I noticed that it has been almost a year since I took the time to blog. My buddy State Farm has always encouraged me to journal, or blog, but there is something weird about putting yourself "out there" for people to inspect, find fault, or get offended by something. It might appear somewhat self-serving to blog and then go public. But really it's not. There is nothing to gain from doing it other than sharing a passion about mountain biking, and hopefully inspiring others.
Since I last wrote anything lots of things have happened personally, mostly for the better. Except for the broken femur on top of Horn Mtn in October that left me fat and out of shape for several months. But that's a story for another day.
My buddy and mentor Koz asked me help direct TNGA this year. And I loved it! I love everything about the race. We changed the finish of the route this year, and think we hit a home run. It finishes well south of where it did before, and uses most of the remaining Pinhoti trail in Georgia, before turning south and hitting the Silver Comet for about a mile before finishing at the Chief Ladiga arch.
Koz, myself, and a number of Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association and NWGa SORBA members like Rick Moon, Steve Harrell, Marcus Moore, and others get out in the nasty heat and humidity of July and August to work over 100 miles of the western Pinhoti to make it a little more bearable for the riders of the event. But even at that, the Pinhoti is no joke. It can suck the life right out of any competitor, and cause normally sane people to sometimes lose control - even if for just a little bit.
Anyway, we had a full field and a few ITT'ers this year, so TNGA is blowing up in popularity. And now it has become a part of even a longer route called the Southern Highlands Traverse, which starts near the Maryland border in Virgina and runs the full length of the western side of Virginia, runs the Trans Western NC route, the TNGA, and the Skyway epic toward Birmingham. 1,250 miles of rugged and remote Appalachian bikepacking. Can't wait to see how that turns out.
So anyway, on very sporadic training I am going to go up and run Chris Tompkin's Allegheny Mountains Loop Extreme in October - AMLX for short. It's a 500 mile route in really remote areas of Virginia and West Virginia, and I am pumped. I love riding routes I have never seen before. So we will see how that goes - ultra bikepacking can be glorious or spirit-crushing, but that's kind of a condensed version of everyday life, packed in a short period of time where I rarely feel so alive. And that is a very difficult thing to explain to people that do not do similarly "out-there" things. Most reading this know what I mean.
Anyway, there it is. I will try to write more often, and make it a little more entertaining. The reading is always better when I am in action on the bike, regardless of the result.
Happy trails, Honcho