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Motorcycle Dreaming - Ridin Motorcycle Dreaming - Riding the 'Beauty Way' - Chapter 12 - Appalachia and the Allegheny Highlands by. Christine Irving.
Table of contents
- Joe McCarthy's ruminations on inspiration, aspiration and perspiration.
- Our most successful articles
- Books by Christine Irving (Author of Magdalene A.D.)
- Books by Christine Irving
- Carla Williams and Dylan Johnson Wrap Up NUE Titles in Georgia
We then rode together until the top of Bull Mountain. A couple times I gained a bit of a gap but Dylan was always able to close it down. On the next lap we rode quickly but nothing significant until will we reached the steep climbs before and ascending Bull Mountain. I felt very strong up these climbs but was uncertain about Dylan. It seemed like I may have a gotten a couple small gaps but, again, he closed them down quickly. On the following descent I tried again, in vain, to get away.
Dylan was always right there. Now it was down to the final and largest climb over Nimblewill Gap. Dylan and I approached he hill slowly, even conversing about riding and such, but the moment we hit the climb, Dylan accelerated like a rocket ship. Anyway, I still carried on up the hill to secure my second position in the race and second in the series.
Joe McCarthy's ruminations on inspiration, aspiration and perspiration.
I knew I gave it all I had and was aggressive during the race but Dylan was simply faster. Of course I am very happy with my NUE results this year with two wins and four seconds. Dylan is an incredible racer and person. I am very happy for him winning the overall and for myself for finishing second. Thanks to my team and my supportive wife, Jennifer. Tomasz Golaz, DRT, completed the race in third place with a time of 6: John Haddock on his way to a win in the SS category. He came in with an impressive time of 7: Plus, a bunch of buddies were going and my wife would join, which made the call even easier.
My overall impressions of the race were as expected: Onsite camping was superb, the aid stations were great and course markings were perfect. The race started out fairly tame but kicked up a notch once we hit the first climb. I saw the lead group pull away and settled into a fast, but manageable pace, with Gordon ahead and Scott close behind. On the rough Nimblewill descent, I was caught by some geared riders and eventually worked my way into a group on the road consisting of a now-injured Gordon Wadsworth, Greg Golet, Nick Bragg and Carla Williams.
I entered the trails first and gradually pulled away from the group.
Our most successful articles
I would find out at Aid 4 that Gordon pulled out due to injuries from a bad spill. After distancing the group, I rode by myself for the rest of the day, enjoying the woods and feeling good overall. The scene at the finish was excellent, with tasty food, great beverages, bathrooms and shady seating. Also, huge thanks to J. King and our team sponsors for all of their support this year. Scott Rusinko, Nox Composites, took second place at 8: Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, finished in 7: Then came the news first from the promoter, and then from Greg himself that he would be able to race after all!
With a neutral rollout for the first few miles I took advantage, along with defending NUE Champion, Roger Masse, of riding on the front of the peloton—not something I can normally manage! I did my best to lose Sten in the singletrack leading up to aid station 2, which I eventually succeeded in doing, and also reeled in Greg. After following Greg up to aid 2, I decided that I would need to put time on him in the twisty singletrack, especially the descents. This tactic worked, albeit slowly, as he gradually receded further into the distance.
By aid 3,4 at the base of Bull Mtn, he was out of sight. That is pretty much how the race between Greg and I settled in. I was somewhat worried going into the climb back up the gravel road toward the finish as I knew Greg would probably be out-climbing me there again. Once I hit the last few miles of pavement, I went full speed ahead all the way until the finish. I finished under blue skies in beautiful northern Georgia, with my teammates Van and Cody cheering me on…a great victory to cap off a very fun NUE race series.
Books by Christine Irving (Author of Magdalene A.D.)
I managed to win 6 of 7 series races, each venue with its own unique characteristics and challenges. Also, thanks to the promoters and volunteers for putting on great races, my family for their support, my sponsors including title sponsor Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, and finally, Scott Sports for producing such a capable and durable race machine, the Scott Spark RC. Greg Golet, Team Chico, fighting to get back after an injury suffered at Rincon in Costa Rica, arrived next in the tie breaker showdown with a time of 7: For the season, Golet finished second overall in the NUE series.
I feel joy and gratitude in being able to race in the finals, experience the beauty of the Georgia trails, and share fun times with others, but also frustration from having to race while injured. I had a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by a reckless driver two weeks earlier at the Rincon de la Veija Challenge Volcano in Costa Rica. This left me with a fractured scapula, and considerable soreness on the front and backsides of my ribcage.
The ride got me really psyched up! The single track was amazing, and I was thinking about this Abby Wambach interview where she was talking about how pro athletes compete all the time while injured. It would be better to race and not do well, then to not race and wonder how it would have turned out if I did. Plus if I won this one, I would take the series title!
Pretty early in the first big climb I passed Jeff and Roger my main competitors , and was feeling great on the relatively smooth mostly hard-packed dirt road. Mid-way through the Jake Mountain loop, Jeff caught and passed me. I stayed with him long enough to admire how well he was ripping the single track, but eventually he got away from me.
My trail riding was OK, but I was stiffer than I needed to be, especially on the rougher descents, such as off Bull mtn. Realizing this bummed me out a bit which was somewhat self-defeating , but I knew it was a long race and hoped that my endurance would pay off later on. Jeff finished about seven minutes ahead of me. So it goes with racing some times. My compliments to Lisa on running a fantastic race. Everything was really professionally done. He always has the best interests of the riders in mind and it shows in so many ways. Thanks too to my amazing wife Debbie and my three kids for supporting me in pursuit of my dreams.
I love you guys so much! Reglar, who was not at the NUE Final, finished the season fourth overall. Can they maintain such a high standard against some of the best stage racing ultra-competitors in the world?! The racecourse features more than 14, feet of vertical elevation within the Cherokee National Forest, including much of the Tanasi trail system, rated as one of the best in the state of Tennessee by singletracks. However, this year would be different than last, allowing racers to enjoy dry and fast course conditions under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low eighties.
There was even a pleasant breeze that lingered throughout the day. Eventual race winner Carla Williams on course. I definitely burned a few matches in the first twenty miles of the race, but once I hit the gravel roads, I got something to eat and drink and was feeling good again.
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I was by myself for the first gravel miles, but eventually Bradd Cobb, who ended up winning the SS category, caught up to me and we road together for the rest of the gravel miles. We would catch other riders and ride with them for a bit until they would either get ahead or drop behind our pace. We were moving at a strong but steady clip up all the climbs and then would have a blast on the sweeping downhill turns. We hit mile fifty under four hours and I was pretty psyched about that.
I figured that even if I did get passed, I was on pace for a great time and that also motivated me on the second half of the course to keep pushing up the climbs. It was a great day, great course, and great start to the NUE season! Twenty five minutes later, Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, who placed fourth last year, took third this year at 8: I noticed my rear tire was starting to get a slow leak and made a quick stop for air at aid station one while Linda stayed behind with a mechanical.
For the next 80 miles I pushed my legs hard to stay in front of Linda but, after aid station three, I got passed by Mari. As I dropped out of the last single track section and was just about to roll into the grass, Linda passed me and Brenda was just behind. I knew I had only one chance to make a move.
Books by Christine Irving
Right when we entered the parking lot with about a half mile to finish, I clicked through the gears and made my final sprint and kept grinding it till the finish line. Everything played out in my favor and I came across the line ahead of both of them claiming third place. I felt pretty good for most of the race and my Hammer Nutrition was working well to keep me fueled and hydrated in the higher than normal temps.
We had no intention of doing the Cohutta but were going to join in on the camping and pre-race party Friday night. Then, on Tuesday before the race, we found out that a bunch of our teammates and local riding and Growler Enduro buddies had signed up last minute to do the on singlespeed. This sounded like an even better idea after a couple of beers.
We showed up thinking there was little chance of making it through the singletrack at the beginning without major mechanicals we had 4 tubes, 4 CO2s, and a pump with us plus tires and tubes in our aid bags. The mile women with race winner Carla Williams second from left. Miraculously, we made it to the gravel roads with no incidents. We were tooling along the whole time having fun, even taking a beer handoff from a buddy at the half way point first time for me in an NUE race! It felt great going down, but by the time we got to the 20 mile to go mark, I was feeling like it was time to get on with business and get to the finish.
The fun part was seeing Linda at the top of the final gravel climb then getting to race her through the last singletrack without killing myself. Again, by some small miracle my bike held up even though I lost most of the air in my rear tire on the last section. Riders await the start to the first east coast NUE of the year. There are not many 16 year olds competing in NUE Race Series let alone having the gumption to try to run with the Big Dogs in the lead pack. That year, he crashed hard early in the race and his finish line became an unanticipated trip to the ER to receive stitches on his face.
Five years later, at the age of just 21, this determined young man has earned his first NUE victory blistering the course in 6: The course has a lot of gravel road which means you have to be patient and use a little road tactics. There was a lead group of eleven of us and, most of the day, I sat in and conserved my energy. Last year I learned the hard way not to go too early when I bonked after a solo break. Dylan Johnson leading the way in Ducktown. As many are aware, the course starts with a significant road climb to sort things out a bit before filing into the singletrack.
There had been times that it was full-on up that hill and other times is was just moderately paced. There was a little chaos with racers vying for position at the top but nothing unsafe. We filed into the trail for some pristine singletrack. Christian Tanguy was leading us up and I was sitting fourth position.
The pace was quick and not intense. Following the bridge there was another significant climb but this time of the singletrack variety.
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There was a bit of reshuffling but we continued on the following singletrack the same as before. Once we reached aid station 1 about 1. We knew there was approximately 65 miles of this gravel to follow. This changed the dynamics of the race. There were 10 of us in the front group but nobody really wanted to put forth much effort to push the pace. I guess everyone was thinking it would be pointless to put forth the effort when everyone else could draft and save energy.
It was also too early for attacks; the others could easily chase down a lone leader. Therefore, the group continued on at the slow pace. In fact, after a while, seven more riders caught the front group which swelled the group to Riders are treated to the spectacular scenery around Ducktown, Tennessee. The race continued this way for a couple hours. Gordon Wadsworth was telling jokes; others were discussing equipment, bikes, etc.
There were a few efforts on some of the hills but nothing very serious yet. However, at one point Christian decided to increase the pace. He jumped on the front and led the group up a few hills. A few racers dropped off because of these efforts but still around 10 or so remained in the front. Things got very serious when we rejoined the Big Frog 65 loop.
Dylan Johnson immediately attacked and the group fell apart. Once we crested the climb, the four of us regrouped and worked together to keep the pace high. This continued until we reached the last significant climb before the singletrack.
It was obvious that he was riding strong and was determined to win, and this attack set him in that direction. My only hope was to try and catch Dylan in the final 45 minutes of singletrack. I hammered as hard as I could but never saw him again. Dylan definitely earned the win and I put everything I had on the course.
My teammates finished strong as well with Nathanial taking 11th and Brent finishing 15th. The next four racers would all finish at 6: I also had some shifter cable stretch that sabotaged a perfectly set up 4-way sprint, taking 6th instead of 8th! Dylan Johnson is a man on fire right now and deserved to stand on the top box. My goal is still a singlespeed victory, but racing bikes is the most energizing and exciting thing in the world to me so I always choose the bike that will give me the chance to enjoy that to the fullest.
Christian Tanguy is back at it taking 7th at Cohutta. This is the first hundred miler I have done in four years Leadville was the last time , so I knew to push hard, but save as many matches as I could. The single track was sweet and fast, and I started picking off racers pretty quickly. When we hit the fire road, I teamed up with geared racer, John Wiygul, and we time trialed to the third aid station. At the turn, he spent a little too much time restocking, so I went ahead and kept pressing.
She was under the impression there were a couples of SS up ahead, so we both put our heads down and pushed for the next twenty miles until we came up on one of the SS. Soon thereafter, we came on what I thought was the first SS, and we used the same approach, but he was having nothing of it. In fact, on several hills, he I think it was James Thompson appeared to be pulling away from me, and I kept digging and digging to stay on his wheel.
Eventually, Carla and I dropped him and couple of others and then put the hammer down. We blew through Aid station five knowing aid six was only a few miles away. Making the left on was a very welcome sight as I have ridden this stretch many times. As Carla and I approached, the wonderful aid station manned by the Scotts Bike Center Team, I was told I was the first single speeder to come through among hundred milers.
So, with about 30 miles to go, Carla and I got back into our groove and made some pretty good time back to the single track. When we hit Quartz, Carla was gracious enough to let me around, and knowing how close I was to the barn, I totally let loose. Upon coming across the finish line, I was told I was the first SS doing the hundred. I was pretty damn happy, but about five minutes later, I was told there were two single speeders that missed the turn and went a few miles out of the way and one of them was a good friend. So, I volunteered to the race director to do whatever he thought was fair, and in the end, I remained on the top of the podium.
In my mind, there is an asterisk by the win, but it was still an amazing day to ride a mountain bike. I was stuck behind slower trail riders until the bridge crossing coming off Old Copper. Over the course of the long gravel grind I gradually slipped back and lost motivation. My Garmin had me at almost miles. Once I turned around from going the wrong way, I soon caught my wife doing the Big Frog 65 and knew I was headed the right way. I caught Stewart Gross just before leaving the trails and sucked his wheel until almost the finish where he had to sprint for his place.
I also sprinted as a SS came from nowhere to sit my wheel, but he was actually a DQ from accidentally cutting the course. Gordon Wadsworth applying his talents in the Open mile category at Cohutta. Clayton finished with a commanding lead with a final time of 7: Randy is a super climber and it seems he prefers to crush the competition on a single speed regardless of what class he is racing.
As I expected, about two thirds of the way up the pavement climb at the start, I dropped off the rather large lead group…and, as expected, Randy was in that group. I gave an extra effort to jump on the wheel of the last guy and he towed me back to them just as we entered the singletrack. After passing a couple of obviously blown up riders, I ended up in a chain of riders behind Carla. She held a great pace, but eventually it was time to get back on the gas and a few of us separated ourselves off of the growing chain of riders and held that all the way to the bridge across the Ocoee River.
It was there that I saw Randy again unbeknownst to him. It seems that a rigid bike has its limitations on the rooty-rocky old Copper Road trail! I also knew that he would disappear again on the long climbs ahead, and he did. The race settled in for me with a small group of the lead singlespeeders and a couple of us geared riders always clustered around each other, but often not riding at exactly the same pace.
I was determined to catch Randy before the last section of singletrack before the finish, so with each rider I would catch who had fallen off of the lead group, I would ask about Randy—it seemed that I was getting closer all the time, and I knew patience, good nutrition, and hydration were key to success. So, even though my memory from and logic told me that I needed to turn left onto FS to begin the long climb toward the finish, there were no signs directing a left turn, nor did I see any blue paint arrows on the road, so I continued straight. About five minutes later, having passed a bunch of riders going the other way, and questioning them and myself if they were outbound milers or inbound 65 milers, I raised the question with my companions—they had no idea if we should have turned.
We continued on hesitantly until the next road intersection I measured it out after the race at another 2. My hopes of catching Randy were obviously much diminished, but I soldiered on regardless. I enjoyed the singletrack and was pleased to re-pass a very fast Carla Williams. He was behind a couple of other riders and spinning like a madman.
Randy is hard of hearing, so I knew a sneak attack coming into the finish might work. As we entered the parking lot, I decided it was time and went full attack in my gear and had a good gap. I even caught Stewart Gross who had dropped me way back on the last gravel climb.
Carla Williams and Dylan Johnson Wrap Up NUE Titles in Georgia
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