Sunday, May 21

2017 Pisgah 111K: Part One

I'll keep the preamble shortish.

Get off work at 3:00PM on Friday, drive straight to registration, fill out waiver, drive to hotel...

Yeth, I got a hotel room.  Despite having my miniature van life, I know that recovering from the Pisgah 111k before TSE will require some kinda effort.  A real bed and free breakfast counts for something.  Besides, I've told myself a thousand times that the money I'm saving by not buying a van could pay for hotels until I'm done doing this stuff.

Check in at the hotel, ride over the El Chapala, order a novelty sized beer, Matt Sweeney shows up, we get a booth, I eat the best thing I've ever had there, get one not-so-noveltly sized beer, head back to the hotel.  Realizing that I've still got some daylight to play with, I drive back over to the start/finish, park my Fit of Rage, build my #vanlife bed, drink a couple keg beers, ride back to the hotel.  Sleep after watching... something with robots on TV.

Go to breakfast in the lobby in my riding shoes because my flip flops are back at the car.

Ready myself, ride back over to the start, take a spot at the front.

The plan being that I can never hold on to the neutral pace. Start at the front, drift back, begin the climb up Clawhammer with lots of carrots ahead of me.

It doesn't work this time.  Somehow, I'm still at the front when the race goes live. I make a break from the group, because that was something I used to do when I was young enough to do it.  Nothing strategic, just being an asshole.  I can hear everyone riding at a talking pace about thirty yards behind me.  I'm pegged.

I manage to get to the gate at the bottom of Clawhammer first.  Dumb.  As I figured would happen, people start coming around me.  Geared riders... and Gordon and John on single speeds.  And then another single speeder.  Then another.  Then another... who the fuck are all these guys?

I get to Buckhorn Gap in familiar company, but once the gradual descent starts off the backside, I have to let people by me.  Sorry, I suck.

Chris Joice pulls in behind me.  I offer to let him go.  He declines.  I let him know we've still got five guys ahead of us.  He knows.  Apparently, he can count.

We get to the bottom of Squirrel Gap, and I let Chris go up first.  I know how strong he is on the punchy stuff.  He leaves me.  Things stop being so steep, and I get past him where I can actually pedal.  Down Cantrell and I catch a single speeder on a rigid frok.  He doesn't seem to be down with the sickness, so I pass him and keep trying to hold my shit together.  The wet rocks are tossing me all over the place.  Like an alpha male in prison, I'm telling myself, "This would be a lot easier if you stop struggling."  Get down to South Mills River Trail and excite because it's mellow enough to finally eat some gummy bears.

I cross the bridge before aid station #1 and make a wrong turn, but photographer extraordinaire Steve Barker yells at me.  I have no idea why I was gonna go the wrong way.

No needs at the check point and I roll down towards Bradley Creek.  At the deepest crossing, I see the single speeder on a yellow Surly almost across the other side.  I monster stomp my way across, pass him on a steep section, run, hike, and ride away.  Stomp all the creek crossings mebbe making such a splash that others near me got wetter than they planned, and onto the climb up 5015.

Grab some bacon.  Buenos.

I catch up to another single speeder and take note of what he has going on.  He's standing up on the steep pitches and burning matches.  At the same time, I'm staying seated and closing down the gap.  Much much buenos.  I come around him, but I guess he doesn't like me knocking on his door.  He passes me back and leaves me in his rear view mirror.

I start to take personal stock.  My brakes really aren't doing very well.  I never changed the pads after a wet PMBAR two weeks ago.  The weather predictions were for dry and sunny... but the previous night's downpour had served up some gritty conditions that I hadn't counted on.  I didn't feel like I had a lot of brake pad left.  I started thinking quitty thoughts.

Get up aid station #2, grab a bottle, flip my bike upside down, look at the pads... mebbe if it's not too wet on Spencer... and Fletcher... and Pilot Rock... and Black Mountain... mebbe?

The guy on the yellow Surly comes into the aid station as I'm flipping my bike back over.  Shit.

Down 1206, up 5000, up Spencer, down Spencer... Shaggy and his crew are at the bottom.  Mebbe he had a tasty beverage.  Mebbe I drank it... and a minute later, I catch the guy who destroyed me on 5015.  Game on, I guess.  I think I'm in third now, so I'll fight for that.

I hammer my dick off to get to Fletcher Creek without him on my ass.  That trail is my business and I rail it to the bottom hoping to never see him again.  All the way down and I'm on the lumpy Reservoir Road.... feeling good... going fast.

And then I hit a huge rock that I shoulda saw but didn't.


Fuck me.

Pull over.  Torn sidewall at the bead.  Grab the new Dynaplug tool (that I haven't talked about yet because I hadn't used it yet, but will eventually).  Use it not in the right way, plug the hole, CO2... psssssssssssss.  Another hole.  Shit.  Single speed duder passes me and a bunch of others. Gawdammit.  Another plug used in a non-prescribed manner and I'm back up and rolling, but with less steam in the engine, because... flats. 


1 comment:

Glen Evans said...

wow! i am waiting for the rest of the story with much anticipation of good bike race!