just pedal, Shenandoah 100.

Where to begin? Wow! What a wknd that was. Super duper good times around camp and an interesting day in the saddle. Back track to the week prior. Solid couple days of riding, in hindsight, probably a bit much on the volume. But what are you gonna do when the inspiration strikes?

Spent the week in the best recovery mode I could muster. Battling the inner question of when the brilliant sensations will reveal themselves while fronting confidence. Every sniffle, sneeze and cough are searched for impending signs of doom. Not finding any snap on the road bike during the tune up spins, back and hip remaining tight and tender-ish after the weekend's mistakes. Was the 101 it? Hard to tell if you've reached a peak until sliding off the backside.

Word of Floyd hits the press, game plan revised and departure is moved up in order to secure the volleyball court flatness. Pick up Mr Bender 9am, 3 hours later we're at Mr J's for a lunchtime snack and visual distractions, throw in a last minute stop at the Food Lion next door and it's country road to Stokesville. Got the call at the bagel shop and opted out of the pro dawg-rockstar preride of Braley's with Bucky, Harlan, Reubane & Floyd. Didn't know Floyd was involved, or maybe would have swung the effort. Securing land for the Cupcake Compound seemed more pressing. Set camp & rolled out instead for an EZ afternoon shakedown to Narrowback with Bender, Buddy, Topher, Keith & Larry. The gear was rolling well, legs felt a bit better than earlier in the week, game plan seemed to be working. Settled in for a cool evening of food, some beer, and lots of bullshitting w/ friends old and new. The rockstar comp got rolling, a couple of short flyers were taken in the form of pulls from the flask, but no serious attacks were launched.

Up early 5am, reorganize last night's organization, standard breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, shot of coffee from Buck, then off to the blue box, suit up and snack on a bit of chocolatey desert. Carpong appears, last minute social and onto the front line for the start. No false jumping this year, try not to ball it up in the first 400m and exchange pleasantries with everybody while fading to about 200th spot on the pavement. Climb up Narrowback and pass probably about 100 people back. Into the woods behind a bobbling crowd, take a moment to breath, leave a gap for visual comfort, hear a gnarly crash behind, then Carp steamrolls by. Try to hold his wheel.....not. Get passed by a boatload of folks on the way to climb #2 up Lynn. Start hiking in line behind Jaunderson & Churtle, get close to catching Buck until he latches onto Jaunderson's wheel and takes a tow up thru the crowd for what I'm sure was a rippin' good time down Wolf. I hold my own on the descent, only marginal loss of the front brake and didn't dismount once until the bottom rollout thru the pines. Pull of for a pee and a turbo safety check, two hours in.

Find the slum groove and tempo for the next hour into CP#2. Find a comforting familiar face in Nicole and she tops off the fluids as I graze the table and swap flasks from the drop bag. In and out, rolling with a mouth full of PB&J. Quickly back into the quiet place and cheat a bit by coasting the tarmac descent into North River. Sit up for another portion of brownie love then get down to business climbing up Hankey. Catch Carp and the Fooftown Mafia w/ Churtle leading about half way up the red road, roll right on thru and on and on and on and up and up. Then down and up and hike and down and up and hike then down. Down, down, down the off camber love of Dowell's. Wondering if I have enough of a head start to not get caught by Carp.....nope. But at least I'm not caught until the bottom flow, good sign.

Into CP#3, browntown is in full effect, 4:20 elapsed. Top off the again empty camelback, another gel flask, handful of Pringles and rolling. Hear the cheers for Jeff, then see Harlan roll by and pass Floyd going the opposite direction on the pavement, they're only about 1-1.5 hours in front of me right now, wonder if I can close it? Folks talk about the long climb from 4 to 5 to be the worst. I think they're wrong. I dread the portion of pavement along 250 to Mountain House. False flat, not quite spun out climbing with absolutely no rest, unless you get off the bike. Pedal until the world tilts, then hold on and repeat the Fear and Loathing mantra. It's only the drugs, just keep pedaling, it's only the drugs, just keep pedaling. Stop to piss on the shoulder and immediately get passed by a paceline of 20. Back on and on and on up the road, watching the 20 strong paceline disintegrate into shelled clumps of 2 or 3. Catch a bunch by the turn at Mountain House and pick off the rest heading up the trail. Cash in some experience and know when to walk on this climb. Try to recover while hiking bits of the middle third and then give her hell over the top, salvation is at the bottom. Get sketchy scared here and there on the descent, then hit the rollout and sit & spin into CP#4.

5:50 elapsed, stumbling around trying to stick to the agenda. Don't dick around at the aids, get food, get fluid, get moving. Fill the bottle with go go juice, fill the empty bladder and roll. Get to the pavement, look down and realize my bottle is back on top of the cooler, oops. No turning around, passing by CP3 on the way, so sneak in there and grab a fresh bottle. More slum and more of the mantra as the world tilts again. The kicker after the pavement ends is a good test of the legs, up and over the wall ok, then it begins to suck. Loooooooong portion of false flat gravel descending. Spun out and wishing I had a gun. Wishing I could just get off that fucking bike. It goes on and on and on. Fighting the urge to pull over and ball up fetal style sobbing in the brush. Where is that god damn turn? Finally make the left at the T and the road tilts in my favor.

The clock is my enemy. 10mph avg is needed for the goal. Can I do it? Been hitting the CP's on schedule I think, but not sure how the lay of the land will help, not sitting on much of a buffer. CP 4 is mile 60ish, rolled out of there right about 5:55, need to reach CP5 by 7:30 on the clock to keep pace. Gonna be tough to avg 10 over the 17 miles of mostly climbing. Just pedal. Again I'm reeling in the bunch that keeps passing me, back n forth, back n forth. Finally reach the right hander, tell myself that it's only another 25 minutes up to CP5 and go really deep into the cave. Do not walk. Do not walk. Do not walk. You rolled the 40:15 road bike up this bitch back in July, you're sure as hell NOT getting off the 2:1 mtn bike. Fucking pedal you fucking pussy! Clock ticks, 7:30 is ready to flip, each blind sweeping turn brings false hope.

Finally, the oasis appears. Off the bike and stumbling for fuel, graze a bit while the fluids are topped, then right back on it, time is wastin'. Shit, look at the time, past the 7:30 mark, 2.5 hours to get home, 25ish miles to cover, not sure how much Chestnut will help the avg speed. Target is to reach CP6 in 8:30, leaves 1.5 to go 12 miles. I think that can be done. Work it backwards and loosely figure I need to reach Little Bald in 8:00. Be Like the Squirrel, break it apart. Mood goes gloomy as 8:00 passes and no trailhead in sight. Turn one more corner, there it is. Drop in at 8:02.

Chestnut is looooong and taxing. Self preservation takes over and I'm walking the gnarly bits, white knuckling the rest, the brake is not inspiring confidence, but it's still working. Looking for the bottom, looking off to the side and still seeing ridges, still with plenty of elevation, clock keeps ticking. When will this end????? Clock rolls past 8:30, still descending. Fuck, not gonna make it, it's just not happening. Finally reaching the bottom, into the zone of rolling water bars, then a gate, then a creek, then the pavement and a quick spin up to CP6.

8:40 elapsed, this is gonna be close. A-Hoy-hoy-hoy appears from the crowd like an angel and handles my water fill, choke down my last Enervit from the drop and roll. Climb up that steep fucker out of the CP and coast down the other side again. Set the table for the final push and settle in for one last effort up Hankey. The field is thinning by now, gaps are stretching so not as much traffic or targets to focus on. Spy a singlespeeder up ahead and chase down the dangling carrot. Catch Craig, have about 4 pedal strokes worth of conversation and continue on up. Reach the T on Hankey with maybe 9:10 elapsed and breath a huuuuuge sigh, maybe even hooted and hollered a bit. Survive the final downhill and then keep ticking 'em over across the finishing flatness, watching the clock constantly, tick tick tick. 10 looks to be in the bag, what's the final tally gonna be? How long is this final stretch? Pedal Pedal Pedal. pedalpedalpedal. Finally make the right hander into the campground, more hootin and hollerin', throw a micro air off the volleyball jump and 'sprint' her in to stop the clock at 9:30.

9:30!!!!! Fixed. Can't fucking believe it. Still can't. Still feeling good. Still happy, and still grinnin'. Chased that bitch all year long, maybe longer if you go way back to originally seeing Hugh Jass doing their thing and wondering, can I do that someday? Well, turns out that I can, and it feels good to know it. Still lots to absorb, sooo many good vibes from the event. Seems like a lot of people had the ride that they were looking for, which certainly added to the festive nature of the afterparty. Thanks to everybody! Chris for providing the arena for the spectacle. Cathy for her behind the scenes work, MORE for the food & SMBC for the trail love.

It's been one hell of a fun ride.

After party pics later.......


CabbageHead said...

Most excellent, Tomi!

Buddy said...

Good stuff Tom.

Dominic said...

You are the man! I didn't get a chance to talk, but congrats. This was my 4th time fixed, and I don't think there is any way in hell I could come close to 9:30. Fuckin' A! Love to ride with you sometime. Teaberry? Iron Cross? domcilento at gmail

doug said...

Way to go! That is an amazing time. What's the stats on total pedal revolutions?

gwadzilla said...

awesome job out there!

I can not imagine what it would take to ride a fixed gear on that course...
I could not manage the climbs, I could not manage the descents, I could not manage the rocky technical section

you put in a stellar time
you had a stellar good time

good to meet you!
great job!

camps said...

good writin'
good ridin'
fixy fools are da real men

Fxdwhl said...

Damn, you just keep raising the bar of fixed hijinks. Congrats.

Tomi said...

thanks for the words everybody, working on stats....sometime. Dom, will be in touch when I'm ready to climb back on that thing in a couple months....

Anonymous said...

I'm still blown away by that effort. Wish I would have caught up just enough to get properly schooled.