Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 71

Thread: Swank 65 (ouch)

  1. #1
    Category Winner
    Reputation: teamdicky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,663

    Swank 65 (ouch)

    The Swank 65 is a rugged backcountry race limited to 100 riders held in the Pisgah National Forest. The length of the race is generally close to 65 kilometers, and Todd Branham (race honcho) does his best to make it a challenge. I got to the venue early Sunday morning and watched the competition arrive. There are no classes (except male/female) so everybody there was to be considered a threat. I recognized parts of the Koerber Klan, Garth "Sideshow Bob" Prosser, Wes "The King of Pisgah" *****on, Ross "crushed me last winter in the short track" Doswell, Crazy Dennis Helton, Matt "Bio Wheels Owner" Johnson....the list goes on. I got tenth in last year's race, but it was looking like that may be a difficult goal to duplicate. I got my race map at registration and scanned it over. It was going to be a doozy with multiple major climbs and a descent down the deadly (and leaf covered) Farlow Gap.

    It was thirty seven degress when we had our Lemans start that took us through the woods. I realized as I watched the knees and elbows running through the woods that I was already smiling. I love running starts on trails instead of open fields. People look funny running on trails in helmets and riding shoes. I got to my bike somewhere in the top twenty or so riders and took off. The first few miles were not SS friendly, and I lost a few more spots on the gently rolling terrain.

    Once we hit the first serious pitch I was able to go into "attack mode" and I began to push my pace higher. I started getting back some places as we approached Gloucester Gap. They were just setting up aid station one, and I only had a half a water bottle. I blew it off and continued on course. We finally hit our first section of trail and I went in having no real idea where we were going. My mind was runing through the laundry list of mistakes I'd already made. I didn't have any Endurolytes (left them at home), no Ibuprofen (keeping the Endurolytes company), and I am now starting a loop of unknown distance with half a water bottle...hmmm. I'm off to a good start. My legs were really there for me, but my brain was fuzzy. I came to a downed tree, and I tried to ride through some of the branches "George Bush style"; full bore with no exit strategy. I ended up just like G.W., on my ass and looking stupid. I realized I'd better not be needing my brain the rest of the day, because it must be at home hanging out with the Ibuprofen and Endurolytes.

    When the trail headed up I would gain a few spots, but when the trail went down I would lose all the places right back. Deep leaves, rocks, speed, and a rigid fork were combined to achieve what is known in physics as "chaos". I would randomly get chucked to the side or popped from my pedal without warning, so I had to use the brakes more than I woulda liked to. I was then reminded about something I wanted to forget. My hands weren't even close to being recovered from Conyers, so I couldn't hold onto the bars without a large amount of pain. This was going to be a long day. Oh yeah, I'm out of water at this point. Ooops.

    I'm not sure how long I was without water, but it was probably over a half an hour. I finally popped back out at the aid station hoping to get some Gatorade to replace electrolytes, and to hydrate. No luck, just water. I chased outta the aid and got back a few places only to be passed on the road descent to the next trail. When I got on the trail I just started hammering. All the climbs were gradual, the trails familiar, and I was geared right for the conditions. I got back Matt, Crazy Dennis, Wes, Sam K., and some dude in a purple jersey. I figured based on the company I was in I must be doing okay. I kept them behind me and popped out at the aid station totally out of water again. Damn, I was cutting it close.

    I know the climb to the top of Farlow well. It is long, steep, and long. I decided not to go "all in" as there was still one more major climb of the day, but even climbing at a reserved pace my heart rate was through the roof a couple of times. I could only see a few tracks in the dirt which added to my crazed euphoria. I had to be doing well. When I got to the top of Farlow I knew I just had to get down as fast (and safe) as possible. The horrendous rock gardens were so covered in leaves that they looked flat. Damn, off and walking down a hill is not very manly. At the creek crossings I chose to walk right through the deep cold water, instead of *****footing around trying to stay on top of the rocks to keep my feet dry. I didn't want anybody to catch me. I made it down Farlow to Daniel's Ridge where I just blasted the high speed sections with some vague remembrance of what was under all the leaves. Occasionally a rock would grab me and try to throw me down. I had some very "thrilling" moments, but I kept it upright.

    I knew the next section was not single speed friendly at all. It was a gentle double track along the river, and if anybody caught me there it would give them a huge mental boost. I went as fast as I could, but soon into the trail I looked back and saw Crazy Dennis catching me. We spoke for a few seconds, and after that I saw him disappear into the distance. Damn. I caught up to him at the last aid station, but he got out before I did. I made chase, but Dennis was fighting back, and I could see it in his pedal stroke. Halfway up the climb he was looking cashed in, so I gunned it hoping to put some time on him before the last descent. I knew it would be almost impossible to gain a big enough advantage on Dennis to hold him off to the finish. I can go down Cove Creek pretty fast, but he's a local and they don't call him Crazy Dennis for nothing. I was close to the bottom when he caught me, and he put me outta my misery quickly. We came through the finish line 26 seconds apart. As I laid down in the grass I asked what place I was in.

    "Fifth"

    "Fifth? Are you shitting me. Wow."

    There you have it. I couldn't have wanted more than that. I ended up about 17 minutes down on the winner Garth Prosser, a fair dinkum better than I'd anticipated. Hunting season is over.
    WWW.TEAMDICKY.COM

    I get paid 3¢ every time I post on MTBR.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mike Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,947
    Freakin' nice, TD.
    Great finish for Mr. D too- good to see, he was already jacked up Thursday night.
    Sounds like a fun one...
    Mike

  3. #3
    Appalachian Singletrack'n
    Reputation: Endomaniac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,418
    Great write up Dicky.

    It was a totally different event than last year. I venture to say >30% of the field either dropped out or didn’t make the time cut off for the last section of trail.

    A leafy Farlow is a double scary place yet still several folk rode the whole descent.

  4. #4
    When did you get here?!?!
    Reputation: pisgahproductions's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,680

    My Day....(long report for a long day)

    Well, yesterday I did one of the harder rides of the year, the Swank 65K. Todd Branham picked a tough route this year for sure. I didn't even know I was able to race until the Friday before because of work. I was able to work that out, though and made my way to the start out at Cove Creek on Sunday morning. I was running a few minutes behind schedule and hardly had the time to socialize that I wanted. Jonathan, Rich, and Brian were parked next to me, Dennis, Matt, the Poss's, Krause, Garth, Todd, Shrimper, Mark, Ken & Vicky, JT, Ivory,..... there were folks everywhere that I wanted to say 'hi' to. Luckily there was a time schedule at hand so it didn't turn into a meet and greet and big slow group ride... We were there to race! There would be time for socializing in 6 hours or so.

    The race started with a longer than expected La Mans start and that split the field up pretty well. We circled around, found our bikes, left Cove Creek and took a right onto FS479. I immediately fell behind (who I thought was) Eric Krause and kept his pace for a while. We passed a bunch of people and I just stuck to his wheel like dog poop. I figured I couldn't chase Krause for long and was wondering if the pace was too hot out of the box but as the rider on the blue ti Fat Chance hit a steep I made a pass and realized it wasn't Krause, it was Chris! we talked for a moment and held each others pace and continued to pass other riders all the way to Glouscester Gap.

    Next was a new experience for me, we climbed 5003. I had only ever done that the other way during backside-of-Farlow rides and was looking forward to riding it the other way. I really put the hammer down then and continued to pass folks until the gate at 140A. After the gate we went down to Courthouse Falls road and I followed a kid, I mean, teenager, I mean.... this kid had to be 14-16 years old and was absolutely flying! I got behind him, tried once to make a pass, and realized, O.k., I'm riding with the next Jeramiah Bishop here.... and let him lead. We hauled ass down to the road and I nearly rear-ended him. I gave out a big hoot, gave hime the 'Nice Run!' compliment, apologized for tailgating, and watched him disappear while climbing away from me on Courthouse Falls road. I took my first break at the bottom of Kissee Creek road and was caught by Chris and JT. Yeah JT!!!

    Up Kissee Creek was easy at the bottom but got increasingly hard towards the top. I had been giving it my all (probably too much) and was starting to have a hard time. Brian caught up with me and said 'whew! That's too hard of work for this early' and I took the cue, I started to walk the nasty spots. Kissee eventually dumps into 140A where we took a right. Finally some downhill! I traded spots back and forth with Chris, Brian, and JT for most of 140A. I was very happy to have been back there with Wode just a few weeks before. Knowing a trail makes it go by soooo much quicker. I had a great time, saw Brian with his bike upside down for repairs twice, and made my way to checkpoint one with a big smile on my face. First loop down and feeling better and faster than expected. Yeah!

    I drank a full water bottle of heed, put another bottle on my bike, and must have sat still for a moment too long. Once I got moving again my legs started their revolt. Like a mild shock from a wall outlet my left leg started to cramp. I compensated with my right leg, kept breathing, worked through the cramp, and passed Valerie. O.k., things are looking good. I got to the top and took the descent to the climb to Butter nice and easy. Recover while moving, you know? Well I got passed by Chris, Valerie, and JT since their machines are 'geared enhanced' and they didn't spin their brains out trying to pedal downhill. Next was a left and the climb to Butter Gap. I had actually never done Butter before so it was exciting for me to be there finally. I caught up with Chris again and he seemed to be just getting into his groove (He's and ultra-distance guy) so I decided to take another breather at the top of Butter, and to let him go.

    I heard riders approaching so I took off down butter. That was a fuuuuuuuun trail. nice and smooth in spots, wet and nasty in spots, rooty, smooth, rocky, smooth, rhodo tunnels, smooth, creek crossings, smooth, and beautiful. It felt like forever at the bottom but I made it to Long Branch without being caught by the riders behind me. I didn't catch those in front either but at that point all I wanted was to make it back to Glouscester for the final time of the day. I did begin to notice how well Todd had marked the course while riding that section. There are a few twists and turns that I didn't have to think about once. Great job Todd! I didn't see another racer for the entirty of Long Branch. That trail was over sooner than expected then after a short steep climb up the fire road I was at checkpoint 2.

    Once at the checkpoint I decided to keep moving as quickly as possible. I downed another bottle of heed, traded out my empty on the bike, and headed up to Farlow Gap. The climb up to Farlow was probably the low-point of my day. I was once again with JT and Valerie and we traded places a few times. The singlespeed was killing me at this point. Without a bailout gear I had to get off and walk a few times but I was happy to see JT walking also and no-one following close behind. The climb up Farlow went by quicker than expected, probably in large part due to having JT to talk to. I also got it in my head that the space-time continuem thing was just going to have to work and that soon enough, space, and time, would pass. As is always the case, time passed and I moved through space all the way to Farlow. I lost JT on the hike-a-bike but after about 5 minutes of descending Farlow, he caught me again. Farlow was unridable for many sections being that they were covered in knee deep leaves. When the trail WAS ridable I was being very very cautious. Early in the descent I had an unscheduled dismount that made the fronts of both of my legs lock up. I knew I had to be very deliberate in every move I made after that Eventually JT and I crossed the first creek, did some hiking, continued to descend, creek, hike, descend, creek, hike, descend, creek, hike, descend... jeez-us! The bottom of Farlow went on and on and on! I totally blocked out how far it is to Daniel Ridge. I lost JT somewhere along there and didn't see him again until the finish.

    At the top of Daniel I was right at 5 hours of riding and my hands were starting to hurt. It sure felt good to be riding downhill, despite my hands. I exercised extreme caution and finally took a moment to take in the beauty of the woods we were all blessed to be riding in. It didn't take long at all to get to the crush-and-run flat section at the bottom of Daniel Ridge and I was feeling good again after the rest from descending. Down to 479 and onto Davidson River trail was next and over quickly. I hit Checkpoint 3 in high spirits and after downing yet another bottle of heed and replacing the empty on my bike I moved out of there as quickly as possible.

    To finish the race all that was left was Cove Creek trail. I started out with Patricia and complained that my legs weren't doing so well. I had it in my mind though that I was going to leave her behind. I still had a little left and I wanted to end the day drained. I picked up the pace and she fell away. She chased a little but after every switchback she was a little further down the hill. Soon enough I saw a group of 4 or 5 riders ahead. I thought my luck was in my favor but I was having a hard time reeling them in. I fianlly caugft the last in thr group and what? GAH! No number plates! They did make me up my pace just enough to make me wonder how the end was going to feel. I took the left and continued to climb to Cove Creek trail. No stopping there, I just headed right in. After the first descent Cove Creek has a few ups and creek crossings to deal with and who do I see at the top of one of the ups? Jonathan Tomato! I called out to him, he stopped, I got to him, andgotonmybikeandhammeredlikehell. One of my unstated goals was to redeam myself from my bonk-out on the tomato ride and I did it. Jonathan put on a little chase but once I crossed a log bridge, scrambled up the other side, and took a look back, and he was no longer there. I pushed as hard as I could through the 'taint bruising' (thanks jonathan) section and was feeling a bit euphoric as I came into the start/finish area. There was a guy in an ape suit making ape noises, friends and the announcer Bruce calling out my name, and I crossed the line with my fists over my head like I had won or something. It was a great moment for me.
    You can please some people sometimes but you can't please all the people all the time.
    ERIC'S RIDE LOG

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532
    respect on that finish. I have no idea how I did other than I finished the entire race.


  6. #6
    aeb
    aeb is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    32

    Race Cutoff

    Was there a plan for a cutoff? or were finish times simply longer than expected? I hit what was supposed to be checkpoint 3 at about 6hrs and there was no checkpoint. I wish that I had known there was a cutoff. Race was still a blast. Not sure that I want to see Farlow again any time soon.

  7. #7
    Appalachian Singletrack'n
    Reputation: Endomaniac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,418
    Quote Originally Posted by aeb
    Was there a plan for a cutoff?

    I don’t think anyone thought the race would take that long. Last years course took me 4:15 this year. 6:50ish. So 8 or 9 more miles took me over two and a half hours longer, that doesn’t really equate. Putting the Farlow climb so late in the game broke a few people. I like the idea of course variation from year to year but I think this year it went a little over some folks head and they had no Idea what they had signed up for. My wife said of the first 30 folks that came in half came up the road from abandoning the race. I’m all for challenging events ,heck I’m just their to challenge myself and hopefully beat a few of my friends to the beer, but the event should be scaled and advertised so that the majority of the people who show have a chance of finishing. Shorter course or earlier start whatever it takes.

    We don’t all ride like Dicky.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
    My wife said of the first 30 folks that came in half came up the road from abandoning the race.
    Interesting statement, I thought I was a huge turd for taking so long to finish. Also, the cutoff deal was a bit lame especially since I had to miss out on the final descent. Oh well, next year I'll have to step up my game or carry my light.

  9. #9
    Category Winner
    Reputation: teamdicky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,663
    Yeah, Todd's either going to have to start us earlier, make the course easier (boo), or warn people they might need lights and let 'em finish. I didn't think it was going to be that hard. I think last year's shorter course took me just over three hours, this year 5:03.
    Fun race anyhoo.
    Make it Saturday next year so we can, unhhh... enjoy the post race refreshments.
    WWW.TEAMDICKY.COM

    I get paid 3¢ every time I post on MTBR.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mike Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,947
    TD- guessing that Todd has to do Sunday this time of year due to hunting- lots and lots of bear hunting going on back on those two-track roads behind Farlow (saw it happen during DD- literally). Probably couldn't get a recreational use permit for Sat if he tried...


    Personally, I am thrilled to hear how much more of a challenge this year's race was. Last year (my first year) was really nothing more than a backcountry XC event. This sounds like a true endurance test mixed in with the nut-job downhill of Farlow/Daniel- much more my style. Great stuff and WILL be on my calendar next year.

    Mike

  11. #11
    Category Winner
    Reputation: teamdicky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,663
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    TD- guessing that Todd has to do Sunday this time of year due to hunting- lots and lots of bear hunting going on back on those two-track roads behind Farlow (saw it happen during DD- literally). Probably couldn't get a recreational use permit for Sat if he tried...
    C'mon, we could stand to lose a few riders to friendly fire in the name of fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    Personally, I am thrilled to hear how much more of a challenge this year's race was. Last year (my first year) was really nothing more than a backcountry XC event. This sounds like a true endurance test mixed in with the nut-job downhill of Farlow/Daniel- much more my style. Great stuff and WILL be on my calendar next year.
    Mike
    No kidding. It was a blast. Since I wanted to be dead at least once or twice while I was out there I would say he hit my benchmark for a quality event.
    WWW.TEAMDICKY.COM

    I get paid 3¢ every time I post on MTBR.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    162

    yeah...

    that race was everything a mountain bike race should be. i think the emphasis on how difficult the course was going to be was well enough advertised. standing at the campfire i was listening to a few people complain about technical it was and this and that. if you signed up for any event where you are required to wear a helmet, then im sorry but you have no room for complaint. i started out pretty easy and picked it up as i got going, but i blew up hard on the climb to farlow. i had to get off and just chill for a little while. going down farlow i passed a few guys who looked like they hated life. i think if i hadnt killed myself at the double dare then i would have placed much better, but i still had a lot of fun. i did have to raise an eyebrow at the finish. i guess i'm a freedom hater.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plume's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,532
    I'm wondering about posted race results. I don't think I was that far off from the top 20 but I really don't know for sure. ??? guess I should've asked at the race but wasn't really concerned about it then...

    to be honest the race was indeed a lot harder than I anticipated. I was told that it would take around 4 hours or so to complete for a strong rider. Obviously I didn't compensate for the extra 2.5 hours in the saddle - I started too hot and blew off the first check point, big big mistake. I was hangin' (sorta) with the big boys for the first half of the race but then I broke down big time with major leg cramps at mile twenty. I had to walk way too many dh sections that I know was rideable and I lost too much time during those. I would make up time on the climbs but as soon as a technical descent came about I lost any position I made up in the climbing. I learned a lot, that's for sure.

    did anyone else think the course was quite a bit longer than 42 miles?

    I could take or leave Farlow. It broke me that's for sure. I had more problems there than any other part of the course (I'm sure most others did as well) including my only flat. It's crazy how much confidence I lost coming down that sucker, wow... to all of those who rode it, you're amazing bike handlers!

  14. #14
    Goat of Legend
    Reputation: mountaingoatepics's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,048
    Glad you guys had fun. One day I'll do the SWank. I marked out Farlow Gap and Daniel Ridge the night before for the race. Farlow in the Dark with leaves as thick as a northeast winter's blizzard storm, I daresay, I never want to do it again. Still having nightmares as Bear Dogs howled and growled and hunters were abound. Around 9pm as I was climbing back to the top of Pilot Mtn a truck full of redneck women with a gleam in their eyes for the boy they could make squeal like a pig told me to watch out for the bears. Yea, I'd say thats why the Swank is on a Sunday.

    Jeremy

  15. #15
    Kudzu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky
    C'mon, we could stand to lose a few riders to friendly fire in the name of fun.
    We could call it the Cheney Award
    DUCK!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Enduro Adventures's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    145

    Whew!

    Man, I am beginning to think that 51 is too old to do a race like this years Swank on a fully rigid single speed bike. My frigging shoulders feel like I have been drawn and quartered. Damn I missed the cut off? I figured on finishing around 6:00 or 6:30 but I got waived in at the entrance to Cove Creek at around 4:35. I am sure I could have finished in 2 hours even if it was getting dark. No regrets except for not having the oppertunity to finish. My fiesty wife was ahead of me and said screw this, I am going on dude. She finished right before dark. Us old farts might be slower but given the chance we can finish. Its mountain biking. We know it's hard. Not whinning, it was a great course, well marked, well chosen, and more fun than should be legal. Todd did a fantastic job. Pisgah Rocks! No pun intended. We are already looking forward to next year. Cmon, no cut off, send lights to check point number three, we are mountain bikers after all. Thanks Todd!
    Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: extrmtao's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,272

    My report

    Pre-Race stuff:

    Saturday I was mulling over my bike replacing the rear brake pads when I happened to notice that two of my spokes were severely bent on the back wheel. Oooops, that stick I must have hit on my last night ride really left a mark. Since I lack the knowledge and hardware for a proper true, I hurried the wheel over to a local shop and demanded (asked nicely) the wrench to fix er’ up for me.

    He got it done in a timely manner and I promptly delivered a six pack of Thomas Creek Red Ale. I replaced the pads in the rear and gave the bike a test ride around the neighborhood. The rear brakes were squeaking badly but other than that things were A OK.

    I noticed that my downstairs neighbors in my quadplex were having a party on Saturday night. Oh boy! I slept pretty well until I realized that Snoop Dogg must have been attending. I woke up at 2:26 and I heard the party still jumping. I mean it sounded like they had a Six Ring Circus going on downstairs. Luckily they didn’t keep me awake for too long and I was able to get back to sleep.

    Race Morning:

    Kristin and I packed up the car with our camping and race supplies and headed out. The sun was already out and shining. The day was cool and crisp but not as cold as it had been the last few days.

    The drive up was un-eventful until we pulled onto highway 280 and I started seeing other racers headed toward the venue. I pulled up next to Ian and noticed that he had a geared bike with him. I had ridden with him before but it was on a single. He was clearly excited to be headed to the race.

    We crossed the not so treacherous creek in my Escape and we were there. Got things set up and started thinking about how many layers to put on for the start. I quickly realized it was a LeMan’s start which meant we would be running. That meant I would be plenty warm and no layers were needed. I think I was the only one that didn’t have armdoms or some sort of alternate layer on. Dicky exclaimed that I was crazy as he ran around like a chicken trying to simulate the wind chill he would soon be experiencing on his bike.

    The Race:

    After excitedly chatting, we were off running. We ran along the edge of the woods then back along the trail that we would eventually end on and then we were back to our bikes. This was surely the most dangerous part of the race. The trail had roots and rocks strewn under leaves. I was just waiting for someone to fall over and scream “MY ANKLE!”

    Safely on the bike and we were off. Down the chilly rock road away from camp and a right turn would take us toward the first climb of the day.

    I came off the run pretty good and I knew there were some single speeds in front of me but I wasn’t really sure if any were behind me. Since this was my first Fully Rigid Single Speed race I wanted to know if I was going to be last out of those folks even though we were all lumped into the same category (Open Men.) It didn’t matter, it was just time to ride hard.

    On the first climb, my legs felt a little sluggish but we were at Gloucester Gap quickly. We continued straight for a second and then a right turn for the first single track climb of the day. This took me to an area of Pisgah that I have never explored. So I was interested to know what was what.

    The first single track climb was a good one and it had some awesome views that I realized I should not be looking at. The first downhill was fast and smooth. There was some loose gravel under leaves that tried to wash me out on some of the corners but no big deal. There was a huge dip at the end of this first downhill and then we were out onto a rock road. As we were headed up the rock road, a guy passed me and said I was “brave for riding a one-gear” in the race. I don’t think “brave” was the word.

    The next single track climb was a killer. It was rocky and just steep enough to piss you off. I am no good at ascending rocky terrain. I was having a time for sure. Then the downhill came up. It was leafy and there were no lines to be seen anywhere. This was one of those trails in Pisgah that used to be a road a very long time ago. Therefore, there was enough room for three bikers shoulder to shoulder but not a line in sight. It was a crap shoot. You just point your bike downhill grab the handlebars and try to stay as loose as possible. I don’t believe physics has enough laws to define the way my bike was moving. Bike is pointed forward; OHHH CRAP bike is pointed sideways, muscle bike back downhill and repeat. Note: (This all was happening in about every 1/8 of a second in my mind.)

    After my arms were swollen like Popeye, we were back out to Gloucester Gap and to checkpoint one. I sped past the checkpoint not wanting to stop. From here on out I knew what the course had in store for me.

    I started the climb up to Butter Gap and not too far from Checkpoint one I saw Kristin standing there taking pictures. I tried to look like I hadn’t been thrown around in a pinball machine and then I realized that I was bleeding everywhere. The billions of thorns all over the trails had cut me up as though I was in a cat fight. No biggie, just a flesh wound. Maybe the other riders weren’t wearing layers for warmth?

    Once I made it to the top of Butter, I remembered my vow to myself. I let some air out of my tires in the hope that this would ease the trail a little. Going down butter is always a blast and it didn’t let me down.

    Next up was the climb up Longbranch. I never had climbed that trail it wasn’t too bad. I had to walk some but not a lot.

    Back to Gloucester gap and this time I stopped at checkpoint 2. I ate eight quarter slices of oranges and thought about how that could be the start of a math problem, that I probably couldn’t solve. I filled my pack with some grape gatoraide and headed up the rock road to Farlow. This road was painful. I had to walk some of the steeper pitches. As I walked I would look out to my right and see Looking Glass Rock. It looked so far away. I started thinking about the fact that the end of the race would take me a short hike’s distance from this rock and it made me tired. I thought that maybe since I was walking already that I might have to walk some going to the top of Cove Creek. I sure hoped not.

    I eventually made it to the top of Farlow. Farlow is insane! It hasn’t gotten any easier since the spring. I had to walk a bunch and yes I fell once walking. It was my only fall of the day. The rocks are so big that the leaves form little pillows until you realize that there are more rocks underneath. After getting down the first superbly technical section I heard “Extreme Tomato!” I looked up and Ian was in front of me. He had just fixed a flat. We chatted for a sec about how badly we wanted beer and then we took to walking up the only “up” on Farlow.

    Safely off of Farlow and down onto the downhill section of Daniel Ridge. I walked the steps and cruised down Daniel. Cross the tree bridge and off to the last section of the race.

    Cruising down Davidson River trail was fun. I thought my backend was getting a little squirrelly and then I realized it was only in my mind. Out onto 475 and to the last checkpoint. I ate some more oranges and filled with a little water. I started to take off and I heard one of the checkpoint volunteers say “I am going to toot this for good luck.” I started pedaling faster not knowing what he was talking about and then I heard the sound of air being blown through a straw and a little “hooooot” at the end. I looked back to see that he was blowing through a noise making horn. Sheeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww.

    The climb up to Cove Creek wasn’t bad and I was in the saddle for the most part. This was the climb I was scared about walking earlier. I now realized how much steeper the pitch is up to Farlow that had me walking earlier.

    Onto Cove Creek and I knew that all I had to do was survive this “paint shaker” downhill and I could have a beer and relax. I got down to the second stream crossing and I heard “TOMATO!” It was Eric. I thought he was in front of me the entire time. As he ran up next to me, he exclaimed that he felt bad. He did a cyclocross mount and took off. He sure as hell didn’t look like he felt bad. He looked like he was racing for first place. I wasn’t in second place now was I?

    I rode the rest of Cove Creek and made it across the finish line right behind Eric. He told me his only goal was to beat me and that he was glad I didn’t make chase when he passed me. I was glad to help him reach a goal.

    Holy heck that was pretty tough. It was a good race course and I didn’t have any mechanicals. I have no idea what place I crossed the line in and I don’t even know what my time was.

    I am not worn down from the race and I still want to ride my bike.

    If you rode this race and didn’t say “thank you” to a volunteer, shame on you. GIVE MORE LOVE TO VOLUNTEERS! You guys and gals rock! Even the horn tooter rocks but he might want to get a cowbell next time
    BS'ing less, riding more.

    Supporting PAS
    Upstate SORBA
    SORBA

  18. #18
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
    Reputation: kkjellquist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    655
    Anyone know about the official results and/or who the race photographer is?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: extrmtao's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,272
    Quote Originally Posted by kkjellquist
    Anyone know about the official results and/or who the race photographer is?

    My g/f Kristin was out there taking pictures of a bunch of you. She is doing this out of the kindness in her heart. So give her a couple days and she will have them all posted on her website for your downloading pleasure. I will post up a thread once this is done.

    I know not of the results.
    BS'ing less, riding more.

    Supporting PAS
    Upstate SORBA
    SORBA

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mike Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,947
    Quote Originally Posted by mountaingoatepics
    Glad you guys had fun. One day I'll do the SWank. I marked out Farlow Gap and Daniel Ridge the night before for the race. Farlow in the Dark with leaves as thick as a northeast winter's blizzard storm, I daresay, I never want to do it again. Still having nightmares as Bear Dogs howled and growled and hunters were abound. Around 9pm as I was climbing back to the top of Pilot Mtn a truck full of redneck women with a gleam in their eyes for the boy they could make squeal like a pig told me to watch out for the bears. Yea, I'd say thats why the Swank is on a Sunday.

    Jeremy

    All right, I'll tell the story.
    During the Double Dare, Kassi and I were on 140-A and could hear hunting dogs the whole time. I was about 100 yards or so ahead of her and the dogs kept getting louder. Suddenly, to my shock, a truck comes barreling up the closed to traffic road behind me (between Kass and I). Almost simultaneous with this, several shotgun blasts go off, really close. I start screaming "Hey HEY HEEEYYYY! There's people here!!!" A hunter jumps out of the truckbed and runs toward me , shotgun in hand. Wild-eyed, he's standing about 1 foot from me, holding one hand close to my face, shotgun in the other, whispering" It's the big one! It's the big one." I'm standing there thinking about nothing except Kass behind me and this dude with a shotgun. The dude's radio goes off "He got it he got it he got it" There's a bunch of hootin and hollerin and the guy runs back to their truck, they whip it around and head back down the road. I immediately head that way too and find Kassi pedaling up the road very very upset.
    To make a long story short, the dogs treed the bear at the edge of the road about 20 yards in front of Kassi. A hunter shot ACROSS HER PATH FROM BELOW THE ROAD, killing the bear. Kass made darn sure he knew she was there, he said " I wasn't shooting towards ya." She got out of there as the hunters were high-fiving each other while the dogs tore into the now dead bear. We moved on, because it wasn't really going to do any good for me to go back and let the hyper dudes with guns know what I was thinking at that moment.

    I think Sunday might be a good idea for a much larger event back in those woods- what do you think?

    Mike

    PS- yes, I let both the USFS and Game and Wildlife know about the truck being back there, not that it will necessarily do any good.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    3

    Great Race!!!

    This is the first time I have written on this website. Ran across it trying to find info on the swank race back in October. I was excited to read such good post race write-ups after I returned home last night from the long trip back to Indiana. I can't remember exactly how I found out about the swank race, probably internet surfing. When I saw it I couldn't believe what I was reading. This was all of the old roads and trails I used to ride and train on years ago when I used to live there. Some of you might even remember the bike shop I owned downtown Brevard called Pisgah Bike Center. Anyway, I had one short month to train for this race in hopes I could at least complete it and not embarass myself. This race was really a breath of fresh air compaired to the seven Indiana DINO Series races this summer, with their short loop, tight, non hilly terrain. Perfect weather, and very well marked trails, made this race tops on the list of my 16 years of racing. My goal was to complete the race without crashing, (at least causing personal injury) and not get a flat tire. To my suprise I reached my goal, had the time of my life, and still placed 15th. Not bad for a 42 year old from Indiana. See Ya next year fellow swankers

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    162

    mike...

    did you happen to see the guy with the truck where he wasnt supposed to be wenching that 200 foot tall locust out of the middle of the trail? i guess it was 140-A, but i cant remember. then on the climb back up to courthouse falls the guy was coming down the road with half of his right front tire off the rim, but still driving with a huge grin on his face. they were getting er done. hopefully later on they drove off a cliff.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    4

    nice write up

    [QUOTE=tI came to a downed tree, and I tried to ride through some of the branches "George Bush style"; full bore with no exit strategy. I ended up just like G.W., on my ass and looking stupid.

    That's beautiful! Got many a chuckles out that one. thanks

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Sorry if this has been asked before but does anyone know where I can find the results?

  25. #25
    Official Cooler Inspector
    Reputation: M-U-M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,615
    So, who's doing a Dirt Rag article? Two great area endurance races back-to-back!

    Single speeds, apes & bears - Oh my...


Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •