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Wednesday, April 11

6 Hours of Warrior Creek: Part Two

Since I have no concept of time (obvs), as soon as I head into our third lap, I wonder if I made it out of the transition area before or after the team that Nick had just passed.  Had I left him standing there too long?  I had no idea what the guy looked like, because I wasn't waiting in the right spot, so I decide I just need to go as hard as I could and hope for the best.

There are points on the course where I can see anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes behind and sometimes in front of me.  I scan the woods, knowing that if the other guy knows what I look like or my pink wheels, he'll know he's catching me... or being caught.  About halfway through the lap, I'm fairly confident that I'm ahead and outta sight.  I allow myself to have fun...

photo cred: Dan Wilz
Oh yeah, the course is now dry and tacky.  My lower back is still angry about that first lap tho, so I can't push it too hard on the climbs.  I hit one of my favorite descents, Hard Sun starts playing on my Shuffle, I for some reason think of my dad, and remember that it's ten years ago this week that he died.  I start crying.

Odd.

I give myself a moment to do that, but then remind myself that he wouldn't probably advise me to be grieving in the middle of participating in a dangerous activity.  I tell myself to stop that.

As I get closer to the end of the lap, the rain starts back up in a most modest manner.  That should make things interesting if it continues.

I pop out of the woods, cross the line, Nick is ready to go (bless his heart).

I tell myself to actually focus on the task at hand this time.  Eat, change into a dry kit, wash the bike, drink the cheat juice.  I do all those things.

Riders are coming out of the woods at a slower pace than before.  Clumped in mud.  Obviously, the conditions are deteriorating.

I find myself talking to Jarz (in first place SS duo) and Boylan (second SS duo).  Jarz is ready to go back out.  Boylan is wearing street clothes.  He's not going anywhere.

Huh?

He says he's had enough.  His plan?  Tell his partner when he comes off lap four that if he wants a fifth lap, it's on him.

Ouch.

Head back to my pit to wait. Stretch out my aching back before I have to get back to it.

I see Boylan's partner come out of the woods.  I yell to him that he's got a surprise waiting for him.

Nick pops out, I see him this time, toss my puffy, and we transition like you're supposed to.

That last lap... so messy.  So hard.  So...

I wonder if this lap is even necessary.   Did Boylan talk his partner into back-to-back laps, and I'm chasing down a weary rider minutes ahead of me, or are they done for the day?  Did the team behind us even bother starting a fifth lap?  Did they even get back from their fourth lap in time to start?

Such is the way of doing things when racing duo without support people to keep tabs and communicate and whatnot.

Faster Mustache Skinromper, GORE Windstopper vest, Taddihog flannel tiny hat and HandUp winter gloves are my saving grace.  It's cold.  It's wet.  Every rider that I pass seems sad.  This makes me feel better about my situation tho, because I know they'll be out there even longer than I will.

It's been awhile since I've ridden so in the moment.  Knowing I just had to do this and there's no music in my ear anymore and I'm not seeing that many others out there... kinda simplified things a bit.

I finished, covered in clumps of mud in places I don't think they should be.  The bike washes have long lines, so I roll down to the lake.  Me and my bike take a bath.

Head over to the awards, find out that not only did we not get passed when we weren't looking, Boylan's teammate didn't wanna do back-to-back laps four and five, so we moved up to second.

I guess we can go ahead and be a little proud about that.  Only thirteen teams/solo riders made it out for a fifth (regrettable) lap.  We did a thing.  Yay, us.

Despite the conditions, 6 Hours of Warrior Creek and all the halpers and volunteers did a great job.  Once again, the rewards for stepping on the podium were lucrative, the post-race food all the buenos, and this year... FREE (good) BEER.   Excellent.

3 comments:

Glen Evans said...

congratulations!

Kelly White said...

Saw you coming up from lower camp, wtf- thought you had a mudchanical. I went in to the woods about 1.5 min after you but you kept putting distance every ridge. Nice work in most fucked of conditions. kelly (team 410)

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