Sunday, August 26, 2012

Savin' Trails

Photo Cred: Pisgah Area Sorba

I signed up for the 45 mile Epic ride and Epic is what I got. 

The wife worked the night shift, so I got up, ate, packed and waited.  She rolled into the drive way  and I rolled out for the close to 1 hour drive to Guion Farms in Dupont State Forest.   I had a couple of goals for the day. 
  • finish in time to get to downtown Asheville for Shindig on the Green and Okie Dokes BBQ
  • finish
  • maintain a 10mph avg
  • and finish
I made it to the start with plenty of time to spare and chatted with the likes of Joel Watson, Frank Obusek and others.  I got changed and got ready.  Ate some more, waited, won some socks in the raffle,  waited, ate something.  When it was finally time to go,  60 of my best friends and I headed down the hill and into the woods.  I'm glad this was not a race, because the pace led out not too fast.

We were bombing down hill and the energy from the group behind built up, causing the leaders to miss the first turn.  Brakes squealing, tires sliding, sharp turn and we are rolling again.  I go into the woods in about 10th place (its not a race) and pick out some nice lines.

I don't pay too much attention to my goals, but keep a steady pace, riding within my limits.  I'm excited to have been able to work out my nutrition and hydration and have had success in my recent training rides.  Today will be a test of everything I have done over the past year.

Somewhere, I join the  foursome of Ian, Jane, Jon and Phil.  I ride with them for a while,  pull ahead on some gravel roads, they pass me on the downhills,  we yo yo and then they go ahead.  Or so I thought.  After aid station 2, I hear people behind me and it is the fantastic four.  We are all confused at how that happened, and try to figure it out, but cannot.

I ride with them for a while, but then start feeling really hot and a little nauseous so I let them go.  I know that in order to  finish, I have to go my own pace and with what I think is 25 miles left to go,   it is not time to push it yet.

At the top of Cedar, I hear voices and once again it is the fantastic four.  

We roll on, and split up again.  Yo yo.  

And then I start to have a bad day.  I'm hot , tired, time is ticking, I have reached 45 miles and we are on the wrong side of Dupont.   After a series of ups and downs,  Jane comes through with a cue sheet and we follow her advice.

What threw me for a loop was following the orange tape and doing some loops and trails, the same direction for the second time that day.   I'm not sure if the route was mis marked or what, but we definitely went the long way around.   We had enough food and water, but the time window was running out.

My legs were feeling good, and if the temps had been cooler, I think I could have pushed it.  But I did not dare do that.

I followed Jane, the cue sheet and the cursed orange tape, and made the final turn.  See the parking lot brought a wave of fatigue and relief. 

52 miles, 5.5 hrs, and 9.5 mph avg.

Considering the heat and extra mileage, I was very pleased with that result. 

I rolled up to the shelter,  and was aware that people were there.  I saw some coolers and headed for them hoping for a coke.  Someone said "Hey" and I thought it was Jon Stang.  It took me a couple of seconds to figure out it was Chris Strout.  I asked for Coke and I received Coke.  It was a good day.

With no time to spare, I headed to the truck, changed, drove home showered,  drove downtown, just in time to make my 4pm appointment with bluegrass and bbq!!

Can't wait until next year.

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