Today was going to hurt. 39 miles with 8000 ft of climbing would hurt on a road ride, throw in some boulders, roots, stream crossings and black bears and its really gonna hurt.
After dropping the kid off at school, I took of to the start and made it with 20 minutes to spare. I got changed and lined up. Knowing that today was going to start with lots of climbing leading to a 45 minute hike a bike, I took it easy.
After 2 hrs I made it to the first rest stop. At this point, Jason, who was fighting to get 5th back passed me. We yo yoed a couple of times and he finally got a gap and I didn't see him until the finish.
There is so much going through my head right now, the pain, wanting to give up, thinking of bailing out, hanging in there, enjoying the ride, having a blast, dreading the race etc. I ran through the whole gammut of emotions today.
But, when I turned onto Clawhammer then to Maxwell, I knew that I had ridden within my limits today. I was able to step on the gas and crank up the climb to the last decent. That felt good.
It felt even better that I beat last year's time by approximately 14 minutes!!
Tomorrow Stage 5: Transylvania Loop 42 miles 6200 feet of climbing!