Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 Currahee Adventure Duathlon

This race effectively wraps up my season. Before it started I already considered 2011 a year of extreme blessings. That's a feeling I never expected to have. It's been a year I cannot explain. I mean I started the year on the lowest of lows after TJ was killed. My aspirations were gone. I expected nothing. All I wanted was to not let what happened cause me to loose my way. Too many people take a tragedy and turn it into an excuse to be a jerk. I didn't want to become bitter and loose focus on my responsibilities as a husband and father. Which to me is where everything else begins. I mean if you can be your best for your family then everything else like work and friends and even your hobbies will flow in the same direction. That's how this season of competition has been. Flowing in a good direction.

It's amazing how big of a roll your selfishness can play in life. I have always been a competitive person and for years what I wanted was to win by myself. I trained hard and used visions of winning solo to get me through some tough workouts. I flogged myself in races and did well sometimes. But this year...this year I didn't deserve anything great as far as racing goes. At least that's how I felt. I mean I wanted to keep biking and racing if only to stick it to the devil and his plan to make me a jerk. So I decided to continue the biking ministry that TJ was so excited about. I decided to race with friends instead of solo. I decided to have fun no matter what and keep my hobby in it's place. What happened after that has forever changed how I train and race. I've had more fun and won more races than ever, but all on a team. I thank God for my family, my friends, and the blessing of forgiveness. What a year! And what a blueprint for 2012!

The Map

Currahee Mountain is the historic location of the World War II training camp our military used in the 1940's. It's now part of a Georgia Wildlife Management Reserve that offers some great mountain bike and equestrian trials. For years now there's been an Adventure Duathlon there that's put on to benefit FCA. I've entered it many times with many friends. It's always a challenge for me because there's so much trail running. And I don't run. But I often read about cyclist's having a problem with bone density because of the low impact sport we choose so I try and use this event to motivate me to run. But I don't run. It hurts. My legs are so sore right now that I have to back down stairs because walking down them normally is killing me. And do you know why...because I don't run!

Running. I don't like running.
A month ago I mixed running into my workouts. As I stood at the starting line for the 2011 CAD I somehow new it wouldn't be enough. My team mates were Craig Tinsley and Boston Marathoner David Shabat. The only thing I new for sure was that Craig and I would be chasing David for three hours. And I was right. I also thought I was prepared for it but here's the thing; My treadmill doesn't help me practice running "down hill". You use completely different muscles running down hill. It became painfully obvious as the race wore on that my life was headed...down hill.
Craig Tinsley.
David Shabat likes to run.

Here's how an adventure duathlon works. Every team is given a card with 12 boxes drawn on it. This is called your "passport". The object of the race is to find the whole punchers hanging from orange banners in different locations in the Reserve. And yes the punchers punch different numbers. In order to find them you need a map. You can get the map only after running down a dirt road to volunteers who sign your passport and then running back to the start/finish to receive your map and get on your bike. The map also tells you which trails you can ride your bike and which trails you must run. Once we got our hands on the map we had to make decisions on which punches to go get and in what order. I took responsibility for planning our route...it's another "C" personality thing. We gave David the passport. We sort of knew he'd be first to most of the punch flags.

David and I were talking at the start. We agreed to take it easy and try to ramp up to a good strong pace. Then the gun went off and CRAIG went crazy! He took off like a mad man and left us no choice but to chase him down. He told us he wanted to start with a lead and try to hold it. He inspired David who shifted gears and left us both gasping for oxygen. By the time we made it back to get the map Craig and I were maxed out. And we'd only been running for about 15 minutes. It's sad really.

Of course one of the punches we needed is always located at the top of Currahee Mountain. This year the map said we could ride it. Hallelujah!  Here's how the Currahee climb went.

Once we rode back from the top of the Currahee there was a lot more trail running to do. My team mates had chosen to change shoes between each discipline so that gave me some time to solidify my plan for getting us back to the finish faster than anyone else. This is where knowing the trails became invaluable.

Eat, Drink, and keep moving. Our recipe for success.
Special Tests - Here's the reason it's called an Adventure Duathlon. You may run or ride up to the next punch flag but before you can punch your passport you may have to complete a test.

I'm handing the camera to Clint so he can film our finish.
I remember one time a couple of years ago we had to get a car tire somehow over the top of a telephone pole. This year it wasn't all that difficult. Just a board walk and some pull-ups.
Solo Racers doing the repel off the mountain.
Our last hour of racing was perfect for me. After the last run we had a large amount of biking to do in order to get all the way out to the last punch. It was a tough, steep road with lots of big gravel covered by leaves. I fully expected a special test at the punch location but to my delight there wasn't one. There was however another team there. They were all staring at their passport. As we rode away I heard David expressing his condolences, they had missed punch #7. We tore out for the finish, they headed back to get their missing punch. I felt bad for them...sort of. Here's The FINISH!

At the finish we were not sure if another team had beaten us. We stayed in "race mode" for the final ascension over the military net. Once we finished and celebrated a little I began to smell a sweet aroma. A fine southern delicacy was being cooked for us by the FCA volunteers. It's the one thing every man craves. Hamburgers! I had two. There were some nice baked goodies for desert too. We changed clothes and ate burgers while watching the other teams come in and try to get over the net. Great fun!

1st Place Team - Craig Tinsley, David Shabat, Chad Hayes

Special thanks to Clint Sanders for organizing another fine back woods adventure. Visit Sanders Drugs in Toccoa, GA where they have a ton of endurance fuels, bars, mixes, and supplies for we who feel the need to punish ourselves in events like this one. 

Also thank you to Rob Attaway for taking some great pictures of us. He's a great guy with a big heart!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving everyone! This weekend I'm heading to Tsali mountain bike trails with my family and the Pattillo's. See ya real soon!


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