In a stool. beer in front of me, The Wonderboy at my side. All by 5:08PM.
Six Hours of Riding Around in Circles with Other.
I decided to do this race because I was provided proper impetus. No one thought out a better plan for me, and my friend Eastwood recently decided to concuss himself, leaving him with a race entry he no longer wanted.
A non-concussed Eastwood looking non-concussed.
Plan in stone. Wake up, go to race (well, ride my bike around in circles with others), drive to Revolution Cycles, drink beer, go to Watts's (what the possessive of Watts?) house, and let him regale me with tales of mud and gravel and Kansas (boring).
My only beta on the course was watching videos on YouTube. Not entire videos. Couldn't do it. Boring flat trails being ridden at moderate speeds. I could only handle around thirty seconds of anything I tried to watch. It looked smooth, not very climby, nothing that plays to my strengths. I swap my meaty, high-volume tires for something faster, my gear to a 32X18, fill six bottles with Carborocket Half Evil, four with water, grab a handful of gels and a kit. In bed around 10:30PM after a shower and some stand up comedy (watching it, not performing).
Up at 5:20AM and in the car before 6:00AM. I think I'm actually excite. Maybe it's the coffee. Six hours of riding a relatively smooth trail with very little elevation in disgustingly high heat. All I need to do is keep hydrating and continue moving forward. Easy. My injury shouldn't bother me. It's just pedaling after all.
Get there. See people. Talk. Find out that the trail system has 2-3 miles of new, not ridden-in trail. It's bumpy. Like "knock you teeth out" bumpy. Tom Boylan, a single speeder who hits up Pisgah on a rigid, has swapped to suspension. I tell them about my late night tire swap... they look at me like "dafuq?"
The race starts. Thinking it will be a race of attrition once the mercury goes above 90°on its way to 96°, I start off slow. Into the woods with the general population. Once it thins out, I start working my way up. Around a rider, and then another, and then another...
Come upon a junior rider. Announce my pass on a wide, slightly uphill straight away. He guns it. I am disappoint. The guy behind me tongue lashes the youth. The chastised boy lets me by at the next opportunity.
The new sections of trail. They're all blood-in-the-urine rough. No way to make enough speed on the flat'ish terrain to stay on top of the bumps. I feel them all... in my body parts.
Make the first lap in just over thirty minutes. That's good news... sorta. The race will go no more than eleven laps for me at that rate. Eleven is one less than twelve. Ten would be even two less.
On my second lap, I experience a front wheel washout in a very loose corner (there's about a million of them). I kick out my left foot to save myself from falling over, and that little electric pain in my sacrum area says, "Don't do that again." I start thinking maybe that doctor who told me I should be better in four to six weeks didn't say two and a half for a reason. I remind myself that falling on my left hand side would be no bueno.
Back through the bumpy lumpies. Good lord. I can feel each one. This is going to be a long day. Slow and steady will not work here, but I can't get going fast enough. Meh.
Third lap... at some point I'm confused and think it's the fourth, get hopeful, and then figure out it's the third. My still injured back part says, "Don't you listen?"
I decide to pull the plug. I thought I knew what I was getting me and my hip/back/sacrum into. I was wrong. I pull off at my cooler, minutes shy of the finish, and get into the six pack I was planning on taking to Watts's place. One beer, some idle chat with some other cooked riders and duo class racers... decide to do at least one more lap at whatever pace for "fitness."
No jersey and gloves, because HOT. Do the lap in a time that wasn't too shabby (beer and forty minutes sitting on your ass helps), pull over at my cooler. Drink a beer. And another. Head over to the finish line to get credit for the effort. Pack up. Hang out. Head towards Greensboro (but get a Five Guys shameburger on the way).
Spend a delightful evening with Watts and his offspring, which turns my spirit around about 160°. Not a complete turn around, but I'll take it.
So yeah... next weekend. Mebbe I ride my mountain bike and enjoy it entirely. Three and a half weeks is almost four weeks...