What a weekend to remember - well most of it.
6:30am - Happy 32nd Birthday to me. I awoke feeling more like 72nd BD.
Noon - Departure time to meet up with LeRoy for the trip to Copper Hill Basin.
2pm - Finally leave Cola. Total chaos with packing one car all to have forgot important stuff in another car that was occupied.
8:30pm - some 6 hrs of traveling, I'm finally at the Ocoee WWC and meeting our group of Asheville folk.
3:30am - The rain starts falling and falling. (10pm "it will be raining you pansies" BrouSSard)
7:45am - Just one of 150 riders standing in the drizzle for the start of the 65 mile event "The Big Frog" the middle distance event of the Cohutta weekend. We started up the paved highway to spread things out. With no warm up this had to be a smart time of the day for me. Do I go hard and blow later or conserve a touch and survive? Made it to the Single track some riders back in a group of 15+. Rolling some sticky but super fun trails. A touch of wheels and I bobble into the woods. Lost my place in line and had to wait for a gap to hop back onto the trail. No real clue of where I was or where I was headed. First rest station at 17mi came quick. A right turn and up the gravel road. Gravel mile after gravel mile I climb. The rain had really made the FS roads slick and slow. The kind of mud that just wears you down. This was the first time I questioned my gear choice for the day.
9:45ish - Caught up with passing folks and really getting into the event. Realized I haven't had many calories since the start. Falling into my own pace, I caught up to several hot SS riders who had taxed themselves early. Luck me, I guess. Hooked up with another SS who was running a 32x16. My first response was "Crusher". So this fella and I switched around for a few hours. Pass and get passed.
11:00ish - Still going up or down a Gravel FS road in the mud with grit in my eye. My shades were worthless for the conditions. I would often catch geared riders on a climb, and then just ride away from them. All to have them cruise by in the big ring on the down hills. Finally really able to turn out some Power on the SS. With a slow cadence that kept ticking over with the cranks. It seemed to work well for me. A few times I would get off and walk. Only to get the blood flowing back to my feet again, and because the hill was just too damn steep.
12:00ish – Some 4:30 hours into this thing I once called a race, the first stages of a bonk starts. I haven’t seen any other riders for a while. Good and bad. Now I have no clue how far the next aid station is. I just plug along one pedal stroke at a time. Soon I begin to notice some FS roads I’ve seen before. It’s finally the end of the 34mi loop. This would be the lift I was looking for. The last section of single track was some fun stuff. Too bad I was blasted from the previous 6 hours of riding to fully enjoy it.
A secret goal of mine in all long distance races is not be chicked. Well all was well till the last half of single track. I heard this creaking bike coming up of a few switchbacks. Not yet sure as to whom it was. I started taking more risks on the descent. Popped out onto the final section of pavement and what you know she attacked me. This crazy chick drops some gears and attacked me. “Well Shit”, I only have one gear and it’s spinning as fast as I can without the cramps. I just laughed and fell happy to have not kisses the dirt all day. The effort was enough for a 3rd place in the 65mile SS class and a possible top 20 Overall. Still waiting on the results to be posted.
1 - 70oz. bladder H2O
3 - 16oz. HEED
1 - Cliff Bar
1 - Flask of Hammer Gel
6 - Endurolytes
6 - Sugar Cookies
1 - Muddy 29er
1 - Gear
0 - Mechanicals
1 - HELL-OF-A GOOD TIME