Thanks to all of the volunteers who contributed to a successful 2014 MegaMonsterEnduro: Bill Bushnell, Dan Connelly, Cara Coburn, Christine Holmes, Lane Parker, Pat Parseghian, Serge Z, Cathy, coordinator Kevin Winterfield, and all of the Bitterwater 4Hers!
Driving sleet, raging water-crossings, near-freezing temperatures, mud, blood, and carnage. A day for suffering.
Not this time.
Despite predictions by many of heroic conditions at the 2014 MegaMonster, riders faced at worst a few light showers, not even enough to penetrate a lightweight jersey, moderate temperatures and scattered blue skies in what turned into a very Low-Key compatible day.
The principal challenge was the wind. Right from the start riders faced a will-sapping headwind, struggling up the early, gradual grades made to feel substantially less gradual by the rare southern breeze.
For 100k'ers, the morning's investment paid off, as early finishers absolutely flew across the line. They had barely appeared over the last rise before the finish before they were crossing the finish, trying to make their numbers heard over the doppler distortion, every one with a smile on his or her face.
Later finishers got some of the tailwind, but it switched to its more conventional northerly direction approaching the finish, giving the riders some character-building bidirectional headwind. Despite this nice dose of "character building", the 100 mile finishers were also smiling as they finished, perhaps more because it was all over than because of the sheer joy of the final approach.
On the men's solo results, Nils Takkenen came within ten minutes of his record-breaking result from 2013, seemingly immune from the winds with his time of 4:40.
For the women, Yvonne Walbroehl came within 7 minutes of her winning time from 2013 to repeat as MegaMonster champion. Curiously, while overall turnout was much less than 2013, turnout among solo women doubled from 3 to 6. I guess women are just less intimidated by the weather.
In the hybrid-electric division it was a new champion, as Paul Daniel finished in an excellent time, 2nd best in Low-Key history with 3:52. He almost had competition from Luke Workman, whose electric-motorized front wheel went on strike the night before, leaving him to ride 100% via human power in the "conventional" division. Last year's hybrid-electric winner, Bill Bushnell, went 100% motorized today as he drove sag support.
Additionally, we had two mixed tandems: Emma and Jonathan Dixon flaunting the headwinds to complete the 100-miler, and Rich and Kim Hill completing the 100 km route.
Although turn-out was solid in the solo divisions, teams were more prone to sitting this one out. Nevertheless, we had 4 excellent performances in the team arena, with 7Even Dynamics leading the way with a strong 05:32:08 for the 100 miles. Three of the four teams did the 100 mile route, with MA30 2nd and Team Bonk bravely finishing albeit outside the time limit. Team Rocket NJ PhD picked up the third podium spot with their 100 km finish.
Congratulations to our finishers this year!