Monday, September 10

Pisgah Monster Cross '18

Despite doing a thing I said I'd do and also getting my new behk, I have to say the most incredible part of my whole weekend was watching Kate Courtney win the World Championships.

Lumpy throat, tear in the eye moment.  It was incredible.  I don't wanna tie too much to national pride into the matter, but seeing somebody, a very young somebody, just make that moment for themselves.  Wow.

Okay, me.

Preface:  All photos below are compliment of Steve Barker/Icon Media Asheville (So  I don't have to say that over and over).

I mighta made a smart (or dumb) decision Friday night.  A friend had offered me a bed to stay sleep in less than ten minutes from the start of the Pisgah Monster Cross.  Instead of standing around in the forest, drinking beer, wishing I woulda got something to eat, and then crawling in the back of my car to sleep, I could be comfortable.  Alone, but comfortable.

I actually chose the latter.

I picked up my second regrettable fast food meal of the evening and headed over to Nik and Jess's place in Brevard.  I spent the evening eating top tier Taco Bell, watching a movie on my phone (because I couldn't figure out Nik's computer), and I was in bed before 10:00PM.

Unprecedented moments.

Up at 6:00AM, coffee, organic toaster pastries and the very last of my '18 supply of Rocket Red (aka cheat juice).  I arrived at the start with probably the first good night's sleep I've had before a Pisgah Production race in five years.  I may not be fit (or non-chubby), but I'm well-rested.

Line up at the front and let the fast folks back into the line in front of me... where they and many others belong.

The race starts, and I can hold on to the neutral pace for awhile.  The geared riders are soft pedaling.  I'm trying to make noises from my mouth that aren't wheezing and gasping for air.  We bang the right on 477 and the pace accelerates as the cop car pulls away.  I keep the front of the group in sight until the horse stables... and then they go off into the distance.  It's not long before the "haves" leave me, and I look over my shoulder to see the "have nots" reeling me into their fold.

Up the climb and I can see the t-shirted, carbon 26" Fuji guy leave me in his dust.  This guy...

He's literally on fire. 

I eventually catch back up to him, pass him... he's a vision.  I wonder if every one else can see him

The thoughts about quitting come to me pretty early.  I wonder what exactly I'm proving to myself by finishing this or any event. It's been awhile since it's been a goal to "just finish," and I'm torn between the feelings of arrogance that I can do just that (if I want to) and knowing that quitting "just because I don't wanna" is also an option (if I want to) as a grown ass man.


Coming down into Aid Station One, t-shirt guy rips past me.  I can't be the only one who sees him.  People are holding his wheel with purpose.  Damn it.

Out of the aid, I catch a single speeder, who according to my loose observations is either third, fourth or something else place.  I give him a slight (and very fake) attack.  He responds.


I ride along hearing him talk about his terrible descending skills at ORAMM.  Mebbe I catch him on a descent later...

Or so I tell myself as he rides me off his wheel.

Up 215 (paved) and we drop into the new gnar that I've never seen.

Steeper than (I make) it look.

I've kinda sorta given up on the idea of quitting at this point.  The easiest option back (once I return to where I'm aware of my place on the planet) isn't all that much easier than just taking the route back.

A random onlooker deep in the woods tells me that I'm almost halfway done.  I inform him that I don't even know how far the whole thing is but thanks.

 Carey Lowery catches me on a fairly rolling piece of road out there somewhere...

"You're gonna like what we get into next."

"A bar?"

More thunder chunky gnar that makes me super happy to be super droopy, and I roll into Aid Station Two.

"A single speeder just rolled outta here." ~ random other racer

"I don't care." ~ me

Realizing that I sound like a dick, I apologize.

"Sorry.  Thanks for letting me know, but the only thing I'm chasing out here... is my demons."

I think I have a fair idea what's coming up.  I'm entirely wrong.

Things hurt and I regret not quitting when it woulda been easier.  I also regret my cotton shirt.  I also regret the jorts I'm wearing with a seam that's trying to saw through my taint.  I very much regret that I've not drank very much in terms of liquid, given how much I've squoze outta my helmet thus far.  I consider trying grab my Tummy Gummies outta my SWAT bibs, but I waited until the wrong moment.  I either need to stop on the climb up to Gloucester Gap or risk my biscuit on the way down.

I do neither.

Roll into Aid Station Three.  I peruse the options and see.... sheeeeeeeeeeee-it.  Bacon?

I like this place very much.  Take my time eating bacon before I see pickles and start making bacon/pickle/bacon sammiches.  A guy rolls up, looks at the options... mumble mumble... something glucose.

"You can have the rest of my Tummy Gummies.  I no longer need them."

He wants to barter as he feels bad about taking all my food, but I tell him that whatever is in his pockets, unless it is bacon, can not compete with bacon.  I grab a couple more pieces of greasy porcine strips and roll on to the climb up 475B.

I'm all too familiar with what's left, but that doesn't make me hate it less.  So much more climbing to descend back down to a similar elevation where I was at eating bacon... just 15 miles from here tho.

Finish 475B (I thought it was easier this direction?), up 276, down 477 in full droop, hit the flat pavement to the finish line.  Such an easy pedal from here.

I see a pack coming after me.  Flash back to the only other Pisgah Monster Cross I've ever done.  Passed right before the line, blocked at the barriers from running as they walked side-by-side, lost a couple places that cost me enough points to slide down one place in the King of Pisgah Series.

Not this time, shifty bitters.

Make the final turn into the finish, hop the barriers...

Not quite in the style of Garth "Sideshow Bob Buju Banton" Prosser...

nor in the particular idiom of Ohio single speeder Kenny Kocerak...

but fast enough to beat those guys chasing me down, if for no other reason than because I could.

Me telling Kenny and Chris how tall of a stack of bacon I devoured earlier.

The guys who beat my dick off in the single speed category minus the one guy who crushed me when I tried to destroy him less than sixteen miles into a 75+ mile event.

Stoked that I hung it out and did a thing when I didn't have to, nor had any reason other than to prove to myself I can still do a thing.

Not sure what all that means, but mebbe I look into a reflecting pool at some point and look inside myself... or not.


jacobtubbs said...

26" Fuji t-shirt guy came by me on 477 so fast I almost quit. So, if he was a terrible vision, we both had the same terrible vision.

Anonymous said...

I saw tee shirt guy before the race and something told me he was legit.