Monday, May 19

Pisgah 55.5 2014

After the Pisgah 111K, I had a short chat with Sam Koerber about our respective races.  He came in second but had high hopes for the next day.  Myself, I expected to be beat by Bob Moss once again... perhaps others.  Sam said that Bob only beat me by so many units of time for every so many units of distance (my ability to absorb information was limited), and that I should be able to close it down on Sunday.

I like that he can think like that.  I can't.

It was 8:30PM or so before my bike and everything was ready for the next day.  Superbad was on but I was Supertired... asleep before 10:30.

When I woke up, it was raining.  Superbad indeed.

I had promised myself (and Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever) I would finish the King of Pisgah Series this year.  Rain or not, I was lining up.  I had burnt my matches the day before trying to catch Bob, so this would just be something I had to do.  Put the podium out of my head and just go for a ride in the woods... maybe in the rain.

The race.

The rain stops about a half hour before the start, the threat is still there for the rest of the day.  I line up towards the front hoping to not get stuck in traffic as we head straight up Black Mountain.  Bob goes off with the leaders.  Another single speeder gets past me.  I only see him from behind.  Not a bike I saw the day before.... fresh legs?  Who knows?  Mark Sackett gets around me and I decide that he and his squealing, scrubbing brake make great company.  I try to keep him in sight... and earshot.

I hear many braking noises ahead.  Turkey Pen is coming.  I monster stomp my way around a few riders and the lead woman.  I want the descent to myself.  I chase down Mark.  He lets me by.  I catch Brad Kee, and he does the same.  I'm rolling.

I decided to not take risks on the sketchier portions lower down on the trail.  Trans-Sylvania Epic on my mind.  Not a good time to get hurt.  The lead woman rolls by me baller style, almost cleans it, and then eats mud almost at the bottom of the slick root section.  Her foot is stuck in her pink Industry Nine spokes.  She said nice things about my pink Swiftwick socks earlier, so I stop to help extricate her from her situation.  After some fiddling, she realizes that if she just takes off her shoe, she's free.  I leave her to unshod her foot alone.

Turkey Pen aid station.  Pop Tarts.

"Holy shit.  Pop-Tarts!!"

I stuff two halves of a whole Pop Tart in my mouth, yank my freshly lubed bike from Dávid Sagát's hands...

"I'm lubing your chain, bro."

 and yell "THANK YOU!!!!" as crumbs fly from my face.

Down in Bradley Creek.  A bad place for me.  Mud.  Horse poop.  I wreck.  First one of what will probably be many today.  Brad Kee catches me as does the lead woman and another rider.  We play in the mud and poop together.   When I sense that the worst of Bradley is over, I gas it to 5015 and all the way to the top, never seeing another soul.

Aid station two.  Bacon. Crispy.  Lots of it.  Coke.  Enough to wash down the bacon.

I start up Laurel Mountain and see the lead woman and Brad Kee arrive at the aid station below. Shit.  I thought I went so fast up 5015.

They catch me. They're talking.  I planned on Laurel Mountain being my sad place but quickly realize that the longer I stay with them, the less I'll think about how much life sucks.  We move together, the lead woman setting a donkey-strong  pace.  I'm at the rear, fearing that one foible and I'll get so far off the back that I'll never see them again.  The hammer stays down.  Brad bobbles, and I go around trying to stick the wheel ahead.  She pulls me all the way to the Thousand Dollar Climb and we zombie walk together out of the hole.  The worst was over.

"My name's Nina.  What's yours?"

"Ummmmm... what's your last name?"


Strange.  I had met both her and her twin sister Elisa two July's ago in Sun Valley, Idaho.  I just had a hard time recognizing her being that I only stared at her rear wheel for the last forty five minutes.

"Do you want firsts on Pilot Rock?" she asks.

Since she had attempted to ride a section of Turkey Pen that I didn't even bother with earlier in the day, and she was winning her class, and she just pulled my sad ass up Laurel Mountain putting my head in a place where a podium was now possible... yeah, pulling someone up a trail is more of a mental than a physical thing, but it's still a thing.  I let her go first.

Soon enough, the 140mm fjork and drooper were doing their thing, and I had to come around her.  My goals on Pilot Rock being stay safe and live to see tomorrow.  I caught one rider at the Hum Vee section... he said something about hurting his balls the only other time he'd tried to ride it. 

At the bottom, hammer 1206 to 476, empty my second bottle of the day, hit the aid station, get 1/4 PB&J from Jody and Mike, fill one bottle, go.  Down South Mills and up, watching to not push it too hard.  At the Wheelchair Ramp, I squirt out most of the contents of my bottle and give it full screws just as I had the day before.  I catch a rider pretty quick and he says there is a single speeder just ahead.  I start pulling the pedals just a little harder and there he is.

Now, do I let him see me and hope he blows himself up trying to get away, or stay outta sight in the hopes that I best him going down Black Mountain?

He looked back.

"God damn it," I hear.  Away he goes.  I guess it's plan A... his choice.

We hit the hike-a-bike up Black Mountain, and I can still see him.  After a few minutes, he's outta sight, and I wonder how much time can he gain on me going up and how much can I reel in going down.  We'll see.

Things turned down and I kept my eyes ahead, fingers off the brakes as much as possible.  It wasn't enough.  I never saw him again until...

Scott Rusinko, 2nd place single speed at PMBAR, getting his revenge on... which sent me into some post-race form of intellectual transcendence.

So close, yet so far away.

Such a great weekend.  I'm still a dead man walking.  Thanks Eric and Erinna for once again ripping my soul down to the bone.

Three days until I leave for the Trans-Sylvania Epic.  Ouch.

all photos from Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great race report and nice job in the race!