Written by Ben Norris Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:06
This year I once again took part in the Hampshire 100. I opted for the 100k version. The course was different this year. Instead of one big 100k loop it was two 50k laps. There were three 50k laps for the 100 milers.
The race venue is at Oak Park in Greenfield, NH. They offer free on site camping, a pavilion, and a concession stand that is open all weekend. I camped at the venue the night before. I must say the venue is great. They serve dinner the night before and have coffee brewing and breakfast in the morning. In fact the venue alone makes it one of my favorite summer races.
This year's course changed from previous years. This year's Hampshire 100 was advertised as a "Kindler gentler version". The course was a 34 mile loop done twice for 100k riders and 3 times for 100 mile riders. The course has something for everyone. Some dirt roads, some double track, some fast flowy single track, some not so flowy single track, and with 3,500 feet of climbing per loop, there was plenty of climbing too.
The first 4 miles were easy dirt roads. This was a great way to warm up. Then we got into some double track and then the single track. Even though there were 4 miles to spread things out there was still plenty of traffic when we hit the first technical sections.
The first 10 miles of the course leads you to some ski area and the first aid station. After the aid station, you do this little loop around a pond and then straight up the ski mountain access road (old school style). This was a good climb. I was climbing well that day and seemed to pass several riders on every notable climb.
Then more single track, more double track, more dirt roads. After the second aid station there was a section that was particularly gnarly. There was lots of slippery roots, rocks, and bridges. This section sucked a lot of energy from me. At the end of the first lap I was still feeling pretty good. I started passing other riders that were starting to get effected by the heat.
I saw and passed other riders all the way to the next aid station. I started to notice that I was passing people that I had already passed on the previous lap? It turns out that some people missed a course marker and inadvertently skipped 5 miles of the course. This is a bummer for those guys. This a lot of hard work to be disqualified. I could see how this happened. I went off course once but quickly back tracked.
Shortly after the first aid station on the second lap I passed my last rider. I was overtaken by one 100 mile rider but that was it for last 24 miles of the race. I was still riding pretty well till I hit that gnarly section again. That did me in. The last 10 miles of the race seemed to go on forever. Luckily at this point my place in the race was fixed. There was no one to pass and nobody to pass me. I just needed to keep moving.
I ended the race in 9th place expert men (7:09). This was one spot up from where I was last year and I feel good about it. As far as "Kindler gentler version" I don't know about that. My time was 30 min slower than last year. That's ok, I don't do these events because I think they will be easy.
I rode on Panaracer Driver tires and they worked perfectly. They were lightweight and fast. They did surprisingly well in the mud too. I think this is because they shed the mud so well. I was thankful for my white version Verge team jersey because it kept me cool in the heat, even on those long climbs out in the sun. My Lazer helmet and Lazer optics kept my head and eyes safe. A big thanks to Team Bikeman.com for their support.
Also, great job to all those brave souls that completed the 100 miler.
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