Monday, May 18

The 2015 Pisgah (not quite) 55.5K


I'll get there eventually.

Saturday, get up at my leisure and drive to the Sunset Motel.  Park the car and ride the something miles of crap highway from Brevard to the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest.  Bang a left onto the bike path and start thinking about tomorrow.  I wonder if my brake lever that got fixed after PMBAR will hold up to a whole day in Pisgah.  I give the lever a little shove and it falls out of the reservoir.  Nope.  Awesome.

I get to the venue, decide to eat my sub before I deal with this issue, grab a beer, and head over to the neutral bike support.  Lucky for me that Greg from The Tacoed Wheel was on the scene.  He goes DefCon 4 on my shit and I think I see him using an anvil and a forge at one point... not sure.

He puts it all back together with a fair amount of confidence.  I still sift around in his van and grab a rubber band, because I'm probably just gonna carry it for my sanity.

Drink a few more beers, watch riders finish, see Gordon Wadsworthless take the single speed win, ask him if he's racing tomorrow, he says yes, so I'm racing for second now, I guess.  Birdman and Pahrs finish, Pahrs taking second place SS (first place Not Gordon Category).  They hang out for a bit, podium done, and we go eat lukewarm Mexican food and margaritas.  Then a stop at Ingles for more beer, hang out in the parking lot/outdoor lounge until some time past midnight, go to bed.

I wake up feeling much less worse than miserable.  Just tired and wanting to get on with this.  10:00AM starts see so late, but the time finally rolls around, and I line up at the very front of the front.

Up the first climb right out of the grassy lost in good company... sitting in the top seven overall or so.  Gordon's gone up with the super fast guys, but I expect that to happen.

On one of the more open sections, I look back and see John Haddock (one half of the winning 2015 PMBAR team), and I hold up a little so we can get together.  I want to go down Turkey Pen with him close by to see how well he descends.  We chat a little, but even at a reserved pace going up Black, talking is still an effort.

We bang the right on Turkey Pen.  The top is fast, loamy, predictable.  I open a gap on John.  Then things start getting steeper, gnarlier... and I can't see it coming anymore.

I've mentioned my eyes before.  I need to go see and optometrist... eventually.  This thought, it's stupid.  Go see one now and feel the benefits of great vision or avoid the inevitable and suffer in the mean time.  I take the latter.

So that range of vision, I guess twenty to thirty feet ahead, what I need to go really fast.  That's where my vision is shit.  Add in the overcast skies which bring about a low contrast nightmare, put a splortch of sweat on the right pink Oakley lens rendering them useless, and I'm now scared.  When I think there's something coming up, my eyes track the object from how many ever feet out right up to my front wheel.  I deal with it and then scan back up the trail looking for more obstacles.  This process is slow and so am I.  John catches me handily.

I let John go around and a few more gnarly descents later I realize this is dumb.  I'll be risking my shit going down Pilot Rock and Black Mountain later in the day and for what?   I've gotten away with faking all my mountain rides with a suspension fork for months, it reading the trail to me in Braille.  With the rigid fork, all my problems are brutally apparent.  I'm fucked.  I consider my options to get back to my car.

Just like that, Scott Rusinko and Steve Bennett come by me.  From second place to fifth in a manner of minutes.  I may feel good on the climbs, but I'm gonna lose time all day going down and possibly get hurt.  I'm definitely bailing.

I get to the Turkey Pen parking lot.  Chris Ivory tells me that there are three single speeders right ahead of me.

"I know."

I tell him I'm done, consider my options, decide to go for a bike ride in the woods as opposed to hopping on pavement the whole way back.  Besides, I haven't ridden Squirrel Gap in some time, the technical stuff is mostly slow, and the descents are wide open.  I eat a half PB&J, fill a bottle and start a very long ride of shame alone.

It was a nice ride, but of course I forget how far/long it is until I'm already committed.  Doh.  The tech stuff was great prep for Trans-Sylvania Epic, and the descents only as dangerous as I wanted them to be.  The whole time, I'm thinking about how soon can I get into a doctor and get some contacts/glasses...

So I'm gonna try to get an appointment today and corrective lenses before the end of the week.   If I don't, I've got some issues I need to deal with pretty quick like.


Anonymous said...

Bummer. LASIK, if it's an option, is a game-changer.

Are there still a ton of down trees on Turkey Pen?

dicky said...

I did Lasiks back in ''06. Don't wanna go down that road again.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend Dr. Crawford in Huntersville. He is a cyclist and a lot of his patients are athletes or involved in racing.