Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stage 5

Stage 5 podium
 We lined up and the competition was ready.  I was tired, so I knew they were tired.  I had the advantage of knowing the route,  knowing their skills versus mine, and knowing where,  if things worked out, I would make my move.

I first attacked on the 2 mile gravel decent to Gloucester Gap.  I got a bit of a lead and settled in to my own pace up the gravel road toward Farlow.  Minutes later, Mike and Dave caught me.  I upped the pace and stuck to Dave's wheel.   I stayed there all the way until the last 1/4 of a mile.  He is strong as an ox,  Mike too,  and their pace was just a little higher than what I wanted,  or should be at so early in the race.

I let them go and continued pushing, past the gate, up, down, around and finally down to Farlow.  I rode cautiously, hoping I would see Mike and Dave on Farlow.  They don't like the wet rocks and roots.  I had prayed for rain, but was not granted my selfish wish!

Making the right turn onto the first rocky section of Farlow, I saw Dave,  walking.  I had ridden part of it, but was now walking as well.  He greeted me, I greeted him, then I put my trail running skills to use and dropped him like a hot potatoe.  I had to get a cushion on him because he can climb.  I was worried that I would not be able to keep his pace on the gravel road to Bracken.

I arrived at the sketchy creek crossing and spotted Mike on the other side of the valley.  I kept pushing.  He would be loving lower Farlow and Daniel's Ridge.  He was also geared a little higher than me so would be able to outpace me on the gravel, but he was also tired.

I enjoyed this section of trail as well.   I hit the gravel end of Daniel's Ridge, motored into the rest stop,   Karlos lubed my chain,  swapped bottles, grabbed a pb&j and rolled out.  The elderly lady that made the sandwiches said "Take two, their small".   I didn't have time.  I just smiled at  her and stepped on the gas.

Stage Race Overall Single Speed Podium.
Davidson River trail went by, right at the Fish Hatchery, then finally climbing.  The first pitch seems to be the steepest, so I pushed my pace up that and then settled in.  A few geared people caught me.  I was feeling good though, so after about 5 minutes, I started reeling people in.  I was focused,  I knew Mike could not be far and I was determined to at least get him in sight before the finish.

About 3/4 of the way up the gravel road that never ends, I caught up to the guy on the geared fat bike.  He mentioned that Mike was just up the road.  I was still feeling good,  pushing my limit for sure.  He offered to trade pulls.  We did for about a mile.   I was able to recover enough to keep going on my own.  Up and around the bend,  there was the wooden post,  signifying that Bracken was in a couple of hundred yards.  Just as I hit the single track, I saw the orange Poc helmet and the yellow leader's jersey.  There was Mike.  He was standing and I could smell weakness.  I stood and punched up the first little grunt climb.  My legs responded.  I was happy.

I caught Mike right at a long sweeping left turn.  He glanced back and said" Aw, S#^t! "  I  smiled and passed him on the inside of the turn.  I said"  Hello, Mike".  Then his single speed attitude showed through and he yelled" GO, Go GO!"    And I did,  like  a scalded cat,  like a bat outta hell,  like a.... well you get it.

My legs were burning.  Punch it, spin it, coast it,  what kind of idiotic maniac was I?  I thought about bike packing.  Then I focused.  Punch it,  coast,  lean, watch out for the acorns.   I glanced back a couple of times.  Pushed the bike up one steeper section, pedaled hard, and finally hit the last steep decent to the Brevard Music Center.

Wrapping around through the lot and follwing the CYMBL course,  I crossed the finish line in 1st place!  WOW.  A lot of whooping, hugs and high fives ensued. 

I have been racing for close to 8 years now, and this is my first time ever being 1st!   It feels good.


EndlessBikeCo. said...

congratulations Stephen! Singlespeed badass!

Anonymous said...

ON ON!!!

Mike Cosgrove said...

Well earned win that day! I'd like to think I could have pulled ahead had I known you were so close to catching me, but the fact is I was pretty cooked by then. Great work!