I arrived at 4-Guys Campground Friday evening for packet pick-up. It didn’t take long to to spot the cases of Country Boy Cougar Bait beer and a handle of bourbon inconspicuously placed under the table. This was definitely going to be a great event.
I scurried back to the cabin to take care of the final race-day bits. Handlebars these days come so wide. I had to cut about 1.5 inches off both ends of mine. Then, my wife’s shoes could not unclip from her new SPD pedals. I took a razor blade to the S-Works shoes in an effort to solve the problem. The problem was not solved as we would find out during the more technical parts of the course. Chains were lubed and tires were inflated to 25-30 psi. The bikes were ready to go and so were we.
The morning came too early as it always does. Made some ass-kickin’ coffee and ate my usual 700 calorie peanut butter sandwich. Spent a good 20 minutes mixing nutrition bottles for me and my wife. It’s time to head to the start!
The race started just as the sun was coming up. It was a good thing we had a leadout vehicle because the fog was so thick that you couldn’t see more than 60 yards ahead. The first climb up to, and through, Nada Tunnel broke the peloton into 2 main groups with singles trailing off the back. Olivia, my wife, and I made a conscious decision to let the lead group go and stick to a reasonable pace. A group of about 15 formed and we all worked together for the next hour or so.
Mile 20-23 was Pumpkin Hollow and 25-30 was Spaas Creek. This is when I realized the course was going to be more demanding than expected. Rocky descents and mud pits were around every corner.
The whole race was a blur of super steep (18%+ climbs), mud bogs, and gravel. I made quick business of some road before turning onto Walker Creek for miles 56-67. It consisted of rugged jeep trail and steep descents. It seemed like the climbs just kept on coming. This was a great section of course, which consisted mostly of double track with axle-deep mud holes (don’t take bad lines). The exit of this section is a super steep, Sram Eagle kind of climb with a few switchbacks. The KYMBA Women aid station with a dancing hot dog and blaring sirens was a welcoming sight. Mile 93 marked the final “real” climb. From then on it was downhill or flat to the finish line.
Immediately after crossing the finish line I was handed a badass buckle and a beer. Success! The on-site showers were an added bonus that most races are unable to provide. Next up was the buffet. The race provided barbecue, beans, slaw, and dessert as well as a trough full of beer. It seemed like the majority of people hung around after the race to indulge in food, beer, and live music.
I will be honest; I thought this was going to be a road race. It didn’t take long to realize I was absolutely wrong. Yes, there was a lot of road. However, the gravel, jeep road, and singletrack more than made up for it. Not to mention that we rode through some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. The Red River Gorge 100 Mountain Bike Race is a legitimate mountain bike race. The trough(s) full of beer, unlimited barbecue, and live music turned this into a must-do event. I hope to see more of you out there next year. The tentative date for the next #RRG100 is October 13, 2018. See you there!
RRG 100 Route (Singletrack section is not correct)
Walking the Walk in Walker Creek – Chris Chaney
Red River Gorge 100 Mountain Bike Race Course Preview Route