|The view from the finish line.|
The first stage was short. Called the Blue Moon Hill Climb, it was 12 miles and 2000 vertical feet on a mix of pavement, gravel, double track, and single track. The finish was in a high end mountain development. To get to the start, I got to "warm up" with a 7 mile, sketchy a$$ descent down a gravel road that has not seen rain in a month. Like riding on marbles. Some poor soul blew the tire off his bike within the first mile; how he managed to stay upright, I do not know.
|At least my bike had her race face on.|
True to Todd Branham's races, the start was Leman's style. I was the first to mount my bike and hit the short section of relatively flat to slightly downhill pavement. Within minutes Amanda blew by me, almost causing me to go into a tailspin. I recovered and was able to latch on to her wheel. Soon enough Sue was up with us as well.
As soon as we turned onto gravel, the road pitched up and I popped off. What's up, legs? We are not going that fast. But my legs suddenly turned into cinder blocks. I was able to keep my competition in sight, but I knew that today was going to be just about surviving. Coach told me that today was not going to be pretty, but that we would use it as my "leg opener."
When I started on the trail, I was bouncing all over the rocks. I don't know if it was my suspension or me not being "at one" with the trail, but I felt like I was on a pogo stick. People started passing me right and left and I lost sight of Sue when I had to get off and push up a few sections ... which I should not have had to do. I was expecting the trail in the Dupont State Forest to be smoother, but this trail was like riding up a dry creek bed. Still, it WAS rideable.
I popped back out onto some more gravel grinding and seemed to find my flow a bit better. The gravel climb back up to Blue Moon was steep and loose. Turning back into the development, I was treated to more single track, albeit hiking trail. Lots of steps and bridges and the last 1/2 mile up to the finish was just heinously steep. How I managed to ride it all with crappy legs was a miracle, but I did.
I crossed the finish line in 1:11:39. I was in third! But of course, there were only 3 of us. Oh, well, I was only a flat tire behind Amanda and Sue so I still had hope that I could reel them in!
|Zeke raced his new SS!|
I managed to give away quite a lot of Chamois Butt'r product. One racer made the embarrassing mistake of stopping by to pick up some product in the middle of me changing back into civies! He later introduced himself as P. Tom (as in Peeping Tom). After he regained his composure, which wasn't until Stage 5, we had a good laugh.
|Turkey and avacado on sourdough with pasta, chips and homemade cookie.|
Post race food was from Poppies, a local grocery in Brevard, that also serves delicious sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas. The post-stage vibe was very good as racers hung around to partake in the vista, food, and beverage. Kudos to Todd and Co. for stepping it up. I was looking forward to Stage 2.