripley was on the first loop at a jacket drop and I informed him of my situation, he said he would try to find a saddle which gave me some hope, all I had to do was make it back those 20 miles and I could sit down again.
If you have ever broke a seat off of your bike then you know my pain, if not let me tell you that standing on the pedals at race pace for 20 miles, especially in twisty single track is not cool! I was really taking it easy, regardless my legs were pumped the whole time. Finally I made it back to the aid and Mike was waiting with a saddle! I have to give a huge thanks to Mike for making it happen, he is an outstanding guy. After a rather long saddle change, I was off and running again, and what a relief it was to be able to sit down. Then I went to work, I wasn’t really focused on catching back up with Cary, but I was going to destroy myself and ride as hard as I could until the end. That’s what I came to do anyway and with such great weather and great single-track to ride, it was a blast as well.
In the end I didn’t catch Cary but I did make a good comeback to second place, I had a great time and overcame some big obstacles and I think that’s what racing is all about.