Well, well, well, I have been reading another blog and it seems as if I the target of the blogger. You know the one who doesn’t have much to say about much I don’t post much and don’t have a head the size of a hot air balloon. So in deference to his extremely popular blog and my much less so popular blog I will avoid using the words “not much to post” and “took pics on my ride today” and stick to his uncanny ability to pump up his own inflated ego.
Racing is not really the best way to have fun, 24 hour racing makes racing even less fun and as I did one last weekend I have spent the past week trying to recover my will to ride. Not as easy as one might think. I don’t want to see any mountain bikes at all, I don’t want to ride the road bike and I want my freaking calf to quit cramping. I broke a chain and raked the teeth of my crank set up the back of my calf causing an immediate cramp and bunches of blood, but the cramp won’t go away, it seizes up at random times while walking the dogs or riding causing a bit of pain. Not that it bothers anyone else, but I care about me, at least when things hurt me.
So the race went well, I got one flat, one broken chain, one continually dragging rear disc brake, 16 hours of rain and mud more slick than ice. Fun, no? Well not really. The race began with a stupid long run, I hate runs to the bike, it makes me tired and hurts my feet in my cycling shoes. You must get to the bike, and although all the people competing for the overall run like sprinters, I, myself, trot slowly. As I get to the bike most everyone else is already flying onto the trail acting as if this first lap will decide the final placing of the race. NOTE TO ALL YOU GOOFY PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THIS, IT IS THE FINAL TOTAL NUMBER OF LAPS YOU DO THAT MATTERS, NOT WHO FINISHES THE FIRST LAP FIRST.
So I cruised around dodging people, getting passed and in general saying hi to folks I have met at previous races and members of the Los Lobos club. It was kind of nice, well really I felt good so I was having fun and for the first 8 hours it was pretty much just like that, ride along have a good time and enjoy the off and on again rain. It all changed as I stopped at 10 PM to grab some food and take a quick shower and have a few beers before I went off to sleep for a bunch of hours because my partner in the duo class had gone home and wasn’t going to ride anymore that night, so why should I? Well we were in first place! What me in first place at any race, no. So instead of kicking back and having a good time I looked for a coke, some meat and some chips and ate as much as I could as fast as I could and was back out on the course.
Overnight I managed to do a bunch of laps, but our rival teams had two riders going all night, not one. (I should clarify it was cumulative not cooperative for the lap total) So for every two and half I did, they did four. It was mentally wearing to pass people, and know I was still losing laps. I managed a brave “I can do it” face until 0400 and just had to sit down for a few minutes and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Upon waking I jumped up and realized I was really really hungry. So I ate and ate and ate and then finally left the dry safety of the Lobos tent city for seven more hours of fun in the rain.
As the race continued parts of the course where closed due to danger for the riders, and as the course was modified we got to ride new and more slippery sections of “less” dangerous trails. Well they where wider than the stuff they closed off, so when I fell I had less chance of smashing a tree with my face, but more of a chance of smashing the ground with my face. Fun, fun, fun. I made it until noon, when, generally speaking most 24 hour races stop, when I crashed.
At this point I was standing up and riding more than sitting, and I won’t tell you exactly why, just think water, mud, 17 hours and a nice light and normally comfortable saddle and well I hope your imagination takes you to why I was standing. So I was pedaling down a pretty straight slippery flat section of double track when I lost concentration for a second lost my front wheel and fell way faster than it took you to read this. It hurt, not just my pride, as a few people saw me, but my wrist too. It felt like a mild sprain and hurt like a mild sprain and I needed a reason to hang up the old cleats.
At this point we couldn’t catch first place and third was too far behind to catch us so why not take advantage of the excuse? I could have taken some advil and kept on going, or eat a bunch of grilled Pork and sit down and relax. Well relaxing seemed the order of the day. The pork was very good. Thanks Stefano.
All in all a pretty good race. I am recovered physically at least, my legs felt good two days after the race, but I am not motivated to ride at all. Bikes are bringers of pain, not the fun machines they where prior to the race. Another week maybe the fun will return, but today it is drizzling and instead of riding I am typing this drivel. I need three more hours this week to reach 18 hours riding, but what the hell, I like popcorn and petting our dogs, so I will eat popcorn and pet the dogs and think about riding, that should help my fitness level, right?
For those of you who are interested, King Cages rock, not a single lost bottle for me but others lost bottles everywhere, the Avid brakes I used where very good, aside from the constant dragging which turned out to be the fault of a bad bleeding job by a local shop, I used Kenda and Maxxis tires, the Crossmarks where not great in the mud, the Karmas not any better, but no tires would have been good on this course. Who else? Oh a great frame by Stoic cycles that is now being painted and the best handle bars in the world Luv Handles by Groovy Cycles. Oh and I used several products for energy from Hammer nutrition to keep me fueled physically. Mentally, well I am never stable there. Hope you are all well and next time I hope some funny stuff happens because it is more fun to read about my failures than successes. Of course I have very few successes so I won’t have to wait too long to write something funny, to me at least.
(From Michael…. many more photos of the race here on Flickr)