Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cohutta 100 Round Two

Cohutta time has finally come and gone for another year.

After a little bit of shivering in the dark and cold before the 7 am start, I rolled off in the front pack going up the road climb. However, my legs were not really feeling it at the start, and I lost contact with that group coming downhill during the stairstep road climb. Hit the twisty fast singletrack, and I was immediately undergeared with my 32x20. One or two guys caught me in this section, but I made it through it fast enough. The rest of the ride through old copper road back to the whitewater center was uneventful.

My legs felt way off going up the first singletrack section. I got passed by 3 or 5 people on the first climb, which, as a skinny climber guy, is never a confidence booster. 5 or 6 miles later I hit the fireroad I would enjoy for the next 70 miles. Passed a few on some of the climbs, and the legs were slowly starting to feel better. 

A fast geared guy from Deleware caught me on a flat section, and I hopped on his wheel. Having somebody to pace off as we hit the next climbs of was a big boost to getting my rhythm back. After riding with him for 10 or 15 miles, I rolled away at an aid station to start the bigger climbs of the day. I slowly passed back 4 or 5 of the ss riders who had passed me earlier. 

The rest of the day went smoothly, although the long flat section was no fun, and the last 20 miles were oppressively hot. Hitting the singletrack was fantastic, but I managed to get caught by a ss guy, and lost 20 seconds on him by the end of the race. I finished up in 7:51 for 8th place in the ss. So 30 minutes faster than last year, and I gained one place. The 32x20 wasn't quite as nice in the dry conditions, maybe next year a 19 will be better...

Congrats to fellow knoxville finishers Gary, Ed, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth managed to take a wrong turn and got 10 or so bonus miles. I'm pretty sure she was loving it. Also congrats to the plethora of 29er crew guys and gals at the race. Lots of podium places and great finishes for the big wheels.


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