Tuesday, October 25

Pisgah 55.5 "k": Pre-dumble 2022

Where did all these people come from?  I used to be able to get in the Honda Fit of Rage at 3:00PM on a Friday and just scoot over to Pisgah in just a little bit more time than if I was leaving the Queen City at 8:00AM on a Sunday. Now, it's just people... in vehicles... going... somewhere.  Google Maps just dropping red lines in front of me saying "no buenos." 

Get through what is normally the worst of it, and my Googler is telling me to get off at exit such-and-such?  Huh?  Why get off the highway... and then I see a cop car parked facing traffic on the inside breakdown lane... and then three NCDOT trucks blocking the road ahead...

Ahhh... poop.

Get off and the officer at the top of the ramp points left but Google says right and so I follow my (obvs) fellow Googlers and head off into the unknown.  Looks like we're just gonna juke north a bit, and then back south and  west to the interstate.  Almost within sight of the highway, I see the signs of my journey's slow demise.

People are already getting out to look up the road and see WTF is going on.  I give it less than three minutes of my time before doing a shallow ditch U-turn, and back into the countryside where there's no phone signal and time for some of my best guesswork... which doesn't always pan out in this part of NC.  I feel my way towards the highway, end up in some tiny town where I probably woulda been had I followed the officer's directions, and I'm back on track.  Sorta.

Get to Brevard and all I have is Taco Bell on the brain.  Not the best pre-race food, but it's right at the entrance to the forest, and I can scarf down a couple sub-par, semi-meat burritos while I make my tomorrow coffee and set up my cot.

Except Taco Bell is closed for renovations.  Second poop.  I only have two tiny pies in my car... which were gonna be my breakfast.

So... park the Fit of Rage, start boiling my water, shove a pie in my face, assemble the cot in my car... which I almost always forget how the car seat orientation has to be in order to set the cot up relatively level... register and get my number plate and go to get all my race shit in order...

Poop number three.

I'd been getting my Epic EVO SS all ready to do this race and decided last minute to stick with the Vertigo Meatplow V.7 because I'd spent so much time on it these past few weeks and other stupid reasons.  I forgot to move the Wahoo mount back to the Vertigo... and I'd taken the time to look at my STRAVA from last year and wrote down expected times to reach certain locations so I could kinda have what some call "goals"... dammit.

Get creative and mount it on my top pipe where I can only see it on gravel roads (which are few) and hike-a-bikes (which are many).

Backcountry Research Super 8 strap once again showing its versatility... although I was planning on stashing arm/knee warmers here.  Meh.

Now... back over to the registration tent because Eric "PMBAR" Honcho promised me that he'd tap the keg Friday if I came.

I can't help but think his nefarious choice for lighting is totally on purpose.

I kept myself limited in terms of consumption, although this was turning into my "dinner." I didn't wanna have to crawl out of the Fit of Rage to pee at 4:00AM.

I turned in relatively early, already wearing my chamois and base layer to save myself the pain of putting cold things on my nether regions in the morning.  I grabbed my chamois cream and crammed it down in my front pocket.  My feet had gotten so cold hanging out in the parking lot that I shoved them into the sleeves of my puffy coat inside my zero degree bag.  Eventually, the throbbing went away, and I "enjoyed" a night of sleep with interrupted moments of covering/uncovering my head part.

6:30AM alarm.  Wake up, grab my thermos and mug, open the rear passenger door to get at my cooler with the creamer... the lid is covered in ice.  Go to pour my creamer into my first cup of coffee (which isn't steaming like I knew it should be)... and the creamer is frozen in the container.  Open my remaining tiny pie... and it's as hard as a rock.  It was "supposed" to only get down into the mid-30s last night, but obviously that's not how things panned out.

I decide to be "that guy."

I've never been one to sit in my idling car to keep warm before a race, but I'm also not one to want to sleep in a car when the temps are in the mid-20s.  I grabbed all my race attire... which was selected at home for a mid-30s start and not a mid-20s start, shoved it down in the bag, pulled up Hulu on my phone, and watched Solar Opposites whilst sipping my lukewarm Joe.

And I did not feel bad about this at all.

I stayed in my car until just about the last minute, put on all the things I could think might keep me warm enough to not die, and headed over to the start in time for the rider's meeting.

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