Tuesday, September 8

Shenandoah in the bag for 2009

Saturday I traveled up to the Shenandoah 100 with Bill Nye and Leyonce. We left ourselves enough time to set up camp, get a little ride in, register, and drink some foamy Dog Fish Ale before turning in for the night.

Apparently Chris Scott did NOT get the memo:

Nor does he know the REAL Lance "Leyonce" Shelley's party affiliation (definitely NOT the Leyonce I know):

And this guy was severely punished for NOT saying "Mother may I have my gel flask?" at registration:

After a night of tossing and turning and lying in the back of my Dirty Little Box wondering why in the hell I ever think it's a good idea to do these silly events I begrudgingly got outta "bed" and ate my chocolate Pop Tarts. It was a bit chilly at the start, maybe around the upper 50's, but the weather man had predicted highs in the 80's, so I started in my typical summer garb (rendered sleeveless of course). I got to the start line early, but due to a relocation of the start line and some rider confusion my usual spot at the front ended up being seven or so rows deep in the field. Starting that far back would mean that I would have no clue where most of the other single speed riders were all day. Not like I was planning on "racing" racing, but it's always good to know where you sit in the field for posterity sake.

After the start (video here if you wanna see 550 riders shooting for the early lead) and the "controlled" run down the dusty driveway in the dark we popped out onto the paved road, and I did my best to fight my way up into the top 100 or so riders. Normally I can get into the first section of trail in the top 50, but it was apparent that there was no way I'd be that far up when the going got skinny.

When I finally made it to the first section of single track I was fortunate that the group I was in was still moving steadily up the climb. The forced hike-a-bike I feared that far back in the pack never happened, and life didn't seem so bad. I could still see Roger "Muscles" Masse and Sue Haywood ahead of me, so I figured my pace was actually a bit more aggressive than I intended, but when in Rome...

Somewhere around the 20 mile mark I felt the dehydrating effects of last night's consumption of foamy beverages. A hint of a cramp in my right hamstring and a definite twinge in my right calf were sure indicators that things were not going all too well. I drank down my bottles and soft pedaled awhile until things felt safe and came into aid station two running on empty, but safe from cramps.

Before I got to the 30 mile mark I realized I had made an error. I had decided to race with bare knees based on the local forecast for the town of Bridgewater that I had seen on Saturday morning. Unfortunately it was a bit colder than I had anticipated... right around the temperature that would normally see me wearing at least one knee warmer on my right knee, and it didn't seem to be getting much warmer. I didn't even bring knee warmers, even though I have had this same experience before at the SM100 before. My right knee started throbbing and letting me know it was definitely unhappy with my poor wardrobe selection. My legs felt fine for climbing, but any time I had to spin on the roads my knee was screaming for vengeance.

By the time I got to the third aid station it was apparent that my front tire was losing air. I was bottoming out my Rampage on the rim, so I took the time to grab a floor pump and remedy the situation. I grabbed some Pringle's knowing that I wanted to finish, but had better back it down a notch if I was gonna do it without having my kneecap blow through my skin. As I rolled outta the aid station I sat up and rode no-handed for awhile eating my potato-like chips and enjoying the tunes on my Shuffle. Betsy Shogren went by waving and smiling with her face looking like she had stuck it in a tray of Fig Newton's. Bye-bye Betsy.

The nasty single track climb up to the midway point of the course was as painful as always, and the descent on the backside had my tire bottoming out on the rim making we wonder if I even got any air in it while pumping in my stupor state. On the long, slow approach to the "Soul Crusher" a train of gearies (with Carey Lowery aboard) came past me as I was sitting up riding no handed and singing. I was gonna let them go, but shortly after they passed me the "Soul Crusher" finally started kicking in, so I gave 'er and left them behind (for now). Once I hit aid station five I got my pizza (which I had been saving room for) and headed back out with the knowledge that the absolute worst was behind me.

When I topped out on Shenandoah Mountain I started the nasty descent in what felt like fine form, but my tire was definitely still losing air, so I babied it for awhile hoping to ride it out. Carey Lowery caught up to me on one of the small rises, so I let her by and decided I would entertain myself by watching her descend. The problem was that she was going fast enough that I couldn't avoid the bit rocks and roots and my front wheel was banging out in protest. I had to pull over and pull out my mini-mini pump if I really wanted to go fast. Bye-bye Carey.

On the final real climb of the day Micheal Coco (3rd SS at ORAMM) caught up to me. We chatted our way to the top, and when we started going down towards the happy place I let him and all his forkiness take the lead. When we finally got down to the final double track portion of the descent I could still see him ahead, and I recalled the last two SM100's where I didn't "go for it" at the end of the race. "No gifts" I thought to myself, and although this time I was not fighting for an actual spot on the podium I decided I didn't want to go down NOT swinging this time, so I gunned it a little on a small rise (sticking my tongue out as I went by), and hung it out to the finish line for my worst performance at Shenandoah since I did it on a fixed gear in 2006.

I either got 11th or 12th in the SS class and 61st outta something like 550 riders. On a day where most folks took advantage of the dry conditions and set PR's I was 20 minutes slower than last year. Meh.

The day after the race I was sitting in the bathroom talking to The Pie while she was taking a shower. I noticed something interesting and grabbed the camera (not to take photos of The Pie in the shower).

Notice anything funny?
Not funny ha-ha, but funny queer?


The Evil MGE! said...

I've learned to wear the warmers if the weather is cooler then the low 60's. Course I'm always riding with a 40 lb pack strapped to my back to be ready for anything in the Colorado back country so leavin behind wouldn't have been an option.

Anonymous said...

Question: Notice anything funny?
Not funny ha-ha, but funny queer?

Answer: A grown man shaved his legs?

cornfed said...

Funny? Like the bent toe growing out of your left knee?

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that is a bent toe growing out of his knee? I thought something might of fallin on the floor?

timmy plowed

Anonymous said...

the liver spot on your right thigh?

jkeiffer said...

Picts of the Pie would be much preferred.

Anonymous said...

Bent toe? In the non-exploded version it looks more like one of those handy male dog lipstick applicators I see on my friend's black lab when I venture up and scratch it's belly.

Anonymous said...

Check out those fancy number plate bolts. I'd consider racing just so I could justify ordering those from some obscure Euro MTB website and get charged a premium for shipping.

dicky said...

My number plate holder is two reflector brackets and about $1.00's worth of nylon bolts.

Think I could export them to Europe and have them imported back here for a huge profit?