The Pisgah Enduro was on.
On the ride up, I started doing the math. Three school buses loaded with riders, one minute intervals between each rider on the timed sections...
Best to get up to the first one as soon as possible and not stand around in the woods all day waiting for my turn to shred. I got out of the bus as soon as non-rudely possible, headed straight to the trailer, unloaded bikes until I got to mine, and shot out of there slicker than snot. Up the first climb, I was in good company. Many fasties, including Thomas Turner, were on there way up early as well.
At the first timed section down Rattlesnake, I had very little idea what I was in for. I'd only ever climbed up it, and it had been years since I'd even done that. The course was rocky and full of surprises. In the back of my head, all I could think about was my trip to BC Bike Race in two weeks, the commitments I have up there, and a certain regard for my safety.
I made it down in an uneventful manner, talked to Eric really quick about how awesome that everything came together, and then ran off to the next timed sections with two riders from Liberty Bikes.
photo cred: Eric Wever
We got to Kitsuma a little faster than we were expected and ended up catching the timing crew on their hike to the top. We rode up to the start and I ran back down to offer them some help carrying the gear. Anything to keep moving. They didn't need my help, and as soon as they set up, I was on my way down Kitsuma.
photo cred: GoJam Media
Down at the bottom, the crew from Industry Nine was supplying the snacks. I may or may not have had a beverage (depending on local laws), shared some more tasty beverage with Sam from The Hub, and then headed over to Star Gap with the Liberty Bike boys once again.
We slogged our way up to the gap, me pushing my 32X16 when I could, walking when I couldn't. Once we got there, the timing crew got ready while the boys from Liberty took a break. More wanting to get on with the whole post-race fun than worried about my time, I noticed that my pleasure pace partners wanted to recover from the climb. I asked them if they cared if I just went first.
So I did. Down Star Gap, left on Jarrett Creek Road, and down the mountain until I almost ran into (maybe bumped) the timing volunteer. I talked to them real quick and rolled out and up the next climb to see just what a 32X16 might feel like at ORAMM.
Not so good.
Faster Mustache was running the timing on the final stage. I cued up my Pringles sound machine to "Pananma: Live" and took off once again. I blasted the lower section as someone might if they had already ridden it a thousand times before. Although I doubted the benefits of having a drooper post on gravel, it was pretty sweet being able to lower my COG and bury the bike in the turns. It was over almost as soon as it started, but maybe too soon. The battery operated timing device had gone to sleep, and it took a few attempts to coax a beep out of it. Unfortunately we would find out later that the beep was not my time but just the beeper waking up. No time for Dicky. Better me than someone who might have been aiming for a podium.
As planned, I rolled back into town quite early. I didn't want to be the first one back, but in my efforts to get a decent workout and ride as much of the climbs as possible, my haste was rewarded with a first place in the pleasure pace pounder class.
Also as planned, I got in my car, drove it to the camp three miles away, put up my hammock, changed clothes, and rode back to the beer where I spent the rest of my day.
photo cred: Eric Wever
As far as my final result, I had to pick a time for my final descent. I went with a decent but humble time and ended up just being just behind Sue Haywood by 21 seconds. I shoulda guessed lower.
All in all, quite an experience. While the format may not be my overall style, it was neat to see a different crowd at a Pisgah Production event. Based on the success and very limited number of hiccups, I'm pretty sure we're going to see this event come back in 2014...
I have a good hunch that it's gonna be even better (bigger, gnarlier, beastier).
And yes, even though it's my 44th birthday, I still woke up at 5:30 so I could blog, fold laundry, pay bills, balance the checkbook, and hopefully get in a fifty minute commute to work this morning.