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Monday, January 26

Another Icycle, another weekend of tempting fate

I'm not sure how many of my Icycle related goals I did not attain, but I'm pretty sure it was close to most.

We ended up staying awake later than planned Friday night, because we were waiting on others that were coming in much later than they planned... and since there is no cellphone or internet coverage there, we stayed up way too late.  Doing the only thing there is to do.  Drink.  For me, twice as much as planned.  So much for plans and goals.

Woke up bleary-eyed hearing one of the women folk saying, "Look outside!  It's so beautiful."

Fuck.  It snowed.

That's just great.  Sift through the clothing options.  Put Icy Hot on my back.  Watch the sport/beginner/big bike/fat bike... all the other classes that were not single speed and expert take off.  Head back to the cabin for more clothes sorting.

 Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever had decided to up the single speeders to the expert level of laps, three as opposed to two.  Something about if you're riding a single speed out there, you must be an expert anyways.  I was expecting an hour and half of racing under decent conditions.  I only had one water bottle and no race food.  The expired emergency gels in my car were two years out of date.  No bueno.  With the snow and mud, it was going to be well over two hours in the woods.  Meh.

photo cred: Joel Watson
Reluctantly placing my bike next to the keg (bottle refill station) for the lemans start.

Our race starts.  It's maybe 33.5° outside.  I half-assedly jog to my bike and head out in the melee.


Energy sapping peanut butter mud.  Punchy climbs.  I can see the SS leaders ahead... for awhile.  And then not.  My lower back tells me that it's not really pleased with the whole "pushing a 32X19 through the marshmallow fluff mud."   I start getting concerned about the idea of making my back worse...

I've recently been spending a certain amount of money and time trying to make my back better.  I've also been lecturing The Pie about pushing her body too hard with an injury and how it just sets her back in her recovery from a hip issue.  I decide to listen to my own lectures (for a change).

photo cred: Kate Fulbright
What time I did spend out there looking around was visually stunning.

I decide to bail, but only after I hit the final descent down the Turkey Chute, so I could get a little preview of the conditions of the night downhill course.  I went down the Turkey Chute, through the parking lot, down the stairs and to the keg.  Pour out my race beverage, replace it with Dale's, hang out at the timing tent.  The first to bail after one lap but not the last.  I watch the race for awhile, hang with the people that bail after their second lap, and watch Nick "Dip & Spray" Barlow come in for the single speed win.

photo cred: K├╝rdt Rampton
Back to the cabin, suit up for the downhill race, and head down to catch the first shuttle.

I HAD A PLAN.

Most of the descent was a hot mess.  I decided that the safest/smartest thing to do would be:

One run, sorta slow to look at the lines.

A second run at a higher rate of speed to confirm my choices.

The mandatory (Eric makes you do it) practice run after dark to be sure your lights work.

One race run, all out.

Anything else was not worth the risk.  It was slick as snot and just not worth the added exposure.

But I was just feeling so good...

I came off my second run and the shuttle was waiting at the bottom.  How could I not get on?  I felt like I railed the last run and really wanted to just keep going... so I did.

 photo cred: Icon Media Asheville
The third and oh-so not a good idea shuttle trip.

On the way up, I looked down at my tires.  Caked-over.  Bagels.  Donuts.  No tread to be seen.  A smarter man woulda realized that the super sticky mud at the bottom of the run was not clearing out of my tires.  A smarter man would clean his tires over at the bike wash station before an all-out run.  I am not a smart man.

I went down full-tilt boogie style.  I was feeling good... until I pushed the tires pretty hard in a corner and started to slide sideways.  And then I was in the air.

I came down hard on my back and tumbled.  Couldn't breath.  Looked back up the trail and saw the loaf of bread sized rock I came down on.  I pulled myself and the bike off the trail and sat there.  I waited for the tightness to go away, felt around for bad things sticking out, determined that I just fucked myself real good, and slowly got myself to the bottom.

Hosed off my bike and walked it back up to the cabin.  Game over.  I've been here before.  Blunt force trauma that leads to swelling of the intercostal spaces (the muscles between the ribs).  This time though, the affected area wraps around from back to front on my left side.  Brilliant.

Back at the cabin, grunt, groan, wince, struggle to take off clothes, take shower, get dressed... at least I'll only be doing this for two to four weeks.

Grab a bunch of beer and head down to watch everyone else have fun.  Dip & Spray was kind enough to escort me the rest of the evening, dragging me up hills and controlling my descents.  My hero.

Another Icycle that didn't go quite the way I planned it in my head.  Still such an amazing event.  People standing around in the woods, at night, snow and mud, fireworks, stumbling drunks on a muddy hillside.

"I'm all tire and no truck."

Always such a surreal experience.  I mean, Neko Mulally won the expert race... yeah, that Neko Mulally that killed it with a chainless run at the DH World Championships last year.  The uniqueness and history of this event with just a "so-so course" still becomes the thing of legends and fairy tales almost every year.  I may not always come back with the hardware (it's been years), but I always come back with plenty of stories... and various injuries.

There weren't any ditch fights though.  We'll have to work on that next year.


photo cred: Paul Cunningham

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You were expecting to not drink too much or injure yourself in the DH race? Statistically improbable.

Congrats to ol' bitch eyes on his
Win.

Kudos to Zac for pairing Michael Landon's hair with Joaquin Phoenix's beard.

Anonymous said...

you wear the same pajama pants at the icycle every year...yet you think you won't get just as hammered as the year before. Your in denial my friend.

dicky said...

Those are different pajama pants. I didn't have those in 2007.

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