Monday, September 28, 2009

Rampaging Black Bears

Two weekends ago I headed down to the Ocoee Whitewater Center for the Black Bear Rampage. I have to admit I was excited, as the trails at Tanasi are one of my favorites. I had also done this race the past two years and enjoyed it. New for this year was a lengthening of the course for Pros and Experts from 40 miles to 60 miles. With probably 58 miles of the course being singletrack, you get more singletrack here than most every NUE hundred miler.

With a less than 2 hour drive, I headed down the morning of. Nutrition for the race looked to be interesting, as there were no SAG drops. Forgetting to check my stock of gels/bloks was a bad move, as I only had a ½ pack of Clif Bloks, and one Clif Shot. Luckily I was well stocked with Infinit, and decided to carry 2 bottles of Infinit, and then carry plastic bags with servings of Infinit so I could just refill with water and dump the powder in.

I have a history of not drinking enough at this race, as the first year I did it on 2 bottles, and died during the last singletrack section. Last year, I made it comfortably on 3 bottles for the 40 miles, but also had someone to hand me the bottles.

I ended up racing the pro/open class, and they started us off with all the experts as well. [That's right, I raced with gears...{insert gasp of shock}]The 3 mile road climb was not that great, and I entered the singletrack 15 seconds or so off of the front group of 8 or so. I rode with Shane Schreihart through all of brush creek and old copper road until we got almost to the whitewater center. We turned to climb up the singletrack, and my legs immediately hated me... I had nothing.

I suffered up to the top of thunder rock, made it down, and had some more less than awesome times going up the fireroad and singletrack climbs aftewards. I stated to feel better on the rolling sections, and finally felt good as I started the second loop of the Whitewater center section. Unfortunately, it was way to late to be “racing.”

I enjoyed the rest of the ride though, and finished up in 4:4Xish, for a nice DFL in the Pro/Open... Although, I guess I can console myself that regional stud Andy Applegate was only one place ahead of me... Maybe we had the same day.

But I can't complain at all about getting to ride 60 miles of rockin singletrack on a perfect Sunday afternoon...