|My bike's first trip out-of-doors in months|
|Cheaha Challenge 2017|
|The Thursday, May 18th projected weather radar map for the race on Sunday morning|
|Our group in Smyrna, GA before departing on the Silver Comet Trail|
|Coot's Lake rest stop|
|The group headed west toward Jacksonville, AL|
|Cedartown rest stop|
|Cedartown rest stop|
|Rolling out to the next rest stop on the way to Jacksonville, AL|
|Eubanks Welcome Center rest stop|
|The Anniston, AL end of the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga Trail|
|Ride packet coupons and finisher's cap|
|Race t-shirt artwork|
|Ultra distance riders lining up at the race start|
|Cheaha Challenge Ultra elevation profile|
|Cheaha Challenge Ultra course map|
|Me and Jose|
The inclines are just the forerunner of the impending white knuckle descents off mountains. The miles I’d put on the trainer had not prepared me for these. I had decided at the onset that I would brake at the start of every descent and keep braking until I was safely at the bottom. Whomever I was riding beside at the time would quickly be out of sight long before I’d come around the last turn into the valley below. I’d put pressure on my pedals to quickly catch back up with them. Jose and I eventually met up with Cody Meyer from Birmingham. The three of us pushed each other, figuratively speaking, up and then back down Bain’s Gap until at some point Jose was gone off the front. Cody and I chatted about this and that which took my mind off the task at hand and that eventually led us to the pièce de ré·sis·tance, Chimney Peak. I walked a good bit of the road to the top of the mountain as cyclists whizzed by at 60-mph or so. My maximum speed for the day was 47-mph and I only did that because I could see the end of the road.
|Cheaha Challenge Ultra male aged 55 to 59 results|
Post-ride Thoughts - Afterwards, I felt bad having not stayed with my group but frankly, I was a lot more scared than I might have led on. My bike handling skills had suffered a bit from the hours I’d spent on the trainer. I felt safer with one rabbit to chase than a whole group of rabbits. I didn’t want to be that guy on the side of the road waiting for an ambulance after crossing a wheel and hitting the deck, and I surely didn’t want to ruin someone else’s day either.
|Cheaha Challenge finisher's t-shirt front artwork|
|Cheaha Challenge finisher's t-shirt back artwork|
The list of SCC Cheaha participants from their website includes 25 members. Some of these didn't attend. We had others who registered at the event and aren't listed. Either way, it was a large group.
In Conclusion - Over the course of the past 12 months I’ve ridden my bike about 1,700 miles, approximately 1,400 of which were exclusively indoors on the trainer. There are two reasons for that. The first being that I, unlike most people, enjoy riding the trainer especially now since Zwift has come about. The second reason is that it’s safer. I don’t have to worry about a distracted driver killing me because they had to check their Facebook feed. The point I’m trying to make is that I felt completely safe during this race with the one caveat that I was surely gonna die on one of those hair-raising descents.
She had a bath and now old Betsy is in her rightful place again.
|My pain cave|
Thanks for reading.