Monday, April 27, 2009

Cohutta 100, God, Guns, and Fireworks...

Fresh off my first race of the year I made my way to Coppertown Tennessee for my second The Cohutta 100. I originally picked this race because it was early in the year, and it would be nice and cool in the mountains of Tennessee and Georgia. I registered early, secured a nice cabin for Blair, John W, Elk and myself. Early in the week they were calling for a high of 81, well that turned into 90. Anyone that has ever read my ramblings knows I don't like the heat.I still had a moderate goal of finishing in under 10:00 hours. We got to the venue and headed out for a little ride. After a 3 mile road climb we hit some awesome flowing single track. We rode the first 14 or so miles of the course and were all excited about the race.
The start was at the National Whitewater Center, home of the 1996 Olympics, it was a pretty cool scene.

After our pre ride and a dip in the river we made our way to our home for the weekend. The cabin was remotely located on top of a nice vista, with what had to be the steepest dirt road drive I have ever been on.

After some pasta and a beverage, it was off to bed, the race started the next morning at 7:00 am.

I am not going to get into major details, but I will hit a few. The start went pretty well, I was in the top 50 or so going into the single track. I had a nice flow going and small train enjoying my pace. We hit one of the only flat sections of the coarse and a few geared guys went by. It didn't take long to catch them on the first real climb of the race up a nice piece of trail.

A few miles later we hit the fire roads, and there we stayed for 70 miles. Like I said, my goal was under 10 hours. I was cruising along pretty good, drinking, eating and popping endurolites. Then about 30 or 40 miles in I felt the onset of cramps. I took on more water and more e lites, it wasn't enough. I rolled into aid station 3 cramping pretty bad. The guys there were unbelievable, they worked on my legs and took care of the cramps. Plus they had hot dogs and baked potatoes, sooo good. I rolled out of there feeling like a new man.

At mile 55 I was on pace to be under 9 hours, but it wasn't long after that the cramps came back and came back worse. Every time I tried to put a little power into the pedals my legs just locked up. Then soon after that my stomach became a little disgruntled. Things were falling apart rapidly. I was no longer riding I was just trying to survive and finish.

I suffered, for a long while but I finished. I wasn't too happy with my 10:28 time, but I was happy that I finished.

It was a very well run event, and I want to thank all the volunteers, especially the guys at aid station 3, The promoters, and all the people extending a word of encouragement along the way. It was a great weekend, despite the lack of results for me. Blair had a great ride, under 8 hours with a major flat. John took 3rd in the masters, and Elk came in under 8 hours. As much as I loved the scenery, and the company, I'm not sure if I will be back next year. It is a long drive for 20 miles of trail, 70 miles of fire road, and 10 miles of trail. I'll know better once the pain goes away. As for the title of the blog, all we saw the whole ride down was Churces, crosses, gun shops and fireworks stores, seems like an combonation to me.

Time for rest, and beer.




Pete said...

Looks like a good time, nice looking cabin. Its tough, once things go bad on the single speed. its not like you can take it easy.

Mark said...

Yeah looks like a place to spend a week. Saw a special last night about the Cherokee nation, They happily resided in that area until about 1830, when Andrew Jackson, told settlers to take their land. Tribal leaders spent years in Washington, until finally the were forced out. Must be more than 30 miles of trail somewhere around there.

Jason said...

Great job in that heat. Damn that had to suck. Way to tough it out though.