Monday, October 3, 2011

Pisgah Stage Race 2011: Stage 3

“Dude, Garth do you know that Jeramiah’s bullfrog calls you Man-woman?” I say. I’m delighted with the information I’ve just received.

“Yeah man, I let it go the first couple times, but now it’s pissing me off. I mean really? Man-woman? Just because I have long hair? I can’t stand close minded people man,” says Garth. He flicks a dred out of his face.

We’re in the field waiting to start Stage 3. It’s only 25 miles today, so it’s going to be a fast. Just like an XC race. I walk over to the Izzy’s coffee truck and get a free cup. This a rad setup. The guy has a generator and an espresso machine. And it’s free. Very nice.

Almost time to go. I line up next to the Birdman and Cinder Bloch Lochner. Todd gives us three seconds, then we hit it. Garth takes a flyer down the gravel road and tries to catch up with the lead car. Everybody else holds a steadier pace.

Garth jumps off his bike in the middle of the road. He pushes down on a flat rear tire with his thumb. The whole pack starts laughing as we surround and pass him. The Pflug decides to take advantage of Garth’s misfortune and sprints away.

It only takes us a couple minutes to catch him. It’s hard to make an attack stick with dudes like Jeramiah, Sam, and Adam leading the pack.

We turn into the singletrack and start a steep climb. I make some passes and get up with the lead four pro guys and the Elite Elderly Leader Andy Johnson. I’m feeling pretty excellent. I’ve gotta go for a good overall finish today.

The singletrack opens back up into some flatter smooth stuff. I stick on Andy’s wheel. I almost feel bad that I can’t help pull, but that’s the way of the parasitic single speeder. I tuck and spin.

I head into the first downhill, and my arms give out. My hands and wrists are completely destroyed from the last two stages. I fumble down the water bars and loose rocks un-gracefully. Hopefully my upper body will warm up and start working.

I let Andy set the pace up the next climb. I might not be able to hold onto my bars, my legs feel great. We turn back down a hill, and he tells me to take the lead.

I spin out to get up to speed and start flowing down the trail. It’s smooth and super fast. Big mounds to pump over, nice burms in the corners, and tacky dirt.

I hit the bottom and spin. I don’t see anybody behind me. Up a little gravel climb, then down more sweet flowing trails. I’m sitting in 5th overall right now. I need to hold this pace.

Another downhill. I ride over some big rocks, then stop at the top of a drop. The trail is a five-foot deep drainage ditch that’s full of big rocks. If there’s a line down this thing, I’m not seeing it. I jump off my bike and start running down the hill.

Somebody yells to me. I look left. Husky Thom Parsons. With the big Cycling Dirt camera.

“You fucker! Put that camera away while I’m walking,” I yell. Then I see a grandmotherly looking woman standing next to him. Whoops. Should have watched that language.

I jump back on my bike and pedal across a long section of flat gravel. I’m spun out and afraid that somebody is going to catch me. I finally make a turn onto a pavement and start heading back up the mountain.

Through Aid Station 2 and onto a single track climb. My eyes are popping out of my head like a Boston Terrier's. The trail gets too steep to ride, so I start running. Then it turns downhill. I jump back on my bike, but the dirt pitches right back up in a few feet. Dammit. It keeps undulating, 100 feet up, 50 feet down, over and over.

I see Andy spinning up the climb a few feet back when I’m off hiking. Crap. I need to move faster. I’m desperate to get to the descent.

After another couple hiking sections, I hit the top and start bombing back down. I’m not holding anything back. I rip down the loose rocks, then the trail levels out again. Another climb. Shit. This is going to kill me.

I pin it up the hill. I’m getting dizzy but I can’t slow down. I finally see the last turn. I shred the smooth single track down hill, and spin the flat section across the bottom. I can see the finish. One hard turn and a 100 yards on gravel, and I’m there.

I hear a deraliur clanking behind me. That has to be Andy. I make the turn, hit the gravel and sprint.
I cross the line. Andy is less than a bike length back.

Hot damn. I got it. 5th overall behind Koerber, Bishop, Craig, and Edsall. That’s a solid day. My legs start to lock up. I might die tomorrow.

Videos by Huskey Thom:    

Watch more video of Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race 2011 on

Watch more video of Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race 2011 on


brado1 said...

got a couple of shots of you

Nice Work!

Lee said...


Lee said...


dougyfresh said...

good job.

what was garth doing on the road at the start?