Monday, July 26, 2010

The Curse of Dark Hollow

After a visit to the ER to stop some leakage and get a couple photos taken of my femur which is part man, part machine, I left with that feeling of dissatiafaction and wasted time that I always have after walking out of the ER and took off work until I could see the man who implanted the metal to begin with. The Doc (that's doctor, not Department of Corrections)gave me the official thumbs up and said he was glad to see me putting his work to good use, so I took a little spin around on the bike to see if I could stretch out my quad a bit. After lunch with Gwadzilla, I began thinking about sunday. It seemed most of the gang was heading out to Michaux for 40 miles of racing in the rocks, and somewhere along the way I got talked into coming along. I havent really competed in any cycling events in over a decade, unless you count Tour de 'Burg which I would classify more as an event or extravaganza than a race.

Up at 4:30AM sunday morning, packed the car and headed to Tastee Diner for breakfast and a cup before meeting everyone at Poz's Place and making our way into Pa. Along the way, predictions were made and goals set; mine being to finish with a smile on my face. The start was Le Mans style where you run to your bike and then begin racing. DK tweaked an ankle after putting his foot in a hole and went down before even getting to his bike. I heard him grumbling about seeing if he could ride it out. A horrible way to start the day. Im a poor runner so I started way back, so the first 15 or so minutes would be passing folks on a very loose and rocky double track decent where plenty of high rollers were fixing flats. I recognized Roger Masse and Colin from the 'Burg in those stopped early on. Things began to thin out on the first climb and Colin came up on me along the way. I jumpped on his wheel and we chatted of his troubles: a thrown chain. I sat on his wheel and enjoyed the fixed gear show unfolding in front of me. We probably rode together for 45 minutes or so throughout the day and I only witnessed 2 pedal strikes. Oh, and one over bars moment. We saw a nicely folded tube on the trail with a tire lever, then a boot and wondered if we would get to witness a trail side melt down when someone flatted and realized their repair kit wasnt there. I was killing the downhills all day and rode with Churtle through the tight trees along the lake just before Aide station 1. Tony was partaking in a beverage when I pulled up. I hardly touched my water so I grabbed a cup, threw it on my face and rode off with Tony. We began to climb the gravel road and I noticed his seat bag was open. I told him so and then asked if it once contained a nicely wrapped tube and yellow Pedro's lever. That was the last I saw of Tony for a while. My guess was because of a mental meltdown.

In route to Aide station 2 I rode with several people at certain points including SSO rider Todd who was at the Shed the previous week when I got my hipper. I was feeling pretty good, but consuming a lot of fluids at this point. At Aide station 2, I hungout for a bit, and saw some slummin' faces and tried lightening the mood. I had some grub and Todd came and got me outta there before getting too comfortable, which is good seeing as I had been there 10 minute already.

I spent much of the time between Aide 2 and 3 solo, or going back and forth with a few people and found myself beginning to slum until I heard Colin's voice behind me. We pulled off and snacked for a few before heading on to the next water stop.

A storm was most def brewing while I loaded up at Aide station 4, so Colin and I decided to roll out. I started off slow and could see the ominous clouds of the fast moving storm one ridge over. By the time I got back into the woods, those charcoal masses were overhead and combine that with the thick canopy of pines overhead, I am quite sure I have done nightrides that were better lit by the moon. As the wind began to howl and the rain began falling, I thought, this is what its all about. The adventure. You could hear tree limbs falling nearby and every root and rock became more potent by the moment. I passed several riders slummin' hard and asked if they needed anything. They said no and one even looked suprised to see me riding. Although I rode the entire last section alone... alone and soaked to the bone, I was finally able to find that thing I call my grove, where you feel so comfortable on the bike and all seems to be right with the world, and it seemed such a short distance to the finish.

I checked in, grabbed my camera hoping get at least one or two worthy images from the weekend. Roger was able to come back from an early mechanical for 3rd in his group, and it was good to see DK finish the race in good spirits tho he seemed to have a nasty limp. I told the gang about my encounter with Tony and they chuckled. Tony came in and then revealed stage 2 of his meltdown. He had frozen his camelbak bladder the night before so it would be nice and cold for the ride and it wasnt thawing. Funny thing is, if he had come to the one stage at Tour de Burg he planned on coming down for, he would have learned this mistake from others who did the same.

Leakage...



The source...



Rubbin's racin'. That's me in the yellow earning my line on the first DH...



(Tomi foto)

Im diggin' this one too...




Tomi's full set

Dont worry, there is more to come....

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