09/02/23 Inaugural Assault on Sunset Hill

The first Assault on Sunset Hill was an epic day of racing in Anniston. I rode a little bit of these trails two years ago and was hoping that the rest of the course would be the smooth, flowy machine cut stuff I remembered. It was, and it was a great course. The first mile and a half had some climbing, and on my first lap I thought that it would get worse as the day went on, but that hill kept getting smaller and smaller. I was locked up in a lot of traffic my first lap, but still managed to pull a 45-minute lap, that was hard. I give this course a 6/10 on the Chainbuster difficulty scale, and I really enjoyed racing it. The masters of ceremony, Chase Garard and Wesley Hodge dialed up perfect weather, great trails and amazing vibes the whole day.

My Chainbuster Racing teammate Josh Tate joined me in the 2-man open category, and as Team HOT BoTater, we took turns with single laps all day. That worked out well. He was ready to go after my first lap, and we were both pulling close to 45-minute laps. While waiting for him in the transition zone, I made friends with Joel Martinez, who was racing in our category with his high school racing team coach Tim Eichelberger.

I kept up with Joel on the first lap, but after my second lap, they were ahead of us by about 2 minutes. Towards the beginning of my third lap, I did the math and realized that if we kept our pace up, I would have an hour and a half to pull a seventh lap for the team. I chatted with Joel in transition, and he left about 10 minutes before Josh got back. I knew I wasn’t going to catch him, but you never know what’s going to happen in a race. The guy ahead might break down, he didn’t, or the guys behind might be tearing it up, they weren’t. We earned a solid second place today, twelve minutes behind first and forty minutes ahead of third.      

It’s always great seeing different communities come out to race these events. It was awesome hanging with all the Anniston folk, great seeing Hardwick and Paul from Birmingham, and my new friend Joel from Alabaster that destroyed our category.

I can’t thank all of the volunteers enough; it was a well-staffed race, and it went off without a hitch. That’s always good enough, but these folks bring a great vibe to an event. Great job to all of those that made this happen, it was epic. Looking forward to this next year, and anything else these folks throw out.