I’m doing the Black Bear Rampage MTB race in Tennessee.
I’ve registered for my first XC mountain bike race: the 2013 Black Bear Rampage!
The Black Bear Rampage is held every September on the Tanasi and Brush Creek mountain bike trail systems, which are in the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee. Yeah, you’d think for my first mountain bike race I’d keep it local, but I figure I might as well dive right in.
There are two race courses: a 20-mile course and a 40-mile course. I’ll be doing the 40 mile course, which has about 4,000 feet of climbing:
“40 Mile Race Course: Racers will line up at the upper parking lot of the Whitewater Center. The initial sprint start will run (east) up the side of the highway, over the ridge cut, through the overflow parking lot and turn right onto Brush Creek. At the entrance to the lower loop, racers will roll left and blister the full length of Brush Creek, hammer Boyd Gap, and then follow Old Copper Road down to the first SAG stop at the Whitewater Center bridge. After climbing Bear Paw (staying to the right), racers will follow Chestnut Mountain to the second crazy descent – Thunder Rock Express. Coming off of T.R., you will crank it up 45 to West Fork to the 2nd SAG stop at the junction of Chestnut Mountain and 45, and then ride Quartz Loop clockwise, coming off onto the 1330 Bypass to ride River View Loop. Back on Chestnut Mountain Loop, riders will race back down Bear Paw, across the bridge (3rd SAG stop) to speed up Old Copper Road, back up Boyd Gap, following Brush Creek back to the top of 33211 and the finish line. Race Finishers will then coast down to the lower parking lot at the Whitewater Center to await the awards ceremony and the festivities.”
This race is going to be a lot of fun, and to say I’m excited would be quite an understatement!
Because this is my very first XC MTB race, and also because I’ve never been on these trails before, placing well is not a goal. I’m going to ride hard, but safe. My goals are to have fun and experience trails unlike any I’ve ridden here in Florida. I’ll consider this a pre-ride for the 2014 Rampage.
The best part is a bunch of my friends are riding, too. Looks like Paul Lewis, Daniel Cleaver, Mike Simmons, Rob Ern, Jim Beyer and Mark Huff are all in.
The race is on September 8, 2013. I’ve been training hard, but I’m going to train even harder over the next 4 months.