Sunday, April 22, 2007

99 Problems But the Bike Ain't One

This title came to me last night around 10:30pm or so as I was out on my night and final lap of the Baker's Dozen. A 13 hour race down in Virginia. I participated in the 3 man class with Marc and Kerry.
Due to being ill the past few weeks I did not get anywhere near the amount of riding I wanted or needed to get in. Before my illness I was riding great (for me anyway). I was feeling stronger than ever this time of year. Maybe stronger than ever. I had gotten my riding times up and had a nice solid base going. Then all hell broke loose.
Friday I got ready for the race in normal fashion. Still doing wash and packing 10pm the night before. Which drives Marc crazy. When everyone was pre-riding I decided to hold back to save myself because I had no idea what I had in the tank only riding 2hrs and 15min over the past 3 weeks. Yup 2hrs 15min, horrible! Marc did persuade me to go take a look at this one drop off so I wouldn't be surprised, get hurt, and could ride it. It wasn't far from where we camped, so no big deal. Then the race began.
Marc started off by doing a double. I was second in the line-up. I was ready and waiting to go. No problem. Nerves in check. Had everything I needed. Marc comes in yelling "monkey". That's when I notice I lost the nipple to my Camelbak. I scramble around and Amy gives me hers for my lap. Marc trades off the anklet and I'm off. My legs and lungs are tight as I expected. I push on, thinking they will open up. The more I ask of them, the more they laughed at me. On top of this my head is draining profusely so I'm constantly blowing huge snot rockets and coughing up gobs of crap. Nice! I shift down and move into survival mode. Then the heat starts to get to me too. I love warm weather, but a 30 degree change in one day is just too much to race in. As I ride along people keep asking me if I'm ok. I think that's odd and just keep going. Later I found out my face was bright red and they were worried about me.
Lap 2- I ditched the undershirt to help with the heat. However, Amy needed her nipple back, so I had to use my Camelbak with none. This doesn't sound hard, but it is. Luckily I do have an on/off valve. However, what you have to do if leave it switched off, then put it in your mouth and start sucking as you turn it on, suck as much water as you can get and then turn it back off while still sucking. Oh and you have to do all this while riding, which means you can't breathe throughout. But I had no other choice since if I didn't do this, as soon as the valve is opened, the water recedes back into the bladder, causing it really hard to get it back out without sucking up a bunch of air. And due to the huge amount of cow pies that littered the course, water bottles were not an option.
Lap 3- by now my ass is killing me. As I jump back onto my bike I quickly realize that 3 weeks of little to no riding took away my cycling butt. The pain was horrible for the first 10-15min until it worked back in. I also had the sunset lap. This is good and bad. Good because I wouldn't have to night ride (yeah!). Bad because the sun was at such an angle through the trees that I was blinded. The heat of the day was finally going away as well and that was great. Though I was tired, I felt like I finally got a second wind.
Lap 4- my last lap, however it's now almost 10pm. While getting ready to go out, another guy on another team comes in saying he just saw a guy fall on the course, and how he was screaming in pain and just went on and on about how gruesome it was. I was already having reservations about riding at night, I hadn't night ridden since 1998, I just got new lights and wasn't sure how they were going to work, I don't see well at night as it is, and now this horror story. He just kept going on and on. I got so worked up by the time I took off I was almost in tears not wanting to go because I was so afraid of suffering the same fate.
I hit the first part of single track and it's not too bad. I can see fairly well and I just chug along. My butt still hurt and my back is aching, but hey, that's endurance racing. As I get into the next section it's more tricky. There are a lot of freshly cut saplings scattered on the trail. During daylight I missed them with no problem. At night it was like they were magnetic drawing my wheels to them. I was bouncing off of and running over everything. It was out of control. Then I came across one of the zillion tri-logs and realized I couldn't see the back side. The light cast a shadow, so it looked like it dropped off to nothing. This wouldn't be an issue except on my prior lap, several of the tri-logs were loosing their back sides and getting sketchy and I didn't want to go flying over the handlebars. Some I flew caution to the wind and went over anyway, others I erred on the side of caution and would pause and dabble at the top making sure something was there on the other side.Finally, I made it back and I was in one piece. Luckily out of all the issues I had, my bike was the one thing that didn't let me down. Luckily I was flat-free and no mechanical issues throughout. It must know I'm about to replace it, so it wants to stay on my good side.
Kerry and Marc rode their asses off throughout. Neither had any issues other than Marc ripping the palm of his hand off riding rigid on such a rough course. We ended up getting 8th place. So it was a good race.


Suki said...

dood...I (<---put that in bold and italicize it) almost cried about that night lap just reading the blog.

you're strong, monkey.

you make me wanna race...

shopping carts or remote control airplanes...or something else a little less physical than bikes hahahahaha

glad you got back in the saddle.

feels good, don't it?

IF Chicks said...

you rocked on that night lap..they will keep getting easier.

way to overcome the fears and
give that new light a decent first time out on trail.

we must do this again :)
monkey power at LODI !!!!!!!!!!

kd said...

Sounds like fun! Nice recap of your night lap...My second night rid ever was during a race & I remember dreading the sight of my teammate coming up the hill, ready to hand off the bracelet. Was glad to see she made it, but scared to death to head out on my own!
Builds character, makes us stronger!
Great job...

megA said...

Mon-KEY! Mon-KEY!!!

You are my hero, and I am so so so proud of you. I do not have the boobs to pull of such a stunning feat. I am a wuss. You, however, are the monkey. Fear the monkey!!!

Go baby GO!!!!!



Anonymous said...

Jay-Z over DMB! Shocking, absolutely shocking.
Great job at the race, See you Sat night at PRG?
Buddy & I climbed like poopy Mon night so hoping for a better show this w/end.

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