Monday, April 6

Don't wanna wait til you know me better

Lets just be glad for the time together
Life's such a treat and its time you taste it
There ain't a reason on earth to waste it

Shake down ride at work photo documented by Big Worm

Don't know if I shoulda been inspired as I listened to Kiss Smashes, Thrashes, and Greatest Hits on the drive up to the Six Hours of Warrior Creek, but the first few lines of Lick it Up just made me think hard about my upcoming first "ride" on the new Meatplow. We had very little time to get to know each other, but regardless of our level of intimacy we were going to have to make the most of it. Gene and Paul, I don't think you were necessarily singing about bikes, but your sage wisdom seemed universal and could not be ignored.

On the drive up I passed another vehicle loaded down with a couple bikes. When I pulled into a rest stop to take advantage of the last chance for a clean toilet he followed me in. I figured either I knew him, or he also ate deep fried pancakes last night, or he was just cruising for a piece of ass. As luck would have it he happened to be Eric Hagerty who had recently moved from California to NC. He had contacted me on a local forum awhile back, and he was heading up to the race with two single speeds in tow. Being from California and sporting some really well manicured sideburns I knew I was going to have some competition.

After my near brush with anonymous gay sex in a rest stop I made it to the venue. I got prepared as best as possible, cruised around, and looked for people I knew. Fellow MOOTSman and notorious Cohutta bottle offender Will Black was there, but lucky for me he was racing duo with his wicked fast wife Mel. There were quite a few single speeders around, and some of them I'd seen before (or at least convinced myself I'd seen before). Fast looking folks with fast looking bikes... as always the case at these bike race things.

Pit selection was an absent minded Bill and Ted love connection. Saints be praised.

I knew the course well enough having pre-rode it just a month or so ago. I also knew it wasn't particularly suited to my strengths. This was a power course, no sustained climbs or long punishing descents... just on the gas for 10.5 miles at a time. It is one of the funnest trails I've ever ridden though, with banked corners that produce enough G's to get an astronaut to shit his spacepants and plenty of speed. The start shot us up a paved road, so I did my best to stay out front and stare down at the people going by with only one gear to get an idea where I stood in the field. We had a little more paved descending to do before going into the woods, and when we hit the trail I was behind three folks with fewer moving parts than the average cyclist (one, of course, being that hornswaggler Will Black).

Since the trail was tight the conga line formed and folks seemed nicely patient... almost too patient... Before too long I realized that my poorly selected gear was going to kill me if I didn't get up the hills faster, so I made my way through the bunch I was following which included the other two SS'ers that were ahead of me. Shortly thereafter I found myself in a no man's land behind the fast fasties and just ahead of my competition.

I came through on the first lap pretty much alone, and I'm sure I was looking like the first guy who couldn't hang on to the really fast guys. I forgot to look at the time clock as I passed through, and made my way over to my pathetic table full of bottles and cookies. I made a quick bottle swap and headed out for lap two.

On lap two it became overapparent that I was way overgeared for the conditions. Some of the softer climbs were just chewing up everything I had and spitting my effort back in my face as if to say "Why did you listen to your friends when they told you that you should totally run a 32 X 18 at Warrior Creek". My lower back was screaming already, but this early on I felt like if I wanted to stay out front I had to climb everything on the bike as long as possible. I rarely ever win a race by going out front so early, so I wasn't sure what to do from the front other than go like hell.

Coming in off my second lap I noticed that only two hours had gone by. I started doing the math in my head... if I kept up the pace and only fell off a little with each lap I'd finish my fifth lap just before the 5 1/2 hour time cut-off thus having to go out for the sixth lap to seal the deal. Ironically I had some input as to when the cut-off should be as I was talking to one of the race promoters days before the race. I shoulda told him 5 1/4 hours... damn.

On the third lap my stomach was churning, kinda like I felt at last year's Cowbell 12 hour race. At the Cowbell I was undergeared, racing out in front, and going way too hard, so it was feeling like déjà vu all over again, but entirely different. So of course I had my concerns that I was blowing it, but from where I was at I felt like I just had to stay on it and see what happened. Honestly I felt like all the effort that MOOTS and Will Bolt had put out just to be 100% sure I was on my bike for this race meant I needed to push it until I either blew entirely the hell up or somehow recovered from my current queasy condition.

I came in from my third lap at 3:04. Unless I really hit a wall I still had 31.5 miles to go before this thing was over. Foodwise I screwed the pooch. I hadn't counted on the dryness factor of the Trader Joe's Joe Joe cookies, so they were of very little use to me. It was like eating a wood biscuit with a chocolate spackle filling. Back out for number four.

On the fourth lap I was thinking that as long as I stopped trying to be all heroic and shit climbing the hardest pitches I could still keep it together. The crampy twitchies were starting in my calves, and my lower back was still protesting against any further effort. I came through on the fourth lap at 4:11.

Going back out for number five I did the math; laps 1 & 2 were around an hour, lap 3 was 1hr 4 min, lap four was 1hr 7 min, lap 5 was 1hr 11min... I would have to drop down to a 1hr 19 min lap to miss the cut-off and be done with this... this... this thing. Slowing down that much in a race as short as six hours would be stupid, so I decided to meter my efforts and save what I could for the last inevitable lap.

Lap five ended at 5:22, and I've done enough of these events to know that the time you spend going over to the timing tent trying to figure out where the guy behind you is just makes it worse when you find out that he's just close enough, and you need to get out there as quick as possible and stop being a pansy. I sacked up, grabbed one last bottle of shitty, weak Gatorade, and decided to end this one as quickly as possible.

This last lap was about cramp control and looking over my shoulder. I tried to enjoy all the high speed banked turns and technical sections, but honestly I just wanted it to be over. It was so nice having mile markers out on the course so I could tick the distance off my mental checklist and count down to the finish.

I crossed the line right around 6:30 or so, first place solo single speed and third place overall solo. Happy day.

That'll do pig.

What away to break in the new Meatplow. Some photos might turn up of me NOT wearing my new MOOTSkit. It's true, I was outta uniform. I accidentally received larger jerseys... not sure if MOOTS assumed I had a large body to accompany my large ego or if it was a genuine mistake. Either way they told me to go with what works, so I decided that since my last ride on the former Meatplow was my win at ORAMM sporting the BKB kit I figured it only made sense to honor the fallen machine the best way I could. You can take the boy outta his BKB, but you can't take the BKB outta the boy.

BTW: Second place ended up being none other than California side burns guy Eric Hagerty. He did not make the cut-off, thus making my last lap an exercise in futility and exercise. Sweet.

Tomorrow I will share with you another stellar podium experience, my reflections on the race itself, and maybe some photos will turn up by then of the Team Dicky action figure in action.


allan said...

Winning your 1st race on the same day Metallica goes into the R&R Hall of Fame. Coincedence? I doubt it. Congrats.

rick is! said...

good job man. all sorts of race reports to read today. I'm lovin life.

springer said...

congrats man, glad the bathroom talk turned out safe for you.

Anonymous said...

Nice job Rich. When you gonna get this cookie thing down?


Karlos said...



Anonymous said...

Well done! Way to set the bar from the get go....correct jerseys are enroute....

Nice piggy, nice piggy...