5/5/08

patience

Spring Michaux went well, another experiment.
Psyched to get after, bit of bitterness to spit
out after Cohutta, unslain dragons to be hunted
down.

Camping, fun. Choice of tent spot, didn't test it,
wake up with a stiff neck. Annoying, but it'll be ignored soon enough. Big question is the legs. Fog rolls in and out, sun teases us from 6ish to 7 or so, then a bit of blue, then more gray, then it finally burns off. Extra hour of prep before the start meant nothing as I was still a bit late for the pre-race. Take a front to back approach and slot in second thirdish row, big crowd back there. Then Wonderboy decides to stage us by class, which I wasn't excited about, but it was actually kinda nice considering how big the ss class was. Also meant I wouldn't be fearing for my life on the first 25mph descent after that quick roller at the start. Watch Jake and Cheryl leave with their 2minute headstart, nerves ticking, cleansing breath, GO! SPRRIIIIIIIINNNNT.
to 18mph. Then SPIIIIIIIIN, and relize how fruitless it is on the falselfat down and wait for the roller and there goes TimmyD on the right with young Martin on his wheel and it tilts down and......there goes the train. Swarmage, bigtime, see all the recognizable faces go by, the contenders checklist, flattens out, start to close the gap annnnnnd it tilts down again. Swarmed again, don't really recognize anybody this time. 10minutes in and I'm already looking over my shoulder......I see two riders about 15 and then 30seconds back. I have a lot of people to pass.

Hit the next roller, close the gap, now on the end of the long train, visions of TimmyD and Topher and Buck and Doug and MArtin and and and and......just rolling away off the front, clean trail in front. And I'm stuck in fucking traffic with guys who are crashing on thumb sized virgin roots and loam. or 3" 'logs' Time to make some moves and try not to be an ass about it....or say fuck it, this is racin' bitch. Take the inside alternate line on a few occsasions. See it, gun it, stuff it.

"Oh, so that's how it's done....." he says.

"Yeah."
If I hear you coming, or if you're actually holding my wheel, then talk some shit, otherwise, watch and learn, son.

Conversation is short and sweet,
"Hey man, yoou reallllly need to pass this guy in front of you."
"Ya'll are kinda holding us up...."
click click click goes the ticker. I know they're up there, clean lines, rolling the morning flow. I just keep passing, and passing, and passing. And hey there's green!

"Hey Buck!"

"Tomi!!!!"

Trail turned near itself, Buck is that far ahead. How long until I'm back near that spot.....more traffic, finally finding cleaner lines, traffic is thinning, getting in front of the herd. Shit, downhill doubletrack. Harlan goes flyyyyyyyying by after flat #1. I don't even pretend, chat with Browntown Bender as he slides off into the trees....and again. Roll that rock garden with steady flow and figure I'm feeling pretty dialed. Take comfort in spoting Keith up ahead, know that he'll be running a good pace. Must be getting back into my normal company. Long steady gunnin' chase to reel in Keith and Michelle at about the same time. Pulled off a puckery move getting past Michelle, somehow bulldozed thru a possible dayender and kept her hooked into the loam, then got the hell out of there. Tick, tick.

Who's next.......VisitPA? RayRay? No shit....now I'm getting somewhere. Latch onto Ray's wheel then get sloppy immediately after he lets me by, ooops. Let it come back to me and find the slimey root flow again. Work the terrain best I can, knowing there's some fixie false flat descending slum coming up soon. Cross B'ville, still small gaps and steady pickin'. Never attacking to get around, just steady hard work. Up the variation to Climb&Punishment onto Piney, sit up and take in the morning view. Eastern exposure over Adams County orchard country in springtime damp morning light, don't forget to look around.

Then Fender, 20minuteTT done at a 25minute pace. Patience. Get off and hoof it, don't be a hero, there's nobody else out here, burn those matches later. Always looking over my shoulder. Where's Ray? Keith? Out of Fender, not really caught by anyone, another carrot about a minute up the road. Into My Fav, and super bummed to see Tim with a torn up wheel. Today's battle of I9 vs Meeshow Rock, goes too...........Meeshow Rocks!!!! Sorry Tim, hate seeing you like that on race day. Over the shoulder, somebody back there about as far as I'm behind the guy in front of me. Steady Gunnin', don't need to find the limit, you saw that line earlier this year. Clean run across My Fav, tick. Maybe passed soomebody? Dunno, things were kinda tilted from about hour 1.5 to 3. Got into that zombie groove of just workin' it. Just keep rolliin' it, been here before, check the tach, yeah 170....perfect. Just keep workin'. all. day. long.

And they'll come back. Secret Singletrack to Cliff to Grave's Ridge. Caught by probably 2nd place Vet, didn't ball it up, couple of smart dabs. Caught by the OldGuy. Saw the Littebug fixin' a flat. Wasn't in the mood to chat, know that the climb begins after Graves, DeadWoman's is only part of it. Find soome quiettime, hit the hardroad. Look for a familiar face, need some beta, gotta be pulling back into this thing......There's Kent, something about Keefer....
"What about singlespeed????"

"You're fifth-ishhhhh......"

Dayummmm, where's my gel. Water. Let's go to work. That must be Keefer ahead, OG still back there. Play it smart, don't be a hero. Pick away at the gap. pick pick pick. hoof hoof hoof. oooo! couple of singlespeeder up there beyond Keefer. ooooo! they're hiking. focus on Keefer, he'll get you there. pick pick pick. tickticktick. hey, that's Buck, and....Chad?

OK. now we're really gettin' somwhere. See the pit crew go to work as I roll up, they're gettin' chains lubed. It would be nice, but that's time I can't spare. Roll in, swap bottles, do my duty with the Dale's Pale as Buck rolls out and the three of us are gone. No one back there, Larry tells me that it's Topher (who's flying!), Martin, then us three.

Interesting. Podium on a fixed gear? hmmmmm. Enjoy some chitchat with Buck & Chad, then we turn right on Three Turn and I bid them good bye. They weren't keen on the idea of giving me a 5minute headstart. Did a good bit of nerve wracking coasting down that road, Saturday pre ride served me well. Saw Keefer go whizzing by and heard somebody else after hopping over the gate. Saw Poz on the descent to the big water jug. Hairiest moment of the day was throwing it sideways to a hockeystop in the middle of that loose babyheaded rut. Kind of save where you look around to see anybody else saw it....nope, still all alone. Thru the maze of Tobacco Patch, watching the masters battle it out and occasionally catching a glimpse of Chad & Buck. Then there's seperation, then just Buck up there. Then it's me, a beginning to cramp up Buck and the OG hiking the creekbed. Not in a mood to discuss the principles of aging, I'm off in search of my quiet place and that red jersey I keep spotting just around the corner. And then up ahead on Woodrow, and there's another singlespeeder in the mix...looks like we've reeled someone in.

Still quiet back there over my shoulder, so focus on those carrots. Both are walking, if I don't walk, I'll cramp for sure. Choose your battles. Work the pitch, on the bike, off the bike, on the bike, off the bike. Catch him at the top of the first headwall. He blows by immediately and I see him working hard for the holeshot in Rattlesnake. He's riding Rattlesnake well, just maintaining, I'm lurking, still steady gunnin', patience. Just ride 'em into submission, patience. I'm not gonna attack, but I'm not going anywhere either. tick tick tick. 4:20 goal long gone, 3hr arrival on top of DeadWoman's blew that one away. Still quiet over the shoulder, where's Buck? I know he's coming, I know it. Off of Rattlesnake with a typical run down it, dabbing the typical spots and into Heisler's and the NowhereLoop and where's Buck? Out of Nowhere and up the speed jumps and bang BANG.

LAte game hammy cramps. Kick it back, but don't stop. Push thru that shit, it's just muscle fiber tearing itself apart, it'll heal....push. roll. pedal. still nobody back there, to the snowmobile bridge, left right or straight.....staight! thank you. my favorite way out of this drainage, ss dude still hangin out up there, up that bit of a headwall after that patch of roots and looks like he's slummin'. Quick test of my legs on the same pitch, definitely more spring that what he showed. Down the mudbank, cross the road, ss dude pulls into the aide station...whuuut???? damn, he must be slummin'. I roll thru knowing only Loglsed lies ahead. Get some beta that Cheryl is 2minutes up.....another carrot, or insurance that I wasn't gonaa be chased down. lots of over the shoulder hope around those corners, awfully quiet back there, where's Cheryl? Jake?? race ain't over until the finish line, they gotta be there.....damn 2 minutes.

No surprise right hand turn up to Shake & Bake, so it's a straight shot into the cattle chutes. Five oh something finish time. 20thish place overall, and get this......5th place singlespeed. I actually got called up for a podium, racing on a fixed gear.

makes you wonder.

11 comments:

Fxdwhl said...

Hell yeah man! Good job out there.

Hmmm.... said...

Awesome Job!

Brett said...

Sweet ride and rite.

camps said...

Epic writing,
how the hell do you remember all that detail? I didn't see your notepad out there. You seemed very happy to get out of those newby trails.

dicky said...

sweet butter beans

Cellarrat said...

nice!!

Anonymous said...

5th place sucks

Bender said...

It doesn't suck as bad as being to chicken shit to use your own name.

Buddy said...

Nice Job, good seein' you again.

I still think you have some kind of short circuit or something, I mean Fixed at Michaux, that is just crazy.

jeff said...

nice riding! and honest write-up. you say what needs to be said and do it with style.

Tomi said...

thanks everybody! more to come, hopefully. one foot in front of the other.