The view from the top of the mtn.. It was worth it.. I guess..
Lucky no. 23, it's Ian's b-day no. Notice how clean I look..
Gonna be a wet day.. This was taken before it started raining..
Too many miles of this
and this.. Super soft mud with nothing hard around it makes the climbing that much more enjoyable.. I was smiling the whole time though!!
The run up.. Ah, you almost needed a rope, I climbed it on my knees. No kidding!
Afterward of course the sun came out!! What's that all about..
I have to admit I was a nervous wreck Friday night knowing that Saturday would either be good, or suck REALLY bad.. After talking with some guys Sat. morning at Hardees, I knew I would be okay.. Seemed they hadn't gotten any of the info about the race except the initial one that had directions.. They didn't know it was "in the mountains"..
So I get there, get registered and it starts raining.. Not a good sign, it had rained most of the night, so I knew it would be wet, but I hate starting off riding wet.. So we gather around and are warned of a couple of things.. A. bears, B. a rabid raccoon that had chased one of the guys trying to mark the course, C. due to lack of a 4wd vehicle the day before, some of the course wasn't marked yet, but they were trying to get to that area then by borrowing a jeep.. "A jeep?" one of the guys asked. "yes, a jeep, there is snow and ice on top of the mtn" came the reply.. That's when I knew I had the correct bike! My trusty Giant XTC..
A few days before I was warned NOT to bring a cross bike, the gearing would be too big and the roads were trashed due to snow and ice melting.. Sure enough, I think the only thing dry I rode on all day was the paved road..
I got a good start I guess, but then had to stop after about two miles to adjust my front brake.. The housing broke and the pads wouldn't get off the rim.. Once fixed, sort of, I was on my way, alone.. I quickly caught up to a group of guys I'd share most of the day with..
After about an hour or more, my computer I guess had too much mud in it, we hit the bottom of the endless hill.. I never knew a road could go up so long in Ga. We climbed for I know over two hours.. NUTS!!! This is when I REALLY knew I'd made the correct bike choice. At mile no. 18, there was a supply drop where you could change out your bottles or anything you had brought.. I had put in two new bottles and four GUs.. This was about 2/3rds up the climb.. As I take off a guy drives by and says, "there's a big bear around the bend, becareful".. Great, my legs are going fast, I'm still climbing and now a big bear is going to chase me.. Well, fortunately I didn't see the bear, but the climbing got a lot more steeper.. I reluctantly dropped to the granny gear and passed some guys that were walking.. Yes, walking..
Once to the top, which seemed to take another eternity, the descent arrived.. This was supposed to be seven miles of heaven.. Instead, due to the snow melting, it was four miles of pain from the cold air on your wet face from the spray, and three miles of heaven once you got below the clouds and warmer air..
I reached the finish in just under four hours, catching two guys within the last three miles.. One said to me something I like this: "dude, I'm so done, I can't even feel my legs" Thing his, he still had to do the cross course portion, which I won't comment on..
So, all in all, a great day.. I was totally pumped with how it went.. I got 32nd out of 57 starters. The event I thought was well organized and planned out.. I hope they do more of them, I'll surely sign up!
Something everyone should try next year for sure..
Till next time!