Wednesday, September 28, 2011
By now, I'm pretty sure everyone knows how much fun I'm having at the Pisgah Stage Race. But, what you probably don't know is how incredible the support is at this race. Not only are the race promoter and his staff going the extra mile to make this event perfect, but also all the sponsors and the entire town are going out of their way to support the racers. I've done a lot of racing over the years and I don't think that I can compare the support at this race to any others that I've done.
It's very refreshing to show-up at the start of each day and have a variety of assistance available. Then, once the racing starts, the course is marked perfectly, leaving no guessing on direction or thoughts about being lost. Additionally, the aid station volunteers provide quick assistance to riders, so we can get back to racing. After the race, there is Hammer recoverite and other snacks available for re-charging the body. Two massage therapists are also on hand to work out the knots accumulated during the day.
After regaining my energy at the finishing area, I have been heading back to my hotel, The Sunset Motel. This motel has been perfect for me and the owner, Lori, has been making all the racers staying here feel right at home. She even has a bike wash set-up with a rack, scrub brush and rags for racers to use. Later in the afternoon, the podium finishers head to a gazebo in front of the court house in town for the daily podium presentation. Afterwards, everyone heads over to a local real estate business called Profiles for free beer from New Belgium Brewing and h'orderves provided by another local business called Theophilius. Needless to say, with all of this going on, there is a lot to do here in addition to racing.
But, there is a race and today I scored another third place. I tried climbing along with Garth and Andy, but those dudes were flying again. I did feel better with the hardtail Mamasita, but didn't have enough to match the faster pace of the two guys in front on me. The second stage was as fun as the first, but I would say a little harder with 7900 feet of climbing over 43 miles of trails and fireroads. I found myself smiling a lot today as I raced because the trails were just so much fun. I might not be winning the race, but I sure am having a blast on this bike racing vacation.
One recommendation I do have to anyone thinking about doing this race, or even riding here is to use a pair of Stan's Notubes Wheels with a beefier tubeless tire. The rocks here are numerous and riding with tubes on these trails would be just silly. I would also suggest using a 29er over 26" mtb wheel to help roll over all of the rocks. I've had zero issues with my Notubes Crests 29er Wheels here and I've noticed that most of the leading riders are using a Stan's tubeless set-up, including the three top pros: Jeremiah Bishop, Adam Craig and Sam Koerber.
Well, that's my report for today. Stage 3 is going to be a shorter race of only 25 miles with 3900 feet of climbing. It might be shorter, but I'm not expecting it to be easy; that is for sure. At least I know that I'll have the exceptional support from the race crew during the race and the welcoming hospitality of Brevard, NC after completing another hard day on the saddle.
Happy Trails, Gerry