Wednesday, October 11

King and Queen of the Watershed '23

I went to the King and Queen of the Watershed with zero aspirations, aside from spending some quality time with my frand, Watts.  That's always been at least 60% of the driving force, aside from having some interest in turning late season fitness into making sorta good bike race.  I've only been back on the mountain bike twice leading into Sunday's event since seeing my knee cap, so my only goal in the timed sections was to keep the rubber side down... mebbe have a little fun too.

Unfortunately, I didn't leave the house fast enough on Saturday, so I was still around when the mail was delivered.  Nothing sours weekend plans like getting that final ER bill and finding out I owe The Man approximately 1.7 Vassago Optimus Ti frames (or $2,700 in US monies).

Anyhoo, Watts still had the taps flowing at Revolution Cycles when I got there, and I had a chance at some bonus rounds while he stayed open an extra hour to set up a guy with some clipless pedals and shoes... and teach him how to use them... which also allowed me enough time and wallet lubrication to purchase a Vittoria Air-Liner Light I'd been eyeballing.

I couldn't halp myself.  Mebbe I'll "review" it later, as it's already on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7 and getting ridden the next two weekends.

We managed to keep the general debauching to lower levels that in the past, and getting to bed slightly after midnight allowed for what would closely pass for an appropriate amount of sleep.  

As per ushe, Watts would have us pedal the twelve something miles to the start as opposed to driving to the finish and getting shuttled to the start in a school bus... which of course tacks an extra twenty five plus miles on to the day but whatever.

The race is over five timed segments ridden in an individual time trial style format.  There's just not much to say about the racing action, as you have no idea how the "race" will shake out, and your only real issues will be trying to pass people who started ahead of you and getting out of the way when one of the nineteen riders in the E-Bike category came flying up your ass.  

Tee hee but not really ready for ER or ER bill-related humors.

Generally speaking, I gave it just about all I had over the first three stages.  I was pleased as punch to see I was able to chug along in the 180+ BPM zone for such long durations, but somewhere in the middle of Stage Four (after a couple slices of pizza), I realized that I'd forgotten to have fun.  This was the first time I'd been feeling comfortable at speed on a bike since my wreck a month ago.  The weather was perfect, riding next to Lake Brandt was aesthetically pleasing, and I don't think I had to get outta the way of an e-bike stampede for the last couple miles.  It was, as the kids say, buenos.

I did go ahead and put my whole ass into the last, short stage... as if they would perhaps mebbe reward a prize to first place not-from-Greensboro single speed class... but no.

As the post-race beers went down, the results from each stage trickled in.  I was in sixth place outta eleven... which is what I told Watts I wanted. My favorite number and also precisely mid-pack.  

But damn, if I didn't fall back to seventh after my "fun stage" when I allowed myself to forget that I had a number plate on the front of my bike.

But also damn (in a good way), putting my whole ass back in race mode on the fifth stage meant I clawed back the time I'd lost allowing my to cling to sixth by a hang nail. 

What else can I say?  Many beer tickets found their way into our mitts.  Those tickets were transformed into beers until they took the kegs away.  Many podiums were had, and Watts and I were not fortunate enough to be present on any of them, save for the award for last men standing (in a field). 

Dammit, I love this race... despite the five 20-30 minute intervals that test my limits every year.

On a very somber note (because I can't stop thinking about it), 23 year old Zoe Clay passed away after sustaining critical injuries at the event this weekend.  A GoFundMe has been established to help her family deal with the medical and funeral bills.  I can't really put my thoughts into words on this beyond that, and at least I was able to write 99% of this post before I found out about what happened to her.  My heart goes out to her family, friends, the community, the promoter, and everyone that is having to process this unfortunate turn of events.  Yet another reminder of how precious this gift of life truly is and how quickly it can all go away.


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