It’s Monday, and all I want to do is ride some singletrack. Seems a little weird that all I want to do is ride my mountain bike, especially since I did a 6 hour mountain bike race on Saturday…
Saturday morning Tim, Gordon and I arrive and set up for 6 Hours of Balsam Grove. All we know is the race is on 80% private property, 10 total mile laps with 2 miles of highway, gravel roads and singletrack… and for we will ride for approximately 6 hours.
We are lined up and scoping out the competition. There are a handful of ladies. Some of them are solo and some are parts of teams, but I have no idea who belongs to what group. The clock strikes 10 and we are off! … onto a paved highway… for 2.33 miles. So, I thought, sweet! no more highway with fat tires! Next we hit a gravel road that was downhill almost the whole way. This section was about 2.75 miles. I’m already halfway thru the loop and haven’t been on a trail yet. Next turn… a left, onto a paved highway, uphill. And the make a right turn onto a paved side street then up someones driveway? a REALLY steep driveway… Am I going the correct way? yes. Reach the top of the driveway and turn into the woods! Six miles into the race we enter the woods. Singletrack yet? No. Possibly someone’s hunting trails? Yes. So, I ride up and down and off camber on some really soft dirt with lots of leaves and really random sudden turns. So what, at least it’s in the woods and off the open road. Then bam! into a field and back onto the road. I’m 6.75 miles in at this point. I ride past the driveway and back onto the highway. 8.5 miles into the race I turn off the highway and back onto the property the race starts at. I ride past our tent and take a sharp turn into what could be confused with singletrack, but more like someone had recently taken a dingo and pushed some dirt around to make a 5 foot wide trail. Roots, branches, stumps and everything still in place. Like they didn’t have time to clean up the path they created. Whatever, it’s a trail and by this point I was pumped to not be on the highway. Steep, sharp switchback after steep, sharp switchback, I make my way to the top. Then come down multiple sharp switchbacks. Then for the second time today I end up in a field. This time it has that cow pasture feel to it. I make a right turn to go through their “skills” section. There is a short rock garden and some other very small wooden structures. Now I’m making a U turn to go past our tent again. I stop to switch out one water bottle and continue on. Right before you reach the start/finish line they had us take another turn to go back into the pasture, up a steep, leaf covered, slippery hill and then down three short “drops” and past some pig pens, with pigs in them. A few more zigzags and I find myself crossing the finish line. And then back out onto the highway.
A few notes about the race:
1) The volunteers that had been hanging out at all the major intersections on the highway disappeared halfway through the race.
2) The girls who were scoring/timing the race seemed completely uninterested with what was going on, which caused multiple errors in scoring. Including, putting me as the 1st place winner in women’s solo. The lady who actually won said something to me about it, then she bounced… So I had to talk to the race promoter and correct their error. Also, the teams scoring was completely wrong, but they righted that immediately. Another thing. What race promoter races their own race and then willingly hops up on the podium for 3rd place and takes a prize? This one does.
3) Speaking of prizes…. 1st place got an amazingly not awesome jersey, a 3-pack of Advil Allergy and Congestion and a medal… 2nd place got a $10 gift card to an online retailer and a 3-pack of Advil Allergy and Congestion… Sweet.
4) This race was held at “At the Ridge Fun Trails, Pisgah’s New Playground.” Do not claim to be Pisgah’s new playground unless you have built some sweet trails, or have some really great skills area. Y’all have neither. Your trails are not fun. Find a new moto.
All said and done, we will not be going back to this race and we are very thankful we had snagged some free entries into this race. If I would have paid $50, I would have been upset.
Tim: 1st Solo Men
Gordon: 2nd Solo Men
Me: 2nd Solo Women