I revisited Tour of The White Mountains again this year. This time on DC’s ticket & proud to represent. Thanks Gnome for making it happen. Been doing this event bout 5 times since 2000. It has grown a lot since then & a lot of that is due to Epic rides taking the reigns. 2000 was maybe 18 riders starting lemans style, mostly locals to that area & damn proud of their sweet trails. Got lost that year (rumors of hooligans monkey wrenching signs), and logged in 81 miles. Good times, anger seemed to make that final dirt road turn into threshold therapy.
Did the event in maybe 2005 & previous nights rains were biblical. Total shit show mud fest upon race start, dirt roads were tolerable….single track was tire clearance stuffing play dough. We would submerge our seized bikes in cattle tanks, get that forward movement going only to slowly bring it to a halt in 50 yards. The majority of us threw in the towel when the derailleurs started breaking….watched those single speeders ride off into the horizon. I remember some chick put in 11+ hours that day and closed it down.
2011 TWM event was dry but fell between two rainy days. I was shaking my head on the drive out …. “Is that fucking snow or sleet!”. But we lucked out. It has grown to a big event, big entry numbers, diverse and some fast talent return year after year.
I lined up with two other Form Cycles teammates at a warmer than expected 60 mile event start. Before the start even launched Tom Ament exited the corral w/ a blown shock. Baller simply went to the back of the group as a courtesy to other racers. He raced a single speed w/ a worthless decompressed shock, banged his pedals chronically due to dropped front end, & placed 6th.
I rolled out of the start w/ my mates and jockeyed for a good position through punchy rocky climbs intertwined w/ swoopy hard pack. The pace was brisk but increasing w/ sprinkles of high intensity. My group thinned down to one of my teammates, Adam Cornette, and another eventual podium finisher. We had a small lead group off the front and out of sight containing David Glick…they were gone. After more single track and speed scrubbing rough fire road climbs, our group of 4 punched out some smooth dirt road pace lining. Long pulls were taken by all, and damn I was grateful to be there in that line. It’s another story to be isolated on those dirt road sections. I took a last long pull only to be greeted by our next single track section. To be in the front w/ a different cadence was ugly on the legs.
More single track with our group setting a high tempo, working together on the open sections. If you have done the event before, you never forget the hike a bike section. Brutal anaerobic crawl as you walk your rig up endless false summit climbs…so slow. When you remount, its steep leg press strokes with traction losing demoralization. After that my group was scattered. I was solo with NIN in the earbuds as the course dished out trail varying from sweet smooth, short rocky power climbs, to baby head laden fire roads. It always seemed that there was something to scrub your speed as soon as you thought you had a flow.
It was good though, kept the calories coming and power output was pretty consistent. It’s a long event, & the last 10 miles are LONG. Kinda course that saps the upper body & you get sloppy. Yup, lets slam that pedal into a rock one more time!! Wrapped it up on the final approach dirt roads to the finish & was done with the bike thing. Downed recovery soda, followed by chocolate milk and the pain cave allowed light in. New Belgium poured copious amounts of brew and course reflections of good times were shared. My mates ended up getting lost but finished well…DC got a 5th in 60mile men’s open. (Results vary 6th or 5th @ different sources but im keeping that 5th plc trophy). Thank you Epic rides, Thank You Drunk Cyclist!!!!!