Monday, April 21, 2008

cohutta 35 race report

Friday, pre-race:

Remember last year when I had to make an emergency stop at Outspokin' Bikes to get a replacement BB before the Cohutta 100? Well, funny enough, I had to do the EXACT same thing this year. Thanks to Kevin, Thomas Turner, Josh, and Kevin for working on my bike at the last minute....again.

When we arrived at the venue it was later than planned but I had to ride since I had barely ridden all week. Not to mention, I hadn't ridden my new bike at all yet. We ran into Steve S, Dicky, Mark D and several others and chatted a bit before riding. I felt great on the first climb, but then I started to feel really really crappy. I couldn't keep up with Eddie and Rob on the climbs or the descents. My legs felt like junk and I was still getting used to my new setup (brand spankin new brakes and fork). Eddie said not to worry since "the worse you feel the day before the race, the better you will feel during the race." That sounded like a load of BS to me but I didn't really have any better words of wisdom at the time so I took them :)


The alarms went off at 5:00 and 5:15 am. I took the dogs out for a walk in the rain. It wasn't too chilly, and the rain wasn't too hard. We got dressed, ate a reasonable amount of food (not like I normally do..since I was only racing 3 hours today, not 12+), and loaded up the car for the day. Thanks to Jeff J for the place to stay in McCaysville! This place was about 3 blocks from the Mexican Restaurant in town. Awesome location, especially for us late sleepers :)

Time flew by in the AM. I didn't even get to say good luck to Eddie and before I knew it I was lining up. I didn't recognize many people..only a couple guys and a few girls. I spotted a Specialized/Vantaggio racer (aaaaahhh! can't remember her name..but she ended up winning..Shannon, maybe?), Ursula Sandefur (fast), a BMW-Bianchi roadie (Cara, I believe, who must be fast), Susie Council (fast), Mary Kellar (fast), and more. I had my work cut out for me! Bruce called me out and said I should have been in the 65 miler group. Yeah, yeah, I'm a slacker. Pic courtesy of Mark D

I felt pretty relaxed at the start line, and then Bruce said "Go". I couldn't keep a hold of Ursula or the Vantaggio girl. I was, however, able to pace with Susie and another girl from VA (Maryn, I think is her name). I felt good, but not stellar. No worries, I kept pushing because I wanted to get to the singletrack early and not get left behind on the pavement. That, and I needed to open my legs and lungs up..they were not quite awake yet.

I went into the singletrack in 7th place. I had no idea how many SSrs were ahead of me, though...I knew Tom Watson was but no idea who else. Tom is so strong it's sick. I knew he'd beat me unless he had a major mechanical. He ended up winning the SS class in 2:49 or something. I rode behind Susie and Maryn for most of the first section. We passed the BMW roadie and a couple other girls. Kari Lindner was riding strong but she had bad tires on for the muddy conditions. I could sense Susie and Maryn starting to fade a bit on the climbs and made a mental note. I also new a tech downhill was coming up so I wanted to get as far up as I could. Unfortunately Maryn was able to gap me a bit because some guy got between us and he was struggling on the muddy/tech sections. Luckily he let me by and I caught up with Maryn. We were having a ton of fun riding the tech stuff. She was able to again gap me on the flatter Copper Rd. section as I just didn't have a big enough gear to keep up. No problem, I caught her on the next singletrack climb. Soon after that was a doubletrack climb and I came around her. I put the hammer down and didn't look back. I really expected to see her again, but I never did..not until after I finished and she crossed the line a minute or so after me.

The rest of the race was a BLAST. I love riding muddy singletrack. I could barely see anything, but I managed to stay upright. I knew the last section of trail was not "all downhill" like many say it is...well I guess it IS, but only after one big climb before it. Still, nothing seemed as bad as it did last year..riding this is so much easier after 25 miles than it is after 90 miles. I loved every second, and passed a few more guys for good measure on the way down.

The last two miles is the most dreaded for a singlespeeder. Flat. pavement. Can you say spin your ass off? I got into my pretend roadie tuck and rode as fast as I could, looking over my shoulder every 10 seconds. I just pictured the BMW roadie flying by me here full out big ring..but she didn't. Nobody passed me. Sigh of relief.

More pix here:
(Thanks Ronnie Fields for some of the photos)

and here: (by Trish Albert/


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