I got to Tennessee on Friday to beautiful weather but very hot, temps were in the upper 80’s and were looking to hit the 90’s for race day. Race day morning came after decent sleep, all the heavy hitters were here including Jeff Schalk, Jeremiah Bishop, Chris Eatough, Michael Simonson, Sam Korber and Christan Tanguy.
The first climb is a 5 minute hammer fest up the highway then into the first section of single track, I ended up right wear I wanted to be in the back of the lead group the pace was really high with Schalk at the front pushing the pace. I stayed with the group for about the first hour then I started to get dropped by the time we hit the dirt road section I could still hear the lead group but couldn’t see them.
After the first aid station I was feeling pretty good and was starting to reel someone in when around a blind corner I met face to face with the side of a ford truck he luckily was going slow and I was almost able to stop but banged my knee really good. It was my fault and he was more concerned about me he said are you OK and I said sorry and was off.
Back to the chase I was reeling this guy in when I got to him I realized it was Rob Lichtenwalner, really cool guy and we worked together well for about the next hour until he made a stop at aid 2 I had no drop here so I blew threw. I quickly caught the next guy I didn’t know him he looked pretty rough he jumped on my wheel and I pulled him for a wile until Christan Tanguy came along with another guy in tow I stayed with them for a bit then got dropped by Tangay.
The next 40 miles I rode alone I was felling great but was starting to cramp from the heat. At about mile 70 I passed 3 or 4 people and was pumped to be reeling in so many riders. At 80 miles I caught up with Sam Koerber he was looking raged but jumped on and we rode together the rest of the way I was nice to have someone to ride with for the last section.
The last section was back into the single track for some really fun riding I was felling good and was trying to drop Sam but he was getting his legs back and was hanging tough I finished the race without a sprint with Sam, I was happy about that because of the precarious bridge before the finish. I finished in 6th place with a time of 6 hours 49 minutes I’m very happy with the first race and am feeling good about the year. The new carbon Santa Cruz Blur performed flawlessly the bike is amazing and cant believe I get to ride it all season.