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Mountain Range


Bruce Stauffer (2)


My Tellico highlands ITT attempt was a last minute replacement for my previously scheduled Rockstar 270. The one day race format is way easier to disguise as a vacation than having to co-ordinate pick-up, drop-offs and meet-ups. I simply had my support crew (wife & doggies) drop me off at the start line (a nondescript roadside overlook) and arrange an approximate PU time. This had to be loosely coordinated, because there was no cellular service to provide updates.

My plan was simple. Carry at least everything i need to not have to stop, then don’t stop. What could be simpler?

Things went pretty smoothly. I would make some adjustments in hindsight, tho. Like, the first 16km of gravel (I work in km’s because they tick off faster than miles) was a bit looser than my tires appreciated.

Also, I carried, essentially 6 bottles of water (actually Hammer heed). While that worked well, there was plenty of flowing water accessible and may have been a better plan. But i don’t really like stopping, so when i can, i carry all my hydration and nutrition from the start.

I did miss 2 turns. I navigate with a Wahoo ELMNT, but satellite was a little off sometimes, tho, i must admit that wasn’t why i missed the turn onto the gravelly singletrack greenway part. I just wasn’t expecting it. A little more course recon would’ve helped on that point.

I also missed the turn somewhere after 103k mostly because i was distracted by the campground area and really wanted to continue on the fast relatively flat gravel i was on than to have to turn sharp left, go around the gate and climb on the loose, soft, sandstoney debris strewn rough section. This was the toughest section for me. It just felt slow. But the section ended, as they all do.

It’s pretty fast rolling from here to the required selfie checkin at bald falls and back to the start. The wind had picked up pretty good by then and it finally seemed like it had been a good plan to have been rocking the TT bars. It is an “ITT”, right?

Anyway, i finished inside of my goal time of 8 hours, but outside of my stretch goal time of slightly over 7 hours that a 20km/h pace would have accomplished.

So, here’s some bike set-up hilights:

Norco Search XR, typical Eagle AXS gearing, stock flared drop bars with RAVX XRD clip-on TT bars. Vittoria Terreno Dry 38c front, 38c Zero’s on the rear. I use a one-up pump to avoid having to carry a multi tool and CO2 and use an Oveja Negro snack pack and a fairly large saddlbag to carry tubes, tire plugs, nutrition, battery pack, etc.

I can fit 2 water bottle cages in the frame triangle, one under the downtube and 2 on the fork. I also strapped a Platypus flask under the TT bars. When it turned warm enough to remove my jacket, i emptied the flask into an emptied water bottle and strapped my jacket where my flask had been.

Hope some of this info has been helpful.

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