Monday, May 2, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Cohutta 100 Race Report

Last Thursday afternoon we began our adventure to the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee/Georgia for Dynamo to face the challenge he's been training for. The ride halfway was stressful and long. The tornados had just come through southwest Virginia early on in the day. Debris was everywhere and there were road backups for miles. At 1 a.m. on Friday morning we arrived at our hotel in Bristol. Here are some photos of the damage we saw as we came through on Sunday. It was took dark to take pictures on the way there. Please say a prayer for those affected by the tornado.
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On Friday, we completed our ride and we, along with 8 other friends, descended on a little cabin called "Quittin' Time" mid-afternoon on Friday. 

On Friday, the plan was to check-in for the race, prepare the drop bags, take a little ride to loosen up after the long car journey, eat a steak dinner, and then get a good night's rest! The Ocoee Whitewater Center was the site of the start and finish of the race. It was absolutely beautiful! I've honestly never seen anything more beautiful! This was also the site of some of the events of the 1996 Olympics.
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Here are the guys checking in and getting their race packets...
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After packet pickup we went to the cabin to finish the evening out with our friends! When the alarm rang at 4:30 in the morning on Saturday, reality hit and it was time to get into race mode! 100 miles of off road challenges that included 12,000 feet of elevation faced these 5 guys with only 13 hours to do it in.

On Saturday at 6:30 a.m. the guys were all suited up and ready to go with the temperature being a chilly 45 degrees.
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At the start a prayer was said and then the gun sounded. They were off!

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Us 5 girls were the pit crew/cheering squad/fan club for these guys. We decided to take a chance and see if we could catch them about 12 miles into the race at the creek crossing near the Ocoee Whitewater Center. We camped out with our cameras ready to catch a glimpse. The guys were surprised to see us this early on in the race.

For those of you who are new to this sport, it's important that you know that mountain bike racing is NOT a good spectator sport. Often, trails take riders deep into the woods and out of sight. Most of the time you are allowed to go to one of the aid stations and wait for racers to come in there. You get brief glimpses at that point as well as a chance to encourage them, but as quickly as they come in they leave.
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So, at the creek crossing we first saw "B,"
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Then "C,"
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Then Dynamo,
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Then "M,"
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Unfortunately, "J" had some mechanical difficulties and had to drop out of the race at this point.

Next, we ventured about 45 miles out by car to aid station 3 where we could see the guys about the mid-point in the race. We waited patiently for them to arrive. At 51 miles into the ride, they arrived all smiles! They all arrived between 1 and 2 p.m.

First, "C" and "B",
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Then Dynamo,
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Cohutta 100, April 2011 (409)

Then "M,"
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With them all fueled up and filled with love and encouragement, we sent them off and told them we would see them at the finish line. They all looked good, so we felt really comfortable that they would be able to finish the race strong. Only 49 miles left at that point.

So, as we descended the mountain to head back to the Whitewater Center and the finish, we made a couple of stops at the scenic overlook and the waterfall. The scenery was gorgeous!
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Back at the finish, we patiently waited for the guys!

At about 6:35 p.m. we saw Dynamo coming over the bridge towards us and the finishline. We all began to scream and yell cheering him on!!! Dynamo crossed the finishline!! It took him 11 hours and 37 minutes to complete the 100 miles!! Well done!!!!
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As he crossed the finishline, I felt completely overwhelmed with feelings of pride and love for him! I burst into tears as I hugged and kissed him, knowing how VERY hard this race was and how VERY much he had accomplished by finishing. I can't begin to describe how extremely proud I was of him at that moment. All that he had worked for had come true. God had kept him safe and had given him strength and confidence to achieve this goal. As I write this, I'm still crying because my heart is so happy for him. He is my superstar!!!

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Mission accomplished!!!
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Next, we waited for the others to come across. We saw "C" coming across the bridge and all began to cheer and yell.
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Then, "M" arrived at the finish!!
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Unfortunately, "B" was unable to finish as his body just gave out.

Everyone was a winner in my book because it took lots of work, dedication, and heart to even give such a hard race a try. Every one of the racers out there amaze me.
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The food...
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And, the podium...
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It was all about the socks...
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Apparently, some guy followed Dynamo for a while during the race and told him that he was just going to ride behind him and read his socks for inspiration.

We had a fantastic time and I enjoyed every minute with these 8 other people. I couldn't have picked a better group to share a cabin with. They were kind, generous, caring, supportive, and friendly. We're so blessed to have these wonderful people as friends.

Cohutta 100, April 2011 (17)

Kermit did good...
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To view all the photos, visit my flickr site.
For race results click here!



4 comments:

MSHammond said...

wow!! GO DYNAMO GO!!! (Love your socks) Great pictures Rachel. it looks like ya'll had fun!! :) Are you doing it next year? Wink wink.

va_grown said...

So glad it went well and he was able to finish strong. So what's next on his schedule? :)

Jim Rosen said...

Way to go Dynamo! And thanks for the recap and the pictures! Nice job documenting the adventure.

M Rosen said...

awesome. Great job on the recap & congrats to Jeff for his excellent accomplishment! I can only imagine what it would be like to do a race like this, but I am not the least bit enticed to try (to hard!). :)