|Post race drive. Long way home.|
Friday night after work Ross, Daniel, Alan and I packed up and headed out to Dalonega, GA and the Etowah River campground. It was an alright drive and we got to the camp ground to be greeted by a good crew of fellow Alabamians. Some were already asleep and some were hanging out by the fire. After helping set up the tent I tipped back two Good People Snake Handlers hopping it would calm me down and help me sleep. I get nervous before big races and normally don't sleep well. Anyway, chug some water, the stars looked awesome and time for bed. Ear plugs... good idea, thanks Alan. 3 AM. (Ear plugs fell out) Not sure if I'm awake or dreaming, hearing weird noises... roosters in the distance, coyotes cackling in the campsite.(So Lee tells me the next morning) Glad I did't know they were outside my tent I would have lost it. Fade back to sleep. 6 AM. ish. Light... Finally, time to get ready for the race.
We get to the vineyard and sign in, roll around, get warmed up and find the start. The start was a mass start of 300 people. I lined up about mid pack and looking back I wish I would have got a position a little further in front. There was a lot of bottle necking and falling which really didn't mess with my race, but I was just ready to reach the first climb, winding stair. Once we finally hit the dirt things started to spread out. I started passing people and people started passing me, but no other single speeders were in sight. Finally, my team mate and fellow single speeder John Karrasch caught up to me. We stuck together there for the first good part of the climb John was even nice enough to hold my helmet while I took my hat off. "TEAM POWER" I said. Not long after this the road started to get steeper. I'm not sure what mile I saw John last because a familiar logo caught my eye.
Yep, Trek 29 crew kit. It was Rodger Masse, this is the guy Cycling Dirt interviewed so he had to mean business and he did. I went back and forth with him and one other single speeder on the first climb. We finally got to a small decent and my seat bag got bumped around and was hanging by a thread. I had to stop and shove it in my pocket and because this occurred on a decent and the two other single speeders were on mountain bikes my race was from there on (until very close to the end) set in stone. I just couldn't keep up with them on the descents on my cross bike...
|Driving down the Sassafras Mountain decent on Sunday drive with Theresa.|
After the fast and fun final decent I take the super sharp right turn off the never ending spin fest that was the main road and then take a left and see my awesome girlfriend there waiting to take pictures and cheer me on. It brought such a smile to my face to see her. I knew I was really close now and it was time to stop my moaning and get this thing over with. The turn to the vineyard surprised me and I took it a little hotter than intended, but I kept cool and rolled to the free beer. At the bottom of the big run up I dismounted as gracefully as possible, held my bike in my right hand and grabbed a High Life with the other. I took a good chug and started up the hill. About half way up my pace deminished. My legs were giving out. I rode with the beer all the way to the next road crossing. I kept lolly gagging and then after the log barrier I looked back and notice that I was being caught by another single speeder. TOTAL PANIC! I don't think I have ever pushed so hard with so little energy in my life. I could NOT be passed in the last few 1000 feet of this race. With every last ounce energy I pushed across the finish line in 4th place with only 10 seconds on Gary Chambers (very nice guy) who came in 5th. With scores posted I would found out I was 26th over all and finished in 3 hours and 33 minutes. Not complaining at all.
|Over the line with the tank on E. Photo props to the southern cx facebook.|