Tuesday, May 29

il Giro: ooof

I'll skip the preamble and get straight to the dessert meat.  No one needs to read about the strange hotel I stayed at with check in at the diner next door and the view of a hospital and a car accident out the window.

For those that know nothing about the Grand Tours of the East, they're basically Enduros... that predate "real enduros" by more than a decade.  Timed stages with long transfers (which are sometimes kinda uphill), mass starts, sag stops with food, and just fewer goggles and pads.  These events are always pretty difficult, with long days in the saddle, a no man left behind attitude, and loads of tomfoolery.  Attrition rates are high although most of the participants are tough as nails.

On the transfer to the first timed section of stage one, there was a KOM at the top of the hill...

Oh yeah, just like the real grand tours, there's a competition for hill climbers, sprinters and the all important DFL (as well as GC).

I find myself going up with Coco and Scales... both on single speeds.  These guys are from VA, so I assume they know what they're doing.  I settle in with their pace, but off the back enough to stay outta the real fight.  Get up in third place, good enough to collect some token points in the KOM competition.

Line up for the first stage and it turns into a rocky descent shit show right away.  Being the only idiot on a rigid bike, I have to jump out of the way for passing riders every once in awhile.  I take a decent hit to the front wheel, hearing the rim hit bottom... everything seems fine tho.

We get into a less steeper section, and we're basically in a rocky creek bed.  I get past Scales and then Coco, lower speed tech on the rigid being well within my wheelhouse.  I allow myself to let small feelings of stoke warm my heart...

until I feel the front tire start to squish about in front of me.  Shit.

I think mebbe I can ride it out, but it gets to the go/no-go point.  I gotta fix it.  Grab my Dynaplug, try to insert the Megaplug, too tight.  Swap over to the smaller plug, insert, inflate... still leaking.  Grab the Megaplug that wouldn't fit before, jam it in there, inflate, pull out the tool...

the plug comes out with it.*


I thought mebbe I saved enough CO2 before discovering my problem that I'd still be able to inflate my tube.  Toss in the spare rubber, go to inflate...


Stand at the side of the trail until someone hands me a pump and leaves me to fix my problem.  Inflate, go to put the front wheel back on... watch my thru-axle roll down the side of the mountain.  Run down, collect my shit, assemble... get on the bike covered in sweat but at least the flies leave me alone once I start moving.

Rolling, rolling, rolling... and the tire's going soft on me again.  Whuh?  I just checked this tube three weeks ago before PMBAR.  No way.  Start running down the mountain.  A couple riders come up behind me.

"Need anything?"


What follows would be too long to read if I went through it all, but let's just say it involved two pumps, a 26" tube, a 29" tube with too short a valve stem to stick out of the rim (and many failed attempts to make it work anyways), and a 3/4" thorn found in the the tire (right before inflating the only tube that would work).  Needless to say, we were the last three guys in the woods, well mebbe except for the guy who broke his finger off and headed back to the start.

I roll into the sag a total shit show.  I'm convinced I'm going to have to drop out, as I don't wanna go the final five or so hours with no tube or air.  I can't be someone's burden any more today.

But the Grand Tours do not eat their young.  It's a community effort, and before I have a chance to even think, I'm handed two tubes and some CO2 cartridges.  I can't quit.  They won't let me.

I take the time to discard all my wasted bits, starp all my new flat fixing stuff to my bike, look up...

The food is all packed back in the truck and everyone is getting ready to roll out.  Shit.

I grab a Gatorade from the bed of the truck and find a small package of Oreos.  Chug and smash and ready to follow the group onward and upward.

Welcome to il Giro, dick.

* It was my fault.  I forgot to clean the Dynaplug with the included pipe cleaner the last time I reloaded the tool.  Totally my fault... as usual.


TJ Morton said...


It was good to meet you Señor Dicky.

Glen Evans said...

thanks! as always i am reading on the edge of my seat hoping for a good result and you turn it in to adventure i never imagined.

Anonymous said...

Was that hotel in Low Moor VA, near Alleghany Regional Hospital, with check-in at the Penny's diner next door?