Well it is now Monday night and I am still feeling some effects from the Double Dare. Things did not go as planned or even hoped, but things did go one way or another. I headed down Friday night in hopes of getting some sleep. It was a long drive that was mostly in some rain. It was the first trip I have taken down there by myself and it sure makes the drive seem longer, but I made it. I crashed at my teammate’s house and made some race plans. I do have to thank Pisgah Productions and all of the volunteers that made this race possible. Also, hats off to all of the other racers that put in some crazy efforts out there and picked up a lot of check points.
Thanks to Brad O for the pic
Saturday morning came and it was time to get loaded up and head toward Cove Creek. We made a quick stop down town for breakfast before heading out. After we arrived it was time to set up the tents and get our gear ready so we could sign in. I didn’t have my pack ready because I was going to make some judgement calls on what to put in there as far as gear depending on weather. The other problem was that gear was not the only thing I didn’t have packed and had to start cramming things in there just hoping I had everything. We finally made it to check in and was still missing a few things, so after I ran back to the car to stuff more things in to my pack, put some air in my back tire and make a quick pit stop, I didn’t hear most of what Eric had to say for the rules.
Rick picked up our passport and we took a quick look at it to see what some options were. We were not really going in to this race with any thoughts of actually racing it. But, that didn’t mean that we didn’t want to do as good as we could. I know I am not in good enough shape to be a contender, so the plan was to hit the mandatory check point and see what else we could pick up. It was a long haul out to 276 and that was just to get started. We took a quick stop at 477 to look at the check points again when the Pisgah Works duo came rolling out of 477 having already picked up the Club Gap check point. We decided we might as well go pick that up on the way, so off we went. I was not climbing very well at this point already. I was doing fine on the flatter stuff, but just didn’t have the power to go up the steeper stuff so I had to drop in to the granny gear and that made progress really slow down. I ended up walking most of the way up to Club Gap to get the check point. I was hoping that my legs would wake up and start to do something.
Next it was decided to take the trail over toward Pilot and not to go back down the hill and hit the road. I really don’t know if that was a good decision or not, but I am fairly sure I walked more of the trail then I would have done on the road, but there were some teams going both directions. Next up on the agenda was to hike up Pilot Rock to the next check point. I have to admit I think I finally know how my teammate from PMBAR felt. I thought it was not that bad, but my legs were feeling a lot better then they were this day. I didn’t think the climb was ever going to end. I was having trouble walking and guiding my bike with out tripping over everything. After what seemed like 3 hours, we finally made it up to the rock. I knew there was some trail after that, but I didn’t think it would be horrible, but I was wrong. I could not believe how long it took us to get up to the check point from the rock. I don’t know how I didn’t just sit down and not move.
I kind of figured when we hit the check point I would just sit down for a while and try to re-group myself for the trip back down. But, there was a problem with that plan. It was freezing at the check point! I have no idea how cold it was there, but the wind was horrible and if I would have seen snow, it would not have been a shock. We tried to warm up a little with their fire, but it didn’t seem to matter. The first thing I did when I got there was to take some weight out of my pack. I wish I would have weighed it before we left. It felt like it was 80 lbs or more. The quick way to lighten the load was to take out and drink the 2 beers I had stashed in there for the top of Pilot. The beer was nice, but it would have been a little better if I could feel my fingers or toes.
We headed back down Pilot and were hoping that we could make it back to camp. At this point we knew that we were not getting any more check points then the 2 we already had. The easy way to pick up 2 more would have been to do the hike out to Mt. Pisgah, but after the climb up Pilot, I didn’t want to walk another step if I didn’t have to. The thing that did make me feel a little better was that we passed a few teams still going up as we were going down. There was also two more teams that were out on the hike.
The road ride back to the top of the Cove Creek trail took for ever. We had hoped to get back before dark, but a few miles before the trail we had to make a stop to put on our lights. At this point we figured out that Rick’s light was not going to work. It was freshly charged, but would not turn on. He had to put his back up little light on his head and use some of my light to make our way back. The trip down Cove Creek trail took way longer then I would have liked, but that was the norm for the day. My feet were freezing and I could not feel my toes or the front half of my feet. It hurt to get off and on the bike for the bridge crossings. Walking was getting more interesting each step. I was trying to not fall down with miss steps or cramp something any more then I was already feeling. Eventually we turned the corner and could see the fire allong with a bunch of people cheering.
We were not really expecting much, but that does not mean we weren’t disappointed with only getting 2 check points. If we would have been back sooner or still feeling stronger it might have been a little different, but the truth was that we were toast and didn’t have enough to show for it. It was decided l0ng before we made it to the bottom of Pilot that we were not going to wake up at 5:30 the next morning to head out for day two. But, this did mean we could hang out at the fire and watch everyone else come in and not worry about the next day.
Thanks to Brad O for the pic
What happened next I did not plan. Good times were being had by several and before long the group dwindled down to a small group. There were lots of laughs and good times being had by all. So much fun was being had that I could not believe it when I finally looked at my watch and realized that Eric would be up in a little bit to wake up the racers. Most of us stayed up to watch the racers head out for day two and as soon as I thought everyone was gone, I headed for the tent. I don’t think I moved an inch for the next 3,5 hours, then I must have rolled over and the blanket that was covering my head had moved and let a bunch of light in and woke me up. I covered myself back up for another half hour or so, but could not get back to seep good enough to stay there. I am sure everyone near by thought someone had a chain saw running getting some more wood for the fire, but it was just me trying to get a little rest.
I would never suggest that anyone ride around in Pisgah for 8 hours then stay up all night drinking only to get 4 hours of sleep before eating some breakfast and driving 7.5-8 hours home. I though the drive down sucked. Pft, that was easy. I don’t know if I will ever do this race again. If I don’t figure out how to become a lot stronger rider, it just seems like a waste. I would rather drive down to hang out and do a casual ride. It is not like our ride was easy, but not good enough. We ended up riding 36 miles and climbing a little over 5,000 ft of elevation. We might have actually gone farther, but it is hard to tell. My computer kept pausing because it thought I was not moving.