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  1. #1
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    Fool's Gold 50/100 Race preride report & pics

    I received an email notifying me of yet another crazy 100 mile mtn bike race,
    The Fools Gold 50/100 http://www.55nineperformance.com/100.html.
    These epic races seem all the rage, and I normally ignore them. So what was so enticing about yet another ridiculous test of strength and stamina?

    This race is in my backyard on the trails that we "cut our teeth" on almost 20yrs ago when we first began mountain biking. There's something comforting to me about riding an epic on trails that you literally watched being formed, attended work parties, and created countless memories of happy experiences with your riding buddies.

    It's a wicked combination of every trail in the Bull Mountain Network, 50+ miles of mostly beautiful singletrack, gnarly, heart pumping, techy climbing and descending.
    Now for the Team Dickys of this world and our own, Shey Linder, doing the 100 miles will
    be a cinch, all while wearing outlandish tights, laughing, drinking beer, and eating twinkies along the way in under 8 hrs. But for mere mortals like myself, it is a real challenge!
    So we decided it prudent to go out for a test spin and see first hand.

    We know all the trails like the back of our hand, but never have we ridden them
    ALL in one day.
    Here's our map. Now it's up to us to see if we can put it all together in less than a day.
    http://bp2.blogger.com/_QBwO9BNM1DQ/...sgold-topo.JPG


    I made it clear from the start that this wasn't a "no drop" ride. Everyone was
    instructed to have their own map. Keep up with someone that knows the route
    or figure it out yourself. There would be no regrouping and babysitting.
    I didn't want to be out here for 10 hours.
    Needless to say, the attrition rate was high!

    Our group began with 14 riders, representing the entire gamut
    of riding equipment.
    Scubacruz and Mark on fully rigid 29r singlespeeds.
    (Too bad Wooglin couldn't make this ride.
    He stuck out like a sore thumb on last week's ride amidst sussers.
    This time he would have blended into the crowd)

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride001.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Another on a 29r SS, but with front suspension fork.
    Duckman, on his 20lb hardtail.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride007.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Team ZerieUSA in training for the TransRockies, just a few weeks away.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride003.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    A few more hardtails, my Blur along with other FS's,
    and topped out with Dr. Bling on the Bling Machine
    getting psyched for his trip to Pisgah.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride002.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    We picked a starting point along the course that would make it easy for us to
    use as a water refuel station and bail point. It wasn't too far from the official Start/Finish, so we began with the last part of the actual race.

    In and out of singletrack, a nice heinous singletrack climb, some long doubletrack climing, more singletrack, more climbing...

    The whole ride was a sort of "this is your life of mtn biking" journey for me.
    We rode with Steve Houghton, THE most instrumental person of mountain biking
    advocacy in the South. If it weren't for Steve, there would be no SORBA http://sorba.org/
    (southern off-road bicycle assoc). Our early yrs of riding were spent with Steve
    learning and exploring these trails.


    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride008.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Fantastic singletrack. This is part of No-Tell (when all these trails were being
    built, we had code names for them that then became their names. You weren't
    supposed to Tell anybody about this one) that starts out innocently enough.
    But then you get to a steep climb before you can enjoy the fast downhill.
    This is going to Hurt since it's at the end of the race!




    Plenty of opportunites to either:
    a) demonstrate your trials abilities, or
    b) dismount and catch your breath

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride012.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Ahhhhh, beautiful lush singletrack.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride014.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    But looks can be deceiving. There are not many sections that I refer to as
    "free zones", where you can regroup mentally and take it easy.
    With the exception of the Cooper Gap climb, you've got to be on your game
    the entire time, watching, picking your line, managing your position on the
    bike, anticipating which gear, and remembering to eat.
    No time to question yourself of why you're doing this in the first place?

    That's why it was fun AND challenging



    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride018.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>



    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride019.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>



    This beautiful piece of singletrack drops down to Black Falls.
    Waiting on someone to fix their chain, we were happy to take in the
    scenery. The climb back out is deep in the dense woods surrounded by
    rhododendron with music provided by babbling Montgomery Creek and
    Black Falls.


    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride032.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    The nice long climb up Cooper Gap comes immediately out of the Start gate for the official race.
    It's a middle ring climb with a lovely rhythm, but gets a little steeper at the
    top.
    No views like out West, just surrounded by lush and green with the sound of birds
    serenading you along.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride033.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Along the top of the ridge, we rolled up and down on a Forest Service Road
    while unknowingly skirting alongside part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
    It's a longish stretch, but a good chance to eat and fuel up while you ride.
    Because fairly soon, the REAL riding begins.

    We took a Fabulous downhill on a Forest Service Road that gets your heart pumping good. Especially if you're on a rigid bike or a hardtail, as Duckman can attest.
    I asked Mark how he fared over some of the breaker bumps, which are a challenge
    at 38mph. He said after the first one, he didn't land again till the last one.
    So he never felt a thing!

    Some more choice singletrack on Turners Creek up to Jones Creek Ridge
    and we were getting close to the halfway mark (cars).

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride035.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    These little loose rocks make for challenging climbing

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride037.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    And they spell disaster for SRAM derailleurs.
    For the 3rd time since I've put one on, something gets thrown up,
    hits the derailleur and it wraps itself back around into the spokes.
    NOT a good thing.
    Roger and Steve got it bent back enough for me to ride it in the
    1 mile left to the rest stop.
    An extra derailleur in the car was quickly put on by my in-house
    sherpa, mechanic, driver, husband.

    Some of our local expert racers came by, they too were scouting out the route!
    Ride on!!!

    By now, we had 26 miles, 2 1/2 hrs, and 3200' climbing. We weren't
    hammering, but were keeping a nice clip. The advantage of knowing exactly
    what lies ahead, means knowing how to pace oneself.
    We were getting ready to hit all the tough sections.

    Back on the singletrack.
    By now, we had lost a few in the group.
    Some had decided to stick to the 30 mile route, some had just
    plain missed a turn.
    Too bad, we must carry on!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride038.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    Lots of climbing, then some nice swoopy downhills.
    But you have to pay attention because it's techy.
    More excuses to take a breather.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride039.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    I'm really beginning to like these obstacles.
    Gives me a chance to catch up!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride040.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    The Bull Mtn singletrack is fantastic. It's middle ring techy climbing.

    Then we hit the Bare Hare singletrack which is more techy climbing.
    But sometimes I succomb to the little ring. Afterall, I'm still having to baby
    this drivetrain with a bent hanger!

    More nostalgia moments along the way:
    We pass 2 friends that go way back in our riding history.
    Jay Franklin, IMBA Board member, and Walt Bready, SORBA Staff are also out
    for a nice day of riding at Bull Mountain.

    The few times I have the aerobic capacity to ride with Steve, we reminisce of
    the countless rides and adventures experienced on these very trails.
    The last half of Bare Hare is a super technical downhill that will raise the hairs on the
    beck of your neck. It was this downhill that I had the pleasure of being
    accompanied by Penny Davidson, '93 Norba downhill champ, when she took us
    on a "riding how-to pointers" excursion.

    It's also the downhill that I've witnessed dozens of spectacular crashes.
    So I try to concentrate!
    The singletrack gives way to a doubletrack descent.
    I really try not to think about this being the descent where I crashed in '99 and
    ruptured a tendon in my finger. Some memories aren't always so great.

    Then it's across the creek and up for some more gradual climbing to hook up with
    the Jake Mtn singletrack.
    Seems we've lost more riders. We're down to just 7!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride041.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    Mark was very very impressive on his Redline Rigid SS 29r.
    Lucky for us, he wasn't sure of the route. Therefore, he would stop and wait
    for us at various junctures. hehehehe

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride042.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Popping out of a fun bit of singletrack that puts a smile on your face.
    This section is definitely fast and swoopy, tight through the trees, like a
    slalom course.

    Steve was riding very strong today!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride043.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Raja always has a need for speed!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride045.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    More singletrack in the Jake Mtn area.
    One of our riders that had missed a turn has now shown up.
    Yea! We're back up to a count of 8 riders out of 14!

    There aren't many creek crossings of any consequence on the entire route.
    Except for this one.
    You can cross it by one of three ways:

    Walk across the conveniently placed logs

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride046.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    Keep your momentum, seal your hubs and bottom bracket, and ride through

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride047.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Or you can swim across!
    It's the TransRockies you're training for, Andres, not the TransRiver!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride048.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Lots and lots of singletrack, climbing and descending, rocky and technical.
    By now, we're beginning to fade and sometimes walking is required!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride050.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride049.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    After 5 hrs and 57 minutes of riding time, we had clocked 54 1/2 miles and
    over 6,400' climbing. I question Roger's altimeter. It felt like 8,000' at least.
    We'll see what others come up with on their rides.

    It was really a fantastic adventure, an afternoon of happy memories for me,
    and a great time on the bike!
    Kudos to the 7 other happy campers that did the whole enchilada with me!

    Andres and Carlos! Good luck Team ZerieUSA at the TransRockies!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride052.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    Raja, Kokopelli, Mark, Josh, and Steve round out the team!
    Great ride guys! Thanks for a wonderful time.
    And uber thanks to my sherpa husband for keeping my bike rolling!

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v217/rlrides/foolspreride051.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    So come on out, all you hardcore endurance racers. I'm curious to see how
    long the Fools Gold 100 will take. I personally cannot fathom doing 2 laps of that course.
    Team Dicky will have to show me how it's done!

  2. #2
    paintbucket
    Reputation: wooglin's Avatar
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    Just so you know, I was thinking unkind thoughts about all y'all Saturday as I dodged rain clouds at Stone Mtn. Living vicariously sux.

    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  3. #3
    If you have to ask...
    Reputation: miles's Avatar
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    I love this picture:




    The guy on the right is laughing so hard he's afraid he might fall over!


    Beautiful trails, all right. Such a change from what I'm used to out here in the dry West.



    miles
    It's 7:09 California time

  4. #4
    Topeak-Ergon Racing
    Reputation: Eddie O's Avatar
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    Great write up chocolate. Quite a few of these riders has already signed up, so they must have really liked it. Are you in for the hundie?

    Eddie O

  5. #5
    NedwannaB
    Reputation: JMac47's Avatar
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    Whata backyard!

    Quote Originally Posted by chocolate girl
    This race is in my backyard on the trails that we "cut our teeth" on almost 20yrs ago when we first began mountain biking. There's something comforting to me about riding an epic on trails that you literally watched being formed, attended work parties, and created countless memories of happy experiences with your riding buddies.
    I've seen/heard about the trails back there, what a trail system to be able to race on, truely mountain bike terrain!

    Great write up & pix!

  6. #6
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    Awesome write up! I loved all the pics. They made me extremely jealous of yalls trails. Keep up the good work and trails.
    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Thanks

    for the write-up Chocolate. I was thinking about doing the race using this weekend's ORAMM as a warm-up. If I survive, that is. I"ve been down to the area-with family in Alpharetta-but have never ridden the trails-mostly roads-so now I have an idea of what to expect. GREAT!

    Thanks again!
    Brent

  8. #8
    Topeak-Ergon Racing
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    Quote Originally Posted by endurofit
    -but have never ridden the trails-mostly roads-so now I have an idea of what to expect. GREAT!

    Brent
    Brent,
    Bring you mtb next time....there is some great stuff not far from Alpharetta. Give a post over on the SORBA forum and I'm sure you'll find a guide.

    Eddie O

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    dang, seeing these pics makes me want to do this race...
    http://www.hawleycompany.net/blog/
    Your LEAST favorite, insider's look at a bicycle distributor

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