Monday, September 10

2012 Fool's Gold 50

Standing in the dark, I felt a small pain in my foot... and then another... and then another.

This was becoming a trend, but my addled mind couldn't put it all together at 5:30AM. I was unloading the bikes and standing on a fire ant hill. That's a great start to the day. The lightning popping in the clouds was certainly a nice touch as well.

After watching the 100 milers go off, I was pleased to have an additional half hour to put on my makeup. Once the 50 milers lined up, I was surprised to see that our field looked twice as big as the one that went off earlier. Lotsa folks grabbing the slightly lower hanging fruit.

I lined up towards the front in the vicinity of Zeke, Vicious Dough, John Stang and Nick the Stick. Zeke let me in on the fact that the large number of single speeders from the Motor Mile Racing team were planning on ruling the podium. Super duper. Wish I had some kind of plan like that.

Dough and I crushed the neutral roll-out. Once Eddie and the orange Element formally known as Dicky's Dirty Little Box pulled away, the pace didn't increase all that much. I'm a slow starter, and one might think this would work for me, but it doesn't. As much as I need a slow start, I need other slow starters to get caught up in a fast start, blow up, and later become carrots.

So I took off.

It wasn't long before "my move" was marked and shortly thereafter I was swallowed whole by the front of the field on the first BIG climb. I lost count of the single speeders ahead, as they comprised almost half of the riders that got away from me. I couldn't begin to fathom how many of them were Motor Mile Racing guys. I've never seen anything like this in a race... ever. Ten single speeders ahead of me? Maybe? Shit.

After the climb, I watched Dough and a couple other SS'ers who outweighed me just roll away on the gravel descent. Soooo much gravel, I was trying to remember what it was about the Fool's Gold course that I liked so much that I decided to come back. I was getting lost in my head and growing impatient waiting for my "slow start" to kick in.

At the second aid station, I decided to just give 'er. Tired of all the gravel and waiting to feel better, the almost-halfway point was as good a spot as any to put in an effort. I saw Dough, rung my bell, and moved on. Another SS'er peeing at the side of the course. Who pees in a 50 miler? It's like jerking off to a photo of Steve Buscemi.

You'll still get where you're going, but it certainly isn't speeding things up.

Enthused with my progress, I kept the hammer down, albeit my hammer was less sledge hammer and more Andy Dufresne's rock hammer.

I found Faster Mustache's Eric Nicoletti... also off the side of the trail... peeing. What's with these guys and the constant urination?

I came up pretty hot on a rider standing in the trail yelling "SLOW DOWN." Slam on the brakes and seconds later I saw a rider lying on the ground moaning. Broken and dislocated femur. Ooooh. That shit happens?

Pop out of the woods at aid three and I try to find Vanessa Klett so I can tell her that her hubby (Kelly) is up in the woods with the injured rider.

"Someone tell Vanessa Klett that her husband is up there with the injured rider!!""

"Dicky, I'm right in front of you," said the blurry woman standing right in front of me.

Right then.

I took off from the aid station with no clue as to where I was in the SS field. I know that sometimes you can pass a rider while he fumbles with his drop bags or struggles with the decision of PB&J or Skittles. Maybe I've passed a few riders I don't know about. Dunno.

photo cred: Joe Cattoni

Aid station four and the last section back to the winery. I knew we'd be going back on the long rolling gravel and pavement we started on. Not necessarily one of my strong points. I could see a rider ahead who was climbing like he only had one gear. I couldn't fathom shutting the gap down without a significant climb.

The course stuck it in our bottoms one more time with some fresh-cut grass fields and an awkward hike-a-bike creek crossing. The rider ahead of me was close enough to hear my bell, so I gave him a ring as I saw him cross the line. I followed shortly after and headed straight towards the pool.

So there's some searching for beer and some way to get the dirt off my legs so I can jump in the pool, and I saw some other single speeders who had just crossed the line. I heard them talking.

"I think you were fifth."

"I was fourth."

Where the hell did I finish?

I check with the timers.

Third... nine seconds out of second.

Eddie tells me that I also missed the Sweetwater 420 prize for finishing closest to 4:20. I just missed that as well.

I was sad until I realized that I still took third and I can afford to buy beer if I really want it.

53.7 miles in 4:21:35

photo cred: Dough

Then there was beer, pool time, beer, watching 100 milers finish, beer...

I remembered why I like the Fool's Gold race so much.

I think this new "Sport Class" endurance racing thing is going to catch on.


slowrunner said...

no belly shot ...

azcutter said...

sounds like there is some "growing" issues with some of those riders. Otherwise its the water so, I would recommend drinking more beerz either way

Big E said...

Look at that. You're the only one on the podium with proper arm etiquette. Beer on the inside hand. Outside hand raised. Well played Mr. Dicky... Well played.