DEATH MARCH REVIVAL
Jason Vance (2)
Charleston, SC to Tennessee is a long drive and I procrastinate. So, naturally I would tackle the Triple Crown on consecutive days right on the deadline. Bike set-up: Canfield EPO; 30x10-46 gearing; Schwalbe 2.1 ThunderBurts; Rockgeist Honey Pot and Oveja Negra top-tube bags. I carried 3 bottles on each of the routes, fueled on Infinit.
Death March Revival - Tuesday, June 29 - Forecast called for thunderstorms in the afternoon, so my plan was to get on the bike around 4am. I missed that start by 45 minutes, but that wouldn't have impacted the outcome. This was also my first trip on the DMR -again, aside from riding several roads on the M420- and Kim provided me with a revised route with the Tennessee start from Thunder Rock Campground. "You'll love descending that opening climb at the end of the ride" she said...
Right from the start, my legs simply were not there. I suspect they're still back at Jake Best. It was going to be a long day, and much of the climbing outside of the Cohuttas didn't allow me to diesel along. On the other hand, the Cohuttas' gravel was good going up and down; the pipe-spring just beyond Jacks River Field is the 2nd best in the area; and Conasauga and Cowpen provided my legs some easy miles of smooth descents. The weather held up to this point, but the thunderstorm rolled in at Jacks River Falls and would continue up Big Frog. Though it took the edge off the temps, it didn't help with fatigue as numerous queries to the Legs Department returned a memo explaining that pedaling the bike wasn't in their job description. The last 30 miles only picks up about 3500' of elevation, but the climbs were punchy and the wet, blown-out descents didn't carry much speed to average it out. All-in-all, a total slog made worse by yesterday's efforts. That opening climb was a smooth, fast descent back into Thunder Rock Campground, but this just isn't the kind of love I need in my life right now.
The chocolate milk was more refreshing this time around. I stopped by the Ocoee Damn Deli for a country-fried steak and mashed potatoes; I took my food back to the Outpost and would eat in-between cleaning and servicing my bike while chatting with Kim and John. A bit more relaxed and a late bedtime; I wasn't starting as early tomorrow, but I know the D130 well.