Tuesday, April 9

I like my streak well-done

I'm doing my best to settle into the fact that my 2024 "season" might be the first one without a mountain bike stage race since I first did La Ruta de los Conquistadors in 2004.  I'm also dealing with the irony that I'm publishing this post on the very day the Pisgah Stage Race starts, which I did last year... and it just happened to be the end of the streak.  Who knew?

BTW: I found these images in scrap books at my mom's house while packing her stuff for the big move.  She was printing out race reports from MTBR(?!?) years before the blerhg kicked off in January 2006.  Those pre-blerhg posts were my first dabblings in longer form writing, which started another streak... which is also destined to die at some point.  *sigh*

Twenty years is a very long streak, one that I will have a difficult time letting go.  Ever since that first one, I started in with a "what's next?" attitude.  2005 Trans Rockies?  People on the TR forum told me it would be impossible on a rigid single speed.  To put that into the "when I was a kid, we walked uphill both ways in five feet of deep snow" perspective, it was a seven day duo-only event, and we had plenty of seven hour plus days riding from one tent camping location to another living outta nothing more than we could stuff in a duffel bag... so yeth kids, stage racing was harder back then.

I did the last stage of the '05 Trans Rockies in Trish's skort, which let me tell you, descending steeps on a high posted 26" rigid bike while wearing a skort came with plenty of challenges.

Anyhoo, I was hooked on stage racing from then on.  All said and done, I finished twenty seven stage races in those twenty years (I'm not including and Tour de Burgs because it's not really real).  I only dropped outta two because of injuries that kept me from going on, and did half of the one week long '13 BC Bike Race with explosive diarrhea.  Good times.  I earned that belt buckle for sure.  

Obviously, I fell in love with Breck Epic and Trans-Sylvania Epic being that I did them eight and ten times respectively.  They're also the two that I tearfully dropped out of when I had my "you're not getting back on a bike tomorrow" injuries.  I've wrecked out of or quit plenty of races in my time, but those were surely the heaviest blows to my feels. 

I'm aware of the fact that eventually there's always gonna be a "last time" for everything, and I'm not always gonna be aware of that in the moment.  I can remember when I thought I'd do at least one hundie a year until I couldn't go the distance anymore, but I haven't saddled up for one since that shit show 2021 SM 100 when I showed up on a geared bike (for the first time ever) with two major nagging injuries and had my worst time ever... so I'd hate for that to be my "last" hundie in my life... but mebbe? Terrible way to leave off, I'd say more so the doing it on a geared bike than the being so slow or riding while injured and making my injuries worse tho.

This year has certainly been a reset for me... mebbe a realignment.  Being a good son has become a bigger priority.  The Pie and I have been working pretty hard on this, and when we work together, we're always better together.  

We celebrated our 29th anniversary this past Sunday by rummaging through our neighbor's garbage.

I used to be more consumed with, for lack of a better term, "cutting edge" bike stuff.  Refining my gear, staying in shape, having relative goals, considering what bike I'd want to be my next "last bike."  Now, I'm 99% content with all the things, and that's just not a feeling I'm used to after twenty five years of endurance mountain bike cycle sport racing.  That's going all the way back to when I was cutting the straps and hoses on my hydration packs to save weight for 24 hour races.

What a ding-a-ling.

Speaking of which, I can remember my last 24 hour race being the one I quit at 1:00AM while I was in second place overall (on my stupid rigid single speed) when I realized a little too late that I really didn't like doing this to myself anymore.  I definitely don't want my next stage race or any other stupid event to be my "last" in that same manner.  

All that said, this year will just be different for me.  My important adult stuff has to get handled, and then I'll get to think about what I'll do with my spare time.  My '24 "season" over there on the sidebar will be added to as soon as I can get back to steering my own ship.  I've got a big week coming up before the Bootlegger 100, but if I can make it happen, I'll be there.  I have no regrets dropping out of the race back in 2019 with "mild" hypothermia, but I've wanted to defeat that demon.  That said, I'm planning on riding my geared garvel bike... mostly because getting my doors blasted off riding outta Lenoir on a 32X18 mountain bike sucked all the balls.  That said, the last time I rode a hundred miles on a geared bike went how?

Oh yeah.

And also dammit.

I don't have the wherewithal to take the Epic EVO SS apart to nab the tensioner and then de-gear the Crux just for a one day thing, and I'm 99% sure I won't have the time to do all the swapping once I figure out at the last minute if I can actually go to the Bootlegger... so there's that.

I think that's plenty of yammering for now.  More later, I guess.

Wednesday, April 3

Triple Dip v20.24

For the uninitiated, the Triple Dip v20.24 was twenty five or so miles of party paced riding interspersed with six racing stages that were promised to be harder and longer than in previous years.  Anticipated saddle and titty-dicking time of about nine hours.  Yeth, nine hours.

The Pie was kind enough to drop me off at the start, so I'd finally be able to enjoy more than one beer at the awards ceremony.  Bless her heart.  In the parking lot, I loaded my fanny pack with one of Jordan's breakfast burritos, which I was fortunate to have, being that my planned preparations the night before were mangled by two hours of unexpected paperwork for my mom's new residence. 

It's a quick (for the Triple Dip) thirty five minute ride over to Riverwalk for the first stage.  I try to listen closely to RJabroni's race directions, but it's a muddled mess in my head.

"Go right but stay left and left again but up a hill that you'll see two times I mean three times and come through the creek three times I mean two times and finish?"


"Racers ready..."

Keith takes off.

I look at Seth.  He goes.  I follow.


Everyone else takes off... I guess.

I follow Seth's wheel through the first turn where there's a couple paper plates stapled to a tree with arrows on them.  One is encouraging, one less so.  Seth went left.  I go left.  The riders behind me, for the most part, go right.

"You're going the wrong way!" I hear someone shout way down the hill.  Guessing that I'm going the less popular way, and that someone would be yelling at the larger group... dunno.

I stay hard left, and Bonnie decides to join me.

In the end, supposedly we went the correct way but ended up missing a turn whilst the people behind us went the wrong way but ended up back on course whilst Bonnie and I went on a much longer but pleasant bike ride waaaaaaaaaaaaay off course.

At least I no longer need to worry about "performance" any longer, and since I'm hacking up a lung and spitting out oysters every time I stop riding, mebbe I won't try anymore?

Anticipating a long ride to the next stop, I pull out my breakfast burrito and consume the whole thing... not knowing we were less then a mile from the next stage of intense racing action.  I at least understand the directions a little better, since we were doing portions of the Winter Shart Tarck course (albeit backwards).  I don't particularly remember any official start of the race, but I hear people yelling at me from behind to go, so I do.  I get the hole shot, give up the trail to a much faster than me Seth, ride two laps of what I'm pretty sure is about 90% of the correct course, and finish second.  Kinda.

I'd done the third course in previous years' Dips.  I know to line up towards the front, as the trail is mostly super narrow.  Still, I somehow end up behind the guy on a cyclocross bike, and I'm very aware that there's a super chunky rock garden climb that ain't gonna work out so well for him.  I manage to get around him with only Seth and an e-bike in front of me, but Keith took the bridge shortcut on the last lap avoiding the gnarly climb, thus snagging second.  Cheating isn't against the rules, since there are no rules to begin with (except pick up your trash), so there really is no "cheating"... so I make sure I grab the card for second place anyways.

All images from Mary Kaye Zugelder 

Fast guy Seth being better at bikes than me.

Fast guy Keith also being better at bikes than me.

Just me being the best me I can be.  Both Seth and Keith have moto backgrounds, so I'm going to tell myself I don't suck.

I forgot to mention that there were blow-up pirate cutlasses randomly strewn about the woods.  They would be worth something.  Race points?  Prizes?  The honor of carrying blow-up toys around in the woods all day for no reason?  Figuring if they were worth anything in terms of race points, I made it my sole purpose to find as many as I could.  I'd found two before we even left the third stage.

Details get a little fuzzy after that.

Seth had to leave because he had no idea this was a nine hour thing.  He normally doesn't take that long to cover 35-40 miles.  He hands me his playing cards (points) and heads out.  I don't plan on using his earned points but mebbe?

The number of people still racing starts to dwindle on the final three stages.  Racers turn into party pacers as the day drags on.  It's the nature of the beast.  Keith and I are going toe-to-toe'ish at the pointy end, him taking stage four, and with both of us missing the final turn on stage five, I get a lucky off-trail line straight through the woods to finish ahead of him by a smidge. 

I also find two more cutlasses.

At the final shirts-off stage, I almost miss the start because I'm not paying attention.  I mean, this year many of the spectators decided to join the shirts-off party, so I had no idea the racers were lining up without me. 

Keith gets the early lead, and the course winds up and down the edges of a few random gullies.

Only including this pic since it looks like Keith is riding around with me in a toddler carrier behind him.

I get around him on a climb when I see a spot, hoping to take one legit "W."

"I can see where we can cheat."

There's an up-down and another up-down right next to each other where one could avoid a trip back down and up the hillside.

"Nah, I want all of it."

Keith takes the option on the last lap, so I end up in second place but feeling much better about playing Seth's cards for points.  Mebbe with that and my found plastic swordery, I could still be the fastest man-person?

Back at Hobo's for the awards.  Points tallied.  I get fastest man-person award, Jason second fastest man-person.
Keith takes home the coveted Triple Dip cup for the year. 

He'll have some big clown shoes to fill, because as I started accessorizing the cup in its first year (that would be my hoppy pen__ on the middle tier), last year's winner Ryan did the same and took the game to a whole new level by bringing a portable rear rack mounted bar.
I'm expecting Keith to bring a bounce house and a five gallon jug of baby oil.

Anyhoo, nothing really matters other than yet another year of riding along with the rolling dad joke that is the Triple Dip. 

Thanks everyone and everybody.

Tuesday, March 26

Happy, Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, and Sneezy

I've been all them dwarves and then some over the past two weeks.  Also Coughy, Bloaty, and Smelly.  Also also Whiney, Bitchy, and Moany.

Things were going right as rain following the Watts Fappening a couple weeks ago.  I followed up a solid garvel ride Sunday with two post work Backyard Trail excursions, a big monster loop in the mountains, and a decent romp at the Whitewater Center on a day that I really shoulda been recovering from those previous days.  The weather was just too nice to not get at it and give 'er.  I've only got so many days left on the planet, so I try to use them up like Chuckie Cheese tokens when my parents tell me that we're leaving in fifteen minutes.


I knew the pollens were higher than Snoop at Lollapalooza '09, but the conditions were too primo to ignore.  I'd suspected that running would fall to the wayside once Daylight Savings kicked in and trail riding would be too tempting in whatever spare time I had available.  Sunshine and 70° is my crack cocaine with slightly fewer downsides.  That was the most saddle time I'd seen in a given span of time without there being some stupid race tossed into the mix.

Backyard do take a bite, don't she?

Early last week, I was having the usual Monday morning elevator conversation.  I mentioned that I could feel my allergies kicking in.

"You start taking your meds yet?"

My what?

So much new-to-me trail up in Old Fort these days.  I shoulda YOLO'ed but didn't tho.

I'm a bit more reactionary than proactive when it comes to my health.  I'd never considered pre-medicating for an expected issue.  Regret.

The was enough leftover pizza from work to share with frands on our big day in the mountain woodsen.

I let it sneak up on me.  Slight sinus pressure.  Some sneezing.  Sore joints?  What sorcery is this?

Home is where you hang you tiny hat.

I could really see the pollen in the glow of my Niterider on the way home from trivia Tuesday night.  It looked like snow, but yellow, angry snow.  Putting two and two together and getting five, I realized I've been choking this down into my lungs pretty hard for perhaps too long.

I was also celebrating bare knees after six months of regular knee pad use post-Horny Cat 69 incident.  My old man tissues are as good as they're gonna get, and riding in pads up a climb sucks all the balls.

Despite the fact that my allergies were creeping in, AND that I'd been watching the high pollen count pretty closely in Charlotte, AND against the wise advice of The Pie RN, I still went out for a post-work ride last Thursday.

If you ride in the Pisgah without a water filter, either your rides are pretty short or you carry too much water on your back all day... or you rely on your friends who carry filters.

So Thursday was definitely the tipping point.  I've been self-banished to the couch for the pleasure of enjoying short bursts of sleep interspersed with sitting straight up to cough my lung butter out and occasional fumbling around in the kitchen looking for some good drubs to take.


Certain house guests were not amused with all my night time activity in the next room, coughing, stumbling around in the dark, putting random movies on at 3:30AM hoping to bore/distract myself back to sleep, sighing and moaning in a loud manner...

Over this past weekend, I thought mebbe I'd be good enough to get out for a Sad Dad™ greenway ride on Saturday after the rain cleared out.  Nope.  Mebbe a Sunday trip to DuPont?  Not even.  Perhaps settle for the saddest of daddests just to pedal a bike in some sort of manner?  Not close.

Unless pushing my electric mower around wearing an N95 mask counts as a wheeled recreational activity?

I spent most of the entire weekend working on packing my mom's stuff for her move and knocking out whatever low hanging odd jobs needed done around the house.  Ten minute light fixture replacement I've been postponing for months.  Five outta six dirty bikes now clean.  Lost ball in my front tarck bike hub replaced.  Three attic dwelling tubs of holiday decorations sorted and mostly pitched.  Stationary trainer tossed back into the closet (although indoor riding coulda been back on the menu but nah).

All the while, happy people on bikes and feets riding and running past my domicile towards the greenway and trails, mocking me as I stare out the front window from my hermit-like but marginally productive seclusion.

Here's hoping I can get this ship turned around in time for the Triple Dip-v20.24 this weekend.  I don't think I'll be showing up with my A game, but I at least want to be able to enjoy a day of woods play on bikes with frands if I can.

Wednesday, March 13

Watts Fappening '24

I admittedly do a piss poor job of photo documenting the Fappening.  Not like it needs to be recorded for historical purposes or anything  It's bad behavior and nothing to aspire to in ones life, but we do it anyways. 

Most of these images are not mine.  After a couple beers, I prefer to keep my valuables in my pocket when possible.  I'm capable of making (some) good decisions.

3:07 PM and two bikes out front of Lower Left for a 3:00 PM start.  This checks out.

We started under similarly inauspicious conditions as we did last year.  Drizzle.  Zero sun.  Wet outdoor seating.  Poorly quaffed hair stuffs.

Beer one.  Yeth, I do cut my own and have zero professional training.

Eventually, our some of our fellow travelers showed up and the Fappening truly began.

I would say we kept things more "in control" this year.  A sign of our advanced age or increasing wisdom associated with life experience.  Those things can not be associated with each other, because I know a lot of ignorant old people do in fact exist.  I've seen them on TV, dodged them in the streets, and probably work alongside my fair share.

Through the heart of the city, AKA The Big Buildings.  Essentially, it's like going to work on my day off.  So.  Many.  People.  About.  Yuck.

North to greener pastures.

I'd forgotten how much I like OG NoDa Brewing.  It's like it doesn't exist... which was a nice change of pace from stop #3 that probably had two hundred people crowding it all up at 5:00PM.

The evening was almost incident free, aside from Christian hitting one of those strange white dome traffic control things, which as far as I know only serve the purpose of injuring cyclists.

OG Common Market and a stroll down member berry lane.  Pretty much the invention of the "a convenience store but you can drink in it" in Charlotte.  Now we live in a world where if a place of business has a checkout register, it more than likely also had a bar... in Charlotte.

It was probably a great accidental idea to have the Fa--- on the night we turned the clocks ahead in order to keep the night well in check.  We were in bed at what I'll call a reasonable hour, enough so that we once again kept our promise to do this the next day:

It may have not been the most spirited garvel ride ever, but we never considered bailing on the entire 56 mile route, so win?

There was some brief discussion about a '25 Fappening and whether or not it should happen or mebbe emphasize the day-after ride with a later start of the consumption portion of the weekend... which makes sense, because we used to start at noon and keep bumping it back in scope and magnitude almost every year.

Now on to serious business from here on out.

Wednesday, March 6

Reasons are just well supported excuses

Details about Watts Fappening '24 this Saturday at the very bottom.

Details about other stuff and things right chere. 

I had to buy a new Wahoo data acquisition device.  It does things I'm not used to.  I'm old.  I don't like new.  When the Summit Climb Feature (whatever it's called) kicks in, it makes the sound from Colors by Ice-T.  I do like that.  It does actually work compared to my old one which was failing, and thus it will serve me in the continuation of killing the spirit of single speeding with screens and screens full of useless data.  

Who knew one would need to maintain an EDC tool? Mine was getting sticky a few weeks ago, being all reluctant and whatnot to come out of its hidey hole in my steer pipe. Thought the problem was solved.  Nope.  That nice blood blister is all about trying harder and not smarter.  Meh.  This issue has now been addressed.  DM me for recipes.

I'm still not back up to riding this eroded chute on Cove Creek.  It was in my whale house.  Now it is not.  It has gotten significantly worse since the last time I nailed it almost a year ago.  It's a race to the bottom between my skills/bravery and the power of flowing water shifting rocks the size of loaves of bread.

I hate that I love QT for my "needs."  Garbage food with plenty of calories that never tastes (that) bad.  It's easier than thinking ahead, buying a frozen pizza, heating an oven, keeping my hands off freshly'ish baked pizza outta said oven...

Got into a serious conversation with a hiker at the top of the Butter Gap descent.  I feel bad that I left her with some incorrect information, as I'd forgotten exactly what the whole Butter/Cat reroute was gonna look like.

But as she stood there and basically blamed all the mountain bikers for the damage done to the trails in Pisgah, I had a chance to inform her... a little bit.  With the fine example of how a sustainable trail can be built by looking right there past the fence blocking "new" Butter, I explained how a lot of trails in Pisgah were built without an understanding of how to make a trail that can stand up to the amount of rain that falls in a temperate rain forest.  Old school "water bars" VS grade reversals were both right there on display to contrast and compare.  I pointed out the huge hillside that has to do something with all the water, and that H20 will take the path of least resistance, the fall line trail right in front of it... thus, ditch.  That and about a billionty other things to include all the volunteer work, grants, and fundraising that mountain bikers do to benefit the area (and obvs themselves), and she seemed to take it all very well. 

Dare I say it was a cordial interaction?  Nary a once was I swattened with her hiking poles in my face.

Did I mention I really do love my Vassago Radimus?  I'm in a great place where every bike I own serves a purpose, but this is probably the most smiles per mile machine I have.  Granted, I'm normally "racing" on my now ten year old Vertigo, which means my smile is displayed as "pain face" in moments of heated battlings.

Sure, if I could do this frame in a custom manner, I'd make a few tweaks, but geometry-wise, I wouldn't change a thing.  I have an unparalleled confidence on this bike, and although the first technical trail slapped me in the face this Saturday, we hit it again for shits and giggle at the end of the ride, and we were all peas and carrots again.

Enough of that.  Here's this:

Join us for the billionth sorta-annual Watts Fappening '24. On this journey, we will celebrate Watts's slide into his mid-life/existential crisis, Bill Nye's approximate 50th birth-a-versary, and the exact six month anniversary of me introducing my knee cap to the world (I'll bring my photo album). 

We'll start at Lower Left at 3:00PM and then... 
Triple C 
Monday Night (or if the vibe is bad, nearby Hi Wire) 
Common Market Southend (for beers and grubbage) 
Urban Market District (or OG NoDa is that's a bust) Birdsong (for beer and nuttage) 
Spoke Easy... 
From there... well, then we shall see. If you're trying to catch up to us, expect 45-60 minutes between stops allowing for travel time.

It might be moist.  I doubt that will change things.  Mebbe an update on the FB page if we delay.  Mebbe.

Tuesday, February 27

The Noodlebar Necromancer?

First and foremost, this is Fappening.

More details to come, but probably starting around 3:00PM at Lower Left Brewing (mebbe 4:00?), and then heading north and then south because I want to end up at home before I fall asleep.  Stops will be determined sooner rather than later.  Just expect this to be no fun, and you won't be disappoint if you join us.


I had a productive weekend.  I put wrenches and attentions to four of the six bikes in my house.  My number one priority was getting this one out of Shart Tarck mode and back into (essentially) PMBAR ready status.

Squishy boi, shorter that Shart Tarck stem, way lower gear, and I'm giving the Rekon Race 2.4 a shot in the front.  A little higher rated than the Aspen 2.4 for cornering and braking traction, and easily swappable to an OG Forekaster 2.6 if things get sloppy... and I still have enough of those squirreled away for the foreseeable future.

That said:

After this year's Shart Tarck'in, I'm down to one NOS OG Forekaster 2.35.  This saddens me, but whatcha gonna do?  Eventually I'll find an emotionally equivalent tire.  Not time to mourn yet tho.

Going back to the topic of Watts but non-Fappening related, he'd been asking me to join him for some Uwharrie gravel for quite some time.  I've ignored his requests for what I call "reasons."

Generally speaking, I don't ride a garvel bike if I could be mountain biking instead.  That and there are literally trails... right... there... in the same woods.  The very trails we ride when everything in Charlotte is pretty much a swamp and the mountains are also too moisted. 

I'm only familiar with some of the gravel to be had there.  I know the gravel race that's in Uwharrie has plenty of out n' backs, which is not something I want to get into the car for three hours roundtrip to do.

Also.  Unnghhh.  Gravel.

But I miss my little (but bigger than me) frand, so I decided to give him the gift of my company.  I did not invite any fellow Charlotteans to join me, as the ride description was not much more than "gravel bikes, between 30-60 miles."  Turd found himself in need of a ride option, so regardless of the lack of particulars, he joined me on the drive from the Queen City.

I must say, Watts has left me impressed with his creativity and free-flowing interpretation of "gravel."  He used to refer to himself in a most ironic and face-slappingly bombastic manner as the Gravel Assassin. I would personally say he's quietly become the Underbiking Undertaker.

If you ride URE gravel and that makes no sense to you, that makes total sense because this is the opposite of a no nonsense route.  It's pure, unadulterated nonsense. 

I, figuring Watts was basing our route and conservatively short estimate of 30 miles based on my lack of enthusiasm for gravel, only brought a small handful of TJ's Sour Swimmers and two bottles of water.  I mean, it's only gravel right?

Mandatory time-killing futzing with things.  All part of the non-plan.

Up what one might loosely call a "trail" to a scenic overlook to see what we could see before turning right around and going back down said "trail."

Said "trail."
We were all over in familiar places where we used to tromp around on our "freeride bikes" in the early 2000's on the shitty ATV trails because better options weren't available for mountain bikers back then.  So many member berries.

Although, we were navigating with WPMS, Watts Paper Map System.

There are two riders in this photo.  There is supposedly also a trail in this photo.  Neither rider appears to be near this particular said "trail."

We were treated to non-trails that exist on no map known to man.  Steep rutted and rocky ATV paths.  We might have tickled the taint of some private property and borrowed a little time on some barely used hiking trails... if it meant getting from whence we came to whither we were going.  Some of the steep ups were such that I had a hard time keeping my front wheel planted on the ground.  We were on neglected trails that had been mostly destroyed by horses after decades of clop-clopping through mud bogs.  I feel no shame in our misgivings as once you see what unmitigated damage from years of horse use can do to some serious fall line trail, it's hard to imagine any harm we might have done to the oldest mountain range in North America (true story).  We barely saw anyone else out there for the six hours we spent in the woods, and with little more than a consensual "g'day" being exchanged.

We did stop to help a man pick up a bunch of garbage in the road that had already been bagged once but then ran over by some (pardon my stereotyping) piece of shit redneck.  I had a mental and emotional struggle when we just rode past him at first.  At my advanced age, I live out of guilt quite a bit, and that tends to make me wanna do more good and less bad as I hurtle towards the grave.  I'm glad my frands were willing to go back, and they were glad that they both had a spare pair of gloves (bastards).  Word to the wise, iffin you ever think this is a good activity.  Broken glass is sharp enough to easily rip through the side of a contractor garbage bag, so hold them away from your body when carrying, specifically far away from the only exposed skin on your calf.

Funny not funny would be the "trail" that we took at around mile 41.8 that I'm sure is "horse easy," but has to be considered at least "moderately difficult" on a mountain bike, and "basically stupid" on a garvel bike.

That was the best day I've had in some time.  Hard to be distracted by silly real life problems when you're bombing gravel descents at 35MPH+, riding down steep, horseshoe-pocked ditches, and maneuvering over loose loaf of bread to biscuit sized rocks.

After getting lost (a bit) on the way home, this was the best thing I could think of to stick inside me:

I will definitely join Watts in the future, and I will most definitely bring three times more food than I think I need so I can avoid sad roller dogs and whole chocolate milk on the way home to avoid a Titanic exploration sub-style stomach cavitation.  

And as a footnote, this is as of Monday morning:

The garvel bike is now in a commanding lead for 2024, but single speed miles are at least beating shifty bitted*... but sadly my running shoes will sneak into third place by the end of the week.

Who am I?

* No, tarck bike and bar bike miles are not tracked so whatevs.

Wednesday, February 21

Winter Shart Tarck '24: Race Five

Points-wise, last week kinda locked the top five in place for the GC in the single speed category.  Based on the less than full parking lot when I pulled in, I'm guessing many had been dissuaded by the colder temps and lack of potential to improve themselves in the standings.  It definitely had the "time to make the donuts" feels.

Had to embed the video for the yutes that don't get the reference.

Park, pee, warmup... donuts.

Ride around in circles in the parking lot with Keith, hardly doing what the kid athletes now call "openers."  Not really a proper warmup, but low motivation levels are definitely high.  Line up to the front left... don't see still in third place after missing race #4 Robert and wonder if he still crushed me enough in the first three races to still beat me in the GC... because this is the biggest issue in my life right now?

I don't even come close to the hole shot after not clipping in on my first two spins on the crank.  Unnghh.  By the time we start single filing into the chute, I'm ten riders back... a far cry from third wheel last week.


I mean, barring disaster, I'm fifth (or fourth) as long as I pedal my bike around the Bullwinkle-with-a-dong shaped course five times. I could take a handup if offered.  I could attempt to get some crowd-pleasing, somewhat pathetic air time off the one sorta-jump.  I could try to have "fun."

And this may sound dumb, but despite what feels like a pretty intense effort, my heart rate does not reflect it, nor my position in the field.  It takes me a few moments to realize that:

1. I can feel the pounding in my head that indicates maximum effort.
2. Usually my heart rate monitor strap dies slowly... usually when its cold... often times during the Winter Shart Tarck Series.

I swap the data acquisition device screen to the second page of rando stuff that doesn't matter in a thirty five minute race.  This was a good and a bad thing, as I didn't see the data that told me I was slowly dying (I don't even see 51BPM when I'm sleeping)... but then ended up acting fine for the last two thirds of the race.

Other than that, what else is there to say?

Someone made a pass on my that made me question why I bother racing, being that my circle of trust doesn't extend very far past the end of my nose.  I did manage to move up a few places after my shitshow start, but I ended up in a heated battle with Charles for a semi-irrelevant 6/7th place with 8/9/10th right there behind us waiting to feast on either of us if we blew up.  I kept passing Charles where it made no strategic sense whatsoever, only for him to just come around me at will.  Without my tachometer working (but it actually was, but how would I know because I turned it off?), my hard efforts were too much so, leaving me no high idle when I let off the beans pedal. 

I didn't mention that The Pie and Boppit came down to watch the final race.  I wanted a strong showing, although I know full well that her love for me is not dependent on how I perform on this day in my umpteenth Winter Shart Tarck race.  She's seen me win some things.  She's seen my lose some things.  She's also seen me quit some times and well as injure myself, so she's seen all the things.  Despite all that, hers was the loudest "Go Dicky" I heard all day. 

Yeth, I've been busting out the fresh yellow because YELO (You Enjoy Living Once)

Charles ended up besting my after my final poorly planned attack, but after all was done and dusted, I had this to show for my five weeks of Sunday distractions.

The Pie suggested I bring Boppit to the podium, but although he's a very good boy, he can't be trusted.

I love my stupid dog, and although he isn't my only reason for living, he is one of them.

Bless his feeble runt-to-success story heart.