Thursday, July 7

The Only Race That Matters™ (not really): Part One

It didn't dawn on me until I'd been up there for a day or two that I hadn't been in attendance for six years.  Where did that time go... was the pandemic a six year thing?  My first one was... 2008?  Dunno.  When was the last time I did the Full Pull™?

Anyhoo, get up there around supper time (for normal humans) the night before and get right into building lasagnas assembly line style for tomorrow's meal, and mebbe eat a much needed actual supper at closer to an old person's bed time.

Lube chain and check tire pressure.  That's it.  99% of the reasons to ride a stupid single speed at The Only Race That Matters™ (not really).

Up at 6:00AM the next day and head out with Boyes to the start of the first day after helping to load up the support trailer with all the beverages and such.  I'm pretty sure Le Directeur Carp barks out some instructions about directions to the amassed crowd about where we should go and course (sorta) markings and how long it might take a human to get around the first timed segment...

Go and also viva.

I'm getting along fairly well in the group up the first old road climb and following a sizeable ensemble of sinewy legged humans.  The road starts turning down, and I make my way around a couple slower riders when I see Sowga standing there in the middle of everything.

"I don't think we're going the right way."

"These guys seem pretty sure," I respond with the confidence of a man who knows no better.

Sowga remounts his single speed, the only other one in the bunch here on day one, and joins us in the descent...

Until someone comes to a dead stop in front of us.

"Yeah... we shouldn't see this view if we're going the right way," he says while standing at a huge clearing with a bunch of giant electrical towers right the hell there.


We all turn around and start climbing back up the hill... 500 extra feet lost, 500 extra feet to gain back in a very pointless manner.  

I get to where we shoulda went left but we went right and sigh.  Not even fifteen minutes into the first part of day one, and I'm already about as off the back as possible.  Once we turn off onto a trail which name I won't mention, I start to feel... dead?  Apparently, not eating all day yesterday and then consuming a late supper and then being more than four hours separated from breakfast PLUS the parade climb over here and also the oppressive heat and humidity that has my cycling outfit drenched is all having an effect on me.  Oh... and I mixed my Carborocket 333 on the weak side because I forgot to order more before I got here... and I'm sorta banking on living off the sammiches at the lunch stops. 

I'm pretty sure that everyone who took the wrong turn has gotten around me... aside from Dana who had a flat while descending down the wrong way.  Talk about salt in the wound.  Even the fastest of the fast guys who went even more off course have come around with all their youthful vigor.  If not for Dana's flat, I'm pretty sure I'd have a solid start on earning the DFL jersey on day one.

Eventually, I get up to the very back of the field that went the right way and get around one more on the descent down to lunch.

Grab a sammie, check my Wahoo data acquisition device... and we've already climbed like 3,000 feet in only 21 miles... and I've burned @2,700 calories... that apparently I never put in me.  No wonder I'm ded like single speeds and 26" wheels and also democracy.

Begin our parade to the next start, and the lightning starts popping off in the distance, and as the rain starts up on cue, we all stand around and chortle. 

"Well, one day in, and I've already got two chips on my Tour bingo card.  Take a wrong turn and ride in the rain.  Now I just need to wreck, and I'm well on my way."

We begin to filter into the singletrack climb in "race mode."  The gradual climb peters out into a steep hike-a-bike back over to the climb I did already once today that I wasn't supposed to do... at least I know how it goes... until I forget that we descended into the wrong turn which means we're now climbing back out to where we whence came before.

Oof.  I was climbing pretty well, but now I feel empty again.  Stop.  Eat the one gel I have.

The women's leader closes the gap to me, but she offers up the trail as we hit the next descent... which is essentially a narrow ribbon of moist dirt hidden by wet stinging nettles hanging over the trail.  We're getting ripped to shreds while occasionally sharing many hairy moments while occasionally something completely unseen knocks or drops us off our lines.  

Expletives and whatnot mumbled or exclaimed...

Until I'm sent off the side of the mountain after coming up on the wrong side of an impediment to my forward progress, and I'm tumbling down through a field of nettles.

"Are you okay?"

I mean... I am... in general terms.  I'm kinda stuck in my bike... and I'm about fifteen feet lower than the trail... and the nettles have done a  job on all my meat sticks... but sure?

She leaves me to it, and eventually I figure out how to un-Cracker Barrel puzzle myself out of the tangle-mess.  Back up on the descent and I think I'm feeling outta sorts as I approach a strange sequence of downed logs...

And I'm touching the floor again.  The bike doesn't feel quite right, but I'm putting the problem down on the quality of the pilot.

I drop out at the bottom, fly past the timer, and hit the road back to the parking lot...

And I notice that my front tire is almost entirely moosh.  Perfect timing and explains why things were feeling a bit off.

Snapped the tip of my valve stem off.  Somewhere.  Out there.

Day one and I've already had a week's worth of mayhem... or so I thought.

Missed turns: 1
Rain events: 1
Wrecks: 2
Nutritional errors: 1
Mechanicals: 1

Oh, and...

Wardrobe malfunctions: 1

1 comment:

Dana said...

That was some salt in the wound and it made me salty, in the parlance of our times. It was good riding and lasagne prepping with you!