Sunday, May 13, 2007

Engagement/Ducktown/Snake Mountain

So, i've got great news. A week ago, I asked Darcy Lynn Alexander to marry me. I got down on one knee and held out a diamond ring, and she took a minute to answer... but she finally kissed me and said yes. It was one of the scariest and best moments of my life. We were in Maryville at her parents house, and she ran upstairs and told her sister, then ran down stairs and told her parents, i mean, woke them up and then told them. They already knew because i asked them if it was okay on friday. They took a vote, and Doug, Diane, Dana, and their dog all voted yes: that i could ask darcy. So the next day we headed down to Ducktown, TN to the Ocoee White Water Center.

the ocoee whitewater center is now officially one of my favorite mountain bike venues. the trail system starts just across the river from a large parking area. starting the race from a very cramped start area, we speed down a concrete path, twist, turn uphill. big ring out of the saddle. fork locked out, lactate threshold. i'm 5th or 6th into the woods. so, for the first time since i've started racing bicycles, we climbed for probably 10 minutes on singletrack. climb climb climb. i passed a couple people on technical sections that had more than one line through them and was 4th into the first downhill. i felt very very good at this point and rode for quite a while in 4th. our field had spread out pretty quickly. i looked back and did not see another rider at all. after a very fun, fast downhill with multiple chances for plenty of air i managed to stay on the ground and kept pedaling. the trail basically ran along the left side of a ridge for a few miles. we switchbacked under some power lines and began climbing, but it was very powerful climbing. still middle and big rings. by this time a few people had passed me, but as far as i could tell, it was just the leaders of the 30-39 class. i got out of the saddle on most of the rolling uphills and chilled on the forest road downhills and still managed to pass people (mainly the women experts). after a bit more climbing we began a very phenix city-esque technical descent. i felt very good on this and caught up to a group of four. kayla whitaker was in front of me going over a wooden bridge and took a very nasty fall. i asked if she was okay (from the speed of her fall i can barely imagine that she WASN'T hurt) but she said just go don't worry and i shouldered my bike (cross style) and hopped over her, landing my shoes on the same muddy mossy wet slick wooden bridge that took her down. i shuffled my way across it and proceeded to catch a few 30-39's near the highway. we did a very nice paceline allowing me to rest and still accelerate to 18mph as we rolled near the start/finish. as i finished my pull i went off the front rather than to the back of our line. i rode most of the second lap on my own, another guy in my class passed me as my legs started burning. i was okay with this because i have taken the past two weeks away from serious training. i certainly planned on racing at ducktown, but i want to aim my fitness towards dauset and fontana. as i reached the long gravel road downhill i shifted to 44-12 or so and kicked it. my heart rate felt like it had a good rest and i went into ex-downhiller mode as i descended the technical singletrack. i saw a photographer ahead of me and recognized the bit of trail and aired over the rock garden that had taken some of my speed on the first lap, as i reached my highest point of flight i heard the shutter snap and i hope that photographer posts his pictures. anyways, i passed the sport guy that had passed me earlier on the lap. got into a wicked tuck and used some of my roadie skills to kick it through the parking area and to the finish line. i was hungry. if there was anyone in front of me i was going to pass them. there wasn't but i was ready anyways. i crossed the finish line and hurried to my car. i had more important things to deal with than waiting for the results to be posted. i had to get back to a engagement celebration dinner with my fiancee's family. yes, i said fiancee. i'll see you guys at dauset.

i finished 7th at ducktown. i'm sitting in the top 10 for the series. i'm not sure exactly what place... i guess i could look. or not. umm. so that was racing. this is a random picture i took while on top of beech mountain a few sundays ago. i zoomed in to take a picture of banner elk, then a self portrait and forgot to zoom out. not too bad though. sorta artsy.

i've been slack last week and today was the jump-start my training needed. we went out for a 55 mile ride. when i rolled into my apartment parking lot my garmin showed 73 miles.

the highlights really involve the gentleman's pace set up three top and then down to 88. max and i were off the back cruising down the gap and had to work hard to get back with the group. finally, we got on and all took turns pulling. we were moving fast. i looked at my speed while i was pulling and it was 31mph. the other guys were were working even harder. on the flats down to peak rd we had a couple guys go off the front. ST and aran were among the break. DG, max and ray all worked hard to bring them back. at some point i closed the gap and cruised to the stop on aran's wheel. the others arrived shortly. so much for gentleman's pace...

our paceline on hwy 88 was awesome. very pro. taking turns, smooth transitions. ahh, then left onto sutherland vally road. real estate talk ensued, and then a max, ray and donovan went off the front. some of the others were holding back, taking a break, and so i tried to hang with DC. max and ray were gone, i think max was the first to the top. i kept donovan in and out of sight, but was fourth to pottertown gap. snake mountain was fun. especially with a group. i've only climbed it once before, in my granny gear. solo. today i went up it mainly in my 34-23. most of my out of the saddle climbing was done in 34-21. that made me feel good. coming down the front i proceeded to hit 53mph while DC and others were going 56mph or so. after climbing snake, some of the sane guys went back via nc194 and some of the others went back via big hill rd, railroad grade and castleford. i sort of blew up on castleford road, but i don't mind. i just cruised along at my own pace. rode with the other guys the rest of the way on 194. so... enough talking. pictures and garmin info remain:

Garmin Stuff, can you tell which one is Snake Mtn??

Shaw Brown's bike laying on the ground:

DC and DG as we're rolling out of Todd:

The crew just before Snake Mountain:

#1 and #2 climber guys:

DG Stretching:

Brown, DC and Aran:

Slow Guy:

1 comment:

RB^2 said...


now i have that nervous excited happy feeling! haha. hope all is well!