Thursday, July 10

Tour de Burg 2014... The Final Post (probably)

Day five.  I wake up on the leather couch, not the fabric covered one I've gotten used to.  The cool leather feels almost as nice as the lack of a hangover.  I cough and remember my rib.  Ooooof.   Hurts more than the day before, but the pain has moved more to my side.  Maybe it will fall off of me by the end of the day.

We drive out to the mountains to the east.  Even without all the road miles we've gotten used to putting in before we start the real riding, I am told that this will still be a really long stage... perhaps the hardest riding of the week.  More rocks than anything we'd seen so far.  Good day to have a clear head.

A long party pace slum up the pavement ends at some random place on the side of the road.  The race starts with a half mile of pavement to a trail that pours out of the side of a mountain.  I hammer (in a light manner) to stay up out of the mess.  The relevancy of this act is lost as soon as we hit a mandatory hike-a-bike that lasts forever plus thirty minutes.  I walk with Buck and we discuss world politics.

Eventually, we get to Massanutten Ridge.  It's like riding on the backs of a parade of Stegosaurus.   It's stimulating to say the least.  I focus on the ten feet in front of me, celebrating the minor victories in my head, trying to get past the occasional defeat.  I'm looking for a man in the woods who should be standing on the trail to send me right and down the Enduro™ section.  Every stump taller than two feet looks like a human to me in the distance.  One hour?  Two?  I dunno, but eventually a stump was a real person, and I rode off the ridge line to the sammiches.

Cold lasagna on a Pringle tastes better than it sounds.

We leave the rest stop and end up on a steep gravel road.  My rear tire breaks loose one too many times on the loose marble surface.  Maybe I'm lazy or maybe I've been single speeding long enough that I know when to get off the pedals.  I dismount and walk.  Shortly thereafter, all the other single speeders do the same.  Another restart to a stage that I am told is even harder than the last.

We head up some rocky two-track on the right hand side of the road.  The race starts and the pace is hectic at the front.  It's not long before I get knocked off the good line by the loose rocks and am on foot.  I shoulder the bike and run to stay keep my place in the pack.

The ridge starts.  More Stegosaurus backs.  Rock move after rock move.  Steep chutes that pucker the butt.  At least I'm not bored.  I ride with Buck and Boyes until their gears become too much for me to pace with.

photo cred: Mike Boyes
Then I'm alone... for like forever.  Then I catch someone.  Then they are gone.  Over and over again.
It's a long, strange trip to the final descent.  It was if someone dumped truckloads of rocks down the trail.  My brain tells my body we are to no longer run into things.  I'm at my wits end.  I sloppily bounce my way down to the bottom, stopping anytime I'm confused at an intersection.

"Stay on the orange blaze."

I'm not going down anything to have to turn around and come back up.

Eventually I pop out at the finish.  It's 5:30PM.

I always hate this part.  I've got a long drive ahead, made even longer this year, what with the final stage being even further east.  I pack my bike, change my clothes, grab a burger and a hot dog, say my goodbyes, hustle Zac into the car, and we're off...

Ten miles out, we stop so he can poop.

And then we're off for good.

Home by 11:30PM.  In bed by midnight.  Staring at the ceiling and seeing nothing but rocks.

Once again, a huge thanks to Mike "Carp" "Carpong" "Clawprong" "Le Directeur" Carpenter for putting together a parcours that's sick, twisted, challenging and memorable.

photo cred: Sue Haywood
And a small (actually rather big) thanks to everyone that played the game. The trails are awesome, but it's the way more awesomer people that race the Tour that make it worth doing.

20th anniversary next year?  Seven stages next year?  Leather couch every night (sooooo cool on my skin)?

Why not?


mike said...


dicky said...

Damn it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like... fun?