So, around 5 in the morning thought about getting up with the actual being 5:30. Lots of fog, but the sun was trying to come up and would soon warm up the 50 degree morning. Ate some food, got dressed and we proceeded to ride into town for the race start. No reason to drive as the finish was in the campground and to get to the start only required a couple of mile spin down a greenway to downtown Loudonville. Folks were fired up, the road was blocked off with lots of police escort as the start left town, straight up a hill (for a $250 preem) then out of town to the first of the woods.
The start was fine except unlike Cohutta they started the 100 and the 60 at the same time so that there were upwards of 350 people on the road to begin and when that first hill came the sound of shifters and chains clanging was incredible. Of course going to easier gears means people slow down and I was forced to weave through all kinds of people as I stood up. I was trying to be careful but I clipped someones handlebar and he did the weave and shouted "good thing I didn't panic!" I had to giggle because here we were at the start of a multiple hour day and this guy was probably going to have much more to worry about than some skinny single-speeder barely bumping him. Drama averted, the pavement turned onto a grass doubletrack and then we went into the woods for the first of what was to be many, many more times that day. The first singletrack was fun with lots of up and down and of course the forever train of people that happens when there are this many racers and singletrack so close to the start. In and out of the woods then the real trail started with a 20 mile continuous section of trail through the Mohican state forest. Beautiful trails, perfect dirt, up and down but nothing crazy and the train stayed together. It's pretty neat having that many people in front and behind and everyone is staying smooth and going fast. Rode all this trail which seemed to last forever until rest stop number one at 20ish miles. Quick topping off of water and rolled on. More later, gots to go sell some bicycles.