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Tuesday, November 1

2011 Double Dare... well, half of it anyways

It's not like we planned on just one day of riding. Zac and I got to the Cove Creek campsite with plenty of time to set-up a full-on base camp. I even asked Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever if there were any rules against my planned Contador double pistolera victory salute I was gonna pull out Sunday when we crossed the line.

photo cred: Emily

We were readier than most, but not as ready as some. I was collapsing under the enormous weight of my pack while waiting for the start.

photo cred: Emily

Yes, we were mighty, we planned on winning, and our smugness filled the forest.

photo cred: Brado

Zac was not taking a dump when the race started. He was fetching his jacket. He did get back in time to help me find the last of eleven (ten mandatory, one bonus) checkpoints.

photo cred: Brado

We came up with a plan of attack. It was more like three plans, one great, one not so great, and one that would prove that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We were off.

photo cred: Brado

I was more off than most.

photo cred: Brado

We were headed straight to the mandatory checkpoint with a slight detour to grab a somewhat on the way checkpoint at Club Gap.

After nabbing it, we made it to the approach up to the mandatory.

Pilot Rock is one of my favorite descents in Pisgah. I feel the exact opposite about climbing it. It's basically a rubble filled hike-a-bike to the top. It sucked. We were rewarded with the short descent on the connector trail to the checkpoint where the volunteer was waiting. For a half checkpoint, there was a special test. Either shoot a slingshot at a plastic pumpkin and hit it two out of three tries, OR eat four pickled eggs in under a minute. We went for the eggs (my idea) because I thought it was a guarantee. I failed and almost threw up as Zac carried more than his weight in the challenge. He cleared 2.5 eggs in a minute, but I still had .25 in my mouth when the time ended. Meh.

Then, under my plan which was agreed upon by all members (Zac), we hiked/ran three miles up to the top of Mount Pisgah for a double bonus checkpoint. Running sucks, especially when you haven't ran in years, super-especially when you're wearing a fully loaded pack and you just got done pushing a bike up Pilot Rock, eating pickled eggs, and you're following someone half your age who's running up the mountain like there's a kegger at the top. It was cold, windy, and there was some snow on the ground. Odd looks from hikers abound.

On the way back down, I wrecked twice. Once on my ass and once on my knee. Running sucks... did I mention that already? It was well worth the TWO BONUS CP'S.

It was nice to finally get back to our bikes after running close to 1.5 hours. The upcoming descent down Laurel Mountain would be our first real fun of the day... after almost five hours of racing. Our pace seemed reasonable, in a "we can keep this up for two days" kinda way, although it was becoming apparent that my initial plan to get eleven of twelve CP's was way too ambitious. I was starting to think we were gonna have to settle for seven to eight CP's based on their arrangement on the map. There were two clusters of three that I'm pretty sure most people were going to have to choose a single cluster if they still wanted to get to the mandatory and be back before midnight. My theory made me feel like we were in good shape...

until...

On a totally innocuous section of Laurel Mountain I felt my rear tire react to something under the leaves, and then WHOOOOSHHHHHHHHHH....

All the air pressure in my tire was gone in an instant.

Upon inspection, I saw that my tire had just been gashed on the sidewall. Big time. I calmly stopped, removed the bead, dried the inside with an armwarmer, duct taped the hole, booted it with a powerfood wrapper, and placed the tire back on the rim. As I added air, I watched the hole goiter out. I lowered the air pressure, and we rode off hoping for the best. I inspected it every few minutes, and the hole was spreading and the tape goitering even more.

Zac and I had a meeting. If we went out for three-four more checkpoints, we would be putting ourselves out even further from safety and with the approaching darkness, the sub-freezing temps were coming hard. If the tire failed to a certain degree, we'd never get a tube to stay in it. Be heroes (with the possibility of spending the night walking in the woods) or turn it around and ride back to the start.

We were not heroes.

The twenty mile ride back to Cove Creek sucked. The disappointment was palpable. Only the thoughts of beer and food kept us from turning native and building a shelter. We piddled our way back to camp, stopping to put on warmer clothes, eat, drain the 100 oz of water I was needlessly carrying all over the place, looking around a roadside campsite looking for friends, and came into the finish from the wrong way expecting to get DQ'ed.

Eric told us that not only were we not DQ'ed, we were the first ones back with four CP's (with the mandatory) and "winning." He tried to talk me into borrowing a tire and heading out to nab one more CP (something like ten miles away?).

No.

We came to Double Dare to win, and four or five CP's on day one was not gonna do it. We were going to drink beer and that's that.

I spent the rest of the night watching people come in.

I know my flat tire was Garth Prosser's fault. I couldn't prove it. I just know it. He ruins everything that is good.

photo cred: Brado

When we (those of us that were left at the fire) realized that it was 4:00AM, we decided to stay up, continue with the ruining of our respective livers, and watch the start at 6:00AM. Eric awoke at 5:00AM to empty kegs and noisy, well lubricated revelers.

Win.

More soon.*


*Y'inzers can give me all the advice you want on how to field repair a gashed sidewall, but after sitting at the fire for ten hours with hordes of experienced sidewall gash fixer-uppers, I think I've heard them all.

8 comments:

BIG JIM said...

Awesome recap. Keep them coming.

Luis G. said...

What, you don't carry an extra tire in your pack? NOOB ;)

Bummer, but hey, freezing to death is overrated.

bentcrank said...

We should have went for Samford!


wv: brooz - after several hours around the fire we were out of brooz

Emily said...

I thought you were showing off your disco moves in that first photo.

Sorry things didn't work out, but it was good to see you out there! And at least you got a good ride out of it... oh wait, you climbed Club Gap, AND climbed Pilot, and then ran 6 miles, and then slashed a tire. Never mind.

shiggy said...

Ya needed to wrap the duct tape around the OUTSIDE of the tire. Needed to do that a couple of years ago with a bigger gash than you had. Held up fine for 10 miles of singletrack/gravel road descending and 8 miles of pavement. could have gone further.

Chris said...

I think my favorite moment was at 5:25 or so when Eric first got to the fire.

Clay: "Eric! You didn't hear us come in!"

Eric (completely deadpan): "Yes, yes we did."

Good god you guys were loud.

George said...

which tire did you shred?

Rob said...

Good recap on a bummer of a day Dicky. I can't imagine pushing up to pilot cove. Riding up Laurel is enough of a beast, sounds like the must have cleared some of the down trees. And I can imagine the run up to Mount Pisgah, ugh.

Tire looked like a Purgatory sorta. I need to finish outfitting my Tuhlbag. A maxis tire card is a great idea. damn. Getting stuck out like that would blow.