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Upstate Cranksgiving 2013 aka "Ride up and down Paris Mountain every which way"

On Friday I hopped into Nik's Refresh Technologies Powered Super Jeep and we drove down to Greenville for the Upstate Cranksgiving 2013. Aaron had recommended the event to us, but he was apparently going to be pre-occupied with Cyclocross this weekend and wouldn't be making it. Instead, we met up with Nico and Lilly from Atlanta and settled into camp to get ready for a big weekend. The forecast called for a warm, rainy day followed by a bitter cold day. But what else would you expect for November in the South?

Nico, Nik, and Kurt after a day full of Super D runs at Paris Mountain. Photo by Nik Fedele

Saturday turned out to have great weather, and we were up and at 'em early enough to get 4 good runs on the Super D course before timed runs got started around noon. They had 3 vehicles, two with trailers, constantly running people up the mountain, but even that was barely enough to handle all of the riders. The course was fast and mostly smooth, with a few punchy climbs thrown in to give it the Super D flavor. The most challenging part was trying to hold speed through the many tight switchbacks.

Tom Van Devender finishing his run. Photo by Nik Fedele

My timed run went as flawlessly as I could have hoped. I stayed off the brakes as much as possible, and sprinted out the flats and climbs. I finished it in 6:33 which was good enough for 6th in my category.

Nik was only a few seconds slower on his Single Speed, which is pretty remarkable when you realize how pedal-ly this course was. He got 2nd in the SS class!

We missed the awards ceremony somehow, but we forced Nik to pose for this anyway.

Eric had an awesome run on his brand new Santa Cruz Bronson, blowing both of us away with 6:01 and earning the 5th spot in the EXPERT category.

Saturday night involved a huge bonfire, pour-your-own draft beer, and a seriously cold night of camp-sleeping at Paris Mountain State Park. It barely warmed up at all for Sunday's Enduro™ , where the highs hovered in the high 30s.

The Enduro™ was unbelievably cold for the entire day, so it was really more of a wardrobe contest than a race. We climbed Paris Mountain via every road, trail and path imaginable. Just when I would get a good hearty sweat going inside my 5 layers, we would stop and wait in line at the top for our turn to fly back down the mountain for the timed DH section. I furiously unzipped and re-zipped everything on my body, back and forth, all day. Nik, Nico and I rode the entire day as a group and we kept the pace and flow elevated so we wouldn't freeze to death. I think I would have been able to shave a few seconds off some of my DH runs if I had rested at the top more before taking the run, but I honestly just wanted to keep moving.

The wait for the Enduro awards ceremony was long and, you guessed it, cold. Nico, Nik, and I all felt pretty damn confident we were going to be on the podium, so we hunkered down and pounded coors lights (or at least, I did), until finally they presented the list to a much-deminished crowd. Whatever glitch they were battling that caused the delay had clearly been a nasty one, because it resulted in none of our names being called. They gave away some really killer prizes, including a TON of tires from Maxxis, which we coveted jealously.

The trophies that we somehow didn't win. Photo Nik Fedele

Some of the bling on display at the event. Photo Nik Fedele

Even though we didn't get recognized for our brilliant accomplishments in the Enduro™ , it was still a great weekend that I hope to make a November tradition. The Paris Mountain trails are really great - plenty of everything you could want from southern mountain terrain. And this is really the best weekend to experience them, because the park is hiker-only on Saturdays! I asked a park ranger which day was Mountain Biker only, and all I got was a blank stare.