Started the first major climb (right from the start) adjusting a bunch of things on my “old” rebuilt as a single speed Crux (seatpost height handlebars, etc) which kept the pace down and ended up being good for later. Descended from first climb “down” to river road to begin the north river road climb up to cherohala skyway (10ish miles and 2,000 ish ft of gain). I started super easy but swift and felt better and better the higher up I got. Made it to pavement on cherohala and zoomed down to Indian boundary feeling absolutely great.
Chilled on the path around the lake and got water at the campground.
Left the lake still feeling good. Started descending down to the start of Farr gap climb.
Zooming down a familiar climb I was having a good time listening to music… then Bam!!! Front wheel washed out and I slid out onto my left side while I was going close to 20 mph. I got up and immediately felt pain across my entire left side. My ankle had a bulge sticking out a couple inches which isn’t good, and I had significant blood on my arm, hip, and leg. I immediately started walking back up the road knowing I didn’t have phone service. I thought I was quitting. Walking back to the top of the climb I just went down I figured I’d hop on the bike for the descent back to the car (would have been 20 miles). To my surprise my body felt totally fine on the bike. Just hurt to walk. So I turned back around and decided to keep going as I was already making good time.
I came up to the Farr gap climb and just wanted to get through it. Stopped a few times to rinse off the wounds and wasted my water. Had just a half bottle left at top of Farr gap. Descended slowly as I was frazzled by my crash.
Made it over to millers ridge and just wanted to get that shit over with. With minor frustration about my crash, motivation to finish, and more frustration with the conditions of millers ridge… I tricked through as steadily as possible, sipping on the little amount of water and single serving of maple syrup I had left.
Made it to the other side to rafter road and then turkey creek. I knew it was all downhill from there. Just some more gravel then the quick jaunt down to tellico river again and to the car.
I can’t believe I put down this time and effort considering the crash. I had never gone down like that completely alone in the middle of the mountains. It’s a scary thought. Just remember to stay calm and keep moving if possible. Everything ended up fine and I am looking forward to the next two ITTs before June 30!