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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Tanasi Challenge was the 8th stop on the South Eastern Regional Championship series. The Tanasi trails are located at the Ocoee Whitewater Center (which was the kayaking venue for the '96 Olympic Games), just outside of Ducktown, Tn. The decision to do this race was kind of last minute. My first 'A' race of the season was the "Showdown at Sugar" NORBA event in June, and then I was going to have 3 months before my next race. I figured it would be good to add a race in there, instead of 3 solid months of boring training.

Coming off my win at Sugar Mtn I had some confidence built up, but could I make it two for two? There are some great riders that compete in the regional races, so I knew I was gonna have some serious competition.

This race would be my first time riding these trails, so I was hoping that there wasn't too much of a learning curve on them. On my pre-ride I was pleased to discover that Tanasi is not too technical, just lots of flowy singletrack, and some pretty good climbs at the beginning. Ohh, and I can't forget to mention "Thunder Rock Express". Clear weather meant that the trails were in great shape. If it had rained, then it would have made sections of the course very tricky. There was one dark spot on an otherwise good pre-ride though… I got stung by a friggin' Yellowjacket!:madmax: Thank God I'm not allergic, but damn, that hurt like a mother.

The day of the race I was up early, as I was hearing all kinds of sounds in the motel…people upstairs walking around, TVs playing, coughing, creaking, dripping, you name it (Editorial note- Don't try and get any real sleep at the Ramada Limited in Blue Ridge, Ga.). After my normal pre-race breakfast of pancakes, it was off to the event.

My wave didn't go until 11:30am, so I had plenty of time to hang out and get warmed up. Getting warmed up took on a new meaning today. It was hot, with a capital 'H'. Temps were expected to be in the mid 90s with some nasty humidity. As a Floridian, I'm no stranger to riding in hot temperatures, so I wasn't expecting the heat to be a factor, or at least not too much of one. With the Ocoee river right there, you certainly had a place to cool off afterwards… which more than one rider took advantage of.

After a 15 minute delay, they called up my class, Beginner 30-39. We were doing 1 lap of the 11 mile course. As always, one of my goals is/was to be in the top 4 or 5 upon hitting the singletrack. I never know if I'll be able to achieve it, but it sounds good, right? The whistle sounds and we're off! On top of having to watch out for fellow racers, we also had to look out for bystanders. The first part of the course was on some paved trail that bordered the river. This section of trail is used by people watching the kayakers and rafters. Needless to say, it made for some interesting obstacles. When we got to the singletrack, I had the position I was looking for…I was sitting in 4th. With all the climbing ahead I felt that I was in a good position to be able to attack on the climbs and keep anyone from getting too far away from me. The guy in 3rd fell of the pace almost immediately, so that put me in 3rd.

Not even 10 minutes into the race and I'm in 3rd, so I'm feeling really good about my chances. The good feeling was short lived though. On one of the climbs, I lost momentum trying to go over a particularly big root (due to picking a bad line...but lets keep that between us.). I got one foot unclipped, but I didn't get the important foot unclipped. The foot that was still clipped in was on the side that all my weight was on when I came to a stop, and I fell over… again, not a big problem by itself. A tree caught my fall, so all I had to do was stand up and be on my way. Wrong. When the bike fell over the back tire got wedged in the same root that that I got hung up on. So here I am leaning against this tree, and I can't get unclipped because I can't get the bike up because the wheel is wedged.:madman: One guy goes past, and I'm still fighting to get my foot unclipped and get the bike upright. I'm frantic as it appears if the whole damned field is going past me, and I'm floundering on the side of the trail like a fish out of water. In a move that would make a yoga master proud, I twisted my free leg around the front of the bike where I could get some leverage and finally get my trapped foot free, and I get the bike up and get going again.

Until I saw that only 1 guy had gotten past me I was in the throes of a panic attack over the mishap. It takes me a couple minutes to get out of my funk, but once my head is back on straight I pass the guy for the second time and I'm back in 3rd place. I'm finding my rhythm again, and I make a move for 2nd as the second place fella is having some bike problems. I'm right on the wheel of the leader and when we enter a doubletrack descent I get around him and put it into high gear to try and create a sizeable gap that I can work off of once the climbing starts again.

I built on my lead over the next few climbs and for almost 10 minutes I ride by myself except for passing the occasional rider from a different class. Almost out of the blue a guy from my class shows up on my wheel and manages to get around me, and leads for the next few minutes. I am stronger on the climbs so I am right on his wheel anytime the trail goes up. After hugging his wheel for a bit he announced that he had blown and that I could get passed. I gave it all I had to create a big gap while he was trying to recover, because I didn't want to have to be playing that same game near the end of the race. I was now starting to pick off more riders from other age groups. I'm past the halfway mark, so I'm just trying to keep up a steady effort, but at the same time not make any stupid mistakes. As I mentioned earlier, this is not a technical trail, but if you don't pay attention it can take a bite out of you, especially Thunder Rock Express.

A long jeep road downhill tells me that the end is near. The only challenge left is Thunder Rock Express. Thunder Rock Express is a fun, and at times steep, downhill filled with rocks of all kinds; loose baseball sized ones, half buried monsters, jagged tire slicers… all of them waiting to take out anyone but the totally diligent.

If you make it down Thunder Rock Express unscathed then an easy gravel road downhill awaits you. All that was left was the run for the finish, which is on pavement. I get on the pavement and click into my highest gear and floor it for the finish line. There is one last potentially tricky section though. The final stretch of the race takes you through the Ocoee Whitewater Center parking area, across a bridge, and to the finish. The bridge is the tricky part, and that's because of people. Despite signs that say "Caution! High speed mtn bike race in progress", people would routinely walk down the side of the bridge designated as the race lane, or just stand in the way of the entrance to the bridge. If anyone was in the way I was prepared to put a shoulder into them if I had to. Thankfully my way was clear and I made it across the finish line with no problems.


Almost there...


If, like Ichabod Crane, I can just make it across the bridge to safety.​

I thought I had done well, and even won, but I couldn't be certain…not after my hang up on that blasted root. I didn't know for sure if someone had gotten ahead of the pack without me knowing it. I grabbed some recovery drink, and then I went and cooled off/cleaned up in the Ocoee. I wish I could describe how good it felt.

Of course it always takes forever to post the results, and after a long wait I found out what I had hoped for. I took first place. I finished 2:22 ahead of second place. Along with the medal, the race promoter supplied a bottle of burgundy champagne.


Burgundy champagne?!?​

While on the podium I was tempted to open it and give it the ole shake and spray, but I didn't think it would be well received.

This was a great result for me, as it tells me that I'm more or less on the right track with my training.

I'll enjoy this win for a few days, and then it'll be back to the daily training grind. I gotta be ready for the Florida State series.

I do want to give some props to the folks at River City Bicycles for sponsoring the Tanasi round of the SERC series, and offering up some shwag to the winners. I do have one thing to ask whoever fixed up the award bags though… what the hell am I supposed to do with one tire? That's like getting one shoe, or one glove.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my sponsor, the fine folks at SixSixOne.:thumbsup:
 

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Great report and great result SeanL. As to that "burgundy champagne" I would have popped that sucka and let her rip - all be damned :D

What to do with one tyre, are you kidding? some tyres only work well as a front or rear tyre so there's lots to do/use it for.
 

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Great work Sean!

Tanasi is really one of the greatest mtb race venues I have ever been to. Huge climbs - the first climb took me about 9 minutes. In the eastern part of the country that's a huge climb. I think In know the rooted section where you got delayed. The other little line there isn't much better.

My race was there was a complete disaster. It was a rude reminder that easy training rides won't prepare me for racing. After a 7-day fever I had just been taking easy rides to build up slowly. 2 weeks of that and I felt fine. No way was I ready to race. I finished my 2 laps about 15 minutes behind my pace last year. I had been making steady and encouraging progress until that incident after the Helen race. Now it's all down the drain. Oh well. Maybe it will be easier to regain my newfound fitness than it was to get the first time.

OK Anybody have some other Tanasi results to report?

Paul Firnschild
# 927
40+ Vet Sport
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LyNx said:
Great report and great result SeanL. As to that "burgundy champagne" I would have popped that sucka and let her rip - all be damned :D

What to do with one tyre, are you kidding? some tyres only work well as a front or rear tyre so there's lots to do/use it for.
Thanks LyNx!
If I woulda let that cork fly I probably woulda had a couple dozen cleaning bills to pay.;)

I had thought about that with the tire, but I just wanted to complain about something.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pauly Sportinwood said:
Great work Sean!

Tanasi is really one of the greatest mtb race venues I have ever been to. Huge climbs - the first climb took me about 9 minutes. In the eastern part of the country that's a huge climb. I think In know the rooted section where you got delayed. The other little line there isn't much better.

My race was there was a complete disaster. It was a rude reminder that easy training rides won't prepare me for racing. After a 7-day fever I had just been taking easy rides to build up slowly. 2 weeks of that and I felt fine. No way was I ready to race. I finished my 2 laps about 15 minutes behind my pace last year. I had been making steady and encouraging progress until that incident after the Helen race. Now it's all down the drain. Oh well. Maybe it will be easier to regain my newfound fitness than it was to get the first time.

OK Anybody have some other Tanasi results to report?

Paul Firnschild
# 927
40+ Vet Sport
Thanks Pauly!

Yeah, Tanasi is a great place to ride and race. Sorry to hear about your race...hopefully the next one will go more according to plan.
 

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Your The Man

I raced in the 30-39 beg class too,although my results weren't as good as yours. I started to write a race report but I didn't want to depress everybody.:) It was just so hot that I never felt like I could recover.I was over my LT for 56 of my first 70 minutes.Hats off to you though, to be able to race at that pace in that heat really speaks alot for your training.Good report and keep them coming.Jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jmax24 said:
I raced in the 30-39 beg class too,although my results weren't as good as yours. I started to write a race report but I didn't want to depress everybody.:) It was just so hot that I never felt like I could recover.I was over my LT for 56 of my first 70 minutes.Hats off to you though, to be able to race at that pace in that heat really speaks alot for your training.Good report and keep them coming.Jason
The heat was pretty bad, with the humidity being the worst part. You still oughta write up a report. If you've read many reports here, you'll know that not all of them have a happy ending.

Thanks for the kudos jmax!
 

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Well done SeanL...

I raced the 30-39 Sport race......

Being my first time to ride it as well...me and my teammate were not very excited about the course after the preride....seemed like a total of 6 miles of climbing, then 2-3 downhill and a mile or so on the pavement (being a sweet singletrack nut that I am i was kinda bummed)....but we discovered that at race pace it was a whole new trail - the speed pushed ya thru most of that trail and made it very fun

I took off , off the front of my race ...being first onto the dirt....i wasnt really sure what kinda pace the grp was gonna hit cause of the climbing...and i noticed i had 4 bike lengths at least by then so i kinda backed it down into conservation mode...

I stayed in the top 4 ...kinda yo-yo-ing places over the course of the first lap...however one guy passed me on the climb on lap 1 and i lost him...thought we re-passed him a little later but it was another rider i found out....so by the end of lap one no problems but heat..and im running in 2nd (which i thought i was first at the time)

2nd lap i start up the climb figuring ill just keep the pace going as best i can....a mile or so up i pass a racer in the 19-29 group and he says im a few seconds off the leader...Im like "No way , Im the leader" He says" Im not bullshittin ya".."Hes right up there"...so then im like "Fudge;) "....time to pick it up again

And sure enough i catch him and he says hes slowin down so i pass and keep on going...getting chills on the last powerline ascents..not good.........but i finally crest that thing and bomb downhill...bash in my pedal on a rock...keep moving though.....cross the final (slick) bridge and i wash out the rear end...hop back up and continue the bombing downhill...once i see the road i know i can hold off number 2 (who was gaining the whole race it seemed like)

I cross the finish number 1 with my first official SERC top of the podium finish...i also wanted to explode my Andre Blush "FINE" champagne all over the peeps but i figured in the enclosed pavillion it would be a brutal spraying...especially since my teammate took first as well and i was sure he was gonna do it too :thumbsup:

It was a great weekend....MS and FL "flatlanders" showin how it is done....:D


A lil postscript...while loading my SC Superlight to drive home, i saw a rock jammed in between the rear linkage and the seat tube...had to hammer the friggin rock out of there...I have my first official frame dent as well :madmax:
 

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nice job Sean!

the 1 tire thing is actually a mating ritual. you just have to find the other person with the matching tire and, viola! you have a pair....and a mate. :D

sorry to hear about the yellow jacket. been there, done that recently and i AM allergic...as a result i spent part of my july 4 in the emergency room and the following week on some great steroids and antibiotics. :rolleyes:

oh, and my last time at that race it POURED and was 50 degrees making the course cold and tricky. that sandy soil when wet really eats through brake pads. by the time i hit thunder rock express i had no brakes at all....:eekster: not to mention that bridge crossing at the end. yikes. i came into the bridge at top speed, realized i couldn't make the tight turn to stay within the lane taped off for racers, also realized that i could slow down because i had no brakes. crashed through the tape and slammed into the guard rail at full speed. thankfully i'm short and the rail caught me in the chest so i didn't endo into the rocks and river below. :eek:

needless to say i stayed home this year. hehe.

congrats again on the win.

rt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The SS Boz said:
It was a great weekend....MS and FL "flatlanders" showin how it is done....:D
Thanks SS Boz, and congrats on your great finish!

You definitely can't count us "flatlanders" out, that's for sure.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
*rt* said:
nice job Sean!

rt
Thanks rt!

I can see how that course would be a real b**ch when it's wet.

BTW, your theory on the tire is the best I've heard so far...makes sense in a weird sort of way.:D
 

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SeanL said:
Thanks rt!

I can see how that course would be a real b**ch when it's wet.

BTW, your theory on the tire is the best I've heard so far...makes sense in a weird sort of way.:D
hey! i won 1 tire this weekend. is your's a Kenda Kharma?

LOL!

:D

rt
 

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*rt* said:
hey! i won 1 tire this weekend. is your's a Kenda Kharma?

LOL!

:D

rt
Does this mean we're going to have Sean and *rt* baby Karmas??? :eek:

Ha!

Nice work Sean - and great write up. Sounds like you're really honing those race skills and fitness, and will likely make a good transition to Sport next season.... gotta love the DOH! factor in the root/stuck-in-my-pedal scene - cool you didn't lose too much time there.

And where's the dang Sugar write-up? I don't recall a victory at NATIONALS write up anytime this past summer... am I blind or something...? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
glenzx said:
Does this mean we're going to have Sean and *rt* baby Karmas??? :eek:

Ha!
I don't think there's any chance of a hook up, my single tire is from the wrong side of the tracks...it's a Panaracer Fire XC. But then again, they say that opposites attract.:D

Nice work Sean - and great write up. Sounds like you're really honing those race skills and fitness, and will likely make a good transition to Sport next season.... gotta love the DOH! factor in the root/stuck-in-my-pedal scene - cool you didn't lose too much time there.

And where's the dang Sugar write-up? I don't recall a victory at NATIONALS write up anytime this past summer... am I blind or something...? :)
Thanks Glenzx!

Yeah, I've been really busting my hump training. Good to see that its paying off. I'll be making the transition to sport next year, whether its a "good transition" or not remains to be seen.;)

You are not blind, I didn't post a Sugar write up. I umm....uhh, got a little lazy. :skep:
 

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ooh ooh i won the panaracer fire xc in red..2.1...maybe we can hook them up for a date...mine is currently single as well :D


On a side note..the tire my bud won there in his race was a friggin specialized enduro...like 2.3 i think....what a wicked XC racing tire ;)

....and on even a more funny note....back at like the first race in florida he won a specialized roll X pro "womens" tire...the packaging actually says womens on it....i mean wtf is a womens tire....how can there be a difference....:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The SS Boz said:
....and on even a more funny note....back at like the first race in florida he won a specialized roll X pro "womens" tire...the packaging actually says womens on it....i mean wtf is a womens tire....how can there be a difference....:rolleyes:
Ha! That is funny...weird, but funny.:D
 

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The SS Boz said:
ooh ooh i won the panaracer fire xc in red..2.1...maybe we can hook them up for a date...mine is currently single as well :D

On a side note..the tire my bud won there in his race was a friggin specialized enduro...like 2.3 i think....what a wicked XC racing tire ;)

....and on even a more funny note....back at like the first race in florida he won a specialized roll X pro "womens" tire...the packaging actually says womens on it....i mean wtf is a womens tire....how can there be a difference....:rolleyes:
LOL. we should get all these single tires together and see what happens - tire orgy. ;)

someone makes "women's" tires?! hmmm. not quite sure what that would be. maybe if you match it with a "men's" tire you get little training wheels?

at one of my early races i won a men's size M jersey and a men's saddle. odd selection of shwag for a women's beginner race. :rolleyes:

rt
 

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WSD Tires

It's true - Specialized, among others, makes a WSD that has a lighter casing, lighter/softer rubber/tread compound and such. The weight limit is around 140 pounds... so they ought to be just called "light people tires". Anything for more niche marketing!
 

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SeanL said:
I do want to give some props to the folks at River City Bicycles for sponsoring the Tanasi round of the SERC series, and offering up some shwag to the winners. I do have one thing to ask whoever fixed up the award bags though… what the hell am I supposed to do with one tire? That's like getting one shoe, or one glove.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my sponsor, the fine folks at SixSixOne.:thumbsup:
Hey, that's where I bought my first set of clipless pedals and shoes (I'm assuming you are talking about the one in Chattanooga). Ahh the memories.:)

Good job on your race!:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
mtbfool said:
Hey, that's where I bought my first set of clipless pedals and shoes (I'm assuming you are talking about the one in Chattanooga). Ahh the memories.:)

Good job on your race!:thumbsup:
Thanks mtbfool!

Yeah, that is the same River City Bicycles.:)
 
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