this weekend has been a shinning star on my schedule since i made it out in the first of the year. wesson is the one who brought the idea up of doing this race and it made perfect sense...after the SERC was over and new trails/race to try out. Ive only done a few 50 mile races before this but some of my XC races are only 12-13 miles shorter so the distance isn't that intimidating. we left out thursday night after work just to get a head start...needless to say we got a little behind schedule and missed the gate closing at Cheaha State Park where we were going to stay...so back to Anniston for the night.
Friday...was super laid back all day. we only had 2 things to do...ride and pick up the race packets. We headed to Chicopee close to Gainsville, GA to ride what would turn out to be some of the sweetest single track trails i have ever ridden. the trails were built and are maintained by SORBA and they know what they are doing when it comes to trails...there was about 5 trails all unique to itself, some fast and swooping, others rocky and technical. Places where roots were the trail or the complete opposite 4 foot bench cut trails following the contour of the land to the T. we ended up with a little over 2hrs and 23 miles. After the ride we headed over to Dahlonega to grab the room and head to the shop to pick up the race packets. We ate dinner and had to make a few other stops which drug on and by the time we finished up getting things completely dialed in...food, sag stop drop bags, drinks, bikes, cloths, etc...we hit the sac at a smooth 11:30p....
Saturday...wake up....4:45a...OUCH, WTF!!! we had decided to make smoothies for breakfast instead of trying to down food that early. I have trouble getting food down before 8a much less 6a...we blended up some good stuff and sucked down a few cups. I also made a large cup coffee to drink on the way over to the venue which was about 25 min away. It was dark when we arrived at the starting area. The race was one large 50 mile loop w/ a good mix of single track, double track and dirt roads. we dropped our sag bags off and chilled for about 45 min before we suited up and got the heads right. We started at 7:15a. The race started off with a 1o mile, 2k ft climb...i was cold as could be when the gun went off...no way i could start fast...i eased in to a pace over the first 15 min of the climb but the legs felt good. I slowly picked up the pace as i climbed and before long i was rolling by folks...i would say i was 40 deep on the start of the climb by the end, an hour later, i had passed over 25 guys. the downhills were blazing fast and the single track was super fast. The two really large climbs were in the first 30 miles the last 20 miles were more up and down. The slow start was perfect for me...I was in a rhythm throughout the race! I continued to pass dudes until about mile 30ish...i maybe picked a few off but not many. I stuck to my fuel schedule and finished strong. I had no idea where i was during the race...ever...but when i finished, i notice there were only a few guys around and so i asked...6th. sweet!! my finish time was 4:24, 36minutes faster than my goal time. Wesson had a goo race too! finished top 60. longest he has ever been on a bike! the rest of the day was chill...we drank, relaxed in the pool, ate a lot, and went to sleep early!
Sunday...we woke both feeling good and decided to act on our instincts and go ride some more. wesson has a good knowledge of the trials round the area so he thought that Blankets Creek would be good. And he was right! the trial system had 4 trials...one was a biggner trials and fast. There was an intermendant type trial which was fast and prefectly manucuried. The last two trials were both tough but very different. the first was super rocky and technical but not much climbing. the other was one of the coolest, benchcut, erfectly designed trails i have ever ridden. you could hold your speed both up and down it...one of the climbs had one of the coolest sections that was man made and must have taken hours to build. the ride was shorter compared to the last two days, only at 1:45 ride time but still a great workout.
we had more food and more laughs on the way home! it was a great 3 days of riding and having fun!!! thanks wesson.
BTW...i really enjoyed the longer races...maybe more to come?