Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fools Gold 100: Photos from the First Climb

Fools Gold 100
My alarm went off at 6 am this morning, and I groggily hit the snooze.  Again, my ring tone started playing at me and I grouchily rolled out of bed before the sun.  "Really? I'm getting up at 6 am to watch a bike race?  I can't get enough, can I?" were some of the muddled waves rolling through my gray matter.  A couple granola bars, a couple Mountain Dews, my digital camera... and I was out the door to meet one of my friends (Matt).  The plan was to drive up to Cooper Gap and watch the racers of the Fools Gold 100 reach the top of the first climb.  Referred to as the "King of the Mountain," the first rider in each category to reach the top of the initial 4 mile climb earned himself (or herself) a free beer.  Welcome to endurance mountain biking!

Single speed

Cheering everyone on
As soon as I walked out the door, I knew that today's race might be a lesson in pain and misery for the riders.  The sun wasn't even up yet, and it was already raining.  I was optimistic, and thought that maybe by 7 when the riders hit the start line the skies would let up.  I was dead wrong.  The clouds let loose sheets of water the entire hour and a half that we spent waiting for and cheering on the racers.  It's currently 2:09 pm, and it is still wet and drizzly outside. 

Having fun in the rain (for now)

The first bunch of riders to hit the top of the initial climb were all smiles. Those masochists were probably relishing the discomfort and pain that the pouring rain was adding to the already formidable miles of dirt!

She's having a ton of fun too!
The riders towards the end of the line were a totally different story. Those who had taken 45 minutes to an hour to pedal the first 4 miles reached the top sporting the aura of a house cat that's been dropped in a bath tub and then forced at gunpoint to go hunt for mice. (I don't know if you could coerce a cat to hunt mice with a pistol. If you have a chance, try it and let me know how it works.)

A blurry photo of someone who can ride a mountain bike absurdly fast for a long period of time.

It's 2:30 and I've just heard that the race organizers decided to cancel the 100 mile option and just stopped the racers after the first lap. That was a smart call, as I don't want to have to deal with too much trail damage this coming week, and because the Fools Gold 100 is an obscenely difficult race without the rain. Despite being located in Georgia, the Fools Gold 100 contains more climbing than the Leadville 100, and on average takes competitors roughly an hour and a half longer than Leadville. I guess that's why Chris Eatough graced us with his presence!

Mad props to everyone that lined up and rode in spite of the rain, and especially to those riders who stuck it out the whole 50 miles. You all are what hardcore endurance racing is all about!

John of Dahlonega Wheelworks
Cranking Hard!

Stoked to be at the top!


Todd H. August 22, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

Great write up as usual! Love the pics too...when are you going to do the race?

Anonymous,  August 22, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

Was that you at 4 mile with the nice looking camera? If so, I was #111 and flashed you a peace sign as you took my pic. Was that you? You got that pic?

FG was hard, but fun. The worst part was no doubt trying to sleep in teh camp cabins Friday night w/o AC with what had to be 100% humidity. That sucked. The ride was glorious, sorta. I made it to sag 4 and rolled in 3 miles from there.

Greg Heil August 22, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

@ Todd, after being off the bike almost all summer, I knew I couldn't handle 50 miles of NGA singletrack. But, one of my friends and I may be doing a 6 or 12 hour endurance race sometime in October.

@Anonymous, Yeah that was probably me, I was shooting photos with a P&S Cannon. I'd have been the only one there without a rain jacket, haha! Was going to bring it, and then I forgot.

Mad props for getting in as many miles as you did. There were a couple people who called it quits at the top of the first climb. And who knows how many didn't even make it that far!

Does anyone know where the results are posted?

Bill,  August 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Eddie O August 24, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

Great write up and thanks for being up there to shot pics and cheer these folks on. BTW - Eatough was not present this weekend. That is Christian Tanguy in that photo, he is last year's winner (beating Eatough by 19min). These guys & girls are fast.

Greg Heil August 24, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

Hey Eddie,
Thanks so much for the correction and helping me keep the information accurate!

Yeah it was fun to get to hang out, shoot some photos, and shout encouragement... probably a lot more fun than it was to RIDE that race!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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