Basic Cohutta Race Write Up:
7 am. start- Rain- It wouldn't stop for 5 hrs. Very fast up the 1st climb. About 200 in my category. I'm cruisin' about 15-20 guys back in the pack. Someone attacks with "old school fury" over the top of the climb and I come off. Not wanting to go that hard, I back off and figure I'll settle in with the 2nd. group. There are about 30 in the front group. Surprise- no one in sight behind me. I guess the top 35 or so guys blew off the front and left everyone else ASAP.
This worked pretty well for me because I had a clean shot at the singletrack when we hit it. I started picking guys off pretty quick once I hit the trail. This went on for awhile, suffering on the climbs and recovering on the downhills. Putting out as little effort as possible while still maintaining decent speed.
About a mile and a half from the first aid station I break the chain. Great- no tool, couldn't find it in the toolbox before I left. No one had one so I figured my race was over and walked the mile and a half to the aid station. Hung out there for awhile as no one there had a tool either. Finally, after about 10 mins., I hear a guy coming up the hill with a flat tire. He was hollerin' out to see if anyone had an air cartridge. I said " I've got 4 for you if you've got a chain tool!" He had one and dropped it for me while he filled his leaky tire.
Game on again. I figured I just lost about 30 spots and 15-20 mins., but it was a long race and anything can happen. So, on I go- trying to stay steady and not chase too hard. I know how hard this race is and I'll need it later.
For the next 5 hours, I steadily pass people back. I keep it nice and steady doing damage control on the climbing and punch it hard on the rollers-making up time there and on the downhills. I meet up with Nathan around 50 miles in. He is cramping pretty bad and we get separated after a few miles.
Finally, after 92 miles I hit the last aid station and the last climb of the day. I stay as strong as I can up the singletrack and top out at 94-95 miles. All downhill from here. I have to struggle to keep it togather on the downhill as I'm coming apart at the seams and having problems focusing on the trail.
Mile 99- out of the singletrack and on to the bike path to the finish. I spy Floyd Landis and Chris Scott ahead. I pin it then figuring I might have to turn myself inside out but I'm gonna try to catch them. I come up fast and go as hard as I can. I come by fast and they can't really react as I drill it to the finish. I'm cramping badly and hope I don't crack and get passed back. That would be embarassing. I hold it out to the line, almost catching another guy but running out of racecourse. I ended up 24th place. Not too bad with the mechanical and all ( had to repair the chain one more time too). Exhausted, Nathan and I eat, pack up and head home. DH