Tuesday, May 9

The 2017 Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race: Part One

By the time we make it to the racer meeting, we're about as far away from the start line as possible.  I leave my bike on the ground with Watts and high step my way towards to front to get my passport.

Back at my bike and a few minutes later, I see people opening them up.  I guess we'd been given the go ahead.

Flip through the pages... I recognize all the places in my head.  No need for a map.  I have the general direction I want to go at the beginning based on what I've learned in the past.  We step over bikes and racers hunched over maps like tiny football players doing tire drills.  We get up to the start and Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever says it was only time for passports to be opened.  No one gets to leave for another minute or so.  Meh.


We're the first ones out and up the trail.  When it bangs a steep left, we hop off and let a couple geared teams past us (to include PMBAR podium regulars Sam Koerber and Jacob McGahey).  On the steep pitches of Lower Black, Bob Moss and Mark Farnsworth (another strong SS team) are right on us.  Great.  Let's race head to head for 8-10 hours.

Bang a right on Turkey Pen and that's where I decide I don't want company anymore.  I push things a little harder than I normally would this early, and although Bob is still with us, it looks like Mark has popped.  Good.

Left on South Mills and a few times I second guess what the hell we're looking for, because I've never really noticed where the hell it intersects with the "hiking only" trail called Wagon Gap.  Quickly stare at the passport and see that it's on the other side of the river, so logically after the bridge... I guess.

It was a good guess.

When we get there, the other two teams that were ahead of us haven't even left yet.  We see Sam and Jacob go left.  Damn.  I want to go right.  We'll see what was the smart play later, I guess.

South Mills to Bradley Creek... and holy shit.  The first river crossing is way higher than I've ever seen it.  No choice here tho.  Grab your pants and take a chance.

Balls deep and then some on my four apple tall body.  I guess I'm gonna be pretty moist for awhile.  Before we get to the super shitty part of Bradley Creek with its more creek crossing than I have digits to count them on, Thomas Turner and Tristan Cowie come by us.

The good news being that smart guy Thomas is going the same way we are.  The bad news is that we were beating him and now we're not.

Splash through Bradley a thousand times fighting strong currents and gravity and cold water in all the places until we get up to 1206.  Bang a right.  I think this is when Watts first told me his tummy was rumbly.  Meh.  Long day ahead, so not the best time to be fighting with your insides.

Get to the bathrooms at North Mills, fill up our completely drained water bottles, hop back on 1206 to Wash Creek Rd... and here comes Sam and Jacob from behind.

"Guess your way was faster." ~ Sam

"Why didn't you go up Bradley Creek?" ~ Dick

"I thought it would be chest high." ~ Sam

I didn't know that could be a thing, but I'm highly relieved it wasn't because I don't know what I woulda done.

Our feet are frozen from the multiple dunkings on Bradley Creek.  We're making our way up Wash Creek Rd at Sam and Jacob's pace, so regardless of Watts not feeling so bueno, we're not losing ground... until we get to the steep part of Spencer Branch and they leave us.

Somehow though, they're still at the check point when we get there, and they barely leave out before we do.  Head over to Bear Branch in the no-brainer manner, and on the way, Watts tells me his bottle cage is broken.  Hmmm... he's gonna need two bottles, and packless PMBAR doesn't leave much jersey pocket real estate for excess baggage.

I quickly remembered the thing I coulda done the time I lost the Shenandoah Mountain 100 by 1m 17sec because of a bottle cage issue.  I whip out my Gorilla tape, and with some solid teamwork, we lose less than two minutes fixing it... which is probably less time than we spent putting on props at the Bear Branch check point for a photo op to earn a homemade Snickers bar.

Time to re-up my supply of Gorilla tape.

Down Bear Branch and Wash Creek Rd to the bathroom and fill up our one empty bottle and now up 1206.

Watts tells me... he's feeling... not good.

I give him some of my precious Gunny Bears, made even more so because I left my baggie of bacon in my cooler, so they're all I got.  I tell him he should be feeling better in fifteen minutes or so.

I'm making that up.



Anonymous said...

Damn Rich, this is an exciting race story!!

Anonymous said...

Diaharea cha cha cha...think its funny..real dark and runny..diaharea.. cha cha cha

Watts said...

If you were making it up, you should have said I'll feel better in FIVE minutes, not fifteen. Placebo effect would have kicked in sooner.

Anonymous said...

dicky- more about the Mexican restaurant image in last post- I'm reading No Commercial Potential right now. Congrats, you are the spitting image of Frank Zappa.

Chris T said...

Hope those were special gummies?

Glen Evans said...

real good story so far! i can not wait to read the next one!

Chris said...

Custom Maxxis tire boot from tire hanger .. brilliant!

dicky said...

Actually it was a tire boot until I realized I would have to remove the Gorilla tape to use it... so that orange chunk of number plate is my new, more compliant tire boot.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Looking forward to hearing about watts violently shitting or puking.

Also, very sad to see Tilford's blog link roll down your list. He was always up top with his dailies

Eric Gadlage said...

Too pre-race burritos that were left out in the sun all day. Blowing that race up!

Anonymous said...

I got distracted at Frank Zappa!! Funny shit.