Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Iron Mountain race report

I'm way behind blogging, tooo much to do at work and when I go home I'm either riding cleaning bikes spending time with the wife, taking care of the garden/yard, or driving 14 hrs round trip on a weekend to go to a race. Yes. I'm busy.anyways, left Friday at noon and arrived in Damascus, Va. around 7:00.
Got settled at the "Inn" 1920's home with beautiful hardwood floors and very old windows, right on main street Damascus. Went out for dinner to a "bistro" that look more like a backwoods country restaurant. The food was good but when we got the bill I almost choked on it. $45 for the two of us with only one beer. Reminder to self, when in a country "bistro" check the menu for prices.
Next day for breakfast we went to another country place and it was the same thing. It is a small town and once you are there they got you. One thing I did like was the fact that there was no restaurant chains or Starbucks anywhre in town and they want to keep it that way.
On to the race again; a light rain fell all day Saturday with temps in the 60's, I kept looking at the weather and it was 86 and sunny in northeast Ohio with the knob double enduro going on in my back yard. Sunday race day came dry and cool. We took off at 8am, 105 racers with an escort through the center of town and the race began once we turned unto the Virginia Creeper trail which is a rails to trails kind of tow path trail, 2 miles here before hitting the single track. I paid the price for not paying attention where I was in the "peloton" and as soon as we hit the VCT I fell behind the single speeders and slower riders and then it was a time trial trying to catch up to the main group. By the time I did catch up it was the start of a very tough longer that a mile rocky rooty single track climb and I was half gassed from TTing the trail. Rode up it a little bit and had to dismount and walk the rest of the way because I was slipping all over the place and the long line of people pushing the bikes. The rest of the race it was either up or down, whatever was flat it really wasn't flat, it just looked that way. Flew past station one and on to aid station two where I refueled for the long "journey" to station 3. 18 miles of climbing, rock strewn downhills 3-6 mile long grinding gravel climbs. Rode with a couple of guys for a while but most of the time I was by myself. Between 2 and 3 I was on a long gravel climb when I heard something rolling down the mountain, not 50 feet in front of me a baby bear popped out of the woods, stopped for a few seconds, looked at me and kept going. I'll be honest, I got scared thinking "mama' bear is somewhere near here. That was the best I climbed all day, tour the france style, standing up dancing on the pedals, wings on my back, take me home country roads flying up that road like I had a "Cancellara" device in my seat tube (for those of you that follow road racing in Europe). anyways to long of a post makes it boring so I'll finish/ Rode by myself until the end from there (about 20 miles). The race ended down one of the most fun trails I've been in a while, fast, rocks, roots where I hit a rock so hard I burped and slashed the rear tire. 3 wasted co2's a blown tube later I thought "I'm walking down the rest of the way" Another racer stopped gave me his spare tube and even waited for me to make sure I was going to be able to get going. Flat fixed, I take off and to my surprise a 1/4 mile later there was the finish line. I could have run the bike down and finish in under 7 hrs. 7:06 with over 7500 feet of climbing, 55 miles for the day. Great trails, lots of climbing, pain, a few cramps I was able to fight off but a great time and for all the rain we got on Saturday, the trails where in great shape and only a few mud holes. I'll post the few pics I have later when I have time.

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