Saturday, September 25, 2010

The LasT WoRd ON The TNGA

Yes, I know this post is about a week late, but what can I say, I'm back to 13 hour work days, coming home to cook dinner, then go to sleep to get up and do it all over again....


FIRST and FOREMOST. I am so FORTUNATE to have the Sponsors I have. Although they don't make my experience free, with their support and deep discounts, they make my dreams possible.

At the top of that list is Bikeworks Orlando, Especially Broadus Bunch and Carson Wampler. A 10 plus year relationship that continues hopefully to be beneficial to us both or at least entertaining. I may not be their fastest rider, but I am sure the one who rides the longest and farthest!

I already thank them once but Edith and Sarina Williams did a tag team effort to get my bike to Bikeworks for a final tune up and then brought it home to me. Working 13 hour days makes for little time to do much after, without them I would not have made the start line.

Marisabel Matta, My good friend, watched LiL'r Naked Indian and made sure he got him to school each day while I was gone.

Next, ENORMOUS thanks to all my other sponsors, Busby Flooring, Mountain Bike Feedbags, Specialized and SRAM.

I cant say enough How well my kit worked, and 90% of that KIT was created by Rob Roberts. Its a dream come true having a Best Friend who makes great bags, on top of it all Rob put my drivetrain together for this ride.

What drive train was that? Well I rode the ride 2 x 9, no granny gear, 44 big ring, 29 middle ring, 12 - 36 9 speed cassette. I think it worked awesome, the Sram XO drivetrain was flawless.

For the Ride I used Water Bottles, and my Mountain Bike Feedbags on top of holding some small essentials held one water bottle in each, I liked my set up, no complaints.

For lighting I alternated between my Light and Motion Stella and my Princeton Tec EOS bike light, again, perfect for what I was doing.

I have to thank Sean Crichton. For the first time in my Cycling Career I trained hard, and it was his plan that I followed. Truly helped me a ton, I feel kind of bad that I actually achieved the goals I was after, to ride the ride and enjoy it with minimal suffering.

Marcel Aguirre played a huge role in getting my support out to me for possible pick up and to bring out the tubes. Where I was, there was no cell signal and I was able to get a hold of him and he coordinated it all, HUGE THANKS TO YOU BROTHER!!!

Mulberry Gap made so much possible for me, cause Logistically things were not looking up. Rick Moon saved me from not finishing, I have to thank him for that as well. Mulberry gap is the place to be and I see lots of associations for us in the future.

I tried to pack as light as possible. I didn't take any toiletries except some baby wipes so for days I took no showers and didn't brush my teeth. I focused mainly on bringing items that would keep me speedy and comfortable in the temperature changes and I think I achieved that. I had some thin wool socks, some thick wool socks, a wool base layer, some Capri Hoss Shorts, 2 bibs and one shirt. Every morning I started with Fresh Bibs and on the cold mornings and at camp I wore my thick wool socks. I used that wool base layer many a time. On Tuesday morning I was quite the sight. I was wearing my wool base layer, arm warmers, and bibs only. Did I mention that my wool base layer was sleeveless? I must of looked like some sort of freak, but I was warm. I like to put a cargo net on my rear pack and its the perfect way to dry gear as I ride, also a quick way to access gear while riding. I tied my other pair of bibs to dry and sun bake. The UV rays throughout the day will bake them and kill any bacteria on them essentially cleaning them. Also my socks and arm warmers would be tied back there making for quick changes. The race really tested the extremes as it started and peaked with 40 degree weather and then got way up into the 90's before it was all said and done. I had rain gear as well, and I used the jacket on the coldest of morning, choosing not to put on my wet shirt and letting it dry on the rear pack. Everything worked great.

Unfortunately I had an issue with my front tire flatting. During the final tune up, I asked them to re stans the rear wheel, I should of had them due the front. On top of that, I should probably send that tire to specialized its probably got over thousands of pavement and dirt miles on it, been riding that particular tire hard since January 2008. All my fault really, I could of been better prepared, but like all my challenges I learned alot and the Tour or whatever my next Enormous challenge will be, will go alot smoother for sure.

The TNGA has by far been the most beautiful experience I have ever had on a bike. No matter what, It was great to be up there, pushing up over that peak, then sitting in a truck driving around doing Tech work.

Cant wait till my next adventure, which will be the CFiTT on October 9th, which I will go and attempt to break the fixie record, in the process of tuning my bike now. I have not ridden since the TNGA, but I figured that was best, let my muscles heal and my body recover, I feel great, just got to tune up the war machine so it feels all day ready.

I am planning on painting the Mamasita, so I will probably move some parts over so that I can be a serious threat even to the geared riders at the CFiTT.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TnGa StaGe 4.5 The CHAsE

I heard the distinct sound of tires crunching gravel.

I could see two sets of headlights pulling into the parking lot.

I look at my Droid, its 630am.

I watch from my camouflaged perch, half expecting someone to jump out the car and call my name. My extraction team had come.

But when they get out the car and start talking to one another I cant understand a word they are saying.

I figure it's maybe hikers or bikers so I get out of my hammock and walk down from the high position I had mounted my hammock up on the mountain side.

I cant make out any faces, but it looks like its 3 men and one woman. As I get closer, I realize the reason I cant understand them its cause they are speaking some sort of Asian Dialect.

No matter, I ask, "are you guys bikers or hikers?".

No response.

Then after what seemed like an eternity one of them conjures a spell of words in his best broken english "Whadda R U Doin Heyre, You Sleap Here??" I try to explain to a group of folks who don't understand that I am a mountain bike racer, I started several days ago in South Carolina, that I had flatted.

But no one understood me so I walked away and went back up to my loft on the mountain side.

As I sat there and heard them talk some more eventually I watched as they loaded up their shot guns and walked up the trail towards the peaks.

Marcel told me they were close.

In retrospect I wish I would of known the rules better cause I could of accepted a tube from Ruth and not had been penalized.

O well, My fault, right!

Marcel said they were coming.

Eventually, I see a familiar car tearing into the parking lot, moving at a speed that resembled an emergency of life or death. It was my new best friend Rick Moon!!

I was so happy to see him. He offered me a tube. And I took not one but two. He also told me there was a creek on the trail up aways over the peak that I could drink at, and it was safe.

This was of course not my first visit of the morning.

Ruth and Jeff had pulled up two hours earlier. I told them my predicament. Like I said Ruth offered help, but I declined, again, because I didn't know the rules enough.

Rick was my second visit, and when he offered the tube, I didn't hesitate to accept. I didn't care, I had worked hard to get here.

This had been a route that I had known about for almost 2 years and wanted to do.

This bikepacking race, my third to be exact, was something I had been training and preparing for.

I was not going to let my hard work go to waste over a flat, that's bullshit. So I tubed up and got ready to roll out.

Rick left, on his way to work.

Then Dianne From Mulberry gap pulled up, and I took more tubes for her.

As I got ready for battle, I packed one tube in my Front bag and tied two tubes to the net on my rear bag, I was determined to finish and if I could Chase down my fellow racers Ruth and Jeff.

Off I went.

Railing the single track when I could. Hitting the jumps when they called upon me. Shredding the trails like a well crafted swordsman. Climbing in the saddle when I could, and pushing when I had too. Taking a break here and there, each time telling myself, I bet they walked this one, and they had to have taken a break too.

Eventually I see wet tire tracks on a huge creek crossing that actually had metal grates installed in the middle of it.

I turn up the heat, and on a downhill come around the corner to find my fellow racers.

I tell them I will wait at the road, cause I can hear its close.

We meet up, turns out Jeff Flatted. We were all low on water. I had one bottle left and so did Ruth and Jeff was out. He wanted to go to the store. I only had one mission. Forward.

So I took off.

As I was riding away from them, whilst pushing up singletrack, here comes little red Shredding Hood Ruth passing me on a climb that I was walking(how embarassing), dancing on the pedals like a ballerina dancing on cracked ice. It was effortless and I was dumbfounded.

I admit it motivated me and when I got back on, I was really mashing the gears.

And then on a downhill, there she is and here I come, the Big Bad Wolf, hunting for Red Shredding Hood.

I pass her, making a sound and spooking a little. I will fully admit, I was not going to let anyone finish in front of me if I could help it. But I also know, that she would not leave Jeff's side cause she was not 100% solid on navigation. So Even though I would gap her in certain sections, where I would attack and attack, if a tricky intersection came I waited for her, but trust me, she was right there, I wasn't waiting long, this girl is No Joke.

And we rode, pretty much the whole way out, even taking time to ride next to each other, even though we were keeping the pace high.

On the rail trail we came across the rabid dogs that Rob Rob spoke off, and I told her to ride off that I would handle them, and I did. Neary a problem they were to me as my Yelling of "STOP" did indeed stop them.

I spot a church and we stop to get water, and Ruth offers me some country time Lemonade.

When I got there, I Immediately chugged a bottle. Then I chugged a lemonade filled bottle, then I filled up two bottles and we hauled ass.

That sugar hit me like a quadruple espresso shot. This section of the route reminded me of the old enterprise rail bed that I have trained constant hours on and I got into my freddies and started flying away.

If I can smell the finish line I can go like a PRO!

We hit pavement and we are absolutely flying, the both of us.

Andrew from Mulberry gap is on the side of the road, he tells us we got three miles left and we are off. I am really putting down some serious Tempo.

I look back and Ruth is Right there. Damn. I though for sure I would pull away.

As I keep the Tempo up, I look and she flies right by me. Little Red Shredding Hood was on the attack, or so I thought, but she did fly by me.

Even though I am almost pegged, I dig deeper, and I pull myself up to her wheel and I wait.

Wait for her head to pop up just a little and I come around her, having to full on pedal sprint as hard as I can, get around her, tuck into the freddies and go.

I get around her, but she still holds my wheel. As we hit a climb, I am gassed, but she stays behind me, we pedal across another little flat, and she is back there. At that very moment, I think of Rob Rob...."Attack on the climbs...." and as soon as the road kicked up just a little bit, I got up on it, opening up a bigger gap. Big enough that when we got close to the line I coasted across the line with Ruth 2 seconds behind me.

8:15pm with 27 seconds, 4 days 11 hours and 48 minutes.

Almost a full day behind my dream time and within my realistic goal time.

56000 feet of climbing 343 Gps miles, probably close to 360 real miles with all my missed turns and repaired based detours.

I hike and biked and camped along the way from one side of Georgia to the other, hitting every freaking mountain along the way. To say I am proud is an understatement.

I eventually received a 12 hour penalty for accepting the mobile support, but no matter, I had accomplished a dream.

Admittedly, and I hate to say this, but, this was not the hardest thing I have done on a bike. Admittedly I have spent a lot of time preparing, so a dream was fulfilled cause I was able to do a long bikepacking tour and I was able to enjoy it and not suffer. I didnt get a single saddle sore, I didnt get any knee pains and never even had a cramp. Sure I had my moments, but the beauty remains and the fun was there.

Admittedly I don't even know if I want to do the Tour Divide now. A 20 day commitment might be real hard to pull off for a single dad. Maybe I will wait another year or five or maybe I will go do the shorter races first, like the AZT and the CTR. Or maybe not. The allure of riding from Canada to Mexico by bicycle is very strong. The desire is still there. Its just hard, with all that is happening to see me being able to finance such an endeavour. The challenges right now seem insurmountable, like I said, I am the one who has to move mountains before I can climb them.

Regardless, when it all comes right down to it, I am very confident I can do the divide now. My preparation is right on track and I want to be there as long as I can make it happen.

Expect one more Wrap up Post, giving out the much needed thank you's to all that helped make this thing possible for me.

Check back tomorrow or Sunday, LMAO.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TnGa StaGe FOuR MuLBeRRy GaP To SQuiRReL GaP

I admit I was apprehensive after listening to the other racers.

I had a slight fear that I would become so comfortable at Mulberry gap that the next morning I would see it better just to pull the plug then to keep going.

But that morning, as I saw Matt Lee pack up and leave, and I caught a little more snooze, there was no apprehension as I loaded up my bike, ate two of the Best Bacon Egg and Cheese Sandwiches ever, and rolled out for second breakfast on Pinhoti 3.

I was now beginning my third official day of Eat, Sleep and Ride, and I felt great. As I made my way up the Pinhoti, I was savoring every morsel of dirt that laid before me. Thankful, that I had finally found the balance of riding hard everyday, in a consistent manner, then waking up the next with the legs still feeling crisp and sharp.

It was sheer pleasure to be had the entire time, when I finally reached Tatum Lead, I saw bear cub on one side of the old overgrown road, and Immediately and Intentionally Yelled to spook the animal, sure enough another one charged out the woods right behind him.

This was my second bear sighting of the trip. The first one was on the fire roads in the Cohutta section on a downhill I watched as one darted across the road as I made my way down.

I felt so blessed by this sighting that once I reached a peak, I stopped to give the world of MTBCast and Update.

Called my Mom as well to let her know I was OK, cause I know she was worried about me being on this adventure.

As I got back on the bike, it seemed like in no time at all I was on the pavement, and I tucked deep into the freddies to make my way to Dalton. Once I was sure that Pavement was all there was left, I took my Bandanna off my Aero bars, soaked it in water and placed it on my head under my helmet to keep me cool.

The road to Dalton was going to be a hammer fest for me as I had every intention to make some good time.

Being from Florida, I am real strong on Flats and Rollers so I took advantage of them and kept the pace Scorching across the Valley.

Right before reaching Dalton I saw a Person waiving to me on the side of the road and as I approached, I saw that it was my new Best Friend Rick Moon. We chatted it up, He reminded me who he was and I told him I had not forgotten. He Told me that I had some tough singletrack ahead and I was off to eat, and stock before heading up the mountain again.

You would think after 3 days I would have learned my lesson regarding lunch. The lesson of not eating too much and getting sluggish, but I am dumb. I ate too much and the climb up to Dug Gap was Hard. Had to talk myself out of walking on the road and I didn't walk, merely to avoid embarrassment.(from the passing cars ya know)

AS I finally reached the Top of the ridge, I was having such a hard time staying cool. I touched my lips and they were noticeably swollen. I drank and drank but nothing would quench my thirst. I eventually just took my shirt off and broke a cardinal sin of cycling, riding shirtless while wearing bib shorts. But, I knew I was alone, so I didn't care. Who was gonna see me. I had seen Jeff and Ruth in Town, but they had to restock, so I knew that there wasn't anyone for miles.

On top the ridge it immediately gave way to the most technical Rock garden I have ever ridden. 4 miles of rock garden to be exact. But, I live for stuff Like this. I live to push my technical limits and actually fantasized about riding it on my Fixed Gear War Machine. Technical Mayhem for miles and miles, O what a RUSH. Eventually I Flatted my Last tube. I was so concerned at this point and that I started to kicking myself in the ass for not fixing the issue when I had the chance.

After the fix, onward I pushed and eventually I got control of my body temperature and put my shirt back on.

Before I reached Dalton,
Before I started riding the Ridiculous Rock Garden,
I had made a pact, that I would take it easy till Dalton and then I would turn myself inside out, no matter how long I would ride, to finish. All night if I had too.

This was my plan and I had the energy and the lights to do it. I wanted to Catch Cricket. I knew that once the Sun Set she would stop, and I would pass her, maybe chat, before continuing my 24 hour self imposed solo.

So I was rolling, the day once again gave way to the night and before I knew It I was descending the last 100 feet of Squirrel gap and my last tube Flatted. I cursed. I felt it in my heart that my race was over.

I walked to the parking lot, only to find I had barely a hair of cell signal. I first attempted to patch the tube. But I had no luck. Then I walked up the mountain to try and get a call off, but no luck. Eventually I decided to just put up my hammock and wait the daylight. I decided, just on a whim to see if I could get a hold of my friend Marcel in Florida via text message. I did and He said he called Mulberry gap and left them a message. I figured my race was over and decided to enjoy my last night in the woods. It was 1030 at night, and I was out of water.

After putting up my hammock I searched for a creek or anything, but all was dry. I decided to just enjoy the night and slept well in my little hanging Cocoon.

Over and Over in my head, I played out all the chances I had to fix this tire.

Over and Over I played in my head this exact dialogue:

I have had this front tire since January 2008. Have ridden and raced it, in the CFiTT, 2 PMBARS, 10 50 milers, tons of mapping rides, several bike commutes, the Huracan 300 and almost 300 miles of Georgia mountains. I guess I could of got a new front tire before the race.

Even with all this playing in my mind, My body didn't have any trouble finding a deep, deep restful bliss.

Last Part Tomorrow,

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TnGa StaGe ThReE, LoNg BrAnCh To MulBeRRy GaP

The weather was perfect Monday morning as I got up and got packed up ready to start my day on some singletrack.

As I was finishing packing up and getting ready to go, I see a dog dash through the creek followed closely by some hikers.

Cordial everyone was as pleasantries were exchanged and they continued on their hike.

I ate my breakfast which consisted of a couple of candy bars and rolled out, happy to be starting my day on some skinny trail instead of Gravel.

By this day I was happy to be doing something other than Gravel Grinding.

I had seen all types by then. More Gravel road then I ever thought imaginable, I consider myself and expert now.

As I made my way up the single track and down the single track I was having so much fun that before I knew it I popped out on the same parking lot I had started the night before.

At that point I wished I had bothered to at least took the cue sheets for the single track as the GPS Green Line I normally followed was not very accurate.

I remember something about a green mountain and that was the only turn I saw, so back I went, re rode half of the trail, went up green mountain, only to do an excellent descent to another parking lot and then get even more directions from a guy who lived in a cabin and waived me over.

For a second I thought I was going to get an offer for coffee, but instead he was able to give me a better Idea in which direction I should be going, and all my detours eventually were for not as I was on track.

The wonderful skinny trail gave way to gravel and pavement, and at some point I started running low on water. I saw a gas station and asked them if they had any vending machines and they said no. I kept going on route, saw a church and after some searching found a water spickett under the building and was able to at least get water.

On I pushed up and down some pretty big rollers. On this day I had found a new rhythm in my climbing. Some Climbs I would actually push the big ring and push the big gear and climb standing, others I would spin and grind away, and others, I would get off and push. But the rhythm was well established and much of the slipping from climbing that I did in day one, had passed to well seasoned adaption to the current conditions.

At some point I pop out on pavement and see what I think is a sign for a grocery store in the distance and pull up front, park the bike and get a huge amount of food to consume.

I sit, eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, and then before I know it, Cricket and Stephen pulled up. Once again I was happy to see them and at the same time disappointed that I had been caught. Once again we rolled out together and spent a minute of discussion, talking about distance goals.

They wanted to get past Mulberry, I was content with just reaching it, after learning that my distance estimates had been way off and after comparing mileage with them I had covered at least 15 more miles then they had.

They apparently came across the guy who gave me directions, and we continued on wondering when the Pinhoti would come.

Once again, the road kicked up and once again Crickett and Stephen drop me and once again I had ate too much and had to rest and ride, rest and ride, till I felt better.

More road unfolded in front of me. And then it gave way to Gravel, and then I recognize and notice that I am Big Ring climbing a part of the Cohutta Course that I had to walk a couple of years before. Interesting how time changes things. Since I recognized and new part of this area, I was able to hammer the huge rollers and use the big ring to motor halfway up some of the climbs and really let go of the brakes on the downhills.

Finally after some gravel grinding, I was back on the skinny trail and back on the Pinhoti.

The day gave way to dark and creek crossings. As I crossed some creeks I started noticing wet tire tracks and that eventually pushed me to pick up my pace. And just as I was wondering, looking my odometer estimating when Mulberry gap would appear, I come up a small incline and find Cricket and Stephen. They tell me they had been walking, I don't bother asking why, and Stephen tells me they will probably bivy there, I was motoring on to the Gap. He told me he estimated it to be 4 miles and I really picked up the pace.

Up and down, executing some sweet fully loaded bike jumps along the way and finally after a couple of false endings, I come out on Cosamunga road and I know I am close to Mulberry Gap, but nothing looks familiar.

As I see the start of Pinhoti 3 I Look behind me and see the sign that says .4 miles to Mulberry gap and I take off, wondering if I anyone will be up, or what will happen when I get there.

As I make the steep climb up the access road, I hear yelling and cheering, roll right into an interview with Joe Polk from MTB Cast. All this was very surreal for me, as I have been listening to MTB Cast for years, it was just an awesome moment for me to be on it.

Awesome moment, after eating, doing laundry, showering and getting changed, to sit there eat food and chat with Matt Lee, and Eddie and Nam O'Dea and Joe Polk. All great story tellers, I was so entertained. Charley a fellow racer was there as well and so was Amy and some others from Mulberry gap. It was so nice to be done with a huge chunk of the route.

As I drank some beers with Joe and Matt, I eventually settled into my cot with some warm blankets drifting off into one of the most dream like, satisfying slumbers that I have had in years.

Wow, is all I can say about the ride and the experience up to this point!

Part 4 tomorrow!!!

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TnGa StaGe TwO, MiLL CreeK RoaD to LonG BraNcH TrAiL

I was fortunate that I had come prepared.

That morning was cold.

No other way to say it. I got up, put my fresh pair of bibs on, my thick wool socks, my long Hoss shorts, my arm warmers, showers pass jacket and wool based layer.

I figure I wanted to be comfortable in the cold till my core warmed up.

I jump out the back of the trailer start packing things up and tying things to my rear pack when I discover that my front tire was low on air.

No worry I think, I will pump it, spin it and it should seal fine. Well, not the case at all as when I look for my mini pump, it was gone. Must of shook off on that crazy gravel rocky road I rode the night before.

I cant really describe the sense of frustration that I felt at that moment, mixed with a sense of panic. I knew I still had 20 plus miles to Helen for a chance of repair. I didn't remember the rules well enough to know if I could of accepted assistance from a fellow competitor, and I didn't have anyway to repair it.

I call MTB CAST to give them the update.

And then I start walking.

I decide to stick my thumb out, but not a single person wanted to respond or help.

I only had my emergency calories left, so I was chowing down on Almonds and cranberries as I walked and stuck out my thumb in hopes for a ride to Helen, then a return to where I left the course to continue with the race.

SO, I walked up the road, and down the road and up and down, then I reach an intersection. The road side points to the right and says "Brasstown Bald" which I recognize from the Tour De Georgia cycling race. I see a road sign after that says, "12 miles to Helen". I was devastated. I was going to pull the plug, there was no way in hell that I was going to walk 12 miles.

Just as despair and defeat were settling in, 2 cyclist pull up asking if I needed anything and I said, "Yes, do you have a mini pump". Dave did, and sold it to me after my generous offer of $20. I would of needed this pump the rest of the race, so the investment was worthy to me. I tried to seat the bead and get the Stan's to work, but it seemed to have either evaporated or leaked out. So, I took out the rim strip and pumped up the tube and hauled ass out of there back the way I came to return to the route.

I updated MTB CAST.

As I climbed up the dirt road, I had little water left and down to my emergency calories. As I am pedaling the endless but beautiful uphill Gravel road, a blue truck pulls along my side and ask if I was "Karlos".

"I said yes" and "they ask me why I had gone off course". At that point I knew they had been watching the race.

He offered me a coke and I accepted the coke and the brownie and the Gatorade and I got rolling again. He continued up the road to see if he could see any other racers, a virtual rolling Trail Angel, how awesome!

I don't know how many Racer's had passed me during the time consuming detour that I was forced to take, but since he continued up the road I assumed there were some I could catch and the race was on and my pace was combative as I ascended Tray Mountain.

At the top, I turn and see the helmet of Ruth Cunningham, riding along with her was Jeff Papenfus and after quickly catching up, I pass by and start riding some kick ass buff singletrack, my first real taste of the trip.

I had so much fun going down that mountain, and riding that crazy rocky gravel road that reminisced me of a triple wide version of Farlow Gap, I was in Mountain Bike heaven once again, just enjoying the fact that I was out riding and enjoying some beautiful Georgia trail.

As I popped out on the Road I let out a Huge Yell as I am over the top happy that I am finally back on pavement after completing another Dirty section of the TNGA. I tuck into the Freddies and Haul ass to Helen, passing 30 cars along the way.

Briefly as I passed the Woody's bike shop sign I considered going into see if I could re Stan's my wheel, but didn't think I would have another flat during the ride so I hammered on for food, refreshments, medicine and restock at Helen.

When I pulled up to Betty's Grocery, I see two bikes outside, and like a kid at the grocery store I start Scavenge hunting the store going Row by row till I find Stephen Huddle and Criket Butler over joyed with happiness that I had found some other racers. Hug's and hand shakes were given and I proceeded to eat my butt off and restock on meds and supplies.

At some point while in the store, my scalp started itching, and I started noticing Hives on my neck and my arms. That venom from the Bee must of exceeded the strength that my body was used too and I had to take even more benadryl.

After quite some Bewilderment on my part, I pack up and we all leave town together. There pace was quick and I was not able to keep there wheel, and before I knew it the Endless Tour De Georgia Road stage began, complete with ridiculous steep road ascents and descents and endless climbs for miles of miles.

Twice I had to stop on the side of the road, feeling so sleepy and tired, at the time thinking that it was the effect of the Benadryl.

Twice I rested, till I would relax a little too much and think I would hear the sound of a shifting bike and demand a rise from my flesh to get back to the task of going Forward. Forward to chase Cricket and Stephen.

My goal was clear I wanted to Make Mulberry Gap. Eventually, I started to feel better, and I the blood started flowing. I knew if I wanted to make the Gap tonight I had to light the matches so I started playing the music.

And my pace was strong and good, and before I knew it, Darkness had come and I as I made my way up a graded Fire road that reminded me much of the Forest Roads back home, I saw a campfire at the top of a climb and heard the cheering of fellow cyclist.

Apparently at my Helen Pit Stop, Ruth and Jeff had passed me and there they all were including Cricket and Stephen. They had made camp, and had made a beautiful fire and they were hoping I would join them.

But, as perfect as it was. I was not tired, and the last thing I wanted to do was lay in bed awake hoping to fall asleep. As beautiful and poetic as their fire and warmth and company would have been, I needed to pedal on.

And I was glad I did, as it was downhill for miles and miles and the stars were so beautiful that I had to stop and stare and marvel and tell the whole world about what I was seeing.

Some where along that part of the course a Huge rock kicked up and hit my Big Ring. I kept pedaling hearing a weird sound as the big ring was now rubbing the middle ring.

I stop and look to find that 4 teeth had been completely sheared off and two were bent. So I found a rock of appropriate size and I bash the rings that were bent straight and file down the others. I need and use the big ring often, so I had to make some sort of repair.

Eventually, as I am climbing up another fire road I get lost for a minute to discover that I had to navigate to a parking lot and jump on some more single track! WooHOOO, I was so excited, and the track was sweet. After riding hard, and railing the turns and enjoying some downhills, I crossed a creek and decided that at 130am it was a good time to stop and rest for the night.

I set up my hammock, got changed, and started feeling the itch from the Hives returning, took more Benadryl, and drifted off to sleep. The temperature was perfect and my dreams were filled with more singletrack riding.

Part 3 Tomorrow.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Friday, September 10, 2010

TnGa StaGe One, The GrAvEL GrInD to MiLL CReeK RoaD

This had to have been the coldest September morning I had awoke too in a long time. My alarm had gone off at 3am, and the snooze button had been my friend. It was time to get my finely tuned kit put together for the adventure that was about to begin.

Out the corner of my eye I see a bouncing LED light, typical of what you would see on a helmet, and as the Light approached I recognized it to be no other than my good friend Rob Roberts.

I immediately noticed Rob was fully dressed and ready to go.

Panicked I said "what time is it"??

**Note to reader, were supposed to leave at 430am**
I immediately go into panic mode.

I pack up my gear quick as I can, throw all my stuff in a bag, grab my other gear, run up the mountain, do what I must in the bathroom and get there in time to eat, before we loaded up and ROLLED OUT.

In the back of the Limo I could hear the chatter of the riders as they discussed various subjects.

To my left, driving the stretch Limo and listening to Kick ass tunes was my New Best Friend Rick MOON.

The chaotic morning had finally calmed for me. Whilst feeling relaxed, I still felt anxious about what was yet to come.

At the start, I immediately started strapping the bags and getting all my final last bits together. I had received a bunch of food from Mulberry and I didn't want to throw it away. So at the last minute I strapped it onto my bike in a HoboTic fashion.

Looked not so good, but it was food that I may need.

David said some quick words regarding the route and the event, and then we were off.

You would of thought that it was a 35 mile race instead of a 350 mile race, as Stephen Huddle was off the front tucked into his Aero bars in a move that reminisced something out of the Tour de France.

Seemingly the group ignored the attack. I looked around as everyone just kind of stayed bunch up as we started to go through some North Georgia Rollers.

Then on a downhill I decide to gun it, Open up the legs, and at the same time, test my set up to see if I could chase down Stephen.

Immediately I am gone, Rob follows, tells me not to get caught up in the pace..

And after we all pass Stephen, cause he stopped for a moment, we hit Gravel and the race really picks up.

Immediately there is a split in the Front as Matt Lee, Eddie Odea, Rob Roberts and a few others start pulling away.

A split had already formed in our tight little group and off the back but catching up was Mark Donagehy.

Matt Fusco, Brad Kee and myself were in the chase group.

We hit some Rollers and flow sections of double track that I was really able to just get ahead of my little group.

But once we hit a climb they would slowly creep past me and we would rinse and repeat.

I have no idea how much time had passed but this craziness and chaotic feeling was persistent.

Eventually, I saw Cricket creep up and she past by as Matt and Brad all left me on a longish Gravel Climb.

As I crested the climb, from an even steeper Road above me, descend Brad, Matt and Cricket, after apparently taking in some extra elevation meters.

Cricket stopped to wait for a friend and we continued on.

The rhythm of the race at this time persisted in that same little dance, of downhill small gap, uphill small gap, till after a turn on a climb, they all disappeared, Matt, Brad and Mark were gone. I picked up the pace, then climbed to a road going left, thinking I was following the Green line on my Etrex Well, only to end up at the threat of a Jack Russell two pronged Terrier attack at the front of someones yard.

My first Navigational error had occurred and it cost me the spot I had worked pretty hard to get in the chase group next to Matt and Brad.

No matter, I was really liking the section I was on. Overgrown double track climbing, I stopped to take a mental break, and tighten up my Hobo gear that had been starting to Lop to the right.

I kept going, seeing Brad Kee's Boot Tracks in the Dirt. Hoping If I did enough Modest work, maybe I could see some of them again. At least See Mark.

I eventually cleared the first Forest Section, feeling proud and defiant. Feeling like I was not only riding in this thing, but I was racing it as well, which was kind of the point. This whole thing is kind of like the Dare of Dares, the Feats of Feats. Pack your shit, go out and ride the ultimate Dirty Enduro and let's see in what order we get to the finish line. I love how Wild this type of event is. I love how Poetic the spirit of the event is. We go out and do it for the ride of it all and nothing more.

On the road, my Freddies were my friend as I tucked deep and kept going, searching for the way point that told me where there was a store.

Interesting, no way points could be found, and I realized that after spending Hours looking on Google Earth, making way points on the route to help me with reloads and mileage goals, I had forgotten to hit the load way points button when I loaded the route on my GPS. Costly mistake, but it was too late to make tears over.

I take on some liquid calories, and load up on snacks and roll out.

I learned something critical. During my work day on the bike, snacking is the only thing I should do and save the big meal for before bed. Now I didn't learn this day one, but I did this day one without even knowing it.

Onward I rolled. I thought I had about 30 or so miles to Helen, and I ended up being wrong. It was more like 60, but at the time I was rolling on an "I got 30 miles left for the day pace."

Up I went, down I went, this went on for hours.

Big Rocks little rocks all over the roads.

Too big to climb steady, too big to corner hard.

These Little Rocks made every type of riding a chore.

After climbing my umpteenth mountain, I stopped and eyeballed a sweet little pocket of warm sunshine that was shining on the clay, perfect size for my frame to rest in.

I laid there resting, and easily drifted into dreams, waking 30 minutes later, feeling like a new man.

I pulled a snickers out the frame bag and ate, tasting the chocolate and enjoying the flavor. As I sat up in a Yoga like pose to stretch my back and arms, I felt the familar Sting on my left Calf muscle, but wanted to dismiss it as a rock or a poke from a stinging Nettle Leaf.

I instinctively smacked only to find in my Sweaty palm, a dead Bee.

I have Not been stung my a Bee in 15 years or more and this past 8 weeks I have been stung 3 times. The first time was at work and the effects sent me panicked to the emergency room thinking for sure that I needed medical assistance to stop the Histamine reaction that was racking my body. But alas, that day when I left the hospital, the doctor told me, if this happens again, "just take some benadryl."

AND it did happen again, at work, and I DID what he said, and It DID Work.

But At this point I could not believe this was happening during the biggest challenge of my life.

WTF, for real?

Any how, I took the benadryl and got rolling. After a good little downhill I was pushing uphill when my heart started pounding in my chest making the veins in my skull pulsate.

Then the itching began, all over my back and buttocks on my arms neck and scalp.

I continued pushing, till this histamine reaction got the best of me and I forced myself to sit like a huge pile of allergic bee poison on the trail, thinking one thing and one thing only:
This is gonna cost me some time, will someone finally catch me now. I would love to see another face, someone to talk too and tell them how awful I was feeling at the moment.

But through the ordeal, no one came.

I forced myself to stand. Forced myself to push the bike uphill attempting to ignore the itch, but sometimes I would just give in.

AND I got back on the bike and kept the pedals turning, grinding the gravel away, while my body complained of Bee venom.

And eventually, as the night got dark and cold, I put more clothes on, and continued my forward movement. The torrential physical downpour that my body was experiencing subsided and dried up. The Deluge of itch was gone.

And I felt fine. Had to put on the lights. Had to put on my wool shirt. Had to keep going forward.

I got on some pavement, and I was looking around at the houses, trying to figure out how I had not reached Helen Yet. My math was apparently off.

I spotted a trailer home that looked dilapidated and kept going on my way. Got to an intersection, asked my GPS how far Helen was, and after riding all day long, since 8 something A.M., it was 1030 at night and I still had 25 plus miles to go. I was not ready.

I went back to check out the trailer since I knew that this evening would be the coldest of the three evenings I didn't want to hang in my hammock and not be able to sleep.

The back had an opening in what would of been the Trailer homes hallway, and I parked the bike, climbed in and jumped in my sleeping bag wearing all my clothes. I knew this would dry me by the morning.

Although my body slept, one lEar was always alert. I could hear the Nails from the Mice running underneath where I slept. Sometimes I would have to roll from one side to the other, but I slept good.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Take care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Friday, September 03, 2010


So I am here. Sitting in the Recreation Room at Mulberry Gap, basically relaxing and killing time before dinner.

Its been one hell of a journey to get to this point. Even at the very last minute my bike was without brake pads on the rear and I was pinned at work unable to retrieve it once the repair was done.

Thank fully, due to the kindness of Edita and her Daughter Sarina, I was able to have my bike, and get everything I needed.

I rolled out of my house to drop off Lil'r NI only to realize that I had to return back home cause I forgot my Net that attaches to my rear pack.

I Zombie drove to Rob's house and before long, he awoke from his nap and we rode out. I slept on and off the whole way here. We hit a couple of stores and its been a marvelous day so far. I feel very relaxed without a doubt.

There is away for you to follow the events of the race. I am not guaranteeing blog updates but they may happen.

BUT, I have a SPOT tracker at that will allow you to see my progress on the course. I will also make my MTB Cast Debut, through call ins at This is gonna be the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but I am composed and ready for what the ride will bring.

Take care,


The NaKeD InDiaN