Four of us left for Tennessee on Thursday evening, driving part way that night so that we wouldn't have as far to drive on Friday. Robin had his portable navigation system supposedly so we could find our way but I think the real reason he brought it was to find the coffee shops along the way,
After getting breakfast we headed out while he searched for a coffee shop near our route. The computer found one a few exits ahead so we proceeded to follow the directions through a residential neighborhood until we found ourselves on a dead end street overlooking the freeway. We think the address it gave us may have been for someone who works out of their home as a salesperson. The funny thing was that on our way back to the freeway we found a coffee shop right where one of our turns was. And it wasn't in the navigation database.
Tennessee is beautiful this time of year and the trees and flowers seemed to be out more that at last year's race. We pre-rode part of the course on Friday afternoon after picking up our registration materials. The weather was great, sunny and warm. The weather forecast was calling for overnight rain though.
When we awoke at 4:45 it was pouring rain and had been raining for some time. It let up before the race started at 7:00 but still continued off and on for a while. The weather was also cool but it was supposed to clear up later. The first section of trails were very muddy and I started to get some bad chainsuck before we were through. Once we got to the roads they were soft from the rain and seemed very slow.
I was still having problems with the chain and after about 18 miles the chain jammed and caused the rear derailleur to get bent into the spokes as I started up a hill. It also bent the hanger. Fortunately I carry a spare hanger so I made the repair but it took me 15-20 minutes.
I managed to finish the race but I did not have a good finish time and ended up 7th. I know the mechanical probably cost me two places and they gave out awards to the top 5. The 50+ class is really competitive this year and I'll have my work cut out for me at the rest of the races.
Thanks to Shari and Ryan for providing support.