PMBAR 2018 - Happen's

Saturday morning.  We gather our gear at a leisurely pace (nice for a change) and head out to the race venue.  We get the bikes prepped and wait for the racer meeting at 7:45 am.  Race starts at 8am.
Racer meeting done.  8am hits fast.  This year Sandy goes up to grab the race passport.

Sandy emerges rather quickly from the mass of swarming racers.  She was all smiles with passport in hand.  
On queue we open the passport.  We read the instructions care-less-fully.  We noticed a “prelude” lap to start.  Huh!?
This year we decided to plan our full route once we reached Pressley Gap, so in sticking with the plan we rode off and up to Black Mountain trail.  When we arrive at the trail intersection, we notice a few teams standing around.  My gut said we go on up Black and then Thrift.  Doing so will loop us for the prelude lap.  
Sandy had started up Black (the correct route) while my brain got in the way and told me to follow other teams up Thrift Cove.  I yelled at Sandy to turn around.  She did and we followed up Thrift.
After about 1.5 miles, another team came flying down and said we are going the wrong way.  S*!t!  I knew it!  We turned about and had to go back down Thrift and head up Black, then right back on Thrift and up Black once more. 
Photo cred Icon Media Asheville
We make it to Pressley Gap and open the map.  Give a quick study and plot a route.  If you are lucky enough to own a Pisgah Ranger District map, feel free to follow along...
On up Black - right on Turkey Pen - straight on to Vineyard Gap - connect and go right on Riverside - left on Bradley Creek into Squirrel - into South Mills - on to FR 476 - right on Yellow Gap Road - left up Pilot Cove - back down Pilot Cove - right back on to Yellow Gap - left back onto FR 476 - work our way back to South Mills River - into Buckhorn Gap - down Clawhammer - left onto Avery Creek Road - right onto Bennett Gap - hike up Bennett then back down Bennett -  left onto Avery Creek Road - right back on Clawhammer at the horse stables - right on Maxwell/Turkey Creek Road - back to Pressley Gap - right on Black Mountain - hike a bike then down Black to the finish.
Got all that?
The route allowed us to hit 4 checkpoints, including both mandatories and have a somewhat easy gravel ride to the finish.

While a logical direct route with lots of titilating singletrack, there were faster, less titilating routes to be had.  We did not do that.

We did not hit our first checkpoint until about 12:30ish.  4 and a half long hours already into the day.  Two of those hours involved zero food.  Talk about hungry and heavy in the legs.  No food in the belly equals slow churning pedals.  Sluggish, leaden, dopey, torpid, pokey, comatose, and just plain blah peddling action.

Honestly, that was our biggest mistake of the day.  Really the only one outside of the wrong turn at the start up Thrift Cove.

We stuff our faces with food at our first checkpoint and recover.  From that point on we remind each other to keep eating.

We pick off the three other checkpoints we needed to finish, and roll into finish around 9:30pm.  Enduro Bites dark chocolate espresso bars got us down Black Mountain in the dark.  You gotta pay attention when doing that.

Photo cred Icon Media Asheville
Spy shot of Sandy at finish.  I kinda like it.  Dirt, sweat, and just pure guts.  In case you are curious of the dirt stains on her jersey.  Well she ate shit on Squirrel.  JRA at a nice pace and the trail just broke away from under her front tire.  One moment looking forward, next moment sliding down the side of the mountain.  She all good!

PMBAR 2018 done.  60+ miles and a bit over 11,000 feet of climbing.  Sad it is over and ready for next year.

Have a great Mother's Day weekend!

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