Heard about this race from a friend and he said it was both beautiful and tough. I have always been fond of the Appalachian mountains and was ready to give it a go.
The route starts in Harrisonburg, Virginia and traverses the mountain ridges for 270 miles south to Roanoke. What intrigued me about the route was its lengthy single track, mountainous terrain and an IMBA Epic course on North Mountain trail. I also wanted to face my fear of the cold as the low temps in the 30s. A perfect opportunity to push forward and scare myself.
I admit to not training as many miles as in previous years. Too much out of town work but no one is to blame but me. Tried to make it up with weekly barbell workouts and hiking in the forest with my dog Hannah. I will rely more on mindset than mileage and lean in to embrace the journey.
Last years 2020 pandemic had this race cancelled so I was excited to see it pop back up in 2021. Heading north out of Tallahassee in the rain and cooler temps.
I will be out of my element in the cooler temps and mountains. Initially I packed my gear with my worst fears and added a penny stove, large tarp and mid size thermal pad. I am still on the fence with this extra warm gear and will wait till I repack Friday night.
DAY 1: Harrisonburg to Braley Pond?
I set out midday with clear skies and sunshine. I rode throught beautiful pasture land and the strong smell of manure.
That night I stopped riding around 10 pm. I tried to find a place to lay down and dug out a few rocks added some leaves. It got cold as F-@ck that night down to about 30 degrees but I survived in all of my clothes and a SOL emergency bag.
To put it mildly this route kicked my ass. I have what I thought to be a well rounded list of bike endurance races under my belt. Finished TNGA 5 times in a row.
The trail route on Rockstar I found to be really tough. The only other trail route I have found to be this hard is the Colorado Trail. But the CT is harder with the elevation.
Special thanks to the Great Bicycle Shop for keeping my adventure rig running. Thanks to Trixie and Bell Helmets and Giro shoes. Mega thanks to my awesome wife and family for supporting me on these crazy adventures. I love you.
TNGA 2020 race notes