I spent a few quiet hours last night with an army of crickets, frogs and spiders at National Whitewater Center fine tuning myself for the Cackalacky 500, A night race tribute to bootlegger and racer of yesteryear. I figured I would start my ride around 8:30pm after the lot cleared of all the daylight riders and to my surprise I was the only one motivated enough to ride into the night. The temperature was still warm and muggy but the moon was bright. Perfect for a little solo ride. I made sure I had everything, handlebar light, helmet light, ipod, and my handy dandy speaker to drown out the wildlife if need be. I set off at what I am considering my "8" hour pace (heart rate under 150) and running a 32x19 gear on the Lynskey made this real easy to do. My first lap was non-eventful with a time of 1:15. Nothing to brag about but again trying to keep it at the "8" hour pace. After a quick stop at the truck I decided to ride the trail backward, and let me tell ya, it was fun. It completely molded WWC into another trail. Some of the downhill from the normal direction were now steep technical climbs. I even had to hike a bike in two spots due to roots and steep 2ft ridges. It put a smile on my face to be challenged like that at a place that I could normally ride with my eyes closed. It reminded me of how different and great the normal blah ride can be by just strapping on a light.
The Cackalacky 500 starts next Saturday at 10:00pm and finishes up I guess at 6:20am at Lake Norman State Park. With the new 4 miles added to the Laurel loop the race will be a challenge. Heading there in the morning to do some pre-riding of the course to nail down my gear. Right now I'm leaning toward a 32x18 but I don't want to be hurting to bad at the 5hr mark. The 19 felt easy at WW on every climb and I don't think the new section at LKN will have anything that approaches goat hill and gas line. Which ever I choose I just have to make sure I pace myself for the whole night. One thing I learned at WW center is the radio comes in handy when the sound of the frogs get old at hour 3.