My cousin Marc and I departed Cleveland about 7am on Friday morning and headed south via I-71 and I-75. Our destination was the southeastern TN mountains and the Cohutta 100, the first stop of the NUE 100 mile series. I was registered for the 100 mile version which featured 12k feet of climbing over 30 miles of single track and the balance being service roads traversing crazy steep mountains. Elevation profile here.
A short 615 miles later we arrived to stunning mountains streams and 90+ temperatures. I love it when a plan comes together.
We stayed at Thunder Rock Campground, a National Forest Campground located along the Ocoee River about 1 mile from the race start/finish. Premium camp spot. We set up camp and I kitted up for a pre-ride of the first 15 miles of the course. The course started with a 3 mile paved climb then some fast smooth and flat singletrack. It was beautiful. The course start finish was at the Ocoee White Water Center.
After some dinner, I retired for the night, and slept soundly knowing that saturday would bring all sorts of fun bike racing! Got up around 6am for the 7am start. In short order, I was ready to go (bike, check, bottles, check) and made the short 1 mile spin over to the start area. I started about 1/3 back of the 200+ person 100 mile group. This kept me from the lead pack, a blessing in disguise. I rode strongly for about 25 miles then we hit the 65 mile section of Forest Road. It was tough and then some. Once the heat came (85 degrees+), I kept it conservative (re: slow). Took my time and finished in just over 10 hours. No disasters, crashes, or major leg cramps, just lots of slowish, uphill riding. The official race report and results from CyclingNews are here.
Next up is some local road racing, then the Mohican 100.