Tuesday, July 12

2011 Tour de Burg: And then, it got darker

Day five we were back on the road bikes with an evening of MTB time trial. With only 80+ miles on the road, we were in for a short day. We rolled out of town around 9:00AM headed towards Reddish Knob. Normally we take the rock littered clay road to the top, but today we were going up the narrow paved road on the backside. At the final water stop before the approach to the bottom of the climb, I saw Sam Koerber pitching his extra water bottle in the truck. Realizing his genius, I went a few steps further. I took off one tube/CO2, a bottle, and my jersey and tossed them in the back seat. Since the stage was mostly uphill, I wanted to see what I could do since I generally suck at road cycling.

Once the race went from pleasure pace to "live," I was off the back of the A group. As always, I couldn't stay with the surges in the flats, but once the climb kicked up, I made my way through the shelled remains of the field. Over the course of six miles of climbing I managed to ride hard enough to finish way further up in the field than I had all week. Where did I finish? I don't recall, but I was an early member of the Reddish Knob Shirtless Club for Men Dance Party.

photo cred: Sue Haywood

The next timed section was down the rock littered clay road we normally ride up. To say going down it on road bikes was insane would be an understatement. I gingerly made my way down hoping to keep from flatting while craning my neck up looking for slabby chunks of tire slicing rocks. I found myself on the wrong side of a washed out portion of road and ended up in the woods at one point, and I found some sick pleasure as I passed people standing in the ditch fixing their flats. Once we made it to the bottom it was a seriously awesome section of gravel that just begged for big ring jamming that lead to some small humps on pavement and the finish.

I hate road bikes, but I definitely enjoyed that day.

Oh yeah, the time trial. This would be the first year I did not wreck and bleed profusely or get a flat.

Day five: Victory

The last day was a great way to end The Tour. We climbed a time section up a road that was straight outta La Ruta... no joke. Almost 1.5-1.75 hours of solid climbing (minus a couple small beat down descents and sippy holes). It was sick, sick, sick. At the top was happiness in the form of sandwiches and beer, and that was all I focused on the entire time.

The timed descent to the finish was so incredible that I managed to get over my "I think I'll skip The Tour next year" feelings on the way down. A freaking kidney destroying fuckfest from the top that changed personalities (due to some recent trailwork) to a swoopy, berm hugging speed extravaganza.

Day six: Victory

I have to thank Mike, Kari, and Lyndsey Carpenter for their hospitality and hard work and all the other volunteers that make the Tour de Burg happen. Even though I tried to quit and had some low moments, it was still an incredible time.

Also, a big thanks to all the other racers at the Tour de Burg. I don't think you can get through The Tour without a little help from your friends, and I don't think you can get through The Tour without offering a little back. CO2's, tubes, tires, food, beer, Stan's juice... it all becomes community property at some point.

For example, Rob Spreng was sitting in the top five, and maybe even higher before day four. Not only did he get lost on the rainy day, he pulled Justin Pokrivka (the guy with the busted freewheel) back to the finish while I pushed from behind. I had nothing to lose since I was sitting pretty far back in the field, and he didn't have to help since I already made the offer. Everybody woulda understood if he was in a hurry to finish given his situation, but he chose to sit in and help another Tour rider.

That's The Tour.

That's why I go back. The trails are awesome, but the people are awesomer.

I'll probably never make it to the podium, but since I like to make the five hour drive not smelling like beer and champagne, maybe it's a good thing.

photo cred: Zac "Guardrail" Morrey

Either tomorrow or Thursday I'll write a post about gear selection for The Tour; what works, what doesn't, and what should have.

PS: This moves me (you know the story, I assume):


nathan shearer said...

I got back to the church and was trying to rustle up a wheel to take out to Justin. Imagine my suprise when the lot of you rolled in not 2 minutes after me. and me without a camera...

'e' said...

Tour de cycling event, ever. It was my ladt ride as a resident of the east coast. A helluva ride to go out on. I'll make it back for it, one day.