Saturday, Team Ed began its 2009 campaign of the NUE hundred-mile mountain bike race series in what is as local as it gets for this series with the race being held at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. For those that don’t know, the big single loop (which is the best format ever because it really makes you commit to the full distance) starts with a run up the highway, then Brush Creek, down Boyd Gap, Old Copper Rd back to the WWC, up Bear Paw, Riverview, then this crazy gravel/dirt road extravaganza that takes you into Georgia for awhile or a long while, up to near the top of the Cohutta mountains, back into TN, in from the backside (the best way) to the WWC trails, up West Fork, Quartz loop, Bypass, Chestnut Mtn., back over and down Thunder Rock, up the highway to finish-WHEW indeed.
The week before started well enough for me and Ed, he was still riding some, bike was in great shape, I chose to put a bunch of new parts on (usually a bad idea right before a big event) new fancy, stupid-light wheels which required new tires (of course) and going tubeless for the first time. New chain, chainring and cog (it was time), new BB (it was way past time) and I chose to not really ride feeling like rest was important. As the weekend got closer I started thinking about accommodations because you basically had to be there the night before anyway to pick up race packets and thought camping-would have to get there early Friday cause Thunder Rock would fill up fast or cabin or Ocoee Inn. Luckily I found Stephen on knoxvillecycling message board and his plan was to attend Cohutta and get there early on Friday. He called and said it would be no problem to have myself and if anyone else showed up hang out at his campsite. This was good as everything seemed to be falling into place for a good day-lighter, blingier bike, needed rest (still waiting to get busy at work), lodging, and most important the weather was looking perfect-no rain, maybe gonna be hot by the afternoon but after this winter and riding at temps below 20 more than once, heat is a good thing!
Left work early Friday and got to the campground, met Stephen, watched an installment of the Redneck Summer Games- ropeless rock climbing, and the best event “how big of a fire can we build that escapes the fire ring an threatens to scorch the whole campground” impressive stuff and luckily no lives were lost. Daughter of ED and DHolmes showed next and were happy to find us and have a place to pitch a tent. Ed got there a little after 9 and is always perfectly happy to sleep in the back of the Element.
Did some reading, trying to relax, slept good.