A wet and muddy Snake Creek Gap kicked of the 09 Race Season. Over 200 riders came out to take part in a race that is arguably one of the hardest 34 miles of single track that you will find to race in the southeast. The combination of time of year the race takes place (Jan, Feb, & Mar), the trail conditions you experience (snow, mud, cold temps), and the technical nature of the Pinhoti trail system make for a challenging experience.
I have raced the SCG for the past two years and it is always a great and usually humbling experience. This one was no different and the mud and rain made you earn every mile. Feeling better than I usually do come Jan 3rd I had a great time and finished without feeling like I had been in a bar fight. More than a few of the SCG races have ended with a feeling that I would be happy to sell my bike and take up a new sport but this one has left me looking forward to a new year of mountain bike racing and going fast.
As for the rest of the crew.. The Pisgah Brew Crew came out in style and kicked some ass. Beth Roberts pulled off a third place (4:29) finish despite wanting to bag it at the half way point due to a drivetrain that required pedaling backwards for every few pedal strokes forward. Marshall threw down a 3:15 which put him in 4th place for the money class. Not bad for his first look at the trail.. Bruce and I rode in at 3:57 putting us in fourth place amongst the 30 people riding with one gear. Shanna Powell kicked some serious ass in the ss class in her first long single speed ride on a rigid bike no less.
I can't wait to do this one again. The new wheels are on the way and I expect to take at least 10 minutes off my time just by by having some lighter and better wheels. Take away the mechanicals that added at least 5 minutes to my January time and there is 15 minutes that I stand to gain without the 2009 training plan that I am kicking off. Good times indeed and the SCG is starting to feel like a reunion of sorts with all the great people I get to see and ride with. Next time we will bring some Pisgah beer, step it up a level or two and stick around to raise some hell in Chattanooga post race.
See you on the trail..