I will start off by saying, I improved my time by 3 hours and 48 minutes over last year. By this I mean I was able to spend almost 4 hours longer on the bike than last year. I know a lot of folks who can do an 8 hour ride but much fewer can do a 13 hour and 42 minute ride. Let us rewind a bit here so I can give you a few pointers for next years hundy so that you too might be able spend a very long and interesting day in the woods along the way.
I worked until 2pm on saturday and then hightailed it down to Harrisonburg in time to pick up the bike I was planning to ride, which I had never ridden before. The Navigator was going to need more than just a little love and with me rolling into the shop 15 minutes before close it wasnt going to happen. I had my new single speed with me that I had planned to joy ride on monday with Andrea but it was a new build and needed some gearing changes. Done.
Back at the campground folks were steady rolling in and I socialized with people I dont see on the weekly monthy or even yearly. It was good. In the morning, I got suited up and lined up with the big boys and girls. I felt good on the road, but for some reason, I seemed to be over heating quickly. Perhaps there was the ram air attatched to my LAS helmet was amlfunctioning. I was talking heavy trash in the heavy traffic and probably pissed off more than one rider, but it was all in fun. I made some sketchy passes, took some local lines and irritated some more people. Climbing Lynn, I noticed a very loose headset. It would seem everything had finally setted in on the new bike and wouldnt you know it, I was out of spacers. Still talking trash on the side of the trail trying to not ruin my brand new couple thousand in fresh steel, riders now laughed and mocked me for turning wrenches so early in the day. This is the same place I began losing chainring bolts last year. Kurt and Ryan passed me on the tandem, at which point I knew I was dropping way back in the field. Nothing left but to try and enjoy the ride.
At the top of Dowells I laid an eyeball on the man only known as Foghorn Leghorn hanging out so I pulled up a bit sod and joined him. Folks would come by and chat and then roll on, including some cutie who asked if we were "just kickin' it" and kicked it with us for a bit. I rolled out not long after she did after realizing I could get stuck there and got my headset properly sorted by the mechanics at the bottom. Said cutie came passed on the road and was kind enough to let me jump in (she had gears, I did not) and pulled me to Ramsey's Draft. Things got blurry and weird after that. Breaks became more frequent thinking I might get out of no-mans-land and a familiar face would come along to ride with but it never did. Most of those I knew were way ahead of me by now, including the two clowns dressed in pink on the tandem.
Weirdness in the woods...
(photo by Toshun)
It wasnt until check point 5 where I saw Carpenter and crew hanging out that I lost real time. The tandems were last seen here, every rider who rode by had the same look on their face and every interaction the same. "How much longer?" they would ask. At check point 5 I must have lost 30+ minutes and began to enjoy(?) riding alone. Not much to say after that. It was just weird. A long weird day on a bike. At check point 6, I witnessed a guy puking his brains out. Perhaps too many beers at 5? There were also rumors floating of dudes shitting their shammies. Perhaps it was food poisoning. Also one rider got medivaced out after his chainring cut his throat open after going OTB. Here's to a speedy recovery.
"Mainforce patrol. We're out of the game; unable to continue pursuit. Better send a meat truck. Charie's been hurt bad in the throat."