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  1. #1
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    Tsali SERC race report: a mudder

    Well, I guess Tsali has a reputation of being muddy in spots even when it hasn't rained in a while. Prerode the course on Friday, and it was basically bone dry. The couple of mud holes could easily be ridden around. I was psyched up for some blazing singletrack action with some fairly decent short fast climbs.

    Fast forward to Sunday morning. Reports from Beginners that the course is sloppy and and the back half is a mud bath. Apparently it rained like hell Saturday night, because it went from bone dry to wet and muddy everywhere. I think Tsali has a reputation for holding water, and it looks like it deserved the reputation. Still, I've had good luck the last couple of years on muddy courses, so I was ready and willing. Waiting near the start line, I was wondering if I should have had cleats. Duckman showed up with cleats and fenders. Some guys just know what to bring to the table.

    They divided my Sport class in two, 30-34 and 35-39. I am a little older than my 30's, but I like the big fields in the 30-39 age group. This race I felt like racing the older half, so I opted for 35-39. Maybe 25 or so riders. Our local Georgia announcing legend Bruce Dickman decided to stray north of the border for this event. He decided to let all my class know I was an old guy looking to beat the younger ones. This always help motivate my competition, but I don't mind. If you don't know Bruce, you need to come to one of our GSC races to see what a little color does to an event.

    Anyway, we took off up the gravel road, and I was maybe twevlth off the line. I was really aggresive heading to the singletrack, and squeaked by into third just before the woods. I played it a little conservative on the slippery downhill sections, but seemed to be holding my own. The glasses were fogging up though. I figured they would clear up soon enough. First and second built up a small gap, but I figured I had all race to reel them in. I heard the fourth and fifth guys claiming I was holding them up, even though I had like ten bike lengths over them. Anyway, I picked up the pace, and gained another 10 lengths. Even started closing the gap on one and two. Then we hit the first tight uphill switchback. Chainsuck! Already? Off the bike running, one guy passes me. Catch up to him. Next uphill switchback. Chainsuck! Again! Off running and another guy passes me. Now I am psyched out. I keep in in my middle ring for the next few climbs and all is well. Unfortunately, I make the mistake of using my granny a couple of more times before I learn my lesson.

    OK, now I am cruising along feeling good since most of the course is middle ring anyway. Then I make the fatal mistake of taking off my muddy glasses. I wear contacts, but every mud run I've done seems like I can handle a little mud in the eyes. I don't know if it is the speed of the course or the type of mud, but as soon as my glasses were off, it became a nightmare. Every time I would blink the mud out, more would hit me in the eyes. When it started raining harder, I thought maybe it would wash out my eyes, but instead it just made the mud on my helmet drip in my eyes. In the meantime, I let a couple of more people by, I'm racing along thinking about how to afford Lasic.

    Anyway, about 12 or 13 miles in, I am finally feeling like I am racing decently again. I'm trying to get some momentum on a fast straight section before a big hill. Crossing a mud hole I manage to get the front wheel in one rut and the back in another. Slid right into a hill on the side of the trail, earning myself a nice cut and another walk up a long hill. But hey, at least I have brakes. By this point there are already people losing theirs. I didn't lose my rear brakes until just before the finish.

    It would be easy to use all my problems as excuses for not doing well. Then when I was standing in line for the bike wash, both of the people next to me also had contacts. Another couple of them had lost their brakes. Another had lost several minutes helping a guy who hit a tree and broke his collarbone. When you could see what every rider looked like after this race, it was on of those events where it truly was a victory just to finish.

    Anyway, congratulations to all the competitors that showed up even though the conditions were rough.

    This is my first race report, so forgive me if it is boring or too centered on my own experience. Also sorry for the lack of pictures. I imagine someone will be posting some soon.

  2. #2
    www.BluemaxxRacing.com
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    Awesome post. I can't wait to hear from my friends who drove up for the race from Florida. Hopefully, none of them have broken collarbones.....?

  3. #3
    I love Pisgah
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    Good job Torre. You are a machine(he didn't mention he's 54yrs old). I saw SO many serious crashes and mechanicals.. 2 guys just ahead of me crashed thru a 2x4 railed bridge at speed. Another hit a tree, breaking his C-bone and puncturing a lung. 75% seemed to lose all brakes and most shifting.

    I had decent race, altho I suffered the entire race from a damaged knee joint, and major gravel rash(hands, arms, side, back, and knees) from the day before, when my dog took my front end out from under me at 25mph on my GFs long gravel driveway while I was doing some efforts for Sundays race. I got to the ST in 5th after getting off in the leaves up the FS rd to pass 15+ racers after a bad start off the line. We had a huge class(Sport 40+) of 34-36 racers(30 finished). I tossed my new cheap amber lens glasses into the woods 20yrds into the ST.. 98% covered in mud by then. Oh well. At least I had no contacts to deal with. Thats gotta be tough in such conditions. No crashes or mechs, altho I also lost the granny and had almost zero brakes by the end and my rear rotor was drag'n so bad it'd spin one time if spun hard. My knee(both knees suffer from countless injuries from racing over many years) is now so swollen I can't bend it or put weight on it for the most part. Bummer.

    After my race



    My swollen knee an hour after the race. I suffered on the slick hike-a-bike sections.



    40+ Beginner start.



    Beginner womens..all clean and shiny. That lasted about .5 mile.

    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  4. #4
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    Nice race report Fastitus, sounds like a "load of fun". Yeah I won't wear contact for fear of crap getting into/under them so I would have been screwed from my glasses. Now at least you know about the fenders - I think the most important one is actually run off the stem blocking the crap flying off the front wheel, I say off the stem as the normal ones going under the fork don't really seem to work.

    Duckman - OWWW - that looks almighty painful, glad that at least you're a real racer boy and your leg's are shaved. Every time I do get gravel rash I have to carefully snip away the hair. To do the race right after that happened before it started to stiffen up might not have been "that bad" but to have the night to let it start to stiffen up and scab would have been pretty painful (under statement of the year) I speak from personal experience this weekend also riding to the Sat ride checking the trails I endo'd going down a rather steep rocky hill and got it straight on the left knee. Since I only washed it off when I arrived at the ride and then headed straight into it it wasn't that bad - trying to sleep that night however was another story every time I rolled over.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  5. #5
    I love Pisgah
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    Some more gravel rash..



    Note one hand is swollen. Had a hard time holding on during the race(meanng it hurt more then expected). I ran over the dog while trying to stay upright. Shes ok tho, Dumb.

    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  6. #6
    Not Smart Enough to Quit
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    Good job Torre. You are a machine(he didn't mention he's 54yrs old).

    Great job T! You snuck up on me with the new nickname!

    Man, you need a fender! Check out the pic of Duckman. Notice how muddy his shirt is, then look at his face. Also note the little fender deal strapped to the down tube. The difference can be HUGE! I ran one at the mudfest at Dausett last year. I rode without glasses & had no problem with mud in my eyes. Do yourself a favor (I feel OK giving you secrets now that I'm not racing against you ) get a cheap strap on fender & carry to ALL events. I don't leave home without it!

    See you in Athens?

    Ed
    The standing eight count & three knockdown rules are in effect on this trail.

    http://compvelo.com/content/

  7. #7
    I love Pisgah
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    Thats actually a THE brand downhill front fender thats mounted to the fork like normal. Just hard to see it in the pic. The rear fender is a THE downtube mud guard deal that I've adapted to be a rear. Works great. Fenders at least give you a fighting chance.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  8. #8
    Not Smart Enough to Quit
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    Thats actually a THE brand downhill front fender thats mounted to the fork like normal. Just hard to see it in the pic. The rear fender is a THE downtube mud guard deal that I've adapted to be a rear. Works great. Fenders at least give you a fighting chance.
    So did you calculate how many grams of mud you were carrying?

    You know I am required to give you weight weenie he11 every chance I get!
    The standing eight count & three knockdown rules are in effect on this trail.

    http://compvelo.com/content/

  9. #9
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    Sounds like the usual Helen race experience came early this year. Yikes. Duck, I can only hope the Sonic in Bryson City had blood transfusions on the menu.

  10. #10
    Demo a Chumba XCL in VA..
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    refreshing

    It's refreshing to hear about someone moving into a more difficult class for better competition. Warms my heart. Kudos to you!!!!!
    Playing in FL for the winter. Anyone up for riding Santos or Razorback or wanna test ride the Chumba XCL or EVO lemme know!

  11. #11
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    Damn.........

    .....that must be really smarting now, especially after putting it through a race - hope you managed to keep it moist so the scabs don't stiffen it up. Damn you must love that dog and I bet you never ride without your gloves again you weren't wearing the gloves while doing the sprints, were you?
    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    Some more gravel rash..



    Note one hand is swollen. Had a hard time holding on during the race(meanng it hurt more then expected). I ran over the dog while trying to stay upright. Shes ok tho, Dumb.

    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  12. #12
    I love Pisgah
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    Nope, no gloves. Guess it shows.

    Yes, on the dog. Shes my "girl" that I've shared many a trail with backpacking and mtbing. Sh1t happens I guess.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  13. #13
    Horses and Bikes, Oh My!
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    The preride of Tsali on Sat. was great! It was fast and dry, just perfect. Well, Sat. night it rained and rained and rained. It never really let up, not even during our race. Needless to say, it was a wet, muddy, nasty course.

    I had a good race despite conditions. I was 13th out of about 30 sport women. I am not sure where I finished in the 30+. I had some chainsuck and a little loss of power on my rear brake, but I was in better shape than a lot of people. The worse thing for me was
    that mud kept getting in my eyes. I'm still picking dirt out of them. I was really consistent from start to finish although I wish I would have pushed the flat sections a bit harder. I might have been able to move up a place or two.

    I heard that there was a separated shoulder in the Expert race in addition to the poor guy that broke his collarbone.

  14. #14
    What It Be ?
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    I was there and it was a MESS. Bike is currently wating for a new headset King is on the way. And cables and housing sitting next to the bike.


    I did the sport 19-29 finished just about dead last no brakes 1/2 way in no shifting issues until the last climb. I'll be back in June in alot better shape ready to ride again.

  15. #15
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    AHA! So YOU'RE the guy!

    Quote Originally Posted by fastitus
    They divided my Sport class in two, 30-34 and 35-39. I am a little older than my 30's, but I like the big fields in the 30-39 age group. This race I felt like racing the older half, so I opted for 35-39. Maybe 25 or so riders. Our local Georgia announcing legend Bruce Dickman decided to stray north of the border for this event. He decided to let all my class know I was an old guy looking to beat the younger ones. This always help motivate my competition, but I don't mind. If you don't know Bruce, you need to come to one of our GSC races to see what a little color does to an event.
    I was there in the 40+ sport group and heard something about someone... my buddies in the 30-39 class didn't hear what the deal was either... so now we know!

    Good job Torre.

    And Duckman, we've PM'd before via MTBR about our Spiders... I was probably right along side you a couple of times... too bad I didn't know I would've said hi.

    EDIT: my brakes ate almost all the way through the metal brake pad backing plate, the pads were long gone... YIKES ! I did have great shifting and traction though, so I feel lucky. Attached is a pic if I can get it to work.. that's me on the right and Jim Shelton on the left...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 40hills; 04-05-2007 at 07:58 AM.
    I read that on the internet.

  16. #16
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    Yuck. What fun, eh?

    I raced my XTC HT for that one. Its mad at me now tho.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  17. #17
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    Hey - I was a few feet behind the sport class guy when he hit the tree and broke himself so badly. I stood there forever with him until another racer with medical training showed up and sent me off on my way again. I think Torre and a few others slipped by me while I was standing around trying to convince "the crasher" that he only had the wind knocked out of him... Little did I know.

    I remember the announcer calling you out on the start line - you didn't have to actually go on and beat so many of us!!

  18. #18
    i worship Mr T
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    oof. not sorry i missed that one.

    sometimes business trips are good.

    congrats to all who muddled through.

    rt
    "where are you not going so fast?" (question asked to cyclist on a trainer)

    *rt*'s fabulous blog
    mm blogging

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