Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Swank

The Course changed from last year.  Turns out the well established short connector between FS225 and the top of Daniels ridge does not have the official blessing of the Forest Service.  The Forest Service also changed there mind, last minute on up to 200 riders going down Cove Creek twice, two days in a row.  Blue Ridge Adventures was forced to do two reroutes, very close to race day.  What they came up with was arguably even better.  Just enough fireroad to string out the pack, before the clockwise assault up Daniel Ridge.  The gradual old narrow FS road, still allowed plenty of opportunities for passing, until the right, where the bridge is gone.  From there the race is on, up a super gnarly climb, to the top of Daniel Ridge, past the connector, and down what was the timed enduro section of the previous days Couch Potato.  Completing the Daniel Ridge loop.  Taking a right back on 475, a long FS road climb up to Gloucester gap.  Then a left on to 471 for a little more climbing, before descending to the climb up to the Butter gap DH, up Long Branch, utilizing a little FS road to avoid the rutted part of Long Branch.  Where the Couch Potato. takes a right back on 475, the Swank, turns back up hill to the rest stop at Gloucester gap, before really pointing uphill on 229 towards the Farlow gap/Daniel Ridge enduro section, going down the initial climb of the event,  Left back on 475 (Couch Potato is the same from here), to the left up the Headwater rd (475B) climb to 225, and down Cove Creek to the finish.

I worked the gate so I started my video there, about a quarter mile from the start.  Then some video at the hairpin coming down Daniel the first time, Wes gives some cornering tips on that video.  Before heading to the finish, I got the top 9 descending the last of the gnar on the Enduro section on Daniels ridge and several others on my way back down.  They were so spread out I missed the top 5 at the finish, but got nearly everybody else.  Everybody that rode the Swank, is on the playlist somewhere, though, several times.

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