Last weekend was the first of three TT events in Dalton, GA. I have heard about this race for the last few years and thought it sounded like a blast, but was a little far to go 3 different times. The entry fee is one price, but you can race all events. This year I found a couple of guys to share the trip and expenses with to make it too inviting to pass up. I went a little safe and signed up for the 17 mile route, but kept it in the SS class. I had thought about taking and being “smart” and all, but I am not usually accused of being too smart. I was also thinking that since I signed up for the Big Frog 65 in the SS class, I might as well get some good training rides in.
I went down there thinking the worst. I heard all the horror stories about the trail and figured I might not be able to finish. My goal was to finish in under 3 hours. I was not holding my breath, but I thought it sounded reasonable.
The trip down was not bad and before I knew it, we were signed in and back at the room getting all of our gear ready. This is where I noticed that I forgot to pack my little bag of energy bars and gels. I knew I should have put some in the pack before I left. At least I didn’t forget my mustard this time.
The morning was filled with a lot of waiting. When it was finally my turn, up the hill I went. This was as far from how I like to warm up as possible. I was winded and my heart rate was threw the roof less than a mile up the trail. I had to walk a section or two, but was still climbing a lot for how bad I was feeling. I was burning up and had to stop to take off my arm and knee warmers. It is crazy that I was riding in January in shorts and a short sleeve jersey with only a short sleeve under armor on under that. No complaints on the weather.
The trail finally had some sections that was not all climbing and I could get my heart rate under control. This let my legs warm up and start to work correctly. I was not going to kill myself, but wanted to keep moving the best I could. I rolled up on to the rest stop and kept on going. I really should have stopped and ate something, but I was in my keep on moving mode. The food might have made a difference because for the whole ride I only ate a banana and 2 cookies. Not exactly what should have been on the menu.
The rocky section was rocky and technical, but for some reason all of the talk had me thinking it was going to be worse. There were a few sections that were real bad, but I had in visioned climbing the hum-vee section for 4 miles straight. The “wall” was not easy at all. After that, I kept looking for the antenna tower everyone said I would see near the end. It did not come as fast as I would have liked, but it did finally show up and it actually was all down hill from there.
I had one section in the rocks that my leg cramped when I came to a sudden stop. I had to stop and down a few mustard packets and I felt much better and moved on. Near the end I stopped to lend Garth a tube and pump so he didn’t have to run the rest of the way down the road. He had already been running way longer than I would have.
In the end I finished in 2:47 and 8th place in the SS class. I would be very happy if I was in 8th place for the age group, but I was not. I know I can go faster with a few modifications and a little effort on training. I will see if I can do enough to get stronger, but it might be hard to figure out if I really did ride better next month. It depends on the weather, but I am thinking about racing the 34 mile route. I heard that the first 17 miles are a lot easier then the last, but they never said they were easy.
I have to call this ride the shakedown ride because Jerry was singing to me about Shakedown Street at least 3 times during the ride. I don’t think I heard any other song more than once. I am just glad it liked a good tune.
1 down, 2 to go!