Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stage 2 - Land of Waterfalls Loop

43 miles, 7,300+ ft of elevation gain : MAP

Today was hard, real hard. Tons of steep climbing, some nasty descending, and lots of hike-a-bike. It was also a real blast to ride with lots of fast flowing trail mixed in and some really nice scenery! At the finish line I didn't know weather to hug the stage planner or to smack em.

The day started with a "trolly" ride from the finish area to the campground where we would start the race lemans style. A guiged tour through Brevard was part of the trolly ride. A couple of trucks had all our bikes loaded, but one of them was running a little late. Adam Craig stopped and asked me about my Anthem 29er and we talked bikes for a bit.

A lemans start got things going and we started the 9 mile climb to the top of Farlow Gap. A seemingly endless series of switch backs finally yeilded the trail head to us. I put er in the Big ring and started to motor down the the rocky path towards to the big descent.

Farlow Gap has one of the nastiest descents I have ridden in a race. I walked about 20% of it because it was just so knarly and risking an over the bars in the wilderness seemed like a bad idea. After the downhill the trail opened up into fast descents and the rest of the mountain was a real blast.

Next up was a series of gravel sections that led to the Cove Creek, Daniel Ridge, Davidson River Trail systems that are a real hoot. Fast flowing single track with some tricky log crossings, barely wide enough to walk.

Then another brutal long gravel climb that eventually descended to aid 3. After I grabbed some coke and water, I started the single track climb after aid 3. For a while I rode everything until it got too steep and rocky and I did a hike-a-bike for 1/2 mile up the side of a mountain. Yay.... Finally it eased up into a rideable ridge line that turned down hill and got rough and fast.

Finally, more fire-road led back to the climb for the Black Mountain descent to the finish where I crossed the line tired and relieved.

4:58 4th Place Open Men

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