Fast. There is a small amount of climbing but it’s short maybe 0:45-1:00 per section at the most. The rest of the course is flowy single/doubletrack with some roots some gravel and some berms. There are a lot of places that aren’t designed to be jumps that just end up that way due to the speed that can be carried through the course. This year is was dry but not too dry as it had rained earlier in the week. Portions of the course flow along next to Lake Hartwell and the views are kind of nice if you can spare a glance. No tech, 3-4 wooden bridges.
What did you ride?
Completely stock Charge Cooker Hi 29er, size M.
Stock Maxxis Prowler SL Race 2.1 in the front and Continental Race King Pure Grip 2.2. Both tires were right around 25 psi but this was too low. I had some seriously scary self steer on a flat drop in and overall I was just too low for some of the roots. I slow-flatted the front in the last 3-4 minutes but rode it in to keep my placing. Only got passed by one rider even though I was riding at minimum speed.
Same stuff as the last 2 weeks. Starbucks double shot, 5 sourdough pretzels for breakfast. Clif bar before the start and then 1 pack of shotbloks after lap one and half a clif bar after lap 2. I only drank a bottle and a half and probably could have eaten a little more but I really felt ok. I wanted to put coke in my small bottle but forgot – maybe next time.
Where’d you start?
Like fourth row – the organizer said there were 300+ racers overall and the results sheet shows 177 placings for the 3 hour so about half were 6 hour I guess. Anyway, I camped the start off to the side and still only got fourth row. I was probably 50th place or so going into the singletrack and ended up passing maybe 15 people on the actual course and then another 10 or so on the uphill pavement section. Some dude crashed on the start but I avoided any issues there. It was kinda a drag standing for 20-25 minutes but totally worth it. Passing was difficult for much of the course and I didn’t have the legs to really do much more than I did. Had no problem maintaining my pace but that extra 10-15 seconds to pass and get separation can really blow me up.
Second place by only 46 seconds! Nice! 23/177 overall! I only got three laps but only 12 people managed to pull of four laps.
Notes to future self?
- Stretch all the time! I spent the entire week working my back, hamstrings and hips and it really helped. I had no back issues the entire race.
- Preventative maintenance is important! I’ve been lazy since I got the bike back in May 2016 and ended up having to service the fork lowers and replace the seals on Thursday before the race as well as the front brake pads and fixing an issue with loose axle nuts. Any one of these could have caused a major delay so in the future I need to do anything to the bike at least two weeks before race day.