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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Snake Creek Gap Race #2

Guest writer Dustin Mealor is here again and this time he's not so jovial. In fact he sounds more thankful to God that he made it to the finish with all his appendages. From my own experience I can confirm for you guys that the telling of the story never really reflects the burden of the ride on your body and your mind. So I leave you with that thought as you read Dustin's account of the second race in Dalton, Georgia. We'll call it...

Frost Bite at the Snake
by Dustin Mealor

The word “epic”, when being used to describe a bicycle ride or race, is one that is really dependent upon the individual using the word.  That being said, I heard that word being used by more people this weekend than I ever have.  The Snake Creek Gap TT #2 truly was a race of “epic” proportions.

We arrived Friday evening in Dalton to check into the hotel before eating dinner.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant called “Garcias” in Dalton.  It was funny walking into the restaurant because it had the name of the previous Italian restaurant etched in the concrete.  This place even served pasta, which was another thing I felt was fairly odd for a Mexican restaurant.  The food was good, though, and it didn’t hurt in helping me sleep that night after my belly was full.
Saturday morning we got up, ate breakfast, then headed off to the start area.  We decided to drive ourselves this time so we wouldn’t have to deal with the shuttle.  When we got there Todd went ahead and left since he’s a little bit slower than Rob and I.  I went out about 10 seconds before Rob.  I noted that when I left my Garmin said it was 23 degrees outside.  The only thing I remember thinking was “I hope that river is shallow”… it wasn’t.  When we got to the crossing Rob pedaled across first.  I saw his feet going under the water as he crossed so I had the bright idea to try and half pedal all the way.  This turned out to be a big mistake.  The water slowed me to a standstill and I fell over.  I didn’t get as wet as last time when I hit the water full steam, but I ended up walking the river with water halfway up my shins.  After crossing the river my Garmin said it was 22 degrees.  This would not change again until the last 30 minutes of the race.
As we hit the first climb I noticed Rob struggling a little but didn’t think much about it after he said he was okay.  About 10 minutes into the climb, I had fully dropped Rob, which is rare since he’s such a good climber.  I worried about him, but I saw him again about 30 minutes later when he passed me.  I never saw him again after about a 20-30 minute stint of hanging with him.

Once we got onto the single track, the snow started.  It snowed heavy for about 30 minutes and got to the point of actually covering the trail itself.  This, believe it or not, made navigating the technical slow stuff easier.  I just rolled over stuff I normally would avoid.  It snowed for probably an hour total until it switched to sleet and freezing rain.  Keep in mind that the temperature never departed from 22.
Once I hit the halfway point I realized I had lost my brand new 25oz. insulated Camelbak bottle.  This wasn’t a game-ender but having my Camelbak freeze to the point of nothing coming out of my bite valve was.  I had not been drinking much due to the cold, but now I would be forced to ride over two hours with nothing else to drink.  Honestly this turned out to not be a huge issue since I was so cold I actually didn’t sweat much.  Apparently being soaking wet from snow and freezing rain in 22 degree temperatures keeps your body from getting hot.
 It wasn’t until I had about 9 miles to go that I decided my race was over and I just stopped. I knew I had to eat something and try to force my bite valve to let me have some water.  I also decided that I badly wanted to change into the dry socks I had in my pack.  I spent the next 10 minutes doing those things, plus trying to get the ice off my cleats that had been making me ride my bike like it had platform pedals for the previous hour.  
Once I took care of all that, I proceeded with my race.
There truly wasn’t anything else that happened for the remainder of the race.  I mentally battled myself to keep pushing for those remaining 9 or so miles.  Once I hit the tower (the race is fully downhill from there) I definitely had a feeling of accomplishment.  The final 2 or so mile descent was very unpleasant. Previously I had removed my glasses because they literally had a sheet of ice on them.  During this final descent, it sleeted the whole way down.  And 30-40mph in sleet stings a bit.  After the descent, I popped up on the curb and rounded the turn for the finish. 

The day was over, and it truly was EPIC!

Dustin Mealor


Thanks Dustin!!

My own weekend while less "epic" was really fun. After my parents blessed Lisa and I with a night to ourselves we slept in and then attended my youngest daughters Karate sparing practice. She attends the DOJO in Braselton Georgia where they don't just teach Karate... they teach Self-Confidence. I continue to be very impressed with the way they run things and the lessons my daughter learns. One such lesson will occur next week when she competes for the first time.

Then I took Molly, my 13 year old, to Fort Yargo to train for the Dirty Spokes Duathlon she says she wants to do there. She'll be racing as a solo while I compete in the 2 Man Team division with my good friend Kelly Edwards.
We rode the outer loop and stopped in key places so she could practice on some of the harder areas. I have no doubt she can make it. I'm just nervous about her being out there without me. For that reason she will have her cell phone with tracking on. I love technology!
We saw a ton of folks we knew out there including the Lester's (our Coed Team nemesis) and even a new friend I made just last week named Mark.
Crazy people like us were everywhere! Evidently there are a lot of families who ride bikes! What are they thinking?? Don't they know there's more costly, less physically demanding fun out there? Why weren't they at the Mall with everyone else?

2013 Super Bowl Team

The next day was Super Bowl Sunday! And as is our custom we joined the annual JCCHS Alumni Super Bowl game of "Two Hand Tackle". Or as it is most commonly known "Two Hand Shove".
Since I was a freshman in high school we have played this game. Every year.
But a few years ago we all started getting old and it dawned on us that so were our kids. So we decided to let the kids play and we referee. Oh yeah! We got smart.

As you can see we had a ton of fun. These kids have so much energy. And they really can take a hit!

I'm really getting excited about the season of riding and racing that's coming up! I'll be kicking off my season with a lung burning relay race on mountain bikes with the likes of Trace Nabors and David Shabat. In two weeks it's the Chainbuster 6 Hour MTB Series at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville, GA!

Then it's the Southeast Bike Expo! Then it's the Hincapie Training Series! Then a Duathlon at Fort Yargo! Then another Chainbuster race! Then the Trillium Trek!

Weekend after weekend of RACING!!!

So stay tuned for the latest crazy stories from whom ever I can talk into writing them. It's going to be a great season!

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

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