Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Terror of Teaberry

Terror of Teaberry is the third and last race of the Michaux Endurance Series. The guys that put these races on sell them as being some of the hardest on the East Coast. They might be right as these trails can be summed up with one word, rocky. Especially this last one. I was riding some of the most technical stuff I've probably ever done. Very fun stuff.

The adventure gets started the night before when my air mattress springs a leak at 3 AM. Now I'm sleeping on cold and rocky ground. I toss and turn for a few hours and before I know it my alarm is going off. It's pretty freaking cold too. The first thing I do is put the coffee pot on and get in line for the bathroom. Pretty much my standard ritual at this point. I continue to get ready, saying hi to all the various people I've met doing these races. I also had a chance to meet my Vassago Team Reps. It was pretty cool having them there. I wish we had a chance to talk more but I glad they could make it up. Hopefully they got a little bit of a feel for what East Coast Mountain Bike racing is all about.

It's starting to warm up a bit as we roll out to the start line but it's still pretty cold. The race director is giving us some last minute instructions. He says two things that stick in my head, "This will be the hardest 50 mile race you've ever done" and "The last 8 miles are just wrong". Great, sounds like fun. Let's go.

The start is crazy. I guess there are about 40 of us rolling fast down this loose, rocky fireroad. You can't see jack in front of you and to make it worse we're heading right into the rising sun. Rocks pop up out of nowhere and you have to either bunny hop them or try and dodge them. A couple of guys go down but eventually we get spaced out enough for me to settle in to my pace. I'm probably riding too fast but the stretch of single track we're on is too much fun. Things are going along pretty nicely, yeah we've hit some technical section so far but nothing too bad and I've crashed a few times but I get right back up again with no damage done. My rear tire is acting up on me however, it's slowly leaking air. I think the Stan's sealant is having trouble sealing because I'm flexing the tire so much. Eventually I hit a bit of pavement and I'll able to increase my speed and it seals right up. Great stuff.

About 30 miles in Super Singlespeed rider Larry Camp catches up to me and I welcome the company. I've lost my computer and I don't really know where I'm at distance wise. This is Larry's backyard and he knows the trails pretty well so I jump on his back wheel. More rocks, more logs and more hills. Finally we reach the highlight of the course, Rocky Ridge. Ok, now it's getting really hard, but wow it's fun. Yeah some of these rock gardens are just wrong, but I surprise myself at how much I ride. I think my technical skills are getting better. It seems like it takes forever to get through this section, but somehow I make it out alive. Few more bruises and cuts on the legs but I'm able to make it through in one piece.

I can tell we are getting close to finish line because I'm staring to see more people walking around and generally hanging out. It's a great feeling, probably how sailors feel when they've been out to sea for a long time and they start seeing birds. You know you are getting close.

Larry and I roll in at around 6 hours and change. Not sure what place I came in. With this kind of race, finishing is winning.

As usual thanks to Vassago Cycles and The Bike Escape. The more I ride my Jabberwocky the more I fall in love with it. The big wheels just roll over everything.

You can't tell by I'm freezing my ass off in this picture. Thanks to Tim Kramer for taking the pictures.


Hmmm.... said...

Great write up Kev..Enjoyed meeting you but did not enjoy the cold! :) I can't wait for summer 08!!!

Congrats on finishing the race - I know it was a rough one!

camps said...

Nice writin' and ridin'.
Rocky Ridge was fun.

namrita o'dea said...

nice writeup! sounds like a really tough one. congrats! oh, i like your armwarmers.

Tom said...

Man you look cool as a cucumber in that pic.

Kevin said...

That's my race face :)

msysing said...

Hey, I was wondering if you are getting rid of any 29er stuff, I am looking for forks and wheelsets-both single speed and geared. Let me know.


Kevin said...


I don't have any extra stuff right now. Sorry.