Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rivers Edge Mountain Bike Marathon

   Work commitments threw the training schedule into disarray lately.  Usually I like being an adult, but sometimes it seems overrated...

   I had to skip Fools Gold 100 mile MTB race last weekend, but I did get to race the final 2 Southern Classic races at Bur-Mil Park and Dark Mtn the last 2 Sundays.  In order to keep the training volume up I did a long road ride after each of the races.
   The Sizzler at Bur-Mil started out damp (and rooty) so I mounted up some tires I wanted to evaluate in case of rain for Pisgah next month.  They worked well, but I got a lousy start and wasn't feeling super speedy.  I ended up 7th.

   Dark Mountain went much better.  There wasn't much time to sprint before the single track and I got tangled up in the field.  The climbing and descending suited me pretty well and I was able to chase back to 3rd.  As an interesting aside, I got to see 2 spectactular endo's real close-up. 

  Today I was back on schedule to race Rivers Edge, a 50 mile race, as a warm-up to Shenandoah next month.  The venue moved from USNWC to the Wood Run trails at Uwharrie.  I had never raced at Uwharrie before.  I heard it was kinda rocky and that people flat there pretty regular.  This caused some concern when the rear tire I planned to race punctured during the Wednesday night race at USNWC.  Undaunted, I mounted another one up for the race today (I got 'em on a promo deal).

   The rocky report proved accurate, although the rockiest parts were similar to what Trans-Sylvania epic would bill as "sweet single track."  The smaller loop was sweet single track and provided a chance to recover. 

   We started on a gravel climb.  Being new to the trails I tried to fall into a speedy group, but not a crazy-fast group.  I've been working on my starts, so I decided to push it a bit on a long double track climb.  Every MTB'er knows that a long double track climb is followed by a single track descent.  I passed most of the folks I had been riding with in order to get a jump on the singletrack.  The Trans-Sylvania experience was paying dividends on the rocky descents:  I was able to gain ground on most riders, or at least not give-up any.

   It took me a couple of laps to get into a rhythm to accurately gauge my efforts but eventually I was able to figure out when the most strenuous climbs were approaching.   I was able to ride them all, but the last couple of laps it was only with the use of my smallest 2 x 10 gear.  The tires I chose held up well - a reasonable compromise of grip vs. fast rolling.  They were perfect for 80% of the trail.  The other 20% was a bit hairy at times causing a few tense moments.  Fortunatlely there weren't any silly 60 foot drop-offs like at ORAMM or Cohutta.

   So, after 5 laps around the ~10 mile course I managed to come in behind a duo team and Kenda racer Rick Pyle.  I was pleased with that result as it gives me some momentum heading into Shenandoah.  Another place I haven't seen before...

   The post race food was awesome, I can't speak for the beer, but it seemed to be popular too.  The threat of hurricane weather may have kept some folks from coming out, but that seemed to make for a more casual and easy-going environment.

See you on the trails!


  1. Great recap! Maybe I'll see you on the trail when I'm not running!

    What tires are you running right now??

  2. Maxxis Ikons on front, Bontrager 29-0's on rear. Both fast and somewhat forgiving. Obviously not the overall grip of some other options. Did I mention fast?