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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rumble in the Concrete Jungle Race

Today was the first time I have been on my mountain bike in what feels like a lifetime. Had I known how competitive the race was going to be today I would have taken it out and dusted it off weeks in advance and did some training rides. The race was held at the US National Whitewater Center just beyond the outer loop in Charlotte. It is a big kids playground which consists of a man made competition kayak and whitewater rafting course, miles and miles of single track, a massive zip line and a climbing wall out crop in the center of it all. Today for the first time ever a bike race was held in the drained water channels of the park, something they have been trying to plan for the last few years but finally got approval.

The first race was a downhill course consisting of just the concrete channel. It was a little less than half a mile and zigzagged back and fourth crossing the concrete structures that create the rapids and currents when filled with water.  You were given two timed runs down, with the best guys doing just of 48 seconds. My best lap was 57 seconds, winch put me mid pack, but just 9 seconds behind the super ridiculous full face helmet and pads wearing downhillers. Some of which traveled over 6 hours just for this event.

The second phase was the cross country race. This is where my body told me that its been too long since I have ridden my mountain bike and its time to hit some more trails. It ran for 40 minutes plus a lap and I was able to complete 13 full loops. The course consisted of the DH course plus a 3/4 mile gravel jogging loop the circles the park. This was one of the funnest races at one of the coolest venues I have ever raced. The spectators make it a blast and pushed you hard with their heckles in most sections of the race. I was told after the race that I won the unofficial Fan Favorite award. Apparently I was the only person to take a certain line that brought me way too close to the crowd. High fives every time, and on one of these times I stopped to chug a tall boy handed up to me from a group of WWC employees. The crowd lost their mind, and coming out of the berm, I almost lost my balance. Luckily I saved it and continued on down. I hope Weldon Weaver got some good pics of that!

Cant wait until next year, hopefully I will be a little more prepared for it. Maybe some bike upgrades and a little training beforehand should do it.

You can see me on the far right in black taking my super secret beer route. 

Pre-ride meeting.

The course was real wet and delayed the start, but it dried out nicely.

I pic from Jeff Smith, from the bridge to the island.

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