Tsali...It is hard not to bring up the name and not begin to think about all the good time that have been had there. Well in classic fashion, this trip was nothing short of a good time. I bailed the bike foundry a bit later than anticipated, but the bike world needed some extra love that day so I hung around. The biggest bitch with rolling solo to such an event is the lack of opportunity to get a decent spot let alone a spot at the campground unless you arrive a day or so early, especially on a holiday weekend. Good news for me my mate Sam did just that...arrived on Wednesday to guarantee the choice spot in the woods that weekend. Camp spot 10 is the shit and you should all know it. And yes, it was ours. I made in through the valley around 8ish and met up with the video squad of Craig and Allie who were there to shoot the race. Rumors of Bishop were abound and he and Silvey went on a B double E Run. I made quick work of tent city and worked straight into chill mode with the video crew. The boys returned soon enough and we started the weekend off right. A few Fat Tires in a can, which is the bee's knees IMO, but being in the metals fabrication business I think aluminum is the perfect vessel for coldies and that is about it. The evening rolled on for hours and there was no shortage of complete amateur comedic relief.
The morning came quicker than expected, as usual. Some light breakfast and a morning Coors got things started off in the right direction. We sat around the camp spot and finalized the last few bike details and picked right up where we left off the night before. After we staged our bikes up the long ass gravel road it became real that it was nearly go time. I want to segway into this next part by saying that I hate to run...seriously, hate it. Like, I only run when the cops are coming and when we have to do a La Mans start. Well that went just as expected, sketchy, crowded and awkward. So when I hit the bike, I went off like mad. It was part adrenaline and part get me the hell out of here...I want single track. Since I cannot remember when the last time I was at Tsali and did not pre-ride the course, I had no clue when the road stopped and the trail began. The pace was solid right from the start and I felt really good for the first few hours and started to slow down a bit due to some wicked leg cramps that came out of nowhere. I totally underestimated the humidity and heat because it felt quite nice out. I made a longer than usual stop after the 5th lap to re-group and change my kit...I noticed that my jersey was really salty thus explaining the cramps. So I sat down in the creek by our camp spot for a few minutes and changes jerseys, grabbed some food and went back out on the course. I was rolling along pretty good not having any idea where I was on the leader board and at this point did not really care. I was just out to do as many laps as I could without totally destroying myself. When one of the fella's I was racing came by me like mad and I was sure that he had lapped me while I was chilling in the creek. That just sealed the deal for me because I was not moving that fast and had no real desire to do so at that point. So I turned a couple more laps and called it a day. For some reason, I lost a lap after the results were posted, but no big deal to me, I was out of the running by that point anyway. I made my way back to the camp spot and hung out for a few more hours before calling it a night. It was a great trip and I always have a blast at Tsali. It is everything it is cracked up to be and more. Now for a few weeks off before my shortest race of the season at Raccoon Mountain. It is too close to home to not participate.