Race update from AMR-Michael Coleman - Well this was my second year going for madness or what they call the 9 hour race @ Fort Yargo. Last year I went solo and took 3rd, but this year I was lucky to have another sucker help me out. So from solo to 2 man team, my spirits were deft higher. It was raining, and cold and the mood around felt pretty much like everyone was miserable already. I know I had my second thoughts when I woke up. Why would someone want to ride in the cold rain and sacrifice their bike to the muddy gods? We filled out our paper work and then walked back to the camp to try to stay dry and warm. Neither of that was working. I can deal with most that mother nature shots out at me, but I hate wet and cold!
Well we decided Scott my teammate (and maybe future AMR) would take the first lap. I was just glad that I wasnt going to have to wade thru the mass of riders like last year to get to the trail. So off they went to the tunes of Gun N Roses and I could feel myself warming up and getting excited. Now that Scott is gone i have a good hour to relax and stay warm and dry. Hour later I walked up to the finish line ready to go. Well it took alittle more then an hour for him to get there and in the mean time i could hear and see the other racers coming in going. Many were complaining that their brakes were gone or almost gone. I could see many of them covered in mud, from the classic Georgia Red to the Fort Yargo blk/brwn. Neither of these things was going to put a damper on my spirit. I was here in the cold rain standing in mud, and I was going to RACE!!
My partner finally shows and throws me the timing chip (which this year they stuck it on a number plate and in a bottle. if you lose the bottle you were pretty much screwed. Not the best choice) I catch the bottle like a prized wide reciever and throw it into my jersey and run and CX style onto my bike. Now normally I dont spirint on endurance races, but man I was flying through the mud. I was catching racers left and right. I should prob tell you guys what I was riding first, I was racing on my Salsa El Marc SS and running a 33X21. That being said I was lucky to have the right set of tires on (Conti Trail Kings I believe 2.2). Well not even a mile in and I was already regretting not wearing my glasses and damn was it hard to read my gps. The trail was mostly mud and water, since there is so much ga clay out there, there was alot of water just standing there. Fun right? I get all the way to the damn and finally see someone that took off ahead of me, they were walking down the hill. His brakes went out and I could tell my were slowly going as well. But no matter, I would race using my shoes as brakes if I had to, I was NOT going to quit!. The racers that were still out were a mixture of seasoned riders to some novice ones. I did my best to help those out that I could and try to lift the spirit of every rider I saw my encouraging them, but lets me honest people were not happy. I myself was smiling from ear to ear, even if you could not see my face since I looked like I just walked away from a gnarly CX race. I just past the second entrance and I know I am close. Well to my surprise I see some of the worse that Yargo has ever looked. On one part it was just a large pile of red mud, I did my best to steer to the right and avoid it, most ppl ended of wrecking there from what I heard. Closer and closer I get, my breath is getting harder and Im starting to get cold and there just a head is the lake. I shoot out and start sprinting to the finish line hoping my team mate would be there ready to go. Over the line and there he is, not smiling but looking determined. A nice spiral of a throw and off he goes. Well that was fun I thought, how many of those will I have to do I wondered. Well not even 15min later they announce that the race is being cut to 4 HOURS and everyone has to be in by 2pm. So basically this mean unless my teammate gets in fast Im done. I walked back to check to see how we were standing, and with my lap I bumped us up to second. Works for me I thought. :) Well Scott was coming in late so I was done for the day. 1 lap, felt like i was doing a XC again, well it was off to the showers and time to relax. Scott ended up finishing the lap and that secured us 1st! This race hurt a good bit of people and killed many bikes and oh soooo many brakes. But when it was time to step up on the podium, I felt proud I was representing Team Angry Monkeys Racing.The race was deft not like last years, but then again I didnt think I needed an Arc and a life vest. Was it worth burning through my brake pads???? Yes, yes it was.- Michael Coleman