We arrived thursday morning and set up camp. It was hot and humid, with highs in the upper 90s with high humidity--nothing like camping during an "excessive heat warning!" in the evening, watched the thunderstorms roll just east and just west of us, but got the sound and light show.
Friday was almost as hot, but vetting in went quickly. Then went down the road for a quick swim in the lake (that felt fantastic). Ride meeting, dinner, then attempted to go to bed early in prep for the 3:30am wakeup. The first distant rumble of thunder at midnight had me up and anxious.. the rain started in earnest about 12:30. It poured rain right until 4 am (when the powers that be must have heard all our collective prayers to PLEASE not rain on us from the very start!).
We started the ride at 5:15, so before sunrise but light enough to mostly see. It was insanely humid and already 71 degrees. The OD is famous for big climbs, rocks, and amazing scenery. It did not disappoint! We got lucky that storms rolled through during the day, dumping yet more rain for about 3 hours. While very very very wet, it kept the temps in the upper 80s instead of the upper 90s it would have been with the sun. The rain stopped before dark, so everything (including me) dried out.
Waiting for the sun to rise:
Sun is up by the top of the next climb:
But what views!
All smiles (photo by Becky Pearman):
Some great footing too:
The laurels were in bloom:
Sunset, 25 miles to go:
We crossed the finish line just after 1 am. We finished in 10th place out of 37 starters. I couldn't be more pleased with how she handled the trail!! According to my garmin, we climbed 13.396 feet during the ride and had an average pace of 6.1 mph.