About 2 months ago, Dave asked me to go to this race, the War Daddy 100, with him down in Kentucky. A 100k mountainbike race in April is unwinnable for someone living in northeast Ohio. Our trail system is completely closed until at least May due to feet of melting snow and rain. I said no- it’s too early, but he insisted he was going. I considered Dave’s sacrifices (twice) to be my truck support at The Crusher and decided I owed him one. I set a reasonable goal of 10 hours for the two of us to complete the course. We rode out mountain bikes as much as possible on the local gravel courses and just kind of hoped for the best.
What I expected at War Daddy:
-Monster climbs. I’ve been all over the Daniel Boone National Forest. Ride – push- ride- repeat.
-Chunks. Real Appalachian fire & mining roads. No problem. nothing can be as bad as Mosquito Gulch.
-Creek crossings. A feature that used to be scary, but I’m getting the hang of.
10 hours to finish. Easy peasy- half a Crusher100. What could go wrong?
What I did not expect at War Daddy:
-Variable surfaces. The route surfaces changes so fast I found it hard to get a rhythm. We’d go suddenly from soft dirt with boulders to fresh 3in deep 57 rock (my LEAST favourite kind of gravel).
-Heat. The weather’s unpredictable everywhere around this time, but right up until our 9am start time, the high temperature was only supposed to be in the low 70s. We hit 82 degrees at 10:30am. My plan to skip the first 2 aid stations to save time wasn’t going to work, given that we were drinking so much water.
-Unending Climbs. Seriously, I never saw so many false flats in my life. Do people in cars just put it neutral and hope for the best while they go down the other way? Do they put the false flats in there to slow down the descending dump trucks? Seriously, what the fuck?
What Trail Sick Warned Me About:
-You will be riding in the middle of a creek bed for part of the course. It might be easier to walk it.
-It’s a long 67 miles.
My favourite part:
-Half mile creek bed jam!!! Easier to walk it?! That was the best part! And the warbaby trail after was primo – nice soft dirt with a little sand and pine duff (my speciality!) rollers and a few steep root climbs alongside the creek. I could have just circled back and done that all day. But alas…
The last thing I did not consider was how fas it gets dark in the mountains. For someone who used to part-time live in the Smokys, I should have known better. We hit the 11 hour mark at about mile 60. So, 7 to go on the mapped course. Problem was I had to take my sunglasses off. I stopped Dave and said, “dudebro, we really have to make a decision. It’s going to be dark, we’re in strange territory, we don’t have lights and we are NOT the blues brothers.” Trail Sick was hanging around at the last intersection looking for us. We took the ride at about mile 63.
I’m not disappointed, tho. As I age I’m getting faster and better but I’m also getting smarter. A metric century for the first outdoor mtb adventure of the year is enough of a feather for this girl’s cap! 10 years ago I might have chanced it. Hell, maybe even 3 years ago before my catastrophic crash. These days, I take victory where I can find it and roll over the the afterparty like I’m queen of the world!
War Daddy 100 is amazing. We’re going to get the Trail Sick Bros up here to ride with us and the McLain Farm Bros ASAP. Hanging out with them felt like we were with our dudes up here. I feel an epic MTB bromance coming on and I wanna be the shadchanit on that task! For real though, if you’re looking for a great group of hooligans to hang with and a hell of an adventure, this one’s for you!