Ali did a good job of covering the setting and an even better job of placing 20th in the 65 mile race! For my story, I somehow overlooked the fact that the 100mile race would have nearly 70miles of continuous gravel road riding. Why did I think that would be fun on a SS? The road climb and first 15miles of singletrack were a blast and I was moving great while still riding efficiently. I was hanging with a small pack of SS riders through the singletrack and passed most of them where the gravel roads start but I knew there were several more SS riders ahead of me that I would never see. In addition to that, several of my competitors would pass me at times usually while I was walking part of a climb to save some energy, hold off cramps, or give my aching knees a break. I would pass some of them back or at least catch up briefly at the aid stations since my motto is to keep moving as much as possible no matter how slow. The clock still ticks while you're standing still. I lost count of the number of climbs on the gravel roads but was almost burnt up when I got to the singletrack. Surprisingly the climbing got easier from here on out and despite all the pain in several parts of my body I finished up and was even able to maintain a fast speed on the final descent that brings you about 1.5 miles of pavement away from the finish line. I was so glad to be finished so I could say "been there done that" and "no more 100mile Cohutta races for me."
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