November 23rd, 2016
This is one of those weeks I look forward to disappearing from work mid-week, taking vacation, and hanging out with the #shrednecks in Greenville, SC for a mini-vaca.
For the past three years, Daniel (from Charlotte) and I have loaded up the bikes to meet for Cranksgiving week. Cranksgiving is a three-day mountain biking weekend put on by Upstate Sorba.
Schedule of Events:
Friday: Fun adventure race in downtown Greenville
Saturday: XC and Super D Races
Sunday: 3-Stage Enduro
Daniel and I arrive Wednesday to pre-ride and hang out for a few days. We meet up with many other buddies to ride with.. taking the next few days to study lines, shuttle the Enduro stages, and fine tune the bikes for the weekend.
An annual tradition is also to visit Shortfields in Traveler’s Rest
Friday: We visit the Piney Mountain Bike Lounge; a brand new bike shop (with a bar) still getting the finishing touches put on and then carb-up for Saturday’s XC race.
0845: Race is set to start at 1030, so I arrive early to socialize and watch the earlier races. While in jeans and hanging out at the starting line, the start time is suddenly changed to 0915. Everyone was confused; but we all kitted up and did a mini-warm-up.
0930: Race finally starts; me, Ben Renkema, and Patrick Smith head off the front and swap places for the first 2 of 3 laps. The course consisted of a 10 minute false flat, followed by 5 minute step descent, then finally a 10 minute techy climb back to the start line. Beginning lap 3, Ben and I sprint the double track false flat and race to the single-track descent. We go back and forth, but he claims the lead heading downhill. I see him every few minutes and can’t seem to close the 20ish second gap. He crosses the line first, followed by me then Patrick who is pedaling a flat rear tire.
1100: Super D practice and shuttle are set to finish up in 1 hour so I swap bikes, get some food, then do two practice runs. With as much we rode in the previous 3 days, I didn’t figure I’d gain much by wearing myself out with any more. Race started at 1400; beginners first, experts last.. Which was fine by me, 2 additional hours to recover from the all out XC race a few hours earlier.
1600: Super D; 1 run, down Sulpher Springs trail. 1st half was fast, mostly descending. 2nd half was mostly flat with flowy turns and some space to crank the pedals.
Saturday night we head back to the bike shop to socialize then back to Shortfields for yet another meal. Taking it easy overall to get ready to Sunday’s Enduro.
1000: Enduro is set to start; the field was capped at 200 (plus some more). With 200+ riders waiting to let loose to the top of the mountain, I plan to get my runs in early. Once the rider’s meeting finishes, we make the 15 minute climb to the top of Paris Mountain for stage 1.
Stage 1: The quickest of the stages at just over 4 minutes. Brissey Ridge -> Roots, time 4:15
Stage 2: My favorite of the 3 stages with fast flowy turns and the most technical rocky section near the end; Kanuga -> Brissy Ridge -> Pipsissewa, time 6:49
Stage 3: Exact same route as the Super D the day before, so the lines for this run were already set in stone. Sulpher Springs -> the bottom of the mountain, time 5:12
I finished the Enduro in 7th/35 amongst some super fast guys. I was real happy with how I rode
The trails overall this weekend were super dry. The area hasn’t had rain for weeks and weeks; there was a fire ban; turns were hard-packed with super loose grip. Cranksgiving weekend is one of my favorite each year. I get to spend it being #crankful for riding bikes day after day and having some awesome friends that enjoy the same thing.
Until next year, check out Jay Schultz’s PinkBike post with a sweet photo summary of the weekend http://www.pinkbike.com/u/gojammedia/blog/what-are-you-crankful-for2.html