Tuesday, May 26

2009 Burn race report

Saturday morning before the race started at noon we (I) decided we should probably discuss a few things. Even though our intentions were to place mid-pack or slightly better in the 3-5 man open class we should probably nail a few things down. So standing in an open field we first discussed our batting order. As captain of The Return of Captain Dick and the Throbbing Members (a name so unfortunate that no one said it with pride at the registration table) I called the meeting to order and decided I would go first after Bill Nye ran the Le Mans start. That way we'd be closer to the front from the start, and people would have to pass us as opposed to us having to fight our way through traffic for the first few laps.

No one stepped up the plate when I asked who would go next, so we decided we would just go in the order we were currently standing in; me, Bubba Cohen, Stabby, Bill Nye, and Leyonce . Then we talked about lap strategies. Somehow we utilized all of our formal higher levels of higher education, figured we'd all do five laps, and decided we'd do them in a 1, 1, 2, 1 order (one lap, one lap, two laps, one lap) that way we'd all get a longer break during the darker hours for our geriatric naps that we all needed due to our advanced years. We also had to figure out a way to notify the next rider to get to the transition area for a hand off. Although we were not pitting along the course we were awfully near the transition from the woods to the open field minutes away from the hand off, so we decided to yell "SPOON!!!" as we came out of the woods over the dramatic (for some competitors, traumatic) jump at the exit. Why "SPOON!!"? It seemed easier than "EXTERIOR PAINT!" or "PURPLE MONKEY DISHWASHER!"... well that and it was the battle cry of one of the best superheroes ever, The Tick.

So at the start Bill Nye put in an impressive run putting me out in the top 20-30 riders in a record sized filed that numbered in a number of which I have no idea. I went straight to work and identified all those in front of me as potential carrots and reeled in as many as I could before popping outta the woods in seventh place overall. An excellent position to be in so we could spend the rest of our day trying to stay in at least 20th place in the 40 team field.

Rocking the new Mr Hyde kit to my normal Dr Jekyll kit.

photo cred: The Boy

I handed off to Bubba Cohen, and we started our very planned and strategic slide back through the field. "SPOON!!" was exclaimed in the general direction of our pit ten times, and we were set to go with our "night laps". The only problem was that we were substantially ahead of schedule, and I was headed out a little after 7:00 with my lights mounted according to race rules. We had originally figured our doubled up night laps were going to start much later, so our original plan was out the window.

We were supposed to run a more conservative pace through the night that would have us going through an entire rotation setting me up for a dawn lap. I went out in what felt like a reserved pace, but ended up being only two minutes slower than my fastest day lap. As a weird matter of fact my double laps were within three seconds of each other (38:03 and 38:06). The enjoyable aspect of my night laps was that I got to push the limits a little bit as I raced sundown with my lights off. It reminded me of being a little kid trying to beat a parental mandated curfew, the "be home before dark, or so help me..." kinda thing.

I came in safe, geared down, and went back to my tent to "sleep".

I laid awake for an unknown amount of time while the pit next to us kept up the kind of enthusiasm you would expect from a team with a dog in the hunt. I listened as the rain started to fall and bounce off my rainfly in an on and off pattern that was just random enough to provide hope and despair every few minutes. The announcer kept announcing till well into the night, so I just laid there soaked in my moist tent, on my moist sleeping pad, with my head on my moist pillow picking up a bit of conversation here and there and just being generally annoyed... the norm for a 24 hour race I suppose.

About two hours earlier than I expected Bill Nye woke me up to tell me that Leyonce just went out for his first night lap minutes ago. I can't remember what time it was, but I do know I was surprised, disappointed, and excited all at once. Seems like while I was sleeping the Throbbing Members had kept up a decent pace... much faster than any of us had anticipated. I headed out for my single night lap that wasn't planned wondering how this was all going to work out since this was hardly what we had planned for when we started.

There was no wake-up plan for this new pace we settled into. We stopped yelling "SPOON!!" outta respect for our fellow racers, and our plans for keeping someone ready at all times did not allow for this circumstance. I went out just hoping when I finished someone would be willing to go.

When I came back around I detoured over to our pits and found Bubba ready and raring to go, so we met over at the transition area, and as he went out into a newly started drizzle I headed back to my moist cocoon. I was so tired I didn't care what happened at that point. I figured somebody would get me up when they needed me, and perhaps I would get some sleep.

I think I musta gotten some sleep as I had a conversation with Alan Alda. It wasn't the 2009 Alan Alda, but the M*A*S*H Alan Alda, so it musta been a dream... evidence of some sort of sleep for sure. When I got up I noticed that Leyonce (my hand-off predecessor) was still in the pits, so I knew I hadn't overslept. He told me that he and Bubba had figured out that he was going to get the last lap which would give us all six laps total. Once Leyonce had left for his lap I did some thinking of my own.

With the call of "SPOON!" I went out to confront my own agenda. I realized that if I pushed things a little and in doing so could convince the others to "leave it all out there" I might just get a chance to go out for one more lap before the noon cut-off. Everybody put in a hell of an effort, putting in some laps that had rivaled their previous day's efforts. As I stood waiting for my last lap to be or not to be I saw Leyonce approach the line with four minutes to spare. I went out as fast as I could and put in a lap that was only 17 seconds slower than my fastest lap the day before.

In the end the last lap did nothing to affect the final standings. I knew that was gonna happen, but I didn't care. I've always wanted to go out for the pointless lap that finished after noon, but have never taken the opportunity when I had the chance in the past. It felt good, and I really appreciate the effort the Throbbing Members put out to make it all happen (although I'm sure they just wanted to see me suffer).

In the final standings we ended up 14th of 40 teams in the 3-5 man category, way ahead of our mid-pack dreams, but we'll take it. With 31 laps we were only about 50 miles behind first place (a team of robots) and over 100 miles in front of dead last. Next year (yes, I said "next year") we'll have to work harder at working less hard if we truly want that mid-pack finish.

For those of you that did The Burn the results are here.


Metro said...

Something tells me that robot construction crew spends more time riding their bikes than building cozy houses with fire places. The new Moots is way too quite dude. I never heard it or you coming each time you passed me. But you cack-a-lacky boys sure can ride a bike.


The Ghost of Jerry Reed said...

congrats! please tell me one of you raced in a "members only" jacket?!?


Doug Brummett said...

Always good to read your race report on a Monday morning. Of course it is a day for me, but with the holiday I am not going to worry about it. SPOON!

KellyBone said...

Yo Cap'n Dick, glad you have a name and a face to put together. Good to meet you Sunday! Here is a link that has some video of a throbbing member tagging you it!