At 12:01 AM we shouted: “11 hours and 59 minutes to go!” from the fire-pot in front of the Kona tent. The event was far larger than I imagined it would be. It was impossible to not stay up late. Lights, noise of generators, music until 3:00AM. Serious riders; serious bikes, and people just out to do a lap and have some fun. Deep into Saturday afternoon, I abandoned my camera ready spot at the rock drop-off to go into my leaking tent during the squalls of wind and rain that pelted the riders. Had I pants, I would have stayed outside for at least part of this. Many were beaten by this wind, yet many beat it back with strength and perseverence. People were blown into Cholla cactus and there was one woman who landed chest first into one, and second hand I heard of the screams that pierced the trail. Some gave all; All gave some. It’s cliche, but appropriate in this instance.
On the way in, dust storms enveloped my touring bike twice, blinding me. I rode the wrong side to avoid the dust wake caused by so numerous the trucks and cars coming into 24 hour town. I left this morning 1 hour before the finish. Many drivers had the same idea. The rain had moistened the soil into a state of stability. Oracle road was head-wind city the entire ride in, and, as I watched the trucks go by with knobby tire bikes in cargo it occurred to me that I was the only one up there this weekend with slick tires, and that I almost regretted not registering in time and being able to spend a few hours on that loop with other racers. I met lots of great folk, and found out that there are those that ride for drunkcyclist that don’t feel the need to write on this blog, as there are people that write for drunkcyclist that don’t race in our jersey.
Amazingly, I missed Gnome, but I saw Dirty cut down the rock drop in a good display of skill, and got what I hope is a good photo. My Cannon powershot camera (beat to shit, doesn’t show half the screen, but uploads fine) is MIA at 24 hour town this morning in the proximity of the Kona tent, but may have shaken out of my front bag pockets on the washboard riddled road out.
Happily wiped out yet dry and comfortable in my old bread van as it starts to hail in midtown Tucson… I’m looking forward to subsequent and better race reports by the Flagstaff crew. D2 may downplay himself but he’s a gentleman and a scholar, and races bikes representing DC in good form. As I watched him walk away this morning to do another lap, sleep deprived as anyone present, I felt my respect for him solidify. Nice work in that tough weather, team Drunkcyclist. Way to represent.by