Friday, May 14, 2010

Cohutta Race Report

I know, I know seems a little late to be speaking of that race still but I feel obligated to a least make a stab at a real race report even though it is mostly just for Tarik. He was the inspiration for the whole SS thing and continues with the best race reports/recaps ever.

Everyone knew it was going to rain in large quantities it was just a matter of when. Drive down Friday afternoon saw sunny skies and warm temps. Set up camp and checked in with ease, ate dinner and at some point the drops started hitting the tent. Thought alot about whether to race if it was full-on raining at the start and decided to wait and see. Morning brought wet ground but no rain as the pre-dawn ritual of eating/drinking/getting your crap together to ride in the woods all day started. Got to the start and still no rain- this was good. First trail is Brush Creek known for being soft after rains, however we were greeted to wet but firm trail surface- thank goodness! Rolled on and back to the WWC and more trail then rest stop #1 before the gravel/dirt suffer-fest started. Things were looking good, peeps of sunshine even, but I knew it was coming sooner or later. I hoped to make it to the mid-point of the race, which is also the highest elevation as well, before all hell broke loose. Climbed and climbed forever, started getting foggy but still no rain. Rolled through rest stop #3 pretty quick, with one more climb to the top before VERY long downhill. First funny person I met up with was some geared fool who when I caught said "where is the f-ing top?!" I just laughed as I passed and said "soon come" and thought " if you looked at the elevation profile at all (dumbass) you would realize there was one more UP before actually being at the top" Oh well. He caught up just as the big dh was getting ready to start as I was getting the jacket on because the rain had to be coming soon and the dh long enough that if I got wet and cold I would have died for sure! He rolled up and it literally started with light rain and some thunder and he actually said " I can't believe its f-ing raining! Do you think they'll call it (off)?" Again laughter from me and all I could think was "No, it's not a baseball game..." Then as I pedaled off thought " did this guy not look at the weather, they have predicted doom and gloom all WEEK and we should feel lucky to have ridden for 5 HOURS with NO RAIN (moron)!" More laughter, big downhill started, VERY fast fire road and then it really came. Hard rain and wind almost instantly and even though I was off the top of the ridge proper, still at pretty high elevation. Sideways rain, wind blowing me across the dirt road, can't see anything- it was fantastic and truly epic weather. Down forever and finally to safer elevations but rain continues. Rode on and up the climbs back towards the WWC and really started getting tired at the 80 mile mark. Just kept pedalling and knew at least that the last 10 were on singletrack and at least that would be fun. Last real climb up the trails, Alex from K-town caught and passed me with the "I'm almost done and happy buzz even though I've been riding all day" At first I was disappointed because I really wanted to be the first one back from K-town, but I was so tired that I didn't care. He also said " oh by the way, you just got passed by a 60 year old dude with a broken collarbone" What? I guess it was the guy that had just gone past before Alex that was climbing strong and muttered "what up dawg?" when he passed me. Crap. Got to the singletrack and it was in terrible shape- monsoon rains and lots of traffic made what was normally fun, an exercise in just staying upright. Finally got to Thunder rock, the last downhill and it was still fun- knowing I was almost done and in somewhat better shape. Safely down and then up the side of the highway into a 20mph headwind to finish- Ouch! Finished in 8 hours and 50 min. only 9 min. slower than last year which was under PERFECT conditions. Pretty darn happy with that and was very glad to get into dry clothes and sit in my car with the heat on! Waited for ED in the car and shot that video as he was finishing ( 11 and 1/2 hours!) and then we waited for T-flo, hoping he was o.k. and sure enough he finally came in and true to team ed tradition (mostly ed) he missed a turn near the end and probably did an extra 10 miles still finishing in just over 12 hours- well done T-flo! Eventually a real shower at the campground and since cooking at the very wet campsite didn't seem like a fun idea, we drove to Ducktown and had some thickburgers because that is all there is in Ducktown and they were SO good! Drank a few beers back at camp and finally went to bed (there was a brief respite from the rain around dinner). Got comfy in the tent and then the REAL rain came- harder than the hard rain we raced in. All. Night. Long. Hats off to the MSR hubba as I stayed dry all night- best tent ever! Of course, Sunday morning the sun was out and it was beautiful.

Next up 12 hours of Tsali, a week from Saturday.

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