In 2016 I participated in a race that was part of the Southeastern Endurance Cup to prepare and trail for USAC XC MTB Marathon Nationals, and it was my introduction to the productions of a race promoter based out of Alabama. Everything about that first race was simply an incredible experience for me, starting with the professional and welcoming organizing crew of Chainbuster Racing, to the friendly and encouraging camaraderie between racers, and of course learning about the line up of great racing grounds in the southeastern region of the USA.

That brought me to the list of races I’ll be doing in 2017, where I include the entire Southeastern Endurance Cup (SEC) races. The Battle for Paynes Creek is the SEC # 2, and it takes place in Hartwell, GA alongside Lake Hartwell, which is a large body of water that separates the states of Georgia and South Carolina just north of Augusta, GA where the 2016 USAC XC MTB Marathon Nationals took place.

Due to the closeness of these two locations, I figured the Singletrack in this SEC race would resemble the one from Marathon Nationals, but to my surprise it was pleasantly different. The 9-mile layout of the race course consisted of nothing but fast and hard packed dirt on what appeared to be a roller coaster or pump track for big knobby tires, with a few roots here and there but certainly nothing to slow you down. A day prior to the race, I heard that all the fallen leaves had been blown out of the trail, so we were guaranteed some fast speeds.

Race File showing Heart Rate (red), Cadence (yellow) and Power (pink).

If there is a single word I can use to describe Chainbuster Racing’s 3/6 Battle for Paynes Creek MTB race, I’d say “WOAH!” is most appropriate, though it is not a word. But since I have too many words available, I’ll say that TOO FAST FOR COMFORT is what applies to me. I must admit that my skill level on the bike did not allow me shred those trails the way they should be. I don’t get to train in anything resembling this trail, and I don’t believe I have ever ridden a trail that is this fast, so keeping my speeds moderate would allow me to stay upright and safe throughout the race. I do wish to go back and spend some more time riding and learning that trail, however. With just a little bit of practice I would get comfortable enough to just RAIL IT at that place. Just thinking about it makes my heartbeat race a little.

I am racing the series in the 3 Hour-Women’s Expert Class in my corresponding Age Group, and yesterday I was able to get the maximum available points while obtaining 1st Place. I managed to get three laps in 2:25 hrs, coming in Second Overall of all the 20 Females racing the 3 Hour.

Podium Smiles at the 2017 Battle for Paynes Creek

As usual, the production of this event was flawless, the racers in the trails were incredibly polite and respectful when I asked to get around them. I must thank those who were at the road intersections cheering us on throughout the race, I looked forward to getting to that area on every lap. With my medal, I take with me a lot of positive vibes and smiling faces from really talented mountain bikers of all ages. Watching some fellow racers from Florida leave it all out there on the course was exciting! We may be competitors at home, but when we leave the state we are all one big family of FlatLanders absolutely KILLING IT out there. Congratulations to all of you, you know who you are!

With Carolyn Maddox, a very talented and FAST mountain biker from Florida who didn’t just win her Age Group, but she also got the Battle for Payne’s Creek Overall Female 1st place, as well as the fastest lap recorded amongst 20 lady shredders doing the 3 Hr.

The SEC # 3 will take me back to Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA on May 17th, 2017. This race course is by far my favorite one so far, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Special thanks to Alex’s Bicycle Pro Shop for their continuous support in helping me achieve my racing goals, and to Coach Drew Edsall/MTB Fitness for guiding and designing the best training plan possible for me.