Hey Seuss!

And I don’t mean the good doctor, I mean it only in the most biblical of senses. I swore up and down that after the last solo 12 hour race at haw ridge (a long time ago) combined with my first big loop event, that the lap thing may never happen again. Part of my love for hundies, especially SM100 is the big loop format- gotta keep goin, no reason to stop. The multiple laps give you a chance to a) get bored and b) quit easier. Not into to quitting, but mentally tougher for me to keep going in the same circle. Anyway, due to scheduling conflicts it started looking bad for another shot at the Mohican 100 in Ohio, so given that I (and ed somewhat) was a fired-up after Cohutta there needed to be something long and painful to fill in the gap. Since I am always looking at race calendars just to see if there is something interesting that we haven’t done and because I know a very flexible schedule is the way to succeed in life, finding the 12 hour race at Tsali seemed to be the perfect fit. Only a 2 hour drive, and for me a trail system while very fun, somewhere that I had not ridden in several years which the idea was, would keep the boredom at bay. Thankfully a long-time friend from the neighborhood was going and had done this race before so he could answer all my little questions regarding rules, the start, etc. Plus, he got over there early and got a great campsite and had a giant pile of firewood. Drove over Friday night through a few showers, but it didn’t look like it had rained all day, so the hope was trail conditions would be o.k. Nice thing was no pre-dawn start (11 am) bad thing was it rained some before sunrise and a little more before the race started. Oh well, at least once it stopped that looked to be it on the rain, not like at Cohutta where you knew it was coming to kill you at some point later in the day! Silly ass greg lemond start, running up a gravel road for 1/4 mile, then on the bikes to start the 11 mile loop- up county line road (gravel, climbing 3 miles) then around on the right loop (singletrack!). Shaggy of SCO/bike zoo was there also doing 12 hour solo SS, and we hooked up immediately and seemed to be perfectly matched pace-wise. Our pace seemed a little ambitious given we had to ride all day and that it was muddy, but it was hard to go slow- the trail is very fast in many spots, so we just let it rip. Talkin’, jumpin’ making motorcycle sounds- we were having a blast and I’m pretty sure we were running first and second for those first few laps. We each had small spills, and going into lap 4 finally eased off the gas a bit to try and settle into a more reasonable pace. Bad thing for Shaggy was when he crashed, he caused some cramps and he never was right again- it would have been really fun to have ridden with him all day. Somewhere along the day the 6 hour folks finished- Sean, also of SCO/bike zoo- who got 5th place! and our own ED- who rode SS (no separate class) to 15th overall!!!! He was coming off being sick and was smart about doing 6 instead of 12 and rode the SS just cause (he’s a badass). This was good because once they got cleaned up they were around our pit area and helped keep me motivated- funny how doing this makes you tired at some point! Only dumb rule for this race was they had a mandatory time for you to have your light, so I rode two laps with my light but didn’t need it at all- not that those few ounces mattered but I’m just saying…….. Seemed to be in third, but the guy behind me had some kick left, and I was just riding to at least do a hundred miles (9 laps) and then decided to actually get a real night lap in where I used my light and went out for number 10. Had time to start an 11th lap but it would not have changed my position, so I easily stopped at 10:20 pm for a grand total of 110 miles off-road (new most ever mtb mileage in one day for me) and 1 billion calories burned. Crazy thing was to ride that many miles and it was only good for 4th in SS, but that was 6th overall solo. Fast people out there everywhere! Great event (Gone Riding puts this on) trails got super fun as the day went on and they dried out a bit and I got yet another ultra under my belt- eye on the prize come labor day weekend!

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