February 24th, 2018
Over the last few years I’ve competed in several different styles of mountain bike races; XC, Shorttrack, Time-trial, team events, long endurance, probably to only name a few. By far the most enjoyable was always the team events. You’re required to work for something other than yourself getting through the race. Often times, you and your teammate must strategize on the best way to alternate laps or choose the best route to take. Other than last weekend’s epic 12 Hours of Santos, the most recent team event I did was PMBAR last year with a buddy from Clemson. We navigated nearly 12 hours through Pisgah Forest in this adventure race to visit checkpoints. We had to collaborate many times on the fastest route, when to stop for breaks, and what speed both of us were comfortable with. Another was a 6 hour duo race I did with a buddy from Charlotte. The concept was that you and your teammate were to click off as many laps as possible, with one rider on the course at a time. We chose to continuously alternate laps until the end. All these team events left me post-race enjoying the experience; happy to shred a fast day in the woods on a team with other racers.
This weekend was right on par with those other team events! Andrew and I teamed up to tackle 6 Hours on the Ridge; a race put on by Greenville Rec. Last year was the first running of this event and was enough of a hit to bring it back. New this year was the team category. Andrew proposed the idea of riding this race together. I was in!
The entire field this year included 46 riders. Of which included 6 hours solo male and female and the team riders. For the teams, teammates could ride together to accumulate as many laps as possible. Mine and Andrew’s strategy was to ride together some, while taking breaks when we needed to. Both of us started the race together and pulled to an early lead. Laps at Pleasant Ridge were 6 miles in length and lasted 30-35 minutes. Andrew and I rode together most of the first few hours. We both decided to take some short breaks, then we were back at it. The course offered a long climb at the beginning, some technical rocky uphill sections, and some flowy downhills. The route was a fun 6 miles with good variety.
There was some strategy to be had during the race, where we were allowed one shortcut. The shortcut trail was called “Sassey’s Pass” and saved about 5 minutes. Each rider could take this route at any time throughout the day, but only once.
6 hours of brutal trail laps were complete for Andrew and I. Overall we accounted for 18 laps, equaling about 95 miles together. Afterward, podiums were had, free hotdogs and burgers were served, and we were off to recover. We pulled off the win by completing the same number of laps as second place, but in a quicker time.