Well, I must say that the Pisgah 36 was a journey. It was one that I enjoyed in a weird sick way, but one that I also suffered in a way that I haven’t in years. I’m very accustomed to suffering in races, but this time I began the suffering early, which never happens, and it never went away. I think there were several reasons for that, but who cares as that would be whining. Whining doesn’t go along with Pisgah. I started off hard and fast, finishing the hour-long prologue in second place out of 35 riders. I felt good and was thinking this is going to be a breeze, WRONG! After the first stage and some umpteen thousand feet of climbing, I was still running in the top 5 switching positions back and forth. BAM, I hit a wall after 6 hours in and never recovered. I spent the next 13 hours suffering and pondering what I was doing and where I was. Not being a local and never having ridden the trails, I was a bit lost and confused. I slogged on and pulled in without lights after stage 2 with a mindset that was relishing doughnuts and cold ones. Big Macs and french fries were my focus of determination and that did it for the Captain. After 20 hours of trying to navigate the expansive wilderness and mazes of Pisgah, I was done. This was a training ride for me and my fitness was great, but physically I was exhausted for several reasons, no whining.
I must say that the winter damage is still present as I climbed over and under trees. I caught every piece of me on something tree related at some point. Some of the trails were littered with stream crossings, up to my waist in some. Also, there were sections of downhill that were littered with rocks that created a melee of confusing lines to take, usually resulting in an ENDO. I rode with some great guys that were locals, one I knew (Clay), who was very helpful to my non-Pisgah knowledge. Thanks for the ride. In the end the director, Eric, asked me what did I think of Pisgah and at the time I said, “No Comment”. If you ask me now, “No Comment”. Funny thing though, I will probably be back at some point to join in on the masochistic mayhem. I have more knowledge of the area for sure and I will be better prepared.
Thanks to Trevor and Lee for supporting me. The Team Crank Casa was brilliant!
5 Things I learned about Pisgah:
1. Carry a toy bike (little bitty freaking model bike, fits in the palm of your hand) and carry it in my pack as I figure I will be faster.
2. Follow the locals and forget about trying to read the map.
3. Carry some dynamite with me and throw ahead in order to clear the way. This will also knock all those pesky rocks loose.
4. Carry a spare light with me. A lighter doesn’t work.
5. No Comment!