Fool's Gold 50 and 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race is an endurance mountain bike race held by Eddie and Namrita of 55 Nine Performance. Faster Mustache has had participants in this race since 2007- back when Old Man Crenshaw was just Crenshaw! This year FM showed up with 13 (me, Aron, Burka, Witcher, Marc, Fast Eddie, Krautstache, Gwyn, Nico, Bob Joe, and 2 of Burka's friends!). Now that's a baker's dozen!
Photo credit: Joe Cattoni
At 7:00am the 100 milers were off, with only Joe Hamner repping FM in the epic distance.
The rest of us started at 7:30 sharp and it was a calm, cool neutral ride on the paved road until eventually the lead out car pulled over and let us loose. The sun was just starting to shine through the trees and the first gradual fire road climb took us in and out of the foggy cloud that hung in the air. The climb eventually got steeper and steeper until we wrapped around to the dry side of the mountain and were promptly shot back down the mountain on a steep fire road decent. Many miles passed before we got to taste our first bite of singletrack and a sweet bite it was! Kurt and I were paired up and I was anxious to keep a good line lest he think his Pisgah honed skills could outdo me. Before long we were headed straight back up, though thankfully still on sweet singletrack. This time it was steep and we passed many a rider who had abandoned their pedals and were pushing their way up.
Things were going good from there and I was just trying to stay calm and focussed until I shot through a quick decent and found I had a rear tire flat. Kurt was somewhere in front of me along with many of the other FMers including Marc, Ed, and Nico. I would not see them for ths rest of the race. About 7 minutes later (most of those minutes wasted getting my rear wheel back on) I was back on the bike with only slightly lower tire pressure than I'd prefer.
I pedalled hard up Bear Hare and planned on gunning it for the rest of the race. The best I could hope for was to catch one of my teammates and make a pass so why not give it my best shot?
At the top of Bull Mountain I saw a downed rider surrounded by 4 or 5 riders who were evidently abandoning their races to take care of the crash victim. All they asked of me was to tell help to "hurry their asses up!" which meant that this guy was really in some serious pain. On my way down Bull Mountain I passed Andrew, an EMT, who confirmed he was headed up to help. At the bottom of the decent was aid station 2/3, where ambulances and a rescue vehicle (a 6-wheeled off road vehicle with a stretcher on the back) were just pulling up. I counted all of this as a good sign and raced on.
After aid station 2/3 it's easy to convince yourself that the brunt of work in this race is behind you but that is not true! 10 miles of fire roads and Jake Mtn singletrack await. Fortunately I was feeling good and pedalling hard. I really didn't let up and I had high hopes for catching Kurt or Ed. When I finally finished the trail and got to the road, with 5 miles of pavement standing between me and the finish, I tucked and clenched my teeth for what I knew would be a painful haul. I finally turned off the pavement and into the winery. I could hear the crowd at the finish but was stuck slogging my way through a thick carpet of fresh cut grass-nay-hay. A final climb to the finish revealed Marc, Kurt, and Ed all relaxing under the tent with fresh cold frosty Terrapin Brews. Victory over them was not mine!
I am proud of all the FMers who showed up and rode their butts off. This was Bob's first 50 mile race - congrats!!