Sunday, March 7, 2010

Killed the "Snake"

Woke up a bit stiff this morning after riding the last running of the Snake Creek Gap MTB TT yesterday in Dalton Georgia then spending 3hours in the car driving home. Omar Fraser and I carpooled up on Friday afternoon and got into Dalton (just south of Chattanooga) with plenty of time to relax and get all of our stuff ready to go for the morning. Craig, Tanner, and Matt arrived a couple of hours later, in from Nashville, and Mark was going to drive up from Atlanta in the morning. 6:30am came really early as I have been super spoiled the last couple of weeks with only training on my schedule and have been indulging in some serious sleep-in time. The weather was a little chilly to start but was sunny and sure to warm up quickly into the low 50's. We headed to the race site about 8am, got registered, loaded the bikes on the trailers and got on the buses for the 45min drive to the start line. The race is a 34mile point to point ride on the awesome Pinhoti Trail of northwest Georgia. We somehow got on the last of three buses to leave so when we got to the start I hustled right to the line to start to minimize the already substantial potential of having to pass all sorts of riders up the singletrack climbs. After a brutally cold and miserable ride in January I was looking forward to really having a fun ride and seeing what I could do without totally blowing up. The trails weren't quite in the perfect condition they were last year in March but they were still pretty good. Since you don't get any warm-up in I took the first section of jeep road pretty comfortable to get the legs moving. I tried and failed to get across the first stream crossing without getting my feet wet and started up the climb. I passed a whole group of riders right before starting into the singletrack and was hoping that would mean some clear trail but I made the hard right turn and saw nothing but riders lined up in front of me. I was picking them off one by one at any chance I had space and could hear Omar and Craig doing the same in behind me. Craig went flying by on his way to a second place overall ride (on no training?!!!) and unfortunately Omar broke his derailleur hanger just after he passed me ending his day after just 20mins, though he got in a nice 45min walk to the next sag station. I finally got some clear space around me and got into a great rhythm. As usual I ended up riding most of the ride with a couple of guys who I would pass going up all the climbs and they would catch right back up on the descents. I was riding well but still not willing to take any big chances as I was not willing to risk the potential of serious bodily harm overcooking the downhills. I flew into the halfway sag in 1:35 feeling great and quickly switched out bottles. The second half of the course is by far the harder half and not having enough fluids or calories can put you in big trouble. I was excited to be riding sections I haven't been able to ride before and seemed to quickly reach the dreaded left hand turn into the rock garden - all 8miles of it (I'm am not kidding) Looking at my watch it was right about 2:30 and I started thinking that a 3:30ish ride was definitely possible, but I always forget how tough the last rocky sections are though I was riding smoothly through most of the sections and was hustling nicely through the other sections. Finally I saw the water tower and knew it was just a quick descent down the road to the finish. I ended up right at 3:40 ride time (3:43.18 overall time) and was stoked to have over a 7min PB on a slower course than last year. I won the women's amateur division by over 20mins and would have been 3rd in the Money Class, just over a minute from 2nd. Yes Craig I will step it up next year.
Ride Stats: Time - 3:39.59 Average Speed - 8.7mph / 14.0km/h Average HR - 160 bpm/ Max HR - 178 bpm Total Elevation Gain - 5,248ft (1,599m) Next up, maybe something very exciting but don't want to jinx myself by writing it down. Hopefully will know for sure by tomorrow!!!

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