The three of us have utilized the same coach for several years and this year was no different. Jeff Rupnow of Evolution Training Cycles planned out our season and prepared each of us for our upcoming journey. In 2019, each of us went to Tom Wiseman at Cycling Solutions for a bike fit for our 2019 adventures and continued to tweak our bikes for different styles of riding (and Kenny finally upgraded his ride). Without these two, we would not have been successful in our adventures. They were able to get us prepared mentally and physically and our bikes ready for what we were about to endure.
Amie and Kenny had done the Crusher race the year before (234 miles in less than 24 hours), but Corianne had not yet ridden for 24 hours prior to 2020. That was a major goal for her to prepare for the race along with climbing 10k feet in 100 miles. Kenny put together a training ride for the girls in mid-March (you know, around the date the world fell apart), a crazy ride that included several calls from work for both of the girls, distracting them from the goal (FINISH!). They, in spite of lots of things telling them to quit... succeeded and had a fantastic and memorable ride from Camp Tuscazoar out to Amserdam (in a neighboring county). The next step was to ride with loaded down bikes through the night. Amie had the idea to do the same route (but in reverse), starting at 7p in early June at Camp Tuascazoar. This time they invited a couple of friends to join them (Lisa & Lorena). They rode through the night and finished in about 12 or so hours. It was another ride to make memories, a rainstorm, the sunset, seeing the brilliant Strawberry Moon and riding through the night and see the sun rise again the next day! Next up was the Solstice Ride (again on loaded down bikes), a 200+ mile ride connecting the north east Ohio mountain bike trails - rain the morning of kept them from completing three of the trails but they got the rest (Austin Badger (cart paths only), Medina Trails (rode passed), Royalview, West Creek, OECR, Bedford, East Rim, Hampton Hills (only to the parking lot) down to Camp Tuscazoar. It was an amazing experience. Amie & Corianne completed in just about 24 hours, Kenny rode with the girls from Akron to Tuscazoar (this ride was on TrackLeaders, so the trio had a few friends join them along the route to cheer them on!) The crew then headed down to an ITT (individual time trial) in late July to do some climbing in the Cohuttas. They completed the Dirty 130 (130 miles and 16k of climbing) race near Reliance, TN. Kenny went for a single speed record (and almost got it!!) and the girls went to complete it! It was such a well thought out course, they started around 6a and experienced the sunrise on the first climb (10 miles and 2300 feet of climbing), rode through several amazing sites and completed in about 18 hours, Kenny was in just under 13 hours. They all learned a lot about training and the effects of caffeine. All good learning experiences preparing them for TNGA in just under 3 weeks!
So here it goes, the reason you're reading this, to hear about their stories of TNGA! The trio started their journey to Georgia on Thursday, August 13. They needed to get to Mulberry Gap to be transported to the start by noon on Friday, August 14. Adventure 1: A bad accident on 75 south had us put the faith in GPS to get around it.... we didn't really think we were ever going to get out of Kentucky! Here are a couple of photos to re-live the experience:
The Start: August 15, 2020
We took a wrong turn around mile 5 - lesson learned...do not follow others, watch your GPS at all times! Keep looking at your map and follow that red line! In this case, we met Bo from Mississippi, we all realized about the same time we had gone about a mile ...downhill in the wrong direction. We got back to the course and realized our error (there were two roads that went left, we took the first, but wanted the second left.) Anyway, we continued on and passed quite a few people.. including the cycling Sasquatch! We passed him...and recognized him from the documentary and decided to go back and ask if we could "be paparazzi" with him. He agreed :) He was riding with a cousin and brother and law. They were looking to get farther than last time (and I think they did!) We had endless creek crossings throughout the first 75 miles.