Photos by TJ Kearns (@timothyjamesphoto)
As reported yesterday, the 2021 Trans North Georgia Adventure (TNGA) kicked off last Friday with four different group starts (one Friday morning, two Saturday morning, and one Sunday morning). As such, it’s been a little tricky to follow. However, as of this morning we were able to declare the three fastest finishers.
Although they weren’t the first to cross the finish line at the Alabama border, 37-year-old Jason Foster from Carlisle, PA, and 41-year-old Jon Brown from Wake Forest, NC were the fastest, according to data we’ve compiled. Jason and Jon both started on Saturday morning at 8AM and rode in relative proximity to one another until about mile 230 when Jason picked up the pace. As we later learned in a post-race interview, they met on the shuttle ride during the 2020 TNGA last year and stayed in touch ever since. The two pedaled about 170 miles on the first day before stopping for an hour, and then rode nearly nonstop to the end.
Jason was the first of the two to reach the finish and closed out his 2021 TNGA in 2 days, 10 hours, and 28 minutes (2d:10h:28m). Jason finished about 18 hours behind the record, set by James Dunaway on an FKT just a couple weeks ago (1d:16:54). When we asked what the toughest part of the race was for him, Jason replied, “From mile 300-320. I should have stopped at one of the stream crossings to get water. I kept pushing because I expected a gas station. I essentially rode for 20 miles without water. I was totally exhausted. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t think.” Jason’s first bikepacking race was on the Stagecoach 400 and this was his second TNGA. He finished last year in 8th position overall. As you can learn more about in our Rigs of the 2021 TNGA roundup, Jason was on a custom built Kona Honzo CR. Next on Jason’s radar is the Colorado Trail Race.
Jon Brown completed his ride about five hours later with a time of 2 days, 15 hours, and 22 minutes (2d:15h:22m)*. Jon’s no stranger to bikepacking either, completing the Rockstar VA event twice and riding the TNGA last year. *Note that this is based on a photograph timestamp as Trackleaders hasn’t posted his official time.
As we learned in the post-race interview, Jon was diagnosed with testicular cancer a couple months after the 2020 TNGA, had surgery shortly thereafter, and went through chemotherapy until the end February. “All I could think about during [chemo] was, ‘come back, do this race again just to prove to myself that I’m still me. It didn’t get me. I’m still strong.’ I can’t believe I got second… I’m super appreciative of the people that put this together and to have this opportunity, and excited to be healthy again.” Jon trained for the TNGA in between chemo treatments and says that it’s what kept him going. Listen to the full, informal-yet-interesting interview recorded by TJ Kearns below.
Finishing nearly a day prior to Jason and Jon, 33-year-old Corey Kronsor from Platteville, WI now sits in the third place slot with a finish time of 2 days, 15 hours, and 33 minutes (2d:15h:33m), just 11 minutes behind Jon’s time. Corey slept for one hour the first night at Cooper’s Creek Store and stopped at Mulberry for about three hours for food and a rest before finishing the route.
Congratulations guys! Stay tuned for more reportage from the 2021 TNGA at the tracker below.
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