Tuesday, April 9

I like my streak well-done

I'm doing my best to settle into the fact that my 2024 "season" might be the first one without a mountain bike stage race since I first did La Ruta de los Conquistadors in 2004.  I'm also dealing with the irony that I'm publishing this post on the very day the Pisgah Stage Race starts, which I did last year... and it just happened to be the end of the streak.  Who knew?

BTW: I found these images in scrap books at my mom's house while packing her stuff for the big move.  She was printing out race reports from MTBR(?!?) years before the blerhg kicked off in January 2006.  Those pre-blerhg posts were my first dabblings in longer form writing, which started another streak... which is also destined to die at some point.  *sigh*

Twenty years is a very long streak, one that I will have a difficult time letting go.  Ever since that first one, I started in with a "what's next?" attitude.  2005 Trans Rockies?  People on the TR forum told me it would be impossible on a rigid single speed.  To put that into the "when I was a kid, we walked uphill both ways in five feet of deep snow" perspective, it was a seven day duo-only event, and we had plenty of seven hour plus days riding from one tent camping location to another living outta nothing more than we could stuff in a duffel bag... so yeth kids, stage racing was harder back then.

I did the last stage of the '05 Trans Rockies in Trish's skort, which let me tell you, descending steeps on a high posted 26" rigid bike while wearing a skort came with plenty of challenges.

Anyhoo, I was hooked on stage racing from then on.  All said and done, I finished twenty seven stage races in those twenty years (I'm not including and Tour de Burgs because it's not really real).  I only dropped outta two because of injuries that kept me from going on, and did half of the one week long '13 BC Bike Race with explosive diarrhea.  Good times.  I earned that belt buckle for sure.  

Obviously, I fell in love with Breck Epic and Trans-Sylvania Epic being that I did them eight and ten times respectively.  They're also the two that I tearfully dropped out of when I had my "you're not getting back on a bike tomorrow" injuries.  I've wrecked out of or quit plenty of races in my time, but those were surely the heaviest blows to my feels. 

I'm aware of the fact that eventually there's always gonna be a "last time" for everything, and I'm not always gonna be aware of that in the moment.  I can remember when I thought I'd do at least one hundie a year until I couldn't go the distance anymore, but I haven't saddled up for one since that shit show 2021 SM 100 when I showed up on a geared bike (for the first time ever) with two major nagging injuries and had my worst time ever... so I'd hate for that to be my "last" hundie in my life... but mebbe? Terrible way to leave off, I'd say more so the doing it on a geared bike than the being so slow or riding while injured and making my injuries worse tho.

This year has certainly been a reset for me... mebbe a realignment.  Being a good son has become a bigger priority.  The Pie and I have been working pretty hard on this, and when we work together, we're always better together.  

We celebrated our 29th anniversary this past Sunday by rummaging through our neighbor's garbage.

I used to be more consumed with, for lack of a better term, "cutting edge" bike stuff.  Refining my gear, staying in shape, having relative goals, considering what bike I'd want to be my next "last bike."  Now, I'm 99% content with all the things, and that's just not a feeling I'm used to after twenty five years of endurance mountain bike cycle sport racing.  That's going all the way back to when I was cutting the straps and hoses on my hydration packs to save weight for 24 hour races.

What a ding-a-ling.

Speaking of which, I can remember my last 24 hour race being the one I quit at 1:00AM while I was in second place overall (on my stupid rigid single speed) when I realized a little too late that I really didn't like doing this to myself anymore.  I definitely don't want my next stage race or any other stupid event to be my "last" in that same manner.  

All that said, this year will just be different for me.  My important adult stuff has to get handled, and then I'll get to think about what I'll do with my spare time.  My '24 "season" over there on the sidebar will be added to as soon as I can get back to steering my own ship.  I've got a big week coming up before the Bootlegger 100, but if I can make it happen, I'll be there.  I have no regrets dropping out of the race back in 2019 with "mild" hypothermia, but I've wanted to defeat that demon.  That said, I'm planning on riding my geared garvel bike... mostly because getting my doors blasted off riding outta Lenoir on a 32X18 mountain bike sucked all the balls.  That said, the last time I rode a hundred miles on a geared bike went how?

Oh yeah.

And also dammit.

I don't have the wherewithal to take the Epic EVO SS apart to nab the tensioner and then de-gear the Crux just for a one day thing, and I'm 99% sure I won't have the time to do all the swapping once I figure out at the last minute if I can actually go to the Bootlegger... so there's that.

I think that's plenty of yammering for now.  More later, I guess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you stop blogging today, you may very well be the last human to have blogged…and I will be the last to comment on a blog.
A podium for us both, seeing as I kept you from several in the past.