Tuesday, October 30

SSWC '18 Bend: Part Five

Morning of the "race."  The "reason" we're all here... I guess.

We now have mebbe ten or fifteen single speeders staying at the finest Econolodge in Bend (on the east side of the river close to the strip club).  Tom from Vassago, Buck and his Michaux crew, the Canadian/Finlandian, Sean (from my La Ruta past), etc... no one wants to be left behind.  It takes awhile to assemble, but we roll out in mass.  As we pedal through town, single speeders come out of every side street like some sad group of super heroes going to (unsuccessfully) fight some crime somewhere.

Roll into Thump Roastery.  The correct one this time.  I've heard as many as 700 assembled there in the parking lot.  Dunno.

Where I'm standing ends up being far from where the front of the group will be.  I don't wanna be too far back at the start trying to make my way through the general riff raff of which most of our group would be considered.  This day will be long enough without being caught in the mosh.  I wiggle through the crowd in the direction I think we'll end up going.

Our lead out vehicle is somehow trapped in the crowd and needs to get through.  The horn honks and honks and the group parts like the Dead Sea, slowly and unbelievably.  As the van starts to go by me, I see Yuri Hauswald clinging to the bumper like... well, like this:

I'm no dummy... one should never miss an opportunity to get up the road.  As the van passes on my left, I stick my front wheel on the right rear quarter panel.  No one will take this position from me.

Honk, honk, honk.  Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle...

Before you know it, I'm at the very front for the start... in the company of many of the folks that actually belong there.  Sorry, not sorry.

I see Buck arrive at the front from behind a bunch of parked cars and between some shrubbery.  I expect no less from him.

The roll out begins.  How close am I to the lead out car?

vid grab from Jason @jason_________b
Those are my helmet vents you can see in that window... so if I was any closer, I'd be in the backseat.

I decide that I will do anything to stay up towards the front until the race goes live.  We've been told that there will be a deep silt pit with random large rocks dispersed throughout very early on, and we would be hitting it at high speed.  I want to get through it before the silt pit becomes a pile of bodies and bikes.  We ride past the start pistol.


I lose quite a few positions with my lackadaisical effort, but I enter the maelstrom of blinding dust and out of control riders in the top fifty or so... ?

grab from Devin Koontz @koontzdevin
From there, I didn't care what might happen. I knew there was a long 12 mile'ish climb to sort things out, so my goal is to have as much fun as possible on the 28 miles of course after that, getting it over with just enough speed to keep me in fast company while still taking the time to smell the roses.

Top of the climb, Bike Flights aid station.  I don't see beer, but I do see bacon.  I never pass up bacon.

The "Trail of Tears" up a pile of volcanic rock was next (I think).  All I can see above me is a single file line of riders moving slowly along the ridge.

photo cred: Mark Rosenberg
Excellent.  This kind of event shouldn't be all fun.  The hike-a-bike is followed by "Hospital Hill," an incredibly steep silt pit with almost zero visibilty, riders walking down, others bombing it with zero regard towards personal safety... myself mostly worried that I was gonna burn through my good jorts with my rear wheel as I hung my ass as far back and low as possible.

After that, somewhere out there... Buck caught and passed me.  A guy named Matt who said he reads my blog.  I apologize to him.

There are a few "danger" sections, I get caught up with a guy with a shit-clanking tensioned single speed that makes me hate life, Buck flats, I pass him back... and I'm on top of a bald at an aid station with beer and bacon... and hot dogs?  I peel back the foil and halp myself.

They told me that I was the first person to eat a hot dog, so at least I was the first at something.  Have a moment with the Angry Singlespeeder and get back to it...

putting myself behind the shit-clanking tensioned single speed once more.

Work my way around him (again), stop at another aid station... I'm behind him and Amelia now in what feels like an old flume.  Get around them... aid station... they leave before me again.

Honestly, almost everything after the hot dog is a blur.  I remember the moments where I could reach my beverage were few and far between.  I pass a guy wearing a very furry costume, and I wonder how he hasn't passed out from heat prostration.  My 32X18 isn't enough to stand on when I'm on the false flats (which feels like 95% of the time).  I pass Amelia, and I want to beat her for no other reason than I met her the day before and now she's familiar, thus a mortal enemy.  Her and the shit-clanking tensioned single speed.

I come into the area that looks like a finish but it's not.  We still have to go down through a canyon, which means one more climb.  I stupidly take a powdered donut-hole hand up, which I now realize is a cruel joke.  Breathing through a powdered donut is like drowning... but in powdered sugar and dry dough as opposed to anything moist.  Despite my inability to breath, I catch up to the shit-clanking tensioned single speed and decide he must go down.  I make a pass near the very top of the climb, cruise through the canyon, and defeat him thusly.

photo cred: David M
That's him behind me in the finish chute.  Take that, you... you... you menace!

insta cred: @lauren_haughey
Anyways, something like 81st place... I guess?  Does that mean I tried too hard or didn't try hard enough?  Dunno.

One more post (mebbe) and SSWC '18 is done.


Glen Evans said...

fun, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Anthrax reference is much appreciated

Anonymous said...

blogs not dead. Good blog. Cheers, Matt

Lithiummetalman said...

Sweet! Great blog. That was a fun race!