Tuesday, July 10

STDD Remedy Trip: Days 1 & 2

Last Saturday, Zac and I were up at 4:30AM EST. On a plane, in an airport, on a plane, in a car, and something like 15 hours later we were in Chopper's driveway. He had sent me a text to let us to let us know that he might still be at the Galena Grinder and to make ourselves at home. Since we did not know which house on the compound was his, we inspected the surrounding area.

Hot damn, our new bikes were on the back of the truck. We took them down and squished around. Eventually Zac noticed the goods in the front seat.

And then they got a thorough inspection themselves.

At that point, I wondered if Chopper and his crew were just up in one of the houses watching us, making bets on what we might get into next. A small child rode down the driveway and then came back. She disappeared. Minutes later, Chopper came out of the house and welcomed us to Sun Valley (Triumph, actually).

Inside his domicile, we met Abby and Ariel from the Santa Cruz demo squad and I re-met Mark Sevenoff from Western Spirit. Chopper insisted we go for a ride, and despite the fact that we had been up for almost 19 hours, we agreed. Zac fiddled with some settings on his Genius 40, and in a much less thorough manner, I adjusted my seatpost height, squished the bike up and down, and 'nuff said.

Chopper not taking a dump in the hills.

Riding with a former Olympian on semi-prepped bikes and running low on energy was intimidating. I was all over the place, fumbling with the six buttons on the bar, and trying to figure out how to ride on 26" wheels again. Zac laid it over in a pile of rocks and dented his seatstay. We finished up an hour loop in an hour and a half and called it a day.

photo cred: Chopper

Chopper insisted that one of us drive the "righteous ground transportation" back to his house. The power steering was shot and the brakes were fading fast (although replacements were lying in the front seat). I made Zac drive since he had more familiarity with truck usage and looked more the part. We almost died twice and when we got back to Chopper's house, we were told that was the last time we would get to use the "righteous ground transportation." Rental car from here on out.

Then beer, steak, brats, and a monster salad with Abby, Ariel, Mark, and the Chopper household.

We were up early for the Super Duper D race the next day. Zac decided to 1X10 his drivetrain while I looked on in angst. The clock ticked and people trickled outta Chopper's house as they needed to get to the venue to take care of business. When Zac finished up, we followed Mark into town. Too late to get in a practice run, but soon enough to grab something to eat before descending close to 4,000 feet in 11 miles. I couldn't wait to get my totally not-yet-ready-for-the-trails machine on the totally unfamiliar course.

photo cred: Ride Sun Valley

To say I fumbled my way down the mountain would be an understatement, but it's hard not to smile dropping that much elevation astride anything with two wheels. Less than two miles into my run, I saw Zac standing in a corner. I stopped and found out he had a flat. Of course I had a tube and pump Awesome Strapped to my saddle, so I gave it up so he could avoid a long walk down an even longer mountain. I had managed to catch a few people before I got to the bottom, but that boost in morale was offset by the people who had passed me. I heard that by the time I had finished, Chopper laid down the fastest time of the day at @32 minutes. Eventually I went to check my time, and I walked up just as they wrote down:

109 Rich Dillen 29:58 *

I asked what the asterisk meant.

"Fastest time of the day so far."


I had to do my best to rectify the situation. I explained that the locals would string me up if I allowed the officials to go with that time. A mistake had been made. A USACycling official seemed to not want to hear it. Eventually numbers were crunched, and I was relegated back into my appropriately mediocre spot much further back in the field.

Later that day we checked into our "deluxe accommodations." I must say "deluxe" means something different than "righteous." Our "room" at the Sun Valley Lodge was ridiculous. Two bedrooms, full kitchen, two shitters, fifty seven closets, a fireplace, three TV's (for watching the Tour de France and other fine programming)... just silly for two shitheads like Zac and I. Checking in was intimidating, what with being all covered in dirt and sweat and reeking of awesome.

That night we got our itinerary. This meant that from now on, we had places to be and things to do. Next up, the Monday morning Stoker Ride.


AdamB said...

It's almost like being there myself. Except for not meeting Chopper...

Anonymous said...

That picture of you on a 26in wheeled, full suspension bike with gears is a keeper.