Brent Tucker rides bike 357 miles in mountain journey
Intense warmth. Cat naps within the woods. Trails lined in roots. Thunderstorms. Excessive climbs of seven or eight straight miles going uphill, at nighttime. A backpack crammed with simply the necessities. Moments the place neither coronary heart nor legs have been prepared.
Brent Tucker lined 357 miles on his mountain bike in 4½ days. It was a kind of experiences of a lifetime, aside from one factor: Tucker needs to do it over again.
“It was fulfilling and horrible on the identical time,” Tucker mentioned of his participation within the Trans North Georgia Journey 2020. “However I might do it once more.”
The Trans North Georgia Journey is a “bikepacking” endurance experience for mountain bikers. On its web site, TNGA refers back to the occasion as not a race however an “journey.” There is no such thing as a entrance charge. There’s additionally no prize, no place finishes. Members’ instances are recorded and documented “just for comparability.”
It’s termed an “unsupported journey” in that members should pack the whole lot they may want alongside the way in which, and many of the means is off the crushed path. They’ll cease on the occasional city they go and seize a fast chunk to eat, however mainly they’re on their very own, together with navigating their means via the mountains of north Georgia.
Tucker has gone from zero to 350 in a brief span. He’s gone from “largely” highway biking to mountain biking. Highway biking, he discovered, turned tiresome, what with at all times having to look ahead and backward to verify no cars have been going to hit him. He discovered driving via woods and forests was far safer.
Tucker, 55, joined the West Alabama Mountain Biking Affiliation round 5 years in the past.
“I sort of did each all alongside, however I simply most popular highway bike for a very long time,” he mentioned. “However it’s positively a special sport (mountain biking). You’re maneuvering up shorter, faster hills, roots, rocks, the occasional snake. That’s the factor. You simply hold rolling. You don’t put your foot down.”
By day, Tucker works at Good Financial institution in Tuscaloosa within the treasury administration division. In his off time, one in all his associates, endurance athlete Tracy McKay, prompt Tucker attempt Skyway Epic, a 60-mile endurance experience in Sylacauga. Tucker did simply that two years in the past.
“I suppose that was my gateway drug to the large ones,” Tucker joked.
It was McKay, too, who talked Tucker into attempting the TNGA, the place greater than 72% of the path is unpaved.
Tucker’s bike weighed 21 kilos. He added one other 24-25 kilos in his pack with restore instruments for the bike, a bag to sleep in, water, a water filter, spare tire tubes and a pump, plus meals sufficient to gasoline 2,000-4,000 energy between stops for meals at roadside eateries.
The race began in Clayton, Ga., and ended on the Alabama-Georgia border on the Silver Comet Path. Riders began at 8 a.m. Aug. 15. They have been allowed eight days to complete. He and McKay, who was his driving associate, completed Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.
They rode 75 miles that included a 6-mile climb over gravel on day one earlier than they stopped to get a cat nap.
Their aim was to complete in 70-80 hours. They ended up in 108. Riders self-navigate with digital gadgets and paper map backups. Navigating brought about some delays, one of many causes Tucker needs to attempt all of it once more. Subsequent time he’ll know what to anticipate.
“We’ll do that one once more due to what we realized via this expertise,” Tucker mentioned.