I lined up with over 100 other racers in Nebo NC on Saturday morning for Savage CX. A 50 mile mostly gravel route from Nebo, circumnavigating the Linville Gorge. If I didn't know the area, I would not have know that we were circling both some world class climbing routes and world class kayaking. Why not add a world class cycling route to the mix?
The temp at the start was just under 80. It was already warm and I knew this would play a factor in my race, but I did not know how much of a factor.
Cam, the director said go and we were off. I watched my heartrate and found my pace. I never really fell in with a group because I didn't know what to expect and didn't want to overdo it, burn my matches too early.
On the first climb I got passed by quite a few people. It was blazing hot and I didn't want to overheat. So, I took my time. As we got higher, the temps started to cool. After about an hour, I checked the thermometer and it said 73 degrees. I picked up the pace and started reeling people in.
|photo: Blue Ridge Mtn Revival|
I hit rest stop 1 in good spirits, reloaded and headed out. Onto some pavement then up Gingercake acres. Some jerk had moved an arrow sign in here and I caught up to a group of fast people who had taken the wrong turn and detoured.
Unfortunately, I had too much air in my tires and could not keep up on Table Rock Rd. Everyone had told me about the horrible climb in the first 1/3 of the course. No one had mentioned the fun downhill gravel road in the second 1/3. So much fun, swooping down, in and out of the contours of the mountain!
|photo: Blue Ridge Mountain Revival|
Being back down in the heat of the piedmont, I could not push the pace. My legs felt great but my head and body were roasting. I spun along the last 10 miles of the course, on pavement, holding a survival pace. I could see lake James and wanted to swim. When I crossed the Linville River with 5 miles to go, I could not resist. I stopped and got in. I watched as people rode by. I did not care about losing spots, only about living to finish.
Eventually, Jason Morgan came along and we rode together to the finish. I was thankful that he came along, as chatting with him lifted my spirit and helped me to enjoy the ride to the end.
Great course and great race. I placed 24th in my cat and finished in 4hrs and 30mins!!