So, you may already know that Mohican is my happy place for mountain biking.
So, I was distraught to find out that, sometime in July, someone removed the famous gnomes at around mile seven. Everybody loves the gnomes, so for us, this was like losing the soul of the trail.
(Heidi Coulter and the gnomes. Photo by Heidi)
There was disagreement among my Mountain Bike cohorts - some claimed the gnomes were gone, others claimed to have recently seen them.
Naturally, I had to check the situation out for myself. So, I rode out on Saturday for a one-man gnome expedition and rescue party.
When I reached the gnomes' hollow tree, the mystery deepened. There were indeed some gnomes there, but not all of them, and they had been rearranged.
Fortunately, after my ride, I received a message from my friend and badass-trail runner (and mountain biker) Lauren.
Here's what she said:
Someone threw all of them into the woods and smashed a lot of the ceramic ones. My friend Robbie Gannon, who lives near there and lives and breathes the spirit of Mohican got his friends together. They tied ropes to the trees and scaled down the side to rescue all of them.
Robbie is a die hard trail runner and so are his three kids. No one in the world cares more about Mohican. They literally call him "the gnome"
What kind of sick shit would smash and dump the gnomes? They better hope they stay anonymous, is all I can say.
Now, I'm usually only a trail runner when my bike breaks, but I do see a lot of trail runners at Mohican.
And, as Mohican 100 and OMBC Race Director Ryan O'Dell explained to me, about the Mohican 100
The race was originally born from the Mohican Trail 100 Run, at 28 years, reportedly the fifth oldest ultra run in the USA, and the home of the first ever USATF National Championship for the 100 mile distance in 2005. I became the fifth director in 2006. Early in the MTB100, it was combined with the Mohican Trail 100. At that time, with a 10+ mile road section before the singletrack trail, there were elite runners who beat slower mountain bikers to the trail.
(Photo by Josh Kunz - Ryan is in the back)
So, in my estimation, the trail runners are as big a part of the Mohican story as the mountain bikers. And, after all of this, I think they all deserve a hug.
So, fair warning to Mohican trail runners, be prepared for a mountain biker to stop and hug you. You are my gnomie homies now!
Now, what happened to the gnomes at mile 21?
(Paul Patterson and the gnomes at 21. Photo by Uncle Paulie).
If you want to read more about why I love Mohican so much, check out my latest Dirt Rag column here.
Be brave, my gnomies.