Monday, May 19

Pisgah 111K 2014

Despite the fact that I should be recovering in some sort of facility after this weekend's efforts, here I am up at 6:00AM, back at it.  Too much to do, too little time to do it.

Pisgah 111K start.  Something like 39°.  Small chance of the "r" word.

Neutral start down the road, bang a right, and it's on.  The pace is higher than last year.  I guess the lack of a downpour has everyone motivated to move.  We hit the base of Clawhammer, and things start to separate.  I see Bob Moss (my pick to win the single speed class) go off the front with the Sams (Evans and Koerber... more than likely the winners in the open men's class).  I can't respond even if I want to.

I'm in good company.  Strong SS'er Russel Henderson is in my midst, Zac behind me, single speeders I don't know.  So much competition all around.  We start the hike-a-bike up Black Mountain.  We're close enough to banter.  It's quaint mixed with pegged heart rates trying to zombie walk over Black.

We get to the top and the descent begins.  I hope to finally use the dropper, 140mm fork and 2.4 Ardent I just dragged up the hill.   I do.  I'm running in second place.  Down Turkey Pen, I push it even harder to maximize my advantage.  I catch up to Captain Morgan and get around him.  I'm happy... even though it's way too early to feel a positive emotion.  The nasty hike-a-bikes that are part of the Turkey Pen "descent" start up.  I look over my shoulder.  I can see Russell's egg shaped visor-less POC helmet behind me.  Unfortunate on two counts.

I tangle up in some vines trying to get past some dead fall.  Like seriously tangled up.  Heart rate through the roof as I want to get down Turkey Pen without Russell nearby.  Pretty much a sticky spider web that won't let me go.  Seconds seem like minutes and after the third untangling, I'm free at last.

Down near the bottom, I see Garth "Sideshow Bob Buju Banton" Prosser struggling with the most technical parts of the trail.  I go by him as he squeezes himself into the mountain laurel.  Things are great.  More smiling.  I come into the aid station, ask for a Threshold Bar, a volunteer stands aside, and there they are... sliced in half.  My brain doesn't acknowledge that.  I stick it in my mouth sideways and seconds later feel something bounce off my leg.  I now have an empty half of a wrapper in my mouth and a small bit of disappointment in my heart.  That was what I was planning on eating on the way up 5015.  Damn.

I hammer out the climb hoping to open up the gap on anyone behind me while trying to empty my bottles before the next aid station.  Just before getting there, here comes Garth and Captain Morgan pulling the gears to get around me.  Hitting 1206, I drop my post and out-coast them to the aid station to be first in line at the beverages.  I fill one bottle and the volunteers have me take a turn, allowing Captain and Garth to fill theirs and leave before I can get a second one filled.  They leave me headed up Laurel while I shove bacon into my mouth.

I've attacked Laurel the last two years knowing that it was the crux for me.  This year, it comes on much earlier, so I head up at a much more reserved pace.  I get caught by not only Russell but another single speeder, a thick fellow... looking much like the son of Bob Moss.  Damn.  I let them by, but I just try to figure out when I can make a move to get by them before going down the big nasty that is Pilot Rock.  After the Thousand Dollar Climb, they were getting chatty, so I put in an effort.  Only Russell responded... and then he left me.  I'll destroy him down Pilot... or myself trying.

The chase is on.  I extend myself too far and go over the bars on the first switchback.  The clock keeps ticking.  I go back to hunting him down.  I can see him further down the mountain a switchback below me.  I'm reeling him in.  The Humvee Section ahead.  This is where I will pass him.

I do, but not as planned.  He almost cleaned it but ended up in a heap of rocks.  He said he was alright, so I left him lying there.  On down Pilot taking risks and out alone.  Over to the Slate Rock/Pilot Cove inner loop, a trail I don't know very well, but when Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever asked me moths ago how to get some of the mileage back that we lost to logging, I said, "How about the inner loop?"

Great idea.

It starts mellow enough, but then more hike-a-bike.  Then more.  Then just a little more before some gnar-gnar descending.  I see the Captain ahead.  I pass him.  Then Garth at the side of the trail fixing a flat.  Sucks for him.  I hit 1206 and sprint for the final aid station.  The Captain and Garth come around me hot footed and moving.

At the last aid station, nothing looks yummy.  I fill one bottle and leave.  I motor up the technical bits of lower South Mills and when I hit the Wheelchair Ramp, I get on the gas.  The Captain ahead.  I blow by him like he's standing still.  Turn right on Black Mountain telling myself that this is the crux today.  Get over this and it's cake (Pisgah cake, which is not like cake at all).  So much "excite" knowing that I get to the descent down ALL of Avery Creek.  Another one of my dumb ideas to add mileage.  Halfway down, I start to hate me.  My calves are screaming, but no way I'm gonna undroop here.  Hover the butt and let it go.

477 back over to Clawhammer, up the most painful part, and turn onto Maxwell Cove.  I just pin it anywhere I think I can put in an effort... all the way to lower Black Mountain.  Up the hike-a-bike and the cow is in the barn.  I let it all go and up ahead I see a rider.  Garth.  Pure sweetness, a chance to Dick him.  He kindly lets me by and I drop all the way down into the finish.

Much jubilation at the end.  Second to Bob Moss who is becoming The Pflug of the South.

"Presenting the man that beat Garth Prosser but shouldn't have!"  ~ Sam Koerber

I'm pleased with that.  Although I mighta been able beat Bob at ORAMM last year, the man has been on a mission ever since.  Training like Rocky in Rocky IV all winter, he is on a tear.  Unstoppable. 

Mad props to Bob for either coming in fourth or fifth overall, and also stealing the glory of being the fastest man over forty away from me at the same time.  The linebacker that came in third.  Son of Bob... don't know him, but expect him to beat me at a race somewhere soon.

all images from Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever.


SlowPokePete said...

Nice finish! Congrats!


dirtdirt said...

good job. and all three of you guys on the podium equal about 12 foot of height.

Stephen said...

you suck, more like a Pisgah suck, cause when it sucks in Pisgah, its still awesome!

Anonymous said...

The thick guy who came in 3rd has a thick 3rd leg! Watch your back Dick!

Anonymous said...

ON ON!!!