This guy loaded up on waaayyyy too much sugar at Woody's
photo credit: Mulberry Gap
Rolling into Woody’s I racked my bike, pulled
off my helmet and gloves and made a line straight to a tub where they had some
glistening red cans of Coke iced down.
Cracked it open and took in the refreshing nectar, limiting myself to
little sips although all I wanted to do was chug it.
I found a seat at a picnic table next to Matt, who had gotten there a few minutes before me, and walked over to see what the
food offering looked like.
I grabbed a
plate of eggs and a few pieces of bacon for my first course, and then went back for a bagel with cream cheese, a
banana, some pickles and topped it off with a piece of cake.
I sat around chatting with some of the other racers for some time.
Justin Hurd informed me that his race was
over as he blew his fork out.
the shop, I saw this wild haired kid named Sam Harney working feverishly on his rear tire, pulling
a brand new Schwalbe out of packaging.
remember passing this guy early on where he was working on the same wheel.
As I was washing my bike off and cleaning up
my drivetrain, I gave Wendi a call at Mulberry Gap to let her know everything
was going great.
Bike cleaned, I topped
off my water and packed a few to-go snacks to keep me fueled for the ride
Back on the road, I knew the infamous climb over
Hog Pen Gap lay ahead of me.
As the sun
was setting I started heading up this paved climb, but I
soon found that I just couldn’t get my legs under me.
I started getting passed by other
riders, and I had to stop a few times to
take a break.
hen it dawned on me that
I made a total rookie mistake back at Woody’s by gorging myself on entirely too
All of the blood in my body
had evacuated my legs and instead was focused on digesting the immense amount of food I
had just loaded in my stomach.
slowly continued up the climb, taking breaks as I needed and eventually crested
Just as I hit the top, the sky
was starting to light up with a crazy amount of lightning and crashes of
thunder were stealing the quiet silence of the night.
This continued during the screaming fast
descent down the backside of the gap, and I was just hoping that I could make it
to Vogel State Park at the bottom before the inevitable rain set in.
Surprisingly, there was no rain yet with all of
the noise and light in the sky.
started to see signs for the park, and began thinking whether I should just push
on past Vogel to the next mountain pass.
I decided to swing into Vogel to finish letting my food digest and see
what this storm did.
Pulling into the
registration building, I saw a couple of other racers sitting on benches next to
a glowing red coke machine.
Campbell, a teammate of his and a young kid from the Sewanee Cycling Club named
James Dunaway were all talking about how far they were going to push on when I
I sat on a soft patch of
grass and pulled out my phone surprised to see I had a few bars of LTE.
Opening up a weather app I couldn’t believe
that it only said that there was slight drizzle in the forecast for the next
Maybe this was just a big electrical
I was really on the fence as to
whether I was going to push on over Wolf Pen Gap or sit around and see what
this storm was going to do.
The trio I
was chatting with decided to push on and I resorted to finding a place to rest
for a few hours.
On the way into the park, I remember seeing a pavilion with some picnic tables.
This looked like a perfect place to stay off
the ground and out of any rain that may head our way. I peeled off my kit and
put on a pair of running shorts, some thick wool socks
and my rain jacket.
I threw my buff on
my head and laid down on the picnic table.
Before crashing out I drank a couple of liters of water as well as a
I set my
alarm for 3:30am and started to snooze off.
Somewhere in the middle of the night the wind picked up and the rain
I pulled my bivy out of my seat
bag as I was starting to get a little cold and zipped up.
The sound of the rain actually made it a
little easier to get some rest.
once in a while, I would wake to the sound of thunder or a set of squealing
brakes of another racer pulling into the park.