Sunday, September 5, 2010


The plan included me being on the trail and roughly 20% done with the TNGA. Instead I made the hard call early on Day 1 to drop out to minimize the aggravation factor of being picked up somewhere in North Georgia. It was crystal clear that my single-speed climbing kung-fu was weak in comparison to the gravel climbing I had in front of me. I failed. I didn't properly prepare. As I write this it looks like 5 of us have dropped out completely in the first full day. Its a tough ride. I did learn a few things, however:

  1. Don't be lazy. I didn't train enough. I could have forced myself through a night or two before being completely wiped out but none of it would have been fun. Obviously, an adventure on this scale will be a physical challenge but if you're not ready for it physically, the beating takes all of the fun out of it. I wasn't ready.
  2. I no longer consider the claimed 56,000 ft of climbing to be some sort of GSP glitch. This course means business and its particularly grueling in the first section. If you're planning on riding this one next year do intervals & climb the steepest trails you can find... a lot.
  3. Don't rely on the other singlespeed riders to show up. In other words, plan to ride alone. Ultimately, 36 signed up and 18 people started.Everyone had gears and disappeared not long after the first few climbs. The GPS track provided by Dave Muse was solid but you still manage to make wrong turns here and there. Have a stupid proof way of processing the cue sheets on the run.
  4. Have a more comprehensive plan. Carrying 5d of food seemed like a good idea. I didn't have to worry about where I stop. I was 100% self-sufficient. Unfortunately, the associated weight only compounded the fact that I wasn't ready to climb that much on a SS (or a geared bike more than likely).
  5. Stan's sealant is magic. On the way out the TNGA decided to give me a little kick in the pants and cut my rear tire. I stopped the air with my finger which gave the sealant a moment to set up in the hole. Its solid... zero leak. Magic!
With all of that said, I still had a great ride on Saturday. The downhills on the way out confirmed that the climbing on the way in was brutal. On one section in particular I started from the top at a dead standstill. By the time I reached the bottom I topped 30mph without any pedaling. That's steep! The weather was perfect - sunny, cool, a little bit of a breeze.

The guys organizing the race did a really nice job getting everyone organized. You can keep up with this year's race at . You can also get interesting updates at:


  1. Sorry to hear you had to DNF, Don but your post sounds humble about it. Next year, perhaps?

  2. Yeah, the DNF is a bummer but its all my fault. I'm still considering next year. I'll want to do it SS since that's all I ride now. I have to decide if I want to spend a week of vacation on the TNGA or some other fun sized bikepacking trip. :)