This was my 3rd year racing at the High Cascade 100 in Bend OR, and every year has been super fun. I really look forward to this race because of all the great trail riding and Bend is a really cool town to hang out in. This year the race start was from town, which made for a bit warmer temps for the 5:30am start, the earliest of all the NUE races!
The start is up paved road towards Mt Bachelor and was a good warm-up ride, of course once we hit the dirt the race was on with a bit of jockeying for position. After a good fire road climb we entered the first section of single track and made our way to the first aid station at 18 miles. After we passed the aid station the front group had formed with Barry Wicks, Evan Plews, Cary Smith, Kris Sneddon, Christian Tanguy, Ben Melt Swanepoel, Michael Tobin, Drew Edsall and myself. The number of strong riders in this race was amazing and made the task at hand even more daunting, but there was lots of fun trail riding to look forward to.
By the time we hit the base of Bachelor the group had dwindled to Barry, Cary, and myself. Barry had gapped us by about 30 seconds so when we hit the trail around Bachelor I was pushing hard trying to catch back up and in the process dropped Cary and was able to get back on Barry’s wheel quickly. At the mile 70 aid station, we hit a crazy steep climb and Barry started to pull away from me, at this point I had to let him go and try to regroup to make a push closer to the finish.
Around mile 75 is when disaster struck for me! On the first downhill section after the big climb, I broke a spoke and it must have got tangled in my derailleur, which had snapped in half. I pulled over and looked at the broken derailleur in disbelief but I got it together and started to run and coast with bike towards the next aid station. 30 minutes later I finally made it to the aid and immediately one of the volunteers offered up the derailleur right off of his bike! Because the race is so well put on there was a mechanic on hand to put swap the derailleurs. 10 minutes later I was back on my bike and figured that I should at least hammer to the finish, so I put my head down and finished strong.
Every year I come here, this race has tests me mentally with mechanical problems. It is still one of my favorite races, in some ways because of the problems, you have no choice but to work through it and never give up. It’s not always winning that makes you feel good about yourself sometimes it’s just about finishing!