Last weekend, Dave Pike ’99 tore up the course in the 8th Annual Hampshire 100, a self-proclaimed “premier ultra-endurance mountain bike race.” He finished the 100-mile course in 9:27:38, good enough for 8th place in the men’s open while his wife Anne finished 2nd in the women’s race. It was the second year Dave and Anne drove up to Greenfield, NH from their home in Earlysville, VA to tackle the daunting course that boasts 7,800 feet of climbing.
Luckily, the Pikes have plenty of experience in ultra-distance races. Just this summer they’ve competed in four 100-mile races, a twelve-hour mountain bike race, and a six-hour race. Before the summer’s out they have two 100-milers and two six-hour races to go. Dave got his start in endurance racing by competing in a marathon and several long distance triathlons before finding his niche in mountain biking. He took some time to reflect on his experience in the Hampshire 100:
I love the adversity everyone will ultimately face when doing races like this. It hurts really bad, and every ounce of your being begs for you to stop. Your legs are cramping, your back is aching, and your upper body feels like someone has been beating you with a baseball bat for hours. The rocks and roots of the trail send vibrations through your body like a jackhammer and you can’t do anything but keep moving forward or pack it in. The one constant that I kept in my head throughout Sunday’s race was my father. He passed away last October from a long battle with cancer. Though he was in pain almost 100% of the time, he never complained and fought valiantly to the end. His strength during that hard time gave me the strength to keep turning the pedals and suck it up when things got hard. If he could fight for years, I could do it for a measly 9 and a half hours!
Finally, the last thing I’ll say about doing races like this is that it’s a wonderful opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and find out what you’re really made of. It’s not about the bike–it’s about getting continually knocked down, hurt, and uncomfortable only to keep moving forward. Using a platform like this allows you to really apply what you’ve learned here and bring it into the reality of daily life. If I can make it through these races, waking up to go to work, taking care of family obligations, as well as general life stuff isn’t so bad!