PMBAR Sunrise, stolen from BradO
What's not to love when you get to spend a day in Pisgah with a good friend, chasing a bunch of like-minded fools and pondering the existential while hinged to the side of a mountain on 8 square inches of knobby rubber?
Grins (grimaces?) all around! Photo by Eric
Greg and I had a darn near perfect PMBAR. No mechanicals, no throw-downs or throw-ups, only one episode of cramping, and the best route for us we could have chosen. Add in amazing weather (storms threatening, which apparently then dumped in Asheville but never made it south to affect the race), fantastic volunteers and a set of challenging-but-achievable checkpoints ... what more could you ask for?
From Smokers Cove > Black (mandatory, passports at Pressley Gap) > Black > Turkeypen Gap > Singletrack > Bradley Creek (CP 1) > 1206 > 5051 > Yellow Gap Trail (which doesn't go to Yellow Gap) > North Mills River (CP 2) > Lower Trace > Wash Creek > 5000 > 1206 (water at the campground, Coke at the Gap*) > Laurel Mtn (CP 3) > Pilot > 1206 > 276 (water at Pink Beds) > 475B > 225 (CP 4**) > 225 > 475B > 276 > 477 > Avery (CP 5) > Buckhorn Gap Tr > 477 > Clawhammer > Maxwell > Black (mandatory) > FINISH
A full hour faster than last year for a finish in 9:40, good enough for 9th place overall and some sweet prizes: Greg walked away with a new Wingnut pack and I landed a pair of sweet 29er hoops courtesy of DT Swiss!
Eric put together some serious sponsorship this year, and I'm proud that Cane Creek is included in that. Most of all, though, I owe a huge shout-out to Bruce Dickman at ProGold -- not only has ProGold kept me running for more than 5 years now, Bruce has seen fit to support PMBAR with an amazing set of prizes, Pisgah Area SORBA's spring edition of Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, Trips for Kids WNC, the Cane Creek shop and so many other great folks ... watch for a full write-up soon!
Not-so-silent night under a Super Moon. Photo by Eric.
Now for a couple of race notes:
* Stephen Janes of Trips for Kids WNC has become a fixture at Yellow Gap on FS1206, serving up hot grilled cheese sandwiches and ice-cold Coca-Cola while keeping watch on the off-limits ascent of FS5015. He purchases all the supplies out of his own pocket, helping build awareness for TfK in return. This year, while Greg sucked down a sandwich and a Coke, I slammed two sodas -- by the time we topped out on the Pilot Connector, the caffeine kicked in, and I absolutely railed Pilot Rock. It was off the hook -- I was scared out of my mind, but I might just try that again sometime ...
** At this point in the day, we were inexplicably ahead of Wes and Geoff, who had gone a different way earlier in the day. We motored along toward Club Gap and Avery Creek (another caffeine-fueled hyperspeed downhill), and the Red Ones passed us just as we exited 477 and started to climb. From what Wes said, they were out of their minds; I was stoked that we didn't get passed the rest of the day, they apparently made up some 6 or 7 places to make it to the podium. Mad props to them for closing the deal in dramatic fashion!