Sunday, August 24, 2014

Savage CX, 2014

I finally did it.  I rode and finished my first endruance CX race.  And I enjoyed it.

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
I stopped at aid station 2 briefly to refill, take some Coke shots and move on.  The route took us down some steep sandy, gravely soft forsaken FS roads for about another hour before spitting us out onto pavement. 

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!! 

No comments: