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2012 Hard COEre 100

24655 Views 182 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  Leopold Porkstacker
There are only a few weeks left now before the 2012 edition of the Hard COEre 100 (aka Coe 100): ride one big 100 mile loop in Henry Coe, with 20,000 ft of climbing (as per Garmin Edge readout); 'undie hundie' format, meaning it is entirely unsupported and not an organized race, though it features a group start (last year about a dozen showed up - three completed the 100 miles) and most tend to tackle it in small groups or using the 'buddy system'. Time and date: October 6, 2012, 7am (rolling), off the Hunting Hollow parking lot at the south entrance of the park. Route and many more details here. It is now listed under the Southwest Endurance Series (check out the site for the general philosophy behind these rides and similar events).


It is not for everyone, but if you've done supported 100 milers or 24 hour events in the past, have done bikepacking races or are considering doing them, it could be. Knowing how to use a map + GPS (or knowledge of the park) and proper night ride gear / lights are highly recommended.

Last year some of us aimed higher but TahoeBC assured us nobody can climb 29k vertical feet in Coe. Not sure if anyone will prove him wrong this time around, but the Everest challenge is still out there, for those who would feel called upon.

A novelty this time is a metric route (100 km, or ~63 miles, with ~14,000 ft of climbing), which largely coincides with the 100 mile route. This is still a brutal test for any rider, and could probably be ridden by strong riders without or with minimal lights.
Note that on the same day the Tarantulafest BBQ takes place at Coe Headquarters (at ~mile 36 on the 100 mile route), which is an excellent opportunity to refuel (food is for sale between noon and 2pm - first come first serve).

Endless bragging rights will be your share if you complete this route; some links and reading material below to get 'in the mood'... please reply to this thread or send email using the address listed on the Coe 100 site if you're thinking of joining in the fun (metric, 100 miler or Everest). Besides the usual suspects, we expect to see some special guest appearances, and I also believe none other than Mr. Porkstacker will be lining up. Looking forward to it!

XXC Magazine article
2011 mtbr thread
2010 mtbr thread
2011 video
2011 thread on

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ratpick said:
We regrouped near the summit of Steer Ridge Trail - this was the last I saw of MudnCrud until very late in the ride,. aside from a very quick meeting at the bottom of Spike Jones Trail, who took off at a fast solo pace.
Then who was I talking to at HQ?

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Then who was I talking to at HQ?
No, this must be photoshopped, or you stole it from someone's camera.

I would remember seeing you at HQ because my brain was working perfectly all day and my mental capacity not at all impaired :)
Sean it was real good to meet you even though it was brief. It is quite amazing that you did as well as you did considering you had not previously ridden Coe. As you state below most people just do not realize the nature of the place. I really like the quote about Bear Mountain, it sums that climb up well.

Everyone wonders where the Center Flats name comes from.... got a good laugh.

The Long Dam area does that to even the experienced Coe riders.

Really glad you joined the ride and hope to see you on the trails.

Here's to sweat in your eye

Wow, that was hard....

I certainly suffered in not knowing the course and upon further self reflection, not respecting the terrain.

I walked all of Bear Mountain hoping to save some matches for later lighting. My matches were sweat soaked by the time I got to the top and would never relight again:eekster:

There are no flats on Center Flats Rd.

Got completely lost in the Long Dam Trail area and walked around for what seemed like eternity until I just plunged off the side of the mountain following my GPS track and found the trail.

I am glad to have shared that with you all.
Wow, that was hard....

All in all an excellent adventure. I am certainly glad I did it. I am also grateful that there are people of like minds who search out these adventures and allow others to experience it with them. There are certainly a number of people who could do this as a supported race, but very few who have the ability to route find, carry your own gear and posses the adventurous spirit required to not only attempt this kind of feat, but to revel in it's accomplishment.

I am glad to have shared that with you all.

Edit. My GPS track is completely screwed up. I believe we left at 7:17 or 18 and Mei said 11:18 when I rolled in I think. I took a picture of my GPS but the glare is too much to see the numbers. 16 hours flat?
Thanks Sean for doing the long drive and join us in our 'playground'... what you mention above is exactly why I wanted to get this going. I have been inspired myself by many; for instance by reading here on mtbr about some crazy guy riding all of the TRT in a day :D.
Or when I first met Roy/plymmer; I thought the sorts of things he was doing was insane (I still do, I should admit ;)). And Paul/Sorcerer's legendary 10k rides - it doesn't get more adventurous than it did on those rides.

We'll call it 16 hours flat btw.
my photos

First, thanks and congratulations to everyone who attempted this (100m or 100k) and showed up. Coe is a vast and amazing place with very varied terrain, it's not all just steep climbs, though it may sometimes sound like that (I guess it just makes for more entertaining discussion). We're really fortunate to have a place like that so nearby, with hundreds of miles of trails and roads that can be legally ridden day or night.

Below some of my photos (the rest is over here), I may do my own writeup later; the day has been captured pretty well already and I will try to collect all relevant links on the site soon.

The pain train up Lyman-Willson

Ratpick cleaning that first SOB-section of Cross Canyon trail

Leopold Porkstacker checking whether the family jewels are still ok

Riding along with nightrider Eric S and Ratpick on the Hoover airstrip

Onto HQ - the great colors and clouds made the scene look like a slightly less disturbed version of Van Gogh had painted it

We received a great welcome at HQ...

...and also at the base of Bear Mountain

Fantastic diskus artwork! (though he claims ignorance)

Mandatory iconic Bear Mountain suffer-scene

Diskus says this should be the cover shot for a Coe mtb book. (Note Porkstacker doin' it CX style...)

Ratpick on a 'hill-cleaning' spree; incredible to see how he rode that sucker clean (ten times steeper than it looks)...

After this, it got dark quickly so I don't have much more photos to show... why no photos of singletrack descents? Because these are way too fun to stop and fumble around with a camera, obviously...
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“Hats off“ to ElHombre, ratpick, and plymmer. I said this to Patrick before the ride but I’ll repeat here; it’s one kind of courage to go into the unknown, and it’s another to go back after you’ve been through something like this.

Great photos and write-ups! Aaron, I enjoyed your video.

Here is my recap

This is the third year of this event and I had wanted to do this since I first heard of it but the prior years I just did not have the base fitness to be anything other than a liability. This year some how everything came together. Even at the last minute the bike. I replaced the drive train Thursday night since the middle chain ring was so worn that it skipped when under load. I did a test ride around the yard and there was not skipping even when ridding up the steep side sections. Problems would come later as the bike never shifted right during the entire ride.

Finished packing around 11 PM on Friday. I tried to be a bit conservative since I did not want to carry to much weight but there was just kind of a large mound of food. I tried to only take easy to eat stuff but I could not help but think "I have to carry that?". After a good nights sleep the previous day just seemed to blur into the early morning drive to Coe the site of the third annual Hard COEre 100. A 100 mile race that has 20,000 feet of climbing. Some of those hills are incredibly steep.

We arrived at Hunting Hollow a bit early and just about everyone was there. I really love this stuff, the excitement in the air can be felt. There were quick greetings and I briefly got to meet Sean Allen, and said hi to some Coe Veterans. Dirk gave a quick briefing and we were off. One mile in is the first climb, Lyman Wilson, a two thousand foot shot straight up. I had not managed to clean this in a long time so I was very happy to get to the top without a dab. It was close though as at one point a person came off their bike right in front of me and I had to do a brief track stand before turning and pulling around him. We then rode a rolling fire road for a ways and at various points people stopped took pictures and peeled off layers.

The next long downhill seemed to spread people out a bit. At the bottom I took a good look at the course on my gps and kept riding. I did not really see much of the group after that. Brian caught up and we rode together until just after the airstrip. It was amazing that out by the airstrip we ran into an old timer that looked to be doing a long ride and he asked us if we were doing the Coe Century. The airstrip is a fair distance from anywhere. I almost stopped my bike to ask how the sam hill he knew about this little event but the long day ahead pushed me on. Brian and I rode briefly with Eric but he kept stopping to do trail work (talk about devotion).

The ride down Willow Ridge Trail was really fun and quite a surprise. I had only ridden up it , which is a suffer fest and a major challenge, and right near impossible if you want to ride up it without a dab. I had not even thought of riding down it. I managed to see the last of Brian as he disappeared over the top of the Mahoney Wall. I did manage to clean Lost Springs trail for the first time in a long time and felt real good about that. Soon I was at Headquarters and ate, met Fast Eddy, talked with Paul and Chris and just as I was heading out had time to say hi to Dirk, Patrick and Roy.

The Flat Frog through Middle Ridge section is always fun. I was not real fast but it was good to just settle down and roll through the hills to the base of Bear Mountain where a solitary person had setup post, marked by two crossed bones. Quite the welcome to Bear Mountain. It turned out to be Diskus. A person I had had heard quite a bit about but had never met. Up ahead up on Bear Mountain I could see a small person and a bike. After a talking with Diskus for a bit I headed out and after quite some time and quite a bit of hike a bike managed to exchange pleasantries with Charlie. He was making really good time up Bear Mountain. After a bit we departed and I rolled up past Mississippi Lake. A beautiful oasis in the middle of no where. I had not ridden the trail around the lake and found it quite nice and peaceful. I thought about stopping and eating the cob of corn that Fast Eddy had given me and filtering water but could not get myself stopped so on I went.

I really like the Heritage Trail to Pacheco Creek section and felt a good rhythm going although I started to get real hungry toward the end and was really happy when I got to Pacheco Camp. I ate half of what was left of my burrito and downed some goo, filtered water and futzed with my derailleur since it was still acting up. My rear tire was low so I pumped that up. This was the start of where my ride started to come apart. I remember looking at the time and it was 6:15 as headed up the road in the right direction direction toward Phoneline. No problems there but it seems then end of Phonline had changed so I had to do a double take to make sure I was at the bottom.

A bit later my tire went flat again so put some air in, just a bit later my gps beeped and the screen went blank. I rode up to the intersection of Coit Road and County Line and used a sign post as a bicycle stand. I put in a tube, dug out the lights and enjoyed the sunset. Ate some food and contemplated my predicament. I spread the map out and figured I could wait where I was, as it quickly turning to dark, or ride on knowing that I would be slower having to regularly consult the map ( Mudworm had given this to me at the last minute). Sooner or later the group behind me would catch up and I could finish the course with them. I had no idea how far ahead I was. I figured if I got to Dowdy I could always wait in the bathroom since those are usually fairly warm. I was confident (or was that just hubris) that I could make it to Dowdy just using the map and my memory.

I found the start of Dutches no problem but did have to stop and consult the map at every intersection to get there and few times on the way down Dutches. When I hit the Tie Down and Yellow Jacket junction I went up Tie Down instead of taking Yellow Jacket so I did an extra hike a bike. But no worries as I once again took a wrong turn and ended up at Yellow Jacket Pond, which was more scum than pond. How quickly we forget how to read a map. From there I made my way into the the heart of the Coe Triangle where I marched up and down the creek. At one point I thought I had to be going in the correct direction because I found some blue ribbons but that petered out. Eventually I gave up and took the wrong trail to Kaiser Aetna Road.

Once on Kaiser Aetna it is just a long grind upward to Dowdy Ranch with flush toilets and picnic tables. I was walking around in the dark trying to get cell phone reception when I heard voices. Not the usual voices but actual voices from real people. Soon the voices were followed by lights and up came Dirk, Patrick, Roy and Brett. Now I had companions and riding partners. We ate, drank, used the facilities and traded stories. All to soon we headed off. This next section from mile 75 to mile 80 was and I think for many is the hardest. Out of Dowdy Ranch the course goes up Bura Bura Trail which is not to bad on a normal day but after 75 miles and fifteen thousand feet of climbing it is tiresome and it ends at Center Flats Road.

Who named Center Flats Road is what I want to know cuz it aint flat. It is a series of short to medium length steep climbs that just do not stop and can suck the life out of the Tasmanian Devil. Five friggin miles that seem to never end. At the end of the road a quick left takes one back to Hunting Hollow rather quickly. But, the course does not go that way. Center Flats Road makes the distance one way seem quite short and the distance the other way seems very long.

We all gather up and head the long way back. Center Flats is followed by a somewhat long continuous climb. It hurts because it follows Center Flats, it feels good because it is not Center Flats. Very much like stopping to hit yourself in the head with a hammer. Glad your not doing it anymore but it still hurts. Finally Live Oaks Springs comes along and there is some much enjoyed easy miles. Live Oaks Springs Trail was a conundrum for me. This used to be a very beautiful road that had overgrown and become mostly single track but in places was double track. Everyone that I ever talked to about this trail would comment on how beautiful it was in some way. Then the fire went went through and it was scorched black. Then they took the graders to the road. Now it is a charred blacked carcass of a long dead dream. At least we did not have to pedal up.

The ride from there was quite pleasant rolling hills, a sky jammed with stars the occasional eyes reflecting from behind a tree. The miles seemed to float by. It was pretty cool how strong everyone seemed to be riding after 20 plus hours on a bike. Soon we are a stones throw from Wilson Camp and a 5 minute ride to the parking lot but one last detour was at hand. Down Vasquez Road, down into the pit we flew we knew we had one last destination. The last of the big climbs which Patrick and Dirk power up. Dirk was definitely feeling beer gravity. We hung out and chatted for just a bit at the top before dropping down to Hunting Hollow Road, at the very bottom of the descent I came to a complete stop and watched a couple of lights float down the hill. Patrick rode off in another direction to get some extra footies. That stop was the last stop for my front brakes, as I started to ride the final four flat miles back to the parking lot my brakes started squealing, it was metal on metal. My pads had given up and were gone. I worked the calipers apart just a bit and heading onward.

Rolling into the parking lot Mudworm, Brian and Janet came out to cheer us into the parking lot. It was a bit after 5 AM. Brian had finished at 10:15, Mudworm rode the 100K and finished in a little over 10 hours so had gotten back well before dark. It felt great. Well everything felt great with the exception of my butt. Mudworm heated up chicken noodle soup and hot water for everyone. I started to get my usual shakes, I had ridden all night with just a light vest and arm warmers only putting a wind breaker on for the final descent into Hunting Hollow. It is always cold here, it reminds me of the Pinnacles Camp ground. Just friggen cold even for a hot place.

We all traded stories and generally enjoyed the moment. After a bit Sean Allen, a Tahoe local, who drove down for the event showed up, he had gone off to camp and get some sleep. Really enjoyed just hanging out and watching the sunrise and talking bikes, riding and Henry Coe. Slowly people packed up and disappeared being replaced by the next day of visitors. I pulled over and let Mudworm take over the wheel as I just could not hold it together. After a bit we saw Patricks car along side the road, he was getting a necessary nap. Mudwom and I talked about the ride and other riders, talked strategy for the ride next year. Then we hit Hwy 101 and I lost consciousness.
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A 100mile report on a 100km ride

I'm proud to announce that we did it - Erik is now an official Hard COEre 100 (mile) finisher, and yours truly is a Hard COEre 100 (km) finisher as well as the course record holder. Yeah, as our dear friend Stephen once said, screw modesty!

I wrote that very short paragraph (except the last sentence) on my iPad while sitting at the picnic table alone in Henry Coe Hunting HollowParking Lot. I had returned from my 100km (63mi) solo MTB ride, got cleaned up and re-fueled. It would still be hours before I'd see Erik to return from his 100 miler assault, but I was confident. I figured I'd give myself a head start writing my ride report. Before I typed any further, I saw a rider come in with his helmet light already turned on despite it still being light out. That was when I put my iPad down, for good, and didn't pick up writing again until now.

Let me give a quick background introduction to the people who are not familiar with Hard COEre 100 (I wrote this part for my blog post). It was Dirk's idea. Not sure how long it had been brewing in his high capacity head (of a normal size though), but it came out in the open in 2010. One would ride a 100 mile loop on Henry Coe trails in one day. Other than the stop at the headquarter, where drinks and food can be obtained, the ride would otherwise be unsupported. The mileage is only one part of the challenge. The bigger challenge is the steep hills throughout the course, which will total to 20,000 feet of elevation gain. Sounds crazy? His friends Roy and Patrick jumped on it. It took them two attempts, but they succeeded and finished the ride in 21 hours 13 minutes. Pain oozed out of their reports everywhere, which apparently sounded so good that it drew them back in 2011 as well as attracted some new blood. However, for one reason or another, the finisher list was still the same three names, and for one reason or another, it took them 23 hours 40 minutes this time. Then came 2012&#8230;

They had harassed (as Patrick puts it) us to join them. But 2010 was an extremely busy year for Erik. So, it was out of the question for him. I was riding strong, but I was not interested. To this day, I have still not done any night riding. Darkness scares me. I hear sounds and I imagine things, bad things. In 2011, we did not ride, and were not even following MTBR. So even though I think I still got an occasional reminder about the ride, it was easy for me to ignore it, guilt free. But the guys were persistent! Was that our first week back on our mountain bike around the New Year of 2012? Dirk already put 2012/10/6 on my calendar! At the time, I was feeling like such a rookie that I could barely ride in a straight line! In the next few months, I think I repeated a dozen times that I refuse to ride at night! Then&#8230; he came up with a metric century (100km/13,500'). But still, I didn't think I could finish it in daylight. Mid September, I asked Erik to stop by Dirk's work to make a drop off for me and put it in bold in the email, "Do not commit to Coe 100!" So, he committed - he'd do the 100 miler. Oh, men are so predictable! But now, what about me??? By Oct 5th, the day before the event, it was clear that I had no better things to do this weekend, so I guess I'd give the 100km ride a try? *Gulp*

On Friday evening, we had a guest - our contractor friend was over to discuss next weekend's work and get the material list. We needed that, but that also delayed our packing. When we finally went to bed, it was almost 11:30pm. And still I didn't have time to do any bike maintenance other than Erik's quick chain lube job for me. (I paid for that on the ride because the entire drivetrain was creaking really bad in the second half of the ride, which made me wonder if the bike would hold). At least, I didn't forget to put the 10 cans of chicken noodle soup in the car. The alarm went off too soon at 4am. Ugh!

Dirk said 7am start, so I made sure not to break that rule (unlike somebody else who left around 6:40am&#8230; not to name names). But when Dirk was giving a briefing to the group, I took off - never the meeting type of person. It was 7:08am. Plus, I felt that I needed a head start - for sure, the strong 100km riders, J.L. being one, would catch me soon, not to mention the super strong riders in the 100m group since we go the same way until the split to Coit Spring Road after 14 miles of riding. I guess this is a good time to show an overlay of the routes to give people a visual how the two routes differ.

I stuffed myself with breakfast on the drive to the start hoping to store as many calories as possible in my body. Oh, it was not comfortable climbing Lyman Wilson, which has a couple of very steep sections. I was just riding along (JRA) pacing myself for a long day, but still, I felt close to puking. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the climb and cleaned it without any problem. As it turned out, with the exception of that super tight switchback right out of China Hole and Bear Mountain, I cleaned all the climbs on my course, including the steeps on Middle Ridge Tr and at the end, Wagon Rd.

After I topped out from Wilson Camp, I took a wrong turn that resulted back tracking to that point. Just then, Sean Allen topped out. At the parking lot, I saw he was all ready to roll long before everyone else, but stayed for the briefing. I was not surprised to see him catching and passing me. That was the last time I saw him until his finish before midnight. After him, I expected to be passed by more riders any minute, but all the way until the 100 milers' Coit Spring Rd turn off, still nobody came up. Weird. I started to wonder if Dirk's brief was actually anything but brief. Later, I was told that it was indeed brief. The group left 10 minutes after I did.

Next person I saw was Charlie (Skyline35), eating at China Hole and Mahoney Meadows Rd intersection. At the time, I was still feeling the breakfast in my throat, so I didn't stop long and kept rolling after a brief chat. Charlie is used to riding at Coe alone late into the night, so it will not be a good idea for me to team up with him considering I made a point not to pack any light. It was a gorgeous day, but I didn't see hikers out on the trails.When I rolled into the HQ area at 10:54 am, it was a different scene. Ah&#8230; the Tarantula Festival. By then, I was feeling hungry again. Thanks to Ed (Fast Eddy), my lunch was waiting for me. Saw Paul Nam (Sorcerer) and wife Chris and their friend Camille, whom I'd met before. Everyone gave me a warm welcome. Apparently they had a lot of questions. Where I was headed; where were the rest of the group; who were at the start; where everybody was going&#8230; I wish I could chat with them longer, but remembering that I still had two thirds of the long way to go, I answered the questions in a press conference style. Actually, I held multiple press conferences because they were not all conveniently located at one spot. Half an hour later, I was ready to pull out of the parking lot. Not too bad, but where the heck was everybody?

By the time I turned off on Flat Frog Tr. after leaving HQ, I still had not seen a second Hard COEre riders. The 100 milers had to do 10 extra miles (more than 100km course) before getting to HQ. Okay, I'll give them some time, but where were the other 100km riders??? I didn't mind riding solo, but the fact that nobody was catching me puzzled me.

While riding up Hobbs Rd, I saw Paul B stopped at Frog Lake. We recognized each other, so I stopped to chat. He asked me if Charlie's bike was fixed. Not having the context, I said, "I'd think so since he's riding." I remember asking myself how come I don't remember seeing him mention his bike being broken on Strava. In hindsight, the conversation felt funny because I passed Charlie before Paul ran into him right after Charlie broke his derailleur cable and Paul played trail fairy by giving him one. I had no idea about that. When he saw that my bike was pointing up the fire road, he asked very innocently pointing at the gentle singletrack climb, Frog Lake Tr., which by passes the steep Hobbs Rod climb. I told him the the course sent us up the fire road, so I had to obey the rules (never mind that the trail is closed to bicyclists). We parted ways. Little did I know at the time, he would be the last human being I saw on my entire ride! If I had known that, I'd have given him a hug, a kiss, or something.

Middle Ridge is always fun, especially so today because all the previously down trees had been cleared (thanks to Paul N). After cresting the top, I washed out at a gentle bend when I forgot about my funky brakes (very weak front brake and a very sensitive and grabby, yet, rubbing, rear brake) and then reacted incorrectly when my rear tire started to slide. Bam! My left side (hip and knee) was bruised and scratched up. I really should had studied that cornering technique thread! I picked myself up and took the rest of the descent easy. But in the end I felt quite happy that the crash was the only time my feet touched the ground on Middle Ridge. I cleaned all the steep uphills as well as steep downhills.

Continuing on, I arrived at the base of Bear Mountain around 1:15pm. That was before Mike (diskus), god bless his tender heart, showed up to greet the Hard COEre riders. Later I learned that he missed me, Sean Allen, and Brian Lucido, both of whom were gunning for a fast finish of the 100 mile course. At the sight of the steep Bear Mountain Road, I smiled. A big grin emerged on my face. No, I'm not twisted (okay, maybe a little). I had good reasons to smile: 1) The road was so steep that it looked comically ridiculous; 2) the previous time I climbed that road was already after I started suffering leg cramps, and it was 100+ degrees, but not today&#8230; I felt fresh and it was not too hot; 3) I was ready to take a break from my saddle, so I look forward to the mandatory hike-a-bikes. Unfortunately, the road turned out to be easier than it looked - I thought for sure I would be pushing the steep hill right at the bottom, but it surprised me that I rode up it without feeling too much exertion. Thankfully, my awesome performance did not last too long, and I got off my bike and started pushing. Whew! I took my time going up the mountain alternating between pushing and riding. In the mean time, I constantly looked back taking in the view behind/below me and trying to spot any rider. But none! Who would have thought I made the 2nd overall place on this Bear Mountain Strava segment!

Once topped out on Bear Mountain, I knew the rest of the ride would be pure fun. I really enjoyed the primitive trail around Mississippi Lake and then Heritage Trail. Still expecting to be caught by the next rider, I took comfort in knowing that I was breaking trails for the people behind me. But of course, all I was doing was having fun on my bike, unlike what Charlie, Roy, Paul N, and many others do on a regular basis by removing branches and clearing bushes out there.

At 3:21pm, I rolled into Pacheco Camp. My first time ever being there all by myself. It was peaceful, but I had an eery feeling. The question mark that had been hanging above my head grew bigger - where the hell was everybody? Where was J.L., a strong rider doing 100km? Where were Sean and Brian who only had 10 extra miles more than my ride up to that point and I already covered near 50 miles by then. I ought to have been caught, but I wasn't. What had I done wrong??? I was not going to hang around to find out though. Ate my food and refilled water. While sitting around, I contemplated a plan to welcome the riders behind me. It would be fun to set up water balloons in the trees and when the riders come in and sit down, the balloons would burst and water would rain down on them. Just a thought. I'm actually not that twisted, plus, I didn't have the balloons. It was a 20 minute break, then I pushed on. Later studying the tracks, I realize that Brian (together with Sean?) came in to the camp about 23 minutes after I left. That was the closest I got with my fellow COEre riders after passing Charlie at the top of China Hole.

I remember feeling a bit puzzled after I left Pacheco Camp. I thought I remembered my previous visits to the Camp, and it was always a long climb to get there, and how come, now I was also doing what seemed like endless climbing to get out? Does Coe phenomenon - everywhere you go, it's a climb - exist? The last part after dropping down Tule Pond Trail was new to me. I remember distinctly on the cue sheet (which I didn't print) that there would be 600 ft of climbing near the end. I did not expect the miles of climbing on Wagon Rd and later Phegley Ridge Rd. I cleaned it all, but it certainly caught me by surprise. The steep single track Phegley Ridge Trail descent at the end was fun. When Dirk later asked me if the sunset on Phegley was pretty, I gave him a blank look - I wouldn't know because I rolled into Hunting Hollow parking lot at 5:29. I was too fast for the pretty sunset!

Back at the car, I had a dilemma. Remember how people say their legs feel like wet noodles after a long ride? I have experienced that before, but today, I had none of that! I was feeling very strong at the end that I wanted to ride up Jim Donnelly just to show that I could. Should I go back out? Just then, I saw the sun shower sitting on the top of my car. The dilemma resolved instantly. The hot shower felt so good! After everything was cleaned and put away, I set up my station on a picnic table at the center of the parking lot. Camp stove, light, food, water, iPad, and Kindle. I'd be there for a long time! (I brought a tent, but forgot a mat. Sleeping would be uncomfortable anyway.) That's when I wrote down the first sentence in this report.

The rider who rode in was Mike. He had returned from his mission. I was happy to chat with him, especially, he had some information where and when he saw the riders. It sounded that Erik was riding strong and was an hour ahead of others (Dirk, Patrick, Roy, Brett) at Bear Mountain. Two young Google riders also returned after they aborted the 100 mile effort after HQ and returned via some less-than-optimal way. One guy said that his office mate, an ultra runner, would be giving him tons of crap for not finishing the ride, and he said it with a look of terror on his face. After a few seconds, he said, I think more to himself than to us, "I'm gonna lie about it."

After they all left before I barely sat back down, a truck pulled in. That was Janet returning from her dinner with friends. She came to wait for her husband Brian. By then, it already got dark. The time in darkness goes by faster when you have company, and I was thankful that she was there.

The worry about Charlie crept up a little. I believed that he was doing the 100km course, but as it got late, I wondered if everything was okay with him. Everything was (after he replaced his derailleur cable) as he rolled in at 9:21pm, and joined the conversation after he cleaned up. Brian rolled in at 10:34pm, and Sean at 11:18pm, both of whom had completed the 100 mile course in a record time. Brian still looked energetic when he returned, but he didn't want to go back out and do the Everest Challenge (which should add 8000 feet of climbing)&#8230; unless someone else wants to do it. As he put it himself, "then I have to do it!" So, he lubed his chain and had everything laid out ready to go and joined us for conversation and food.

Eventually, everybody got tired and Brian did some math and predicted that a 21 hour finish (the group's previous course record) would have them return at 4am, so, they hit the sack. Charlie left for home at 1am. I was alone again. I set up my tent near the gate with one door wide open facing the direction of return. Thinking that Erik was riding strong and he was hoping for an 18 hour finish, I wondered if I would see him at 1:30am. Laying down in the tent with no mat beneath me, I closed my eyes. But I didn't fall asleep because I was straining my ears to listen to sound of return. A lot of sounds are made in the dark out in the wilderness, so, I pretty much opened my eyes every few seconds. 2am, 3am, 4am&#8230; No sign of Erik. I grew more and more anxious by the minute and sleeping became out of the question. I fetched my iPad and sat up, but staring at the notepad what I had written down, my brain drew blank - I wasn't sure what I would end up writing, so I gave up.

5:46am, finally, sound! Light! That was Dirk first sprinted back. I jumped up with my camera and headlight. I had been taking photos of each finisher and would not want to miss theirs. Erik was with them. So, what happened? Why did he not make it back earlier? I invite you to read his own account.

Oh, BTW, the harassment for next year's 100 miler has already started! (See it for yourself!)

Overheard and Extras:

-- Erik told me after returning home that he finally could understand why American Indians wore war paint. "I was riding with Brian. Took a look at him and saw his white, but blotched, face. It freaked me out! I closed my eyes, and he was still there!" &#8230; I decided to post this because I found it funny. Come on, Brian might be god, but still, someone has to make fun of him, right? BTW, Charlie called it a Geisha face.

-- When Erik rode talked with Charlie at the top of Bear Mountain, Charlie expressed his doubt about finishing the route. Erik says, you have to do it! / Charlie: But where is everybody??? / Erik: Don't matter, man, they are all behind you! You are the first place of men so far! &#8230; A little encouragement goes long ways! And really long ways in this case. Charlie may be the mellowest guy on earth, but you can't say he doesn't have competitiveness in him.

-- Brett wasn't very entertaining after the ride either. He went straight to and disappeared in his car while everyone else gathered at the picnic table trading stories. Then he drove off after uttering a few brief parting words through the open window. But after reading about his non-stop chattering, my guess is he must have finally run out of stuff to say.

-- I was amazed when Erik told me that he was never scared while being lost in the Bermuda Triangle in the dark. He did say that at one point, he saw two eyes staring at him behind a tree. "So, what did you do?" "I barked at it." I asked him how he barked at the two eyes and he replayed for me. Our three cats scattered and went hiding. Nice job!

-- I didn't capture on film Patrick's 100 mile stare after the ride, although it was definitely there, but I did capture his monk look.

-- At the headquarter, when I was walking away from Ed's BBQ, I heard him say to the lady next to him, "she is riding 100 miles today..." I turned around to correct him, "100 kilometers!" He waved me off saying, "oh... let me tell my story." :)

-- Oh, I forgot that after Mike left and Janet showed up, Eric, the night rider came back from his own 100km ride. It was a great feat as he had a freak accident a few months ago that involved Henry Coe, road, and a ranger. And according to everyone who rode briefly with him, he apparently did a ton of trail work as well (I believe he couldn't help it).
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Thanks for the writeup.. it's so fun to see how everyone else experienced this ride!

Oh I wish I had a driver to take me home .... :)
Amazing write up guys. Maybe next year I can work up to doing the 100k :)
Longer Than

Yep! Very entertaining reading everyones's experience on this Saturday of pain. Thank you all for the play by plays of where and how you all were. The stuffs of legend.

Yep! Very entertaining reading everyones's experience on this Saturday of pain. Thank you all for the play by plays of where and how you all were. The stuffs of legend.

Roy, you get this year's "hard man of Hard COEre 100" award for riding the whole thing injured. ElHombre will hand over the trophy from his win last year :)

I guess next year it's my turn for a rib injury - be prepared - I'll be whining like a baby the whole way.... :cryin:
I'm proud to announce that we did it - Erik is now an official Hard COEre 100 (mile) finisher, and yours truly is a Hard COEre 100 (km) finisher as well as the course record holder. Yeah, as our dear friend Stephen once said, screw modesty!


-- I didn't capture on film Patrick's 100 mile stare after the ride, although it was definitely there, but I did capture his monk look.
Truth be told, I only wanted to you two to participate so I could read your writeup :) Not disappointed!

As for the stare, you guys surprised me with the camera when entering Hunting Hollow and I didn't have time to get my face on!
I’d be interested in a shorter ride at Coe SOON sometime—perhaps a 12-hour ride? What would be a good route? I must ride there more. That was a great experience.
I&#146;d be interested in a shorter ride at Coe SOON sometime&#151;perhaps a 12-hour ride? What would be a good route? I must ride there more. That was a great experience.
Roy, someone needs to visit Long Ridge...

It took a few weeks, but here it is... (see my objective #3 below - produce recap longer than ratpick's). I'm sinning against using mtbr aliases but oh well (if someone insists, I'll edit and run some find/replace's...).

From the annals of this year's Hard COEre 100:

Tackling this endeavour again, I had three major objectives: first, do my best to ensure nobody got in real trouble (even though as un-organizer I should be un-responsible); second, finish the 100 miler; and last but not least, produce a recap even more painstakingly detailed than Patrick's! I think that all worked out pretty well, as I hope you can attest (though that last part took almost two weeks).

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all the folks that have done some form of trailwork or another, cleaning up trails, removing down trees etc; it was great being able to ride Lost Spring trail without the constant need to weave and dodge shrubs of poison oak; Middle Ridge has regained its previous glory; Turkey Pond trail - last year a complete mess - was impeccable; Lower Heritage trail + Pacheco Creek trail in so much better shape than last time. Too many people to list and thank, as I will forget some, but Sorcerer Paul deserves special kudos for his tireless efforts throughout the years.

This monster of a ride has been inspired by a mix of things, Paul's legendary 10k solstice rides being not the least. Though some may accuse me of dishing out cruel and unusal punishment with this ride, I really just like a good challenge, and enjoy taking one on with likeminded folks. Most people are capable of more than they give themselves credit for - this event shows that again and again. But enough with the psychology 101...'s a bit before 7am and I hold a quick briefing at the parking lot - mostly to make sure that everyone knows what they're in for, and that those who need them get maps or cue sheets (thanks Paul and Roy for providing them).

Even though I've done this ride now twice before, for a variety of reasons I haven't been able to do much dedicated training - a perfect excuse to start sandbagging, as Patrick can attest - I honestly have no idea how I'd fare though. Luckily there are a few early 'indicators' along the way - how I'd feel on the Lyman-Willson and Cross Canyon walls, for instance. We start out with a fairly easy pace up the Lyman-Willson trail - and I don't have much trouble cleaning the Wall, so that's a good first omen. Mei and Charlie (doing the 100k course) have taken a headstart, and unfortunately I wouldn't see them again on the trails during the day (I have received some suggestions to modify the 100k route so most 100k and 100m riders would 'meet' at HQ and think this is a good idea).

Reports have been floating around of many of the fireroads having been freshly graded, which is always unwelcome news, in particular since we haven't seen the first rains yet, and we could expect a loose, dusty mess in many places. Steer Ridge road is the first case in point. It feels harder to clean than it should. The string or riders stretches out - I chat with Brian, it's always fun to hear what he's up to and he talks about some incredible trail runs he's done with a team of friends - right now a friend of his was trying to break some ultrarunning record in Tahoe. His white mask of sunscreen looks like war paint indeed, though I'd suggest next time he'd add some different color features, to get rid of the geisha-look. He has a pretty lightweight gear setup, with a big handlebar bag (which would create at times a bit of trouble on steep descents) and small hydration pack. So far I'm very pleased with my own backpack-less setup, featuring a Revelate seat bag and fuel tank. It would survive the rigors of Coe perfectly - consider this a shameless plug for their stuff (they're a tiny operation in Alaska specializing in bikepacking gear and deserve the kudos). Soon we find ourselves descend Spike Jones and Timm trails, as always a blast.

Sean Allan had dropped the field earlier on Lyman-Willson, and I'm secretly hoping Brian would take off to chase him down and give us some racing action. That is exactly what seems to unfold, as soon he takes off with only Erik (with 'k', aka Mr. Mud) in his wake. I find myself riding in a little group with Patrick, Roy, Eric (with 'c', the Nightrider), Brett (aka Leopold Porkstacker) and the two 'Google riders'. I chat a bit with Liehann, one of them, from South Africa, who just moved here a year ago - he talked about some adventure racing he had done back home and I think about that famous video shot in South Africa where a mountain biker almost gets taken out by an antelope in full sprint. I figure he has seen quite a variety of wildlife riding out there. He talks about an ultrarunner colleague of his, Beat, who for a while considered to trail run the 100 miler with us - sounds like Google may have cloned Brian!

We seem to have dropped the other 100k riders as there is no trace of JL and company. After a fun intermezzo on Anza trail we climb Coit road and subsequently first climb, then descend Cross Canyon trail. I pass the spot where I went down hard last year - conduct a brief search for the LED bar light that I lost there, to no avail. I clean the entire canyon trail, another good sign, but that of course only lasts until we hit the Wall - it is just too loose right now. The slow grind out seems to take forever, but at last we make it out and hit Willow Ridge road.

Hoover Lake currently looks more like Hoover's Pond of Scum but that will hopefully change soon. The rollers on Willow Ridge road are tedious and take a lot longer than I care to remember. Eric, Patrick and I ride ahead of the rest of the pack. Eric talks about the Furnace Creek 508 race starting on this same day, and jokes how our ride isn't too bad compared to the grueling 100 degree heat and distance the Furnace Creek riders have to endure - he mentions one of the Nightriders is out there crewing right now. We drop down Willow Ridge trail, always a fun undertaking and I try to dodge as much poison oak as I can, making it reasonably fine through the Urushiol Tunnel from Hell near the bottom... onto the Mahoney Meadows Wall now! I make it past the hardest section only to lose traction a bit further and dab. I curse loudly, as God doesn't just kill a kitten when you don't climb 10k in Coe, but he also pulls out whiskers from the poor things every time you dab somewhere. Patrick stoically cleans the entire Wall - I remember how he almost did the same on his CX bike and -gearing months ago. Amazing how he's capable of cleaning pretty much any line, as steep as they come - he should try rockclimbing.

Eric mentions he and others had brushed and cleaned up Lost Spring trail, and it shows - a job well done and in its current state the trail is very friendly to even the most PO-phobic. At the top we are joined by Roy, and a bit later the rest of the group. The China Hole descent is a welcome opportunity to recover and I continue the recovery process by setting a pedestrian pace up the long climb towards HQ. With Patrick in tow we finally make it to the bench on Manzanita road. A dusty fireroad is all that separates us now from the Tarantulafest taking place at Headquarters, and the heaps of grilled food that go with it. A very welcome prospect at this point. Patrick and I are joined by Eric and Roy and we complete the slow grind up to HQ. We are greeted by Paul and his wife Chris (Coe uber-volunteers and trail builders) who are manning the ticket/cash counter where we can buy our goodies. A bit later Erik "Mr. Mud" appears out of the crowd - he is on his way out and we briefly talk about the events of the day: Erik is currently riding solo, as Brian had left him behind, in pursuit of Sean.

I had told myself before not to lose too much time at HQ this time around but somehow that never really pans out. The company is fine and the food tastes great; I chat with head ranger Verhoeven, and a bit later Brett (who starts devouring two huge sandwiches) and the Google guys show up. I check how they're doing; the Google riders will probably turn around at some point (they are not planning to night ride, which looks unavoidable now also in order to complete the 100k route) - Eric is going to do his own ride from here on, and Brett only needs a little bit of coercion to commit to the full 100 miler. With the long break at HQ I put my intentions for a 'fast finish' aside - with Brett never having been at Coe before I don't think I'd like to see him roam around at night alone in Coe's Bermuda Triangle - and we form a small, four piece grupetto, with the stubborn intent on finishing this thing. Roy is a tad more quiet than usual - only at the very end he would mention his rib injury due to an early crash; Patrick is eating through his brake pads and after we finish the always entertaining Flat Frog trail he rides ahead on Hobbs road to take some time to swap them out. Brett is a non-stop source of entertainment, doing impressions, accents, and almost entire stand-up comedy acts.

Middle Ridge is awesome and almost fully restored now; the fatigue makes me pick some questionable lines but I make it down without too many blemishes. Then, knowing what's in store the next few miles, my mood sombers. All of us clean Poverty Flat (the appetizer), which is fairly rideable now a couple of seasons after it had gotten the moon dust grading treatment. Schafer-Corral is a short but pleasant intermezzo, and we float through the tall golden grass down into the dried out Coyote Creek bed. After the few bumpy miles through the creek bed, a welcome surprise awaits us: Mike B is greeting us at the base of Bear Mountain, the giant roadblock ahead. He briefs us on the status of the other riders: the 100k'ers - Mei and Charlie - are far ahead and out of reach; equally out of reach are Brian and Sean; Erik is about an hour ahead of us. The big climb then; that first glance never disappoints - with another 'Bear Mountain virgin' amongst us I admit finding an almost diabolical enjoyment witnessing Brett's jaw drop when he takes in the scene.

It appears Mike has created again some real nice 'Coe 100' trail art with the materials at hand... after we ride past his handiwork, we make our way through the creek and tackle the climb... I ride, stall, hike-a-bike, ride, stall, push, curse and repeat this ad nauseam. I witness in awe how Patrick cleans some very challenging pitches but my mind is going blank - I start to feel real lousy, and even though it has been a rather cool day, the afternoon heat is now getting to me, I'm a tad low on water and start dreaming of the shores of Mississippi Lake... but I need to get over this steep pitch first... and then the next, and the next. Finally, there's the summit, and Patrick; Roy and Brett have fallen behind, but it seems Brett hasn't been suffering in silence, as soon we hear them turn the last corner. I don't feel too bad cutting the break short, as I need to go filter some water and we charge onto County Line road to Mississippi Lake. We loop back on the lakeside trail, overgrown in spots, but I always find this primitive trail a pleasant break from the fireroads at this point. At the picnic spot on the other side of the lake we have a lengthy break where we filter water and dislodge a very stubborn little rock that had been sabotaging Roy's front derailer. At this spot I reach the same sobering conclusion as in previous years: we hardly made it past the halfway-point...

Under a cloudless sunset we install our lights and head up Willow Ridge road, towards the always entertaining Heritage trail. Both Heritage and upper Pacheco Creek trails have recently been brushed and cleaned up by friendly trail fairies - Patrick charges ahead and I follow in his wake, storming towards Pacheco Camp. It was a time to recover from my typical 'mid-ride crisis', during which I entertained thoughts of bailing, knowing the camp is so tantalizingly close to home. But of course, once at Pacheco Camp there is no doubt that I will take a left on Coit road instead, onto the third leg of our course. We don't bother trying to filter the water (where did the tub go?) and pour it in directly from the hose; I think back of those pictures of the innards of the water tanks near Live Oak Spring trail... I figure it's somewhat cleaned up now, and how bad can a bit of an 'escargot flavor' be? It is very dark now, the night moonless so far, and riding under lights gives things a new dynamic; it rejuvenates and injects some needed adrenaline, waking me up and making me more aware. Self-delusional perhaps, but I'll take self-delusion if it works! Improved awareness is a good thing, as with Phoneline and Turkey Pond trail we have some tricky descents ahead. Unlike last year, no mechanical or other incidents occur and we find Turkey Pond trail fully cleared of down trees - quite the contrast with the previous editions.

We grind our way up County Line road, to the top of my cherished Dutch's trail; in the dark almost even more fun than in broad daylight. The cloud- and moonless night allows for a great viewing of the stars, the milky way and various flying objects - I try to look for (bike)lights in the general direction of Dowdy Ranch but am not able to discern much. Soon the fun is over and we enter Coe's Bermuda Triangle, starting with the grueling climb out to Yellowjacket pond and Tie Down trail. We're now able to find our way pretty easily in the Triangle, even in the dark, and soon we hit the fun descent on Tie Down trail to the North Fork trail bit that will then dump us on Kaiser Aetna road. A steep-ass fireroad looks to be exactly what the doctor had prescribed for Brett, as he seems suddenly fully revived, and takes off setting the pace towards Dowdy Ranch. In truth, the grade is not that steep, and its consistency allows for fairly easy granny spinning. But it seems to drag on forever. At last, we hit the ranch.

Rolling in, I discern a figure in the darkness, quietly seated on the porch bench; luckily it is not the dark Sith Lord of Coe preying on us but instead Erik, who welcomes us to Dowdy Ranch. He recounts how he got lost in the Triangle, finally ended up here after some amount of frustration and quite a few bonus vertical feet climbed, and decided to then wait for us. It is time now to recover a bit, eat, refill on water and check out the facilities: yes, the full service restrooms are open for business. It is getting cold now though, and the spectacular crescent moon rising from behind the hills is the sign for me to get moving again. It takes some mild coercion to get everyone on board and leave the relative comfort of our temporary shelter, but off we go again, into the dark of the night.

I feel surprisingly frisky as I motor up Burra Burra trail - it's a bit too early though for my traditional end-of-ride kick. Center Flats road then: a seemingly endless sequence of rollers and steep walls. Some time a massive search party should be organized to try locate the namesake flats; as far as I can tell they have never been observed. Roy, having learnt his lesson from last year, had started ingesting espresso beans, and they seem quite effective; no more 'sleepbiking' for him. As usual, Patrick delivers the best efforts on the steeps, though Erik seems to have a good deal of energy reserves left as well. At long last, we hit the intersection with Wagon Road. Making the mental switch ('all easy miles from now on'), I take up my role of ride tyrant again and try to keep the break short; those last miles may be 'easier' but they will seem to last forever.

After the slog up Wagon road, an unpleasant surprise awaits us at Live Oak Spring trail. The 'trail' - in this direction normally a fun rollicking descent - has mutated into a hideous and dusty mess of a dirt road; the mark of the grader, so it appears. Oh well... more miles of fireroad are ahead of us now, until we finally reach the top of Kelly Lake trail. A fun and thriling singletrack descent breaks up the routine, and dumps us in the chilly basin of Kelly Lake. Brett and Erik need to filter water; they seem to be taking a while, and Roy and I decide to start the slow climb out, as we're both freezing and starting to shiver; it's warmer on the ridges and hilltops. I switch into 'grind' mode and plod up the hill. There's the summit, at last, and Patrick arrives soon after me; we both lie down and rest. There's Roy... but no Erik or Brett, or any lights we can discern in the distance. For a while I worry they took the wrong turn up Coit, which would be a very bad thing, but luckily that fear proves to be ungrounded, and soon our five piece grupetto is complete again.

We're closing in on the finish now, and complete the fun singletrack intermezzo Dexter / Grizzly Gulch trail at a very healthy pace, riding almost in formation. A break at Camp Willson is kept brief when Erik says 'let's get this done', and we take off... to tackle the last few obstacles. First, Vasquez trail - surprisingly it has received the grading treatment as well, but in this case made it a tad more pleasant (which is all very relative, if you know Vasquez); next up is Long Dam trail, with its confusing and post holed labyrinth section - I do find my way relatively easy this time, practice makes mastery I guess; and finally, that last beeyatch of a climb up Wagon road to Phegley Ridge... I can almost hear Brett and Erik curse me in their thoughts for including this in the route; but I'm delighted, as I know all of us have got this in the pocket now.

I'm sleepy and cold but clean this last hill without too much trouble. I keep moving to try stay warm while the others summit. Erik, Patrick and I lead the fast descent into Hunting Hollow road, which is as I expected a very frigid affair. Patrick picks up some extra footies towards Kickham Ranch in order to make his GPS display the proper value (20k) and when Roy and Brett arrive, we head for home. The frosty conditions inspire me to get these last four miles done with quickly; I'd say beer gravity was at work but I'm far too cold to enjoy that treat at this point. When I roll into the lot I'm delighted to be greeted by a one person welcome committee, Mei! Brian and Janet are camping out as well and soon check up on me. After the rest of the group rolls in, the party is on - at least if you can call a hypothermic congregation of a handful of delirious sleepwalkers a party - Mei's hot noodle soup is exactly what the doctor prescribed though (thanks again!). While the sun makes some shy attempts to rise, Sean Allan drives up the lot in his truck to say hi - we have seven finishers of 100 miler, and two of the 100k, and I'm delirious... but very tired and cold. Too tired and cold for the Everest Challenge, which once again remains elusive; there were no takers, though Brian and Patrick probably came closest to giving it a go. I head to the car now, which will provide warmth, but I need to apply the Roy Method (repeatedly slapping oneself in the face) during the drive home to stay awake and get home safely...

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This was a fun day, looking forward to it again next year
Awwww... the recap brought back fond memories and put a big smile on my face. Thanks Dirk for an excellent read! "Mid-ride crisis," hahaha... I love it!

P.S. I haven't seemed to be able to comment (or reply to the comments) on the result page. Disqus appears a bit finiky. Ever considered Wordpress style?
That was an awesome read.. I'll have to do better in the length department next year :)

I feel like doing it again...
Brett and Erik need to filter water; they seem to be taking a while, and Roy and I decide to start the slow climb out, as we're both freezing and starting to shiver; it's warmer on the ridges and hilltops. I switch into 'grind' mode and plod up the hill. There's the summit, at last, and Patrick arrives soon after me; we both lie down and rest. There's Roy... but no Erik or Brett, or any lights we can discern in the distance. For a while I worry they took the wrong turn up Coit, which would be a very bad thing, but luckily that fear proves to be ungrounded, and soon our five piece grupetto is complete again.
Erik was keeping me company while I finally tamed my tubeless flat tire with an innertube; up to that point I'd been periodically stopping to add air, but eventually the Stan's goop threw in the towel. We hadn't realised you guys were just motoring on without us until it was too late to catch up with you guys.

The other day I noticed why my light wasn't performing as spectacularly usual on the HardCOEre 100 ride-the lens on the die of my MC-E LED physically had separated from the die, it was just sort of bobbling around inside the external lens. Gee, no wonder the light spread was so crappy! I can only guess that the constant beating the front of the bike took going down some of that singletrack dislodged the lens.

And I, too, am looking forward to doing this ride again next year. I am confident I will be better prepared than this time around.
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