Sunday, November 8, 2015

Coldwater Enduro Race Report

The only time I had ridden at Coldwater had been in August of 2012, when the first 11 miles of trail had just been built.  At that time, I wasn't all that impressed.  It felt like a never ending downhill pump track followed by a relentless climb up a series of loose, short, and steep little grunts that all looked the same.

After the memories of that trip had faded and with many more miles of new trail built, I decided to give the mountain another chance.  And what better way to experience it than at the hands of the 3rd Coast Enduro Series.  So after packing up after the Cahaba 50, I drove up Saturday night, set up camp, and slept beneath the hum of the power lines.  I opted out of the night enduro, but heard the next day that it was scarily fun!

I chose to see it as my lucky number.

After a solid night's sleep and a much more laid back morning, I pedaled off to the top of Talledega to the first stage.  I took it super easy on the transition, as my legs were barking after the previous day's effort.  Along the way I met some new friends, including Kayley Burdine, who was trying out this "new to her" enduro thing.

Talledega ... think wide open and fast!

Stage 1:  Talledega --> Trillium --> OHV trail --> Tortoise --> Hare. Everyone was just milling around at the top; no one but me, seemed eager to get started.  Finally "Mama Bear" yelled at the men to get their heads out of their a$$es and GO!  After a few fast dudes went, I hopped in line.  Attempting to go from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds hurt!  With legs screaming, I flew down the double track and hopped onto some sweet flowing single track.  Traction was better than I thought and I did not have to use the stoppers much.  The OHV trail reminded me of fall line Pisgah trail; no need to pedal here, it was all about finding the fastest line and not being bucked off by the large baby heads.  Tortoise and Hare were super flowy with a few tight switchbacks which had me going from 60 to 0 quickly.  Two dudes were riding up; they were lucky I came upon them during one of the tight turns or I would have been the bowling ball and they the pins!  Other than the long delay of stopping my transponder at the end of the run, I felt pretty good about it.

Stage 2:  New Trail --> Jump Trail.  This one was quite pedaly and I felt like a slug.  I also completely boofed the rock garden!  Being in too hard a gear, I had to dismount and run it.  That was costly!  In a couple spots with no confirmation taping, I slowed a couple times, wondering if I had missed a turn.  I thought this one was a short one and when it seemed to go on and on, I began to have doubts.  Finally I saw the white SRAM tape that indicated the finish was near.  I clocked out, mentally kicking myself for the mistakes.

Transition to Stage 3

Stage 3:  Talledega --> OHV trail --> Goldilocks.  Heading South on Talledega the left hand turn came up quickly.  Fortunately for me, but unfortunate for Eric, I had seen him go the wrong way down the double track and so knew to go left.  Later I heard that a couple others did the same as Eric. Goldilocks was fun.  The downhill pump track feeling that I hated 3 years ago I now thoroughly enjoyed!  I opted to roll all of them due to my tired legs and loose over hardpack conditions, but given a fresh body and hero dirt, I could see how it would be "oh so fun!" to send it!

Stage 4:  Bomb Dog Bypass --> Bombdog.  By far the funnest!  And, being 3 hours into the race, my legs were finally warmed up.  Feeling the flow, this run felt the best.  The trail rolled well, the corners were sweeping, and not much pedaling involved.  I tried to conserve every bit of momentum possible, concentrating on all the skills I had learned during the two skills camps I had taken this year. I felt really good about this run.

After pedaling back up to the Start/Finish area, it would now be a waiting game.  At least this time, I wasn't the first one done.  While waiting, I was able to clean up, eat, and break down my campsite. Finally the times were posted.  I was first.  Kayley came in second, but only because her mistakes were more costly than mine.

Ladies with mad skilz (but directionally challenged)!

I am glad I gave Coldwater a second chance.  I need to get back and explore the rest with fresh legs.

Thanks to Brent and Shelly for another nice event and cash payout!  I am looking forward to Cranksgiving.

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