Sub 9 Death March, where does one even begin? Friday night I crashed at my teammate’s house. He cooked us up some good grub and we did some hydrating. We crashed as early as we could and had plans worked out for the next day. The morning came way too fast as usual. I am glad he heard his alarm because some how I had set my alarm an hour off and we would have really been late. Breakfast burritos were made and we hit the road as soon as we could.
The drive over was only made more interesting by the choice of last nights supper. We had some dueling window operations happening, but not sure who won. The drive time was questioned and I was told it should have been adjusted if he knew I was going to drive like a woman. I thought I was driving sensible for the conditions of the roads we were using. I would like my car to last longer then the pay off date.
We finally rolled up to the camp area and had to park back at the end of the road. We were told that the riders meeting was getting ready to happen and we should head up to the start. We were not dressed and ready, but went to sign in anyway. We listened to the instructions and followed the leaders back toward my car. We made a quick change of clothes and off we went.
We hit the first check point, Fleetwood, rather quickly as it was just down the road. We heard what the rest of the mandatory check points were, but the plan was to hit all of the check points anyway. After the pictures were taken, we headed off the long road to Elkinsville. Part of the way out Combs road we finally saw our first rider, but he was going the other way. I didn’t think the 20 min. late start would have us not seeing any other rider, but maybe we were going about this the wrong way. We finally reached the check point, took our pictures and turned around to head down that long dirt section called a road toward the area we just left. Two check points in and a lot of time invested. I hoped some of the other check points came along a little quicker.
We did see a few other riders on Combs road. We even saw two different people running with their frame over the shoulder. The only issue was that they didn’t have any wheels!! We were wondering what on earth could happen that you would want to say screw it and leave your wheels behind?
The next two check points were not as bad to reach. We started running in to a few of the same people, so it helped us feel like we were not completely out of touch with the race. After the 4th check point it was time to head in to the woods for the Callahan check point that can only be reached by trail. I loved this section. It was great to be in the dirt and the trails were in great condition and a lot more fun then some of the gravel we rode.
Next we headed over to the Hickory check point. My original plan had us going down the trail to get there, but the other group was taking the road and I think the legs were starting to think maybe the road was faster (or easier). It did take a bit to finally get there, but not too long. Shortly after the pictures were taken, it was time to make the long journey out to Mitchell. There was a little talk about heading back at this point, but it was decided that we were out that far we needed to go for the next two check points.
The road up to the turn off to go to Todd was longer then expected. It felt good to finally get to that check point. We took a little breather and headed toward the fire tower. The plan was to climb the fire tower and get that extra check point. It was very windy up there and the tower was swaying a lot. It was much harder going down the stairs in the bike shoes then going up, but the view up there was worth the trip.
As we finished that stop and started to head down the road, Damon was not going for my plan anymore. He said my map was faulty and we should have gone to the next check point sooner. He said his legs were not going all the way to the bottom of the hill just to turn around and climb back up. At this point we had 9 out of the 10 possible check points and plenty of time to hit the last one. I kept putting it out there that we could have ALL the check points, but he was not having it. The map maker was to blame. Oh well, it seemed like a good plan. I guess we should have hit it before going out Combs road. Maybe next year we can do it a different route.
We ended up right around 50 miles of good times and 9 out of the 10 check points. Both of our legs were toast at that point and just happy to get back to the car. We ran in to Greg on the trip in and Damon flagged him down. We had found his camera at one of the last check points. With out the camera they got a DNF and were headed out to look for it. He returned the favor by supplying us with a much needed beer.
For it being a “race” I did not feel like we were at the right place. We only saw a hand full of the almost 200 people that were out there. We never saw the sag vehicle and only a few other cars, mostly ones leaving as we were heading back. The parking lot was almost empty as we returned. We had no idea how we finished, who won anything or anything. This is one thing that I don’t like. I have felt this way at PMBAR and some other stuff too. You are out there all day, but with in the time limit and it seems that when you finish you are a few hours too late. I know there was a lot of stuff to give away, but I have no idea how that worked. All I know is if they pulled my name out, I was not there to get it and no one came running to me that I won anything when we finished. Oh well, I was not there for that. I was there for a great time on the bike. Both of those things were had and the weather was perfect!
I would like to thank all of the people who took the time to put this on. The Sub 9 group, especially Jonathan, Tania and Charles!! Great job!
Edit: It turns out that we finished 61st out of 95 teams.
I will return next year, with less waiting! 🙂