2014 Heart of the South 500, 200, Director’s Report

Toome, finish (1)

Heart of The South Race Director Tom Robertshaw congratulating 2014 Heart of The South 500 Champion Brian Toone.

by Tom Robertshaw,

The 2104 edition of these races were held successfully, but under a cloud about the future.  The RAAM decision to de-certify the 500 mile race as a qualifier (along with others like this) certainly affected the attendance.  In addition my search for an interested party to take the race over in 2015 (info end of story) has not gone well.  Nevertheless, the race when on this year with a few changes.   

I cancelled the 200, and held the 500 mile race by myself to honor those who wanted to come and have official results.  And even though I cancelled the 200 one hearty soul, Michael Hunter from Ohio came anyway with his own support!

At 20:00 on Friday the 500 started with five entries, names and locations noted below, with enthusiastic crews-as we all know the crew is the reason anyone finishes this kind of event.  Hats off to them all!  The weather cooperated through Sunday afternoon, and then spring rains came back on the last two finishers.  As that system moved in the winds picked up from the north so some of the riding was into a headwind, or quartering wind that was sort of a pain, but, hey, this is ultra-racing!  Temperatures Saturday and Sunday daytime were perfect, evenings chilly, 35 degrees Sunday early morning, a bit warmer Sunday morning.  Late Sunday it was raining, high 50’s.

This race starts at 8:00 PM so each solo starts 2 minutes apart, Toone-Florian-Gattringer-Garrison-Zamboni.  By the first time station the order had shifted to the order in which those who finished, would finish.  Toome blasted out of Birmingham and covered the first 74 miles at just over 20 mph, Gattringer just ahead of Zamboni, 20 minutes later with Garrison and Florian following an hour after Toome.  The terrain in this section is relatively flat, undulating farmland.

Time Station 1

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

1139

74.2

3.65

3.65

20.33

20.33

Gattringer

1206

74.2

4.1

4.1

18.10

18.10

Zamboni

1208

74.2

4.13

4.13

17.97

17.97

Garrison

1251

74.2

4.85

4.85

15.30

15.30

Florian

1257

74.2

4.95

4.95

14.99

14.99

The next leg of the race climbs up on top of Lookout Mountain with over 50 miles of no flat, lots of ups and downs, some ¼ to ½ mile long, varying from 3% to 10%, all in the dark.  It also passes by the western edge of Little River Canyon, the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi and at a couple of spots when looking to the left is only darkness, no land, neat experience.  Toone came into TS2 with a very nice time of four hours considering all the climbing in this section.  Zamboni passed Gattringer and came in ten minutes ahead of him.  Garrison and Florian clocked in three hours behind Toome, making steady progress.

Time Station 2

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

426

85

8.27

4.62

18.40

19.25

Zamboni

601

85

10.02

5.07

16.77

15.89

Gattringer

607

85

10.12

6.02

14.12

15.73

Garrison

726

85

11.43

6.58

12.92

13.93

Florian

748

85

11.8

7.67

11.08

13.49

The next section has a 6% climb, maybe a mile, then a long 4% climb, otherwise rolling countryside into Resaca.  The order remained the same except for Manfred Gattringer who had been fighting stomach issues for over three hours and about halfway to Resaca finally decided to pull out.

Time Station 3

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

745

60.2

11.8

3.53

17.05

18.59

Zamboni

1045

60.2

14.75

4.73

12.73

14.87

Garrison

1213

60.2

16.23

4.8

12.54

13.52

Florian

1256

60.2

16.93

5.13

11.73

12.96

Gattringer DNF

The next section is an 80 mile loop back to Resaca and has lots of climbing, at roughly 250 miles there is the steady seven mile climb of Fort Mountain, a long descent then turning back west with lots of short, steep climbs over the foothills of Fort Mountain.  Many say this last section is the worst part of the route as it is unexpected.  The order is unchanged

Time Station 4

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

1306

82.7

17.1

5.3

15.60

17.67

Zamboni

1752

82.7

21.57

6.82

12.13

14.01

Garrison

2020

82.7

24.33

8.1

10.21

12.42

Florian

2115

82.7

25.15

8.92

9.27

12.01

Gattringer DNF

From Resaca the terrain in relatively flat for most of the time, time to rest the legs a bit, pick a bit of average speed, fuel up and get ready for the next section, another climbing adventure.

Time Station 5

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

1737

76.5

21.62

4.52

16.92

17.51

Zamboni

35

76.5

28.58

7.01

10.91

13.25

Garrison

516

76.5

33.27

8.94

8.56

11.38

Florian

535

76.5

33.58

8.43

9.07

11.27

Gattringer DNF

From TS 5 to 6 the terrain is mostly climbing, on some back roads to the 25 miles of an Alabama designated “Scenic Highway”, of course we all know what that means, lots of scenic views at the top of steep hills!  Although Toone and Zamboni missed it, Garrison and Florian were in the middle of a significant ride in Alabama, “The Cheaha Challenge”, http://www.cheahachallenge.com/.  Over 400 riders entering, leaving Piedmont, travelling over roughly the same route and back to Piedmont.  So both 500 riders got lots of encouragement, some supplies and camaraderie along with the climbing, a little help mentally for sure.

Time Station 6

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

2353

84.5

27.88

6.26

13.50

16.61

Zamboni

837

84.5

36.62

8.04

10.51

12.65

Garrison

1233

84.5

40.55

7.28

11.61

11.42

Florian

1730

84.5

45.5

11.92

7.09

10.18

The last 50 miles of the route is flat half the way then rolling then two last hills to cap off the 38,000 feet of vertical climb that DeLorme calculates.  As mentioned the rain started just after Zamboni finished, so Garrison and Florian were in pretty heavy rain most of the time, rats!

Although Tom Florian did not finish in the official 48 hours he refused to quit, a testament to persistence and of course the masochistic gene we all seem to have to be involved in this sport.  He finished elated, never having done anything like this in the past but living in the same town and riding with Maria Parker whose RAAM performance last year was inspiring to say the least.

A very wet finish for Ed Garrison.

A very wet finish for Ed Garrison.

Ed Garrison is entered for solo RAAM this year after competing in many endurance events, supporting many charitable causes through his cycling, http://ridefarther.com/index.php/2013-12-17-22-28-06/blog/38-blog/january-2014/149-ed-garrison-i-m-just-an-average-guy.  He works for International Paper in the HR area, providing leadership and other employee development services.

 

Valerio Zamboni flies back to Monaco to his business selling small jet aircraft, a multiple RAAM participant, record setter in Europe and the Americas, http://www.ultraracenews.com/2012/02/14/valerio-zamboni-setting-a-record-pace-across-florida/.

Manfred Gattringer is always a pleasure to see and be in his company, living in Austria competes in many cycling events, many with the Red-White -Red Paralympic team, check out his Facebook page, hopefully it come across translated from the German, https://www.facebook.com/manni.gattringer?fref=ts.

Brian Toone is a local Birmingham rider who has visions of RAAM someday, maybe next year.  I am on Strava as is he, and I am always amazed at the mileage he puts in.  He is a professor at Samford University here in Birmingham, http://www.samford.edu/.  He posted a blog with pictures that gives a great running commentary on the race, his learnings, take a look,   “Also, I just published a blog with all the details from my race … I posted a summary blog first and then this one this morning with all the details:

http://toonecycling.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/heart-of-the-south-500/

http://toonecycling.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/heart-of-the-south-500-the-details/

Finish

Time

Miles

Tot Hrs

Seg Hrs

MPH

Cum MPH

Toone

348

54.2

31.8

3.92

13.83

16.27

Zamboni

1244

54.2

40.73

4.11

13.19

12.70

Garrison

1703

54.2

45.05

4.5

12.04

11.48

Florian

2139

54.2

49.65

4.15

13.06

10.42

Gattringer DNF

Now for the 200, Michael Hunter of Athens, Ohio sent in his registration early for the HOS 200.  Without a replacement director I could not find enough volunteers to stage the 200 with rest stops, etc. so I reluctantly cancelled the event, and sent Michael an email.  He responded rather quickly say he was coming anyway with his wife and son who lives in Chattanooga.  At 0500 he was met at the start by Chris Shelton, a local rider and 200/500 past participant, who gave him some details of the ride.  Michael trucked on and I happened to see him at the top of Cheaha much later that afternoon.  I think he said we don’t have hills like this in Ohio!  He had completed the RAAM Challenge event in Ohio last September and thus qualified for RAAM, but the hills on this 200 were a surprise.  He came across the finish line at 2145 for a time of 19+45.

Well, that wraps it up.  Thanks to all for coming, and again for the crew dogs that make all this possible!

Looking ahead, it is my desire to transition the race to a new Director.  I am now 67 and feel it is time for me to move on.  If anyone is interested, please give me a call at 205.908.2294.

Tom Robertshaw

 

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