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Tuesday, April 2

The Definitely Not Tour de Charlotte '19: Part Two

With my glory-filled dreams dashed, let's go on with the show

A long roll down to the FYT (Front Yard Trails) and we get ready to line up for...

Stage Three.  Dammit.  We're gonna come into the back of the trails VIA the Orr Road Crit course.  So... pretty much a high speed, two turns, mostly downhill start.  We all do a neutral roll out and... go.  Before I know it, I'm at the very back of the Tryers Club with a good gap on the in-it-to-grin-it group.  Zac, the only other single speed I saw near the front today, is rolling a 36 X 18 and manages to jump in the woods a few spots ahead.  I'm probably 12-15 spots back from the leader.

I make a few passes where I can, burning all the matches as I go along.

At least someone caught my weak attempt to nose wheelie outta the bowl trying to do my best to show people that despite my lack of willingness to ride the skinny in the previous stage, I suck at other things too.

video cred: Mary Kaye Zugelder
Aside from almost running into a ditch trying to make an ill-timed pass, I survive to finish in seventh place on the stage.

It's a long, slow roll to lunch.  We get there before the pizza arrives because we're ahead of schedule by a bit.  So... beer.  Mebbe more beer.  Finally pizza... and then mebbe more beer.

On to...

Stage Four.  Ooooowee.  How many beers did I have for lunch?  I estimate 1.5 too many.  We start with a hammer up a kinda steep gravel road and then dive into the woods.  Pushing back the potential vomit, I find myself in a familiar spot and with familiar company, the same color shirts I'm used to seeing in front and behind me.

And because I like themes so much, I finish in seventh place again.  Mostly, I was just happy to keep it outta the weeds on that one.

Back to Tod and Cathie's house for...

Stage Five.

I'd heard a fair amount of this course was gonna be on pavement.  Great.  No reason to not line up at the front tho.

photo cred: K├╝rdt
Looking around, I see the number of people at the start line has dwindled since the beginning of the day.  Feeling the over forty miles with four intense efforts thus far in my legs, I understand why this has happened at our past events.  Tours (and also Definitely Not Tour) de Charlotte do take their physical as well as mental toll.

At least the start goes up a decent climb, so when Tod says "go," I hammer it.  I can't see anyone on my wheel to the left or right in my periphery, and I start to wonder if mebbe everyone decided to play a joke on me and let me go off by myself.

No.

Probably less than ten or fifteen seconds in but yet feels like a lifetime, I explode, and the others start to come around.  Bang a right, down, and another right... more down.  Geared heads and Zac come around beating dicks the whole way.  Jason was leading the charge but misses the turn into the woods... and then comes around me on a line that no one else saw, saying something like "this is okay, right?"

So Canadian of him.

photo cred: Cathie Docherty Schmidt
At least I saw the optional (faster?) line now so I could hit it on the last three laps.

photo cred: Cathie Docherty Schmidt
So, hammer the one climb, try to not pinch flat in the rocks or broken pile of bricks section...

And theme.  Seventh place for the third time in a row.

With three seventh places, one fourth and one totally outta the points, I managed to sneak into seventh place (unngh) in the overall.

Just shy by like a billion points of the second most illustrious podium in cycling sub-culture.

photo cred: Cathie Docherty Schmidt
Obvs why I wouldn't be allowed on the most illustrious podium in cycling sub-culture.

photo cred: Cathie Docherty Schmidt
Jeebus.  That was indeed an arduous and excellent adventure.  Tod, Cathie and frands did an incredible job pulling off a most fun day in the woods with friends.  I can't say racing in the event was any easier than helping to promote it, but at least all the pain is confined into an intense half a day instead of a slow death metered out over many stressful months.

Here's hoping someone feels like doing something like this in 2020 (looking at you, Triple Dippers of the Dirty South).

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