No event yet this year has created such an anti buzz as the Cohutta 100 (although the cabin after parties seem to have inversely created the largest buzz of the season, and that pun was intended).
This little event is a gravel grind masquerading as a mountain bike race. Those of us who have been naíve enough to go recon the course have been left with a gritty, dust-dry taste in our mouths. I mean, does <-that even look fun? That's your view for a better part of 70 miles. Oh well, its a long day out on our bikes, in what looks to be pretty nice weather, sunny and mid 70s. I haven't been rejecting that 6th or 7th beer all winter for nothing, its a race, and as such I should enact some sort of strategy towards performing. In the "can't beat em join em" mindset, I've made the Dierenger Sled as gravel worthy as possible, and she's crying on the inside. She even got cleaned and waxed. Its so roadie it hurts. I gave her the whole orange county spa treatment.
New hollowpin chain; I'm still relegated to using BMX chains because of my penchant for cheap rear cogs. Need to talk to those folks at Endless. And just to show how roadie weight weenie I can be, I lost, er, removed that bolt there, figuring that if there's two, it can't be that important, especially on the drive side. And to save you teeth counting, that's an 18.
Up front, the cockpit has become so light that my already lack luster log jumping skillz now play out like this; see log, think about pulling up on front end, clear log with bike in nearly vertical position, land in awkward tipsy wheelie, slam the front end back to earth with a carbon *thud* I must say that even though I need to get used to riding rigid, I've never carved lines like I can now on this fork. The bike goes where its told. Not that my other WB fork is squirrelly, but no suspension, 32mm stanchions or not, can point and shoot like a rigid carbon fork. Hats off to the WB folks for making me a believer.
New Rubber! shiny, fancy, fast rolling, and super light Kenda Karma 1.9 L3rPros. I thought about running some fat ass cheap commuter 42c tire on the rear, but having not tested such a theory, I just went with a tire that stood by me all of last season, rolls great, is almost eliminates the marginal drawback of 29" wheels. The front wheel is somewhere around 3.5 lbs of rolling weight. I weighed it, and then returned to my anti weight weenie roots and immediately forgot the weight. But when you have almost 13,000 feet to climb, these things keep a simply boring event from becoming a C.I.A. sponsored enhanced interrogation study.
And finally, giving myself over to the darkside completely; Nutrition. The top of my fridge has exposed me as a goddamn Hammer Nutrition Apothecary. I may have to pull down that wooden mortal and pestle that has served as mere decoration in my kitchen and put that trusty tool of the trade to use. Chip stopped over yesterday and almost called the DEA. Just to call it out and save a little face, that's a Yazoo growler behind the vanilla Hammer Gels, I sight that I know is less rare than it should be. We all have this side in us. Half the shit visible in this picture I blame Pisgah Works Bruce for. We hit bars/beers in Asheville almost daily, and yet in the middle of our Cohutta recon he would hand me one nutrition item after another and, like my liver glycogen guardian angel, always made sure I had recovery drink ready for the post ride pre beer beverage.
And that, after all is what this whole pointless pursuit is about. A (very) long day on a bike, either catching up to or dropping friends depending on the milemarker, subsiding on food squeezed out of a foil packet, or peanut butter sandwiches shaped like sweaty jersey pockets, knowing that someone faster than you will have finished, and will be waiting with an adult beverage with your name on it as you cross the finish line.