Tag Archives: epic

TNGA 2019

finish line exhausted Timer selife at the finish line – second try as I wasn’t quick enough to get back over and sit down the first time.

Let’s start at the very end at the Alabama border where the Silver Comet becomes the Chief Ladiga trail if you are heading west, or vice versa if you are heading east. It’s a special place. I’ve ridden through that spot about twenty times, but those twenty times have each been so epic that it feels like I’ve been through there hundreds of times instead of just 20. Here is the top 5 epic rides through that spot sorted by suffer score which combines heartrate and time to determine how much you suffered:

Date Title and Blog Distance Climbing Suffer score
2016/03/25 Birmingham to Clemson and Back (paris-brest-paris distance) 756 mi 58K ft 746
2019/08/19 TNGA 2019 363 mi 43K ft 661
2014/04/04 Heart of the South 500 517 mi 36K ft 630
2018/08/18 TNGA 2018 364.3 mi 43.5K ft 623
2019/04/05 Skyway Epic 2019 303 mi 31K ft 312

Also, even though it was only mid pack in terms of suffer score, one of the most off-the-wall rides I’ve done through there was when I rode from my house to the Camp Sumatanga training race, did the race, and then rode the rest of the way to Atlanta to meet the family there for a Packers play-off game the next day. 233 miles, 9K climbing, 260 suffer score.

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Low to high point fat bike fun in Minnesota

Ice beard less than halfway through the ride.
Fun adventure in the north woods of Northern Minnesota today. I rode from the lowest point in Minnesota (Lake Superior, 603′) to the highest point in Minnesota (Eagle Mountain, 2301′). It was a tough ride with lots of uncertainty. I had attempted this same ride in 2016, but failed. In 2017, I was hit by a car a month before our Christmas trip and was still on crutches while the rest of the family went skiing. This year, I had set aside a day to forgo skiing and try this same ride again, but this time a bad winter storm was bearing down supposed to hit about the time I made it back to the cabin. Lots of uncertainty – the only thing in my favor this year was warm temps in the teens, but that was actually a problem as I sweated a ton and had one water bottle for an 8 hour ride.

Highs and Lows
I have been on some fun adventures on the bike over the years. Here’s all the state high points I have climbed on my bike in reverse order of when I climbed them.

  • Minnesota – 2018
  • Virginia (second highest point, haven’t climbed highest yet) – 2017
  • Mississippi – 2016
  • Florida – 2014
  • Arkansas – 2012
  • Tennessee – 2009
  • Georgia – 1997
  • North Carolina – 1995
  • South Carolina – 1995
  • Alabama – 1994

Minnesota and Florida are special, though, in that I have now ridden in both of them from the lowest point to the highest point of the state in a single ride. South Carolina is interesting, too, in that I rode from the highest point to the lowest point in the state in a single ride, but not the other direction. Ok, let’s get back to this Minnesota adventure.

2016 failed attempt
In 2016, I was thwarted by lots of snow and a late start after skiing half a day. I made it to the start of the trail at sunset (without a light) only to find the trail covered in half a foot of new snow from the day before plus who knows how many feet of snow under that. I tried to ride the first few feet and slid out and decided it just wasn’t going to happen. I made it home well after dark (almost 7pm). I vowed to come back the next year and start earlier in the day and take a light. Here’s a timelapse video of the first 9 miles of the ride before my battery died in the cold.

2017 crutches
In 2017, I was recovering from surgery on my foot after being hit by a car traveling 45-50+mph on a county road south of Birmingham. I was going 13mph up a hill at the time of impact. Very, very thankful that my worst injury was a torn-up foot. I impacted the car’s windshield which acted like a cushion and saved my life. The damage to my foot came afterwards sliding alongside the road after the driver slammed on his brakes. I have no memory of the collision or aftermath. My memory from before is spotty, too, the only thing I specifically remember is stopping at the gas station in Sterrett to buy gatorade about 10 miles before impact. I was on crutches while the family went skiing.

2018, success!!!
Our plan for this year included three days of skiing, but we only bought a two-day pass for me so I could try this ride again. The weather forecast for Lutsen down on the lake was for a temp in the low teens rising to the 20s by the afternoon with a big winter storm coming. 12-18inches of snow predicted with wind gusts blowing to 35mph starting by about 4:30PM. My worst case scenario would have me back to the cabin by about 4PM, so I thought I was safe.

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