photo courtesy of goneridng.com
May 20, 2006
12hr. of Tsali, Bryson City NC
Tsali was all the challenge I thought it would be. Running fully solo for the first time was the biggest challenge of the weekend. My fitness was great and all I had to do was stay focused and steady. I really had nothing to lose; it’s a tester for the 24 in June.
The race started with the typical LeMans run uphill about 150yd. I stayed steady and didn’t max myself out for a change, then onto the Rig for the opening 2.5 mile fire road climb. The Rig forced me to ride more aggressively than I normally race these events. Due to wet conditions it turned out to be a great move. The constant rattle of chain suck and muttered cursing filled the woods in the early laps.
Finally by lap 4ish the course began to dry out. By this time I started to notice my pace had slowed, especially on the climbs. Which by now, I was forced to walking the bigger climbs. If I kept this up I would sure to be passed by the leaders. Still I had no idea of my placing. I managed 5 laps on the 29er SS running a 32x18 before retiring it for more gears.
Stopping only at my pit for pre-made bottles of HEED and Sutained Energy mixed with flasks of hammer gel. By lap 6 I was rolling on my Sugar292. Steadily racing into the afternoon the clouds began to roll into the area. With brief flickers of lightning and rumbles of thunder, you could begin to smell to rain a coming.
Upon completion of lap 6 the Swain County Rescue Service called a halt to the race due to 60mph winds and hail storms in close proximity. This was the first chance to chat with the race leaders on the overall. It seems as though Tiny T. could be in the top five (that was my goal). This delay was about an hour forty in length, but luckily for me only about 40 minutes. This was just enough time to seize up.
Restarts SUCK and this was no exception. I managed one more lap before having to stop for lights. Soon after sunset the sky filled with clouds again. This time it brought rain heavy at times but it would remain falling till the 11th hour. It quickly turned to sticky mud that brings havoc to your drivetrain. By laps 8 or 9 this mud turned from sticky to slicky. Traction was an issue and to top it off the fog was getting heavier by the minute.
Finally lap 10 and the leaders had not passed me, this was a great sign. So I had to be on the lead lap – Yeah. Not bad for 11 hours of riding and some quick math to figure that one out. Completing the race in 10ish hours with 10 laps for 110mi. This put me about 17 minutes off the winning pace. I will settle for a third place finish. results
Thanks to all my sponsors Harrell's Bicycle World, Hammer Nutrition & Garmin
Till next time folks Happy Trails