Last week I got a call from Scandinavian Jesus talking some nonsense about riding in a 100 mile mountain bike race that was going to be all on fire roads. I wished him luck and then went about the rest of my day. He waited until later in that evening, after I already had a few adult beverages, and asked me again. He rationalized that if I just rode 100 miles on my fixie that I would probably be ok doing 50 on dirt roads alternating laps with a partner. In a moment of weakness I said yes. We briefly discussed what bikes to ride and he mentioned something about being able to borrow a geared 29er from a friend, to which I responded “Fuck gears!”
Our fate was sealed.
I have to admit, I went into the day with a really bad attitude. I have never done a mountain bike race that went around a mountain, and had zero singletrack. Waking up a half hour before the start to frozen water bottles and frost over everything probably didn’t help either. In short, I was just plain grumpy. My partner went out first lap while I waited in the exchange area with none other than The Gnome. He dropped some knowledge on me and gave me a little pep talk to change my salty attitude. Then Scandinavian comes across the line to tag me in for my lap, smiling ear to ear looking like this:
Aside from bicycles and booze, I am a huge fan of live music. Something I have learned from years of going to shows is that one sign of a good performance is the reaction of the crowd. Even if the music doesn’t please my ear, the band is doing a great job if the crowd is going nuts. As I settled into my spin around mile 5 of my 26 mile lap, I came to a similar conclusion. This race really isn’t for me and my one gear, but everybody that was passing me would yell support for DC and maybe even give me a wheel for a mile. Bottom line, everybody was having a great time. I finished the first lap with a respectable time and waited for my second and final lap. Scandinavian busted out yet another absurdly fast lap and I started my second lap with a new found stoke. The music was loud in my ears and the food and water were going down great. I was even handing out high fives to more members of the DC family on course. I was having some serious fun. Then it happened…full stop, with 6 miles to go. Everything in my body shut down. I couldn’t believe it . It felt like hour 16 in a 24hour race, not mile 46 of some one day event. I crawled to the finish line in full survival mode only to be greeted by my crew in all their glory.
Nothing motivates you through the last quarter mile of a race like getting chased by an ape and a banana while throwing down an ice cold beer. Unfortunately that time on the clock shows that we missed the cool belt buckle prize by a mere 2 minutes, but I was suprisingly ok with that. The experience of the day had far outweighed some little metal trinket. I met some really great people on course, and Red Rock put on a flawless event with copious amounts of free beer.
Until next week (reporting from Interbike)…keep it dirty!by