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Tuesday, September 4

Sorry Charlie for the imposition

This was probably never possible:

Primary Goal: Win.. at all costs (within reason and budgeted allowances).

The secondary goal of a top ten was still feasible, but definitely gonna be a squeaker. The whole setting a new PR goal and/or at least breaking nine hours was going to be super difficult being that the course was super saturated with rain. It rained the week of the race, rained the day before the race, rained off and on the night before the race...

and then there was that rain that fell during the race.

I got my best night's sleep ever before a Shenandoah Mountain 100. Matt Ferrari was the last single speeder to leave the keg Saturday night (aside from me) at 9:44PM. Solid sleep, full 900 calorie breakfast, coffee, morning constitutional X 2... all the makings of a great bike race.

I didn't get all caught up in the high speed start out of camp. I knew it would be a race of attrition once we hit the soft, muddy climbs. The early descents were slicker than normal and the singletrack climbs were mush. On a flat gravel road my mood was obvious when I skipped a Rage Against the Machine tune on my Shuffle and settled into some Hall and Oates.

I was in and amongst some riders I knew, so apparently I wasn't the only one taking it easy. Aid stations were a mellow affair. Volunteers filled my bottles while I perused the buffet. I never left empty handed or in a hurry.

On a long section of paved road, my junk went numb. I poked and prodded, but at this point I didn't know which was the frank and which was the beans. This is the most interesting thing that had happened thus far.

Finishing was all that would matter now...

until,

I don't know the trail names as well as other folks, but while going up the climb after the huge dry creek bed, the rain started to settle in for realz. Earlier in the day, there was a sprinkle here and there, but this was steady rain with thunder and lightning. I started thinking about my Shuffle (which was appropriately playing Ride the Lightning) and whether or not it was going to be ruined. I remembered I had some chewy energy food wrapper that I could stick it in... at some point.

On the following descent, the rain had mixed with sweat and was burning my eyes. My glasses were covered in shit and sitting on the end of my nose. I knew how the day was going to go at this point. Regardless of whether the rain stopped or kept going, the rest of the trails would be soaked. Five or more hours of riding around was gonna make for some toasted bearings and a rough week of bike maintenance before the Fool's Gold coming up in six days. My brake pads would be shot, and I could quite possibly trash a chain, ring, and cog. Shit was gonna get expensive and painful in the ass department.

I rolled into aid station four, got my bottles filled, grabbed a selection of grub, got my glasses cleaned and started to head out. That's when I saw single speed contender JPok just standing there. He was dropping out with tender ribs after having a pain-filled half a day.

"How far is it back to the finish line? "

"18 miles," he replied.

Hmmmm... only 43 miles to finish or 18 miles to bail. I'd rather just finish than ride/navigate that far back in the rain to quit.

"I'm not riding. I'm hopping in someone's car."

Oh, that changes things.

"Are you going home when you get back or drinking beer?"

"Beer."

That settled it. I was getting in the car, saving myself lots of money and time fixing my bike, and drinking beer for the next ten or eleven hours.

I don't feel bad about quitting. I had nothing to prove to myself or others and felt like I would accomplish nothing with a finish. The fun of descending was gone and the only thing that was making it pleasant to stay on the course was the company of others. As much as I like playing in the rainy woods with friends, it wasn't enough to keep me out there.

I was the second racer back to the showers. Gerry "The Pflug" Pflug and pulled the Pflug and took a play outta the South Korean badminton teams playbook. He quit in order to save himself for a potential NUE showdown at Fool's Gold, which now won't happen since Pat beat Skinny Rivers... the point is, I was second to Gerry at something.

I got a very long shower with no lines and no one waiting for me to get out. I cleaned up my bike real nice and shiny like. Then there was a burger, a hot dog, some beans, and beer... and then I got to see the top finishers come in. That was nice.

That's the first hundred miler I've quit since the 2006 Lumberjack, a race that's fashionable to quit. Since I'm only doing the Fool's Gold 50 this weekend, that means this will be the first year that I won't cover 100 miles in a single day since 2003.

Sweet. Possible burn out and only 120 miles and two more weeks left in the 2012 1.25 Months of Madness.

photo cred: Big Bikes Media

Here I am with Tyler telling him about how I'm going to start competitive marionetting in 2013. It will be the new single speeding, the one that hasn't been taken over by real athletes yet.


5 comments:

Peter Keiller said...

That wasn't so hard now was it?

Patrick Blair said...

I have a solution to your problem... ask the Fools Gold guys to switch u to the 100mile category! Sweet!

Anonymous said...

Is that your son Dicky?

ALgoat said...

I just played your BWOON effect along with YEM. It was awesome.

Tyler Arnold (arnoldtm2) said...

"is that your son dicky?" That's good stuff. I'm either Dicky or his son. Not sure if that's a bad or good thing?

-Tyler