Thursday, July 19, 2007

Curse of Dark Hollow Race Report Race Report
The Curse of Dark Hollow, 100km Endurance Race
Sunday July 16, 2007
Michaux State Forest, PA
By Flyin Ryan Leech

On Sunday, racers lined up for the second of the Michaux Endurance Series aptly named 'The Curse of Dark Hollow.' This race pushed riders to mental and physical limits that few wish to bear. teammates Michelle Schneider and Ryan Leech signed up to test their skills, endurance and fortitude on this epic Michaux State Forest course. Michaux is known for its endless, rocky, technical trail system. The 7:00 am start time found the riders subdued, knowing that the next 6 to 8 hours would take every bit of energy in their bodies to complete the metric century.

The race started on a long descent, and by the bottom many riders of similar ability were already grouped together. Michelle, one of five women starters, kept with her well-tuned endurance pace and caught the lead female at the second feed station (25 miles). Ryan found himself keeping pace in 4th spot with a local rider for the first third of the race until early fatigue caused him to fall off the pace. Michelle spent the next 20 miles pitted against Cheryl Sorenson (the eventual women's winner). On a particularly technical downhill, Michelle missed a turn and found herself off course, adding on an additional 8 miles and losing contact with Cheryl for good. After finding the way back on course, Michelle kept a steady pace and a smiling face to finish in 8:33 for 2nd spot. Ryan rode solo for over 4 hours, slowly fading in the heat, on rocky trails, and over the long climbs. On the last section, he was passed by two riders, falling from 5th to 7th place overall, taking 7th overall in 6:47. In the end, he was more than happy simply to finish the race!

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