Here we go:
Our trip started with a long and quite scenic 10 hour ride from Florida to Alabama.
Oh our state seems to be never ending but thanks to the project of Florida highway beautification with Florida native wildflowers I had something to keep my mind occupied. Beautiful patches of yellows and pink flowers did accompany us throughout almost whole state ride. I could not take it any longer and at some point had to get out of the car and snap few pictures and just enjoy this simple beauty.
After crossing to Alabama things got slow and boring and if not for Peanut shows and all different peanut galleries and stands on the way that reminded us of our squirrel pet “Peanut” we would go bananas.
But we got there and when we did we still had maybe one hour to spare before sunset.
We took off the bikes, stuffed luggage to the cabin and flew downhill to the transition area. Tons of bikers were heading down the road finishing their day in the park. Oh this forest is so beautiful and smells so sweet. When flying down with speed that we are used to we spotted three cute deer feeding on the side of the road. After seeing the lake we decided to challenge ourselves and see who can get the fastest to the top of super steep climb. That was definitely a lung and leg buster and we felt like it was perfect ending of the long day and headed back to the cabin which by the way was sweet.
The next morning after great breakfast and nice cap of tea on the porch overlooking the lake we headed for the trails.
The ride started with a very fun trail full of switchbacks and ups and downs. I enjoyed this section a lot. Good times did continue until we got to some more serious continuous climbs on the jeep road. This was a battle against yourself and the mountain, where mountain wanted to win so badly definitely kicking our butts. But we did it and climbed to the top just to start flying down almost in instance. When finally we got to the famous blood rock section we knew instantly why this part become so known. It was rough. And after seeing few attempts of my husband almost flying over his handlebars I decided to let it be and leave it in peace.
Ride from Alabama went by pretty quick and Friday morning our priority was to get out to the park and preview the race course. This was another beautiful place to visit and quickly we were mesmerized by the overwhelmingly sweet smell of the whole forest… White blooming trees and honeysuckle vines were everywhere, cascading down every single tree or shrubbery we went by.
We did some easy swimming in the designated beach area in the park with our Floridian friends and races Duffy and her husband Mike. Water was pretty cold and murky and swimming in quite shallow water with a company made things way pleasant for me. Shortly we changed and went for something that supposed to be a “short” run/jog, well at least until Duffy lost track of where we actually supposed to run and instead of going for one mile or so we ended up doing four miles which was most of the race course with all the climbs that did accompany it. The power line climb was brutal on the run and even more brutal on the bike afterwards with totally now heavy and tired legs. We did whole 10.5 miles loop; half of each did Duffy family with us… They were flying on the track but we had not much left from previous day in Pelham and all those miles of climbing. Trails were sweet here however and quite fast and enjoyable, except those few burning climbs! On the end of the day my legs felt like logs, but the next morning I had xterra to do and repeat the course!
Water looks really murky on the race morning, cold, and buoys are set super far away. I’m still having fear of open water and am not happy about what I’m going have to do. Pretty much 3 times you need to cross middle of the terribly large brown unhappy lake with bunch of people next to you. Next to the start there are huge pine trees submerged and blocking our way to swim out. I stood there in disbelieve and tried to keep myself calm, to the point that I did turn off all emotions to don’t feel fear. Shortly after start the trees created huge bottle neck effect and all hundred and fifty races were stuck on each other not able to extend arms to swim. I swam as far as I could and stuck my head up, ocean of heads next to me in matter of inches apart, funny thing is that I said to myself I don’t care, I’m totally fine and I accept this situation until things cleared out. My swim was not smooth however and shortly after this incident I was short of breath, I looked back very quick and I saw how far in the lake I already was.
2nd in my age group was the final result, which was quite satisfying. I knew however that it was not over since next day I had another race!
2nd Place in Age Group out of 6 - 11th overall woman out of 30 and 82 out of 166 men and women. Stay tuned for full write up.
Tomorrow Serc Race number 4 in Ft Yargo.
5th place in SERC 4 Ft Yargo Sport Class. Wow those local women can climb.... We will see how they do when they come to my neck of the woods in the FSC Cup :)
Today morning I felt like incredible hawk and not in a good way. My legs felt so logs like, so tired. It was however the final day of my big adventure.
|Starting Lineup of the Sport Women at SERC 4 in Ft Yargo GA|
These Photos from Steve Hampton at
This race was simply packed by racers, an amazing amount of good riders that I never saw before. The start line was simply full. I remember the whistle going off and I stood up and hammered. Seconds later I looked around and by surprise I was in a lead. I liked what I saw. I kept pushing. There was flat double track and it seems like I just developed the tail of all ladies behind me that I was taking for a ride. It all lasted for a while, but as we know all good things adventurely do come to the end. And after few minutes of sprinting I had enough and was gasping for air. There come first grassy wide turn and I saw Duffy ( my Floridian buddy) attacking it from the inside. I thought fine, treat yourself I’m done. So I let her go. I managed to keep the second spot when getting to the single track. I had still all the northern girls behind me and I should suspect it meant that I was still too good to be true. Just minutes later in the single track I had two impatient riders behind me. After a while I let one go… I was able however to still keep up and don’t let other racers to past. Actually I noticed I started doing really good and got even upset that I did the front girl pass. I was getting just ready to get her and pass and I got some speed and was about to open my mouth to announce the pass when… she suddenly took off and kept on getting farther and further. All of it was happening on the begging of the lengthy and leg busting power line climb. There are no long climbs where I come from so I didn’t know how things were going to unfold; apparently not so good for me…
Just seconds later when I started gasping once more for oxygen and started feeling little fire going through my quads and I was still in the very bottom part of the climb; I looked to my left and saw something like a freight train of few just flying up ladies going by me effortlessly. I was stunned. I lost at least 3 or 4 spots in few little seconds. So let’s say now I was in the 7th. Good deal. After the mean climb riding become fun finally. It was brutal at times but also very enjoyable when trail turned downward and you could go as fast as you wished. With the passing miles I was getting my momentum and at some point I made my first pass. I thought it was great and later on I remember catching up to another girl on the technical uphill and reclaiming one more spot. I wondered if I should start my countdown and things were going to start just getting better and better for me. This didn’t happen and toward the end of the second lap on the slow twisty climbs I felt like that was more than enough for the day. I simply could not wait to and this ride I was so tired. I remember climbing up at the snail almost pace and using my last bits of energy to make to the top of every little bump, hump and turn that was there to roll over and upwards while on the side of the trail there was a young man just sitting on the chair and ridding magazine! I made small talk, managed to put out a little smile and biked away punished up by the day…
|My Husband, with his camera bags, following me encouraging me to go faster|
These Photos from Steve Hampton at
I crossed the finish line as a 5th rider, which was quite acceptable for my second sport race ever and considering all the biking and racing I have done in all four consecutive days…
It was a monstrous weekend and finally it was over!
|Duffy and me afterwards|