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Race to Valhalla - Cycle


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Walhalla, South Carolina
United States
Southeast Gravel
85F / 29C
Sunny
Total Time = 3h 56m
Overall Rank = 88/124
Age Group = F50+
Age Group Rank = 5/9
Bike
  • 3h 56m 36s
  • 46 miles
  • 11.67 mile/hr
Comments:

I got up at 5:20 to walk the dog and have breakfast (bagel with peanut butter, banana, coffee).

We left the condo at 6:15 or 6:20 for the 90 minute drive to Walhalla. Google said that it would take 90 minutes but never having done the drive ourselves, we allowed a little bit of extra time and aimed to arrive at the start of packet pickup. Plus Kevin didn't want to deal with parking. Anyway, we arrived without incident just before 8:00 for packet pickup. The long course started at 9:00 and the short course (me) started at 9:15.

Let me back up and say that a few days before the event (the Wednesday before, to be exact), Southeast Gravel sent out "Race Bible for the 2021 Race to Valhalla" with information about including the race day GPS file, parking info with maps, race staging and signage info, updated weather info, and a few course details (watch out for loose/fresh gravel on the Rich Mountain Road descent, etc.). This document also include some stuff that freaked me out a little bit (bring two extra tubes and something to use as a tire boot, we will not fix your bike for you and you won't have cell service, be extra careful on that first descent, "Don’t be reckless and make yourself have a 6 mile bike ride!" This resulted in a Friday eventing REI stop.

Anyway, back to race morning. I was there for a gravel ride. Clearly a lot of people were there to RACE. This was a lot more Type A than Assault on Uwharrie Gravel or the Loudoun 1725 Gravel Grinder events that I attended this summer. I got my race number and fixed it to the front of my bike and observed the gravel bikes around me. I was happy to see that I was not the only one with a bento box -- haha! The race director did a nice job of having pre-event music and a few announcements (Bobby Julich and Tinker Juarez are in the house!) and it generally had a nice vibe to it.

At 9:00, all of the long course riders went to the start area for pre-ride announcements. Once they were off, the short course riders lined up. I put myself towards the back and chatted with a few people and we were off. We started on pavement and sure enough, about six mile in we got to a gravel section on White Cut Road that got progressively more chunky. We passed a long course rider carrying his bike towards us. This did not easy my mind! I did not care for this section and I ended up picking my way through it. About five people passed me here. I was afraid that Winding Stairs would be more of the same.

At mile 14, we turned off a paved section at Lake Cherokee and began a four mile, 1100 foot climb up Winding Stairs Road. I was pleased to see that the gravel road was in good condition. Despite the concerns that I had going into the event, this was in my wheelhouse. I passed about 20 people on the climb. There was an aid station at the top of the climb and I quickly refilled my water there. It was getting pretty hot and juicy out and I was completely soaked from the climb.

We had a paved downhill section next and that was really fun. I got myself together and I as able to eat/drink here as well. I have found that feeding myself on gravel rides can be a bit of challenge.

Anyway, for me, the toughest climb was a short, steep section on Village Creek Road in the 23-24 mile area. I'm glad that it was short because it was steep enough to worry me.

There was a nice gravel section on Coppermine Road, a private road used only for the event. That was enjoyable. The second aid station was at the end of this road near the Mountain Rest post office.

The final gravel section was Rich Mountain Road. I really enjoyed some of this and another part was a little bit sketchy due to loose gravel. I wasn't comfortable on the descent here and was probably overly cautious.

Then six miles of pavement and the finish! Overall, the course was about 50% gravel.

It was a fun event and it was very well organized. They had warm burritos (veg, chicken, beef), cold drinks, and non-alcoholic Athletic beer. I had something to eat, changed cloths, and we headed back to Fletcher.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way things went. Clearly, I need more gravel experience and more confidence with my descending. My NP was Z3 for the entirety of the event and I set a few power and heart rate peaks for this year so it's not as if I wasn't working hard out there.
Post race
Event comments:

It was a fun event and it was very well organized. I'd do another Southeast Gravel event in the future.


Profile Album


Last updated: 2021-06-29 12:00 AM
Biking
03:56:36 | 46 miles | 11.67 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/9
Overall: 0/124
Performance:
Includes about 8 minutes spent at aid stations on course.
Wind:
Course:
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

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2021-07-20 11:58 AM

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Master
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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: Race to Valhalla


2021-07-20 7:03 PM
in reply to: #5277203

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Master
2409
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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Race to Valhalla
2021-07-21 10:03 AM
in reply to: #5277203

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1614
1000500100
Denver, Colorado
Subject: RE: Race to Valhalla
Oh I love hor colorful your shirt was!
Great job ))) I would feel worried about the tire after receiving that e-mail too haha I still have no idea how to change a tire - I bet I would be doing a last minute YouTube cours and had at least 3 spares with me...

Great pictures and I am happy to hear you enjoyed it.
2021-07-21 10:35 AM
in reply to: marysia83

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Master
7244
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Orlando
Subject: RE: Race to Valhalla

A 4 mile 1100 foot climb! Yeah, that is not in my wheelhouseYou’ve Always been a strong rider, but this bike focus retraining has really kicked things up, you’re a beast!

Your helmet matches your race bib color - I’m sure that was planned

2021-07-21 10:40 AM
in reply to: amd723

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Master
8933
50002000100050010010010010025
Raleigh, NC area
Subject: RE: Race to Valhalla

Originally posted by amd723

A 4 mile 1100 foot climb! Yeah, that is not in my wheelhouseYou’ve Always been a strong rider, but this bike focus retraining has really kicked things up, you’re a beast!

Your helmet matches your race bib color - I’m sure that was planned

It was good. I was glad that I passed people on the climb and did not fall down.  Need to not be wimpy on the descents but I tell myself that if I crash, it will be even slower!

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