Cohutta Conclusion

Big, long downhill ended too quickly but before long arrived at checkpoint #4 got water, heed and salty chips and kept moving. Eventually the flat single speed hell part started (or so I thought) that Dholmes spoke of from last year. Pedal, pedal, pedal-coast, coast, coast-repeat. This was also the first real open section of the course and the sun was strong but again I like being hot so much more than cold, it didn’t bother me a bit. A little rolling up and down and then the REAL flat section began and it seeemed to last for-freakin-ever. Along the way I caught up to someone who looked familiar from way earlier in the day and sure enough it was one of the super-fast women from earlier Betsy Shogren-wife of East Coast mountain bike legend Gunnar. She had looked so strong earlier but now not so good, so we chatted for a minute and she told me that she started the day with a bad head cold and had considered not racing at all so it seemed that was catching up to her. As I slowly started to pull away, I thought I wouldn’t have gotten out of my tent if I had a cold, she is definitely hard core (she ended up 4th in pro women!!). On the flat hell went and finally some signage indicated that Sylco campground was close which meant the climbing to get back towards the WWC would have to be coming soon. Sure enough right turn on FR 221 and climb, climb, climb. Nice, smooth dirt road and in the shade made this not so bad and it actually felt good to not be on the flats. Got to another checkpoint and couldn’t believe I was at 5 already and sooned realized it wasn’t 5 but one of the 65mile race checkpoints as the 2 courses had converged recently. So, for me this was checkpoint 4.5 and there was an extremely jolly volunteer who offered up “ice towels” for my neck which were fantastic to really wake me up and get a quick re-charge. Kept rolling and eventually the road got gravelly and loose as the rest of the forest roads had been really fun and fast, this part was sucky but I knew downhill to the last bit of singletrack was coming soon enough. Got to checkpoint 5 and was asked by someone if I wanted water poured on my head and I was like “sure”. Well, he poured and didn’t stop when a normal person would have a I thought, “shit I am gonna drown at a rest stop in a 100 mile mountain bike race!!” He stopped when I started gasping for air, I told everyone thanks and kept rolling. I remembered from 5 to 6 was only 10 miles and the singletrack would finally come and this would soon be over. Got to 6, though about off-loading anything I might not need anymore but just kept moving-good on water and food-only 10 miles left! Started West Fork trail and hoped to just ride it all and not walk and somehow did but by the time I got to Quartz loop I felt bad and good ole flat, fun Quartz loop was an ugly display of slower than slow mountain biking. Good little downhill on the last part gave me a recharge and rolled down Bypass and to Chestnut Mtn. fairly good. Finally got to Thunder Rock and was so happy I thought I would cry, but also realized that crashing now would really suck because even if it wasn’t bad I still might not want to get up. Rolled fairly quick anyway, caught a couple of people who were happy to move over and near the bottom caught one more rider who was going pretty fast. I figured his pace was perfect, I’ll follow and soon be to the road. Well, he decided to take a hand off of his handlebar going around one of the last turns and nearly crashed big time. His bike went sideways and somehow he got his hand back on and didn’t die. Made it to the bridge and actually considered that I was real close to going 9 hours!! I had set my goal that 10 would be fine and 9 was possible if things were going good and I couldn’t believe it. Spun my brains out down the highway, crossed the bridge and looked at the clock as I went across-8 hours 42 minutes. Very happy to be done, someone handed me the “finisher” coffee mug and I rode back over to the car. Hammered poo- I just sat on the ground for a few and was thankful to be done. Soon I remembered I had beer and a purty new mug to drink out of…..

I knew Dholmes was ahead of me all day but didn’t see him around at first. When I found him he told me about his day and that he improved his time by like 20 minutes but only moved up one place in the overall. Still, 8th singlespeeder and 7:51 is incredible-such a stud and he didn’t even look like he had done anything…

Next our thoughts were of Ed and knowing he has been a riding fool, knew he would easily be finished in 10 hours like predicted. No sooner had we begun speculating than here he came up through the parking lot yelling at us and came in with a time of 9 hours and 19 minutes!!!!!!!!

I just hope when I’m approaching 60 years old that I can still do this at all much less haul ass like our man ED!!!

Still out were Daughter of ED, “little bit” and new friend Stephen. Ed was sure that “little bit” might have succombed to the heat and that she hasn’t done this before- not even a road century. But sure enough, because she is an extremely gifted athelete, probably somewhat stubborn (wonder where that could come from!) and just plain a bad-ass she came rolling in just over 11 hours and has even had a slight detour from the suggested route (wonder where that could come from!!). Awesome ride! We ended up gathering for the awards ceremony and some of the very average post-race food and Stephen rolled in looking tired but overall pretty damn good. I had found from talking to him the day before he hadn’t really done a ride exactly like this but has ridden alot and even hiked the AT, so to just keep going is never a problem for someone with the right mentality.

Finally loaded up to head back to K-town but had to do some tailgating at the Shake Shack just before Cleveland and that was the secret to getting me and the others back home-MMMMM, milkshakes!!

One Response to Cohutta Conclusion
  1. Mark Bishop
    May 18, 2009 | 11:10 am

    was lil bit out by the goats on her detour, ’cause if she was that would all REALLY make sense.

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