Old Pu and a Wet Kiss Goodnight

Know that movie “The Perfect Storm”?

If it had taken place in the desert, Old Pueblo would have been a great place to film it.

Friday was awesome.

Saturday dawned with wind. Lots of it, and strong.

The race started, and the clouds built up fast.

By five, it was pouring rain and the temperature plummeted.

So here’s the all-encompassing race update from D2, the guy that had low expectations and met them for the most part, and the scoop on the good gear and the bad.

ITEM 1: RIDE STRATEGY.

Start off slow and taper off from there.

ITEM 2: WHISKEY.

D2: Hey JB, you want some Scotch?

JB: Is a bear Catholic?

ITEM 3: BREAKFAST.

The clouds rolled in as I cooked up some sausage, hash browns, and eggs.

She Looks Pretty...Right Before She Bitch Slaps You.

She Looks Pretty...Right Before She Bitch Slaps You.

Gunnar in the foreground, primed and ready to race. Ergon Grips were awesome. Kept my hands and my back where they should be.

ITEM 4: TOILET PAPER.

The rarest animal in the desert this past weekend. A trip to the port-a-potties meant taking your life in your hands…or at least your wipes. My pre-race poo came twice on Saturday. Bright and early, then a mid-afternoon reprisal. I carried it around for a lap. I think that’s worth some extra points.

ITEM 5: LE MANS.

Late to the starting line. I cheered on Dirty as he ran past. He saw me and yelled, “What the hell?” A late start is better than no start at all.

Lots of DC jerseys at the start. I passed a few familiar faces and some not-so-familiar faces, all sporting DC wear. It was great to see…sometimes I forget people actually read this site and are privy to the bullshit I spew.

ITEM 6: CHOLLA.

Straight up nasty. If you don’t know what it is, googlize that shit right now.

Lap one was full of these little nasties, since the wind had kicked up and sprayed sand into every orifice on every body on the course. The cholla would snap off and fall into the trail. I remained unscathed, luckily.

On lap one, a woman fell into a cholla and had it all over the front of her body. She was screaming and obviously panicking pretty badly. By my second lap, they were just loading her into the Search and Rescue truck. An endurance event of a different kind…

ITEM 7: SPANDITOS, GIN RUMMY, AND MY FIFTEEN HOUR LAP.

After lap two, I took a scheduled break for food and new digs. I put on a fresh jersey and knee warmers, changed out the lenses in my glasses, and got my EXPOSURE LIGHTS ready for use.

But all for naught.

Because the sky looked like this.

One Mushroom Stamp, Coming Right Up.

One Mushroom Stamp, Coming Right Up.

It doesn’t look so bad on the screen, but a few moments later, the temperature plummeted and the rain started. I sat in the truck with my wife and decided to see where this went.

It went fucking south.

Harder men (and women) went out in the rain and toughed it out. I, who had just gotten over a three week illness and despise pain and discomfort, sat in the truck in my spanditos and waffled back and forth, back and forth, trying to convince myself to get going. My wife said, “If you went out, would you have fun?” I said, “Fuck no.” She said, “Will you be angry at yourself if you don’t go out now?” I said, “Maybe.” She said, “Don’t go out.”

Wise woman, that one.

We played Gin Rummy for about three hours. It stopped raining around 9 or 9:30, by which time the temperature had plummeted pretty low. I decided to get some sleep instead of sacking up and going out in that, which I sort of regret, but in keeping with my “have some fucking fun and forget about everything else” theme, I think I made the right call. I’ll take the fifteen hour lap.

ITEM 8: 4 A.M., MOTIVATION, EXPOSURE, SUNRISE, FEELING GOOD.

Small favors from above. My wife woke me around 4:30 in the a.m. and refused to let me sit it out. I got out of the tent. Froze my nuts off. Pre-lap poo. Banana. EXPOSURE lights on the bike. These things were fucking amazing. I will never use a different light. I sported one on the helmet (the Diablo) and one on the bars (Six Pack). I never even used the highest setting because they were so bright it wasn’t necessary.

Rolled out of camp with stiff joints, frozen fingers and toes, and fun level at an extreme low. Ten minutes later, I was alone in the desert and happy again. Wishing I had done another night lap, because shit, the desert’s so great at night. Cold as balls, but great. Me. Lights. Critters. Cacti. Cold wind and whatever ridiculous thoughts pop in my brain.

The sunrise happened when I was on the backside of the course. Great view. Great start to my day. Lucky for my wife getting me up outta bed.

Morning In Oracle

Morning In Oracle

The South End of 24 Hour Town

The South End of 24 Hour Town

ITEM 9: THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME, THINGS THAT SUCK, THAT PESKY MOTIVATION AGAIN

Didn’t stay in camp for too long after that lap. Had to dry out my digs, warm up a bit, eat some chicken (clutch move on my part. Drumsticks pre-grilled at home were my saving grace), and take the lights off the bike and helmet. As I was getting ready to go out for another lap, Littlejar popped his head out of the tent and cheered me on. Poor guy froze his sack off that night, but still had good words to say. Things that are awesome.

Things that are awesome: ran into Dirty on this lap. I yelled to him from behind, pulled up alongside. He looked like a shellshocked Iraqi. He didn’t even recognize me at first. Guy was balls out, pushing the pedals, tapping it out. We chatted for a bit, and we both came back to life a little. Made me feel good to be out there, like I wasn’t alone. That’s what’s always messed with my head about 24 hour races: sometimes I’ll be on the course and not see anyone, and I’ll get paranoid, thinking the race had ended, or I was on the wrong trail, or everyone else had been vaporized and only I remained to ride an endless loop for eternity.

Right.

Things that suck: lap four, a sharp pain in my left knee told me to sit down when I got back to camp. Motivation drains through the sitting position, apparently, and I felt it necessary to call it a race. Injuries are not what I need right now, as I struggle to get myself back in good health after four years of teaching.

Things that are awesome: Adam came in from his last lap. Dude pulled 12 laps solo, looked a bit worse for the wear, but goddamn. Solid effort. I had proposed another lap for him, and he shook his head like a child saying no to a trip to a doctor for the biggest fucker of a needle he’d ever seen. Sheer dread. I don’t blame him a bit.

Things that suck: I am still cleaning sand from my ears/nose/eyes/throat/unmentionables.

Things that are awesome: the big finish. Rolling down the big rock. People cheering. People loving bikes even after shit weather. Smiles. Unbelievable.

Nick LeBag. "I stayed sober for 11 years."  "Then what happened?" "I turned 12."

Nick LeBag. "I stayed sober for 11 years." "Then what happened?" "I turned 12."

Teacher Ben Rolls It

Teacher Ben Rolls It

D2. "The eighties called. They want their neon yellow vest back."

D2. "The eighties called. They want their neon yellow vest back."

I don't know who that dude is, but I saw up his skirt. It's where cholla come from.

I don't know who that dude is, but I saw up his skirt. It's where cholla come from.

ITEM 10: SUMMATION.

I’m confident I had three more laps in me. I didn’t do it, though, but I count this trip as a success for a few reasons: one, every moment I spent on my bike I had fun. This as opposed to last year, in which every moment was agony. Two, the prep I did for this race got me back in shape, and finishing lap four knowing I could have done more was a good feeling. My legs, my lungs, my back, everything said I had it in me.

Will I do it again? Hard to say. My initial response is no, because it sucks being cold and uncomfortable and tired, but hell, one morning lap with sweet lights, a quiet morning, ice cold toes and fingers…shit, that’s what it’s all about, ain’t it?

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

18 thoughts on “Old Pu and a Wet Kiss Goodnight

  1. Sounds like a helluva good time under the big sky. has me itchin for this midwest-february-rain-snow-bullshit to end.

  2. Nice, I gotta try one of these 24 hour things. Screw the cholla, I’ll try and fall on peyote.

  3. Nice report D2 and well done.

    ..regarding the exchange: “If you went out, would you have fun?” I said, “Fuck no.” She said, “Will you be angry at yourself if you don’t go out now?” I said, “Maybe.” She said, “Don’t go out.”

    Your wife is clearly an intelligent person. rational, thoughtful. Obviously has your best interests at heart.
    Persons like that have no business at a 24hr mtb race.

    I jest.
    (truth in humour)

  4. That’s an awesome report.
    Did anyone stop at the whiskey tree? I did. I drank that shit down. Yes, it was delicious. The spectators looked at me like I was a freak of nature. So I drank more.

  5. fuck yeah….great post. Item 1: ride strategy…got one thing to say and it’s a quote from M. Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face…”. nuff said.

  6. …re: “…everyone else had been vaporized and only I remained to ride an endless loop for eternity.”

    …i gotta say, ya can’t discount that kinda stuff when you’re a child of the psychedelic ’60′s…i was cool but that shit happened to a few friends a’ mine…

    …in truth, major props to every one of you folks who braved that 24 hours in time…you folks are the real cycling heroes in this day & age…

  7. It was pretty funny, Dirty. When I first came up on you, you looked like you had no idea who I was, and as though you might have been wandering lost for some time.

  8. “Anybody got any plastic bags? We got a rider that wants to keep on going” said one of the folks up there on our end. A quick scramble for bags found two each registration handle-bags and I saw a guy in all black rain gear walk back to the trail – me wondering, back in the tent, “Who was that baller?” I was warm enough, though… Northbuttface makes some good shit… but it was damn cold any time I was out walking, with flip flops and shorts. The flip flops became my only pillow that night, but at least I needed no plastic bags upon my feet – and this brought back a memory of a kid in school back in 8th grade who couldn’t afford good boots and he wore cheap boots with bags. Hey, the shit works.
    I knew it was bad when I first walked into the camp and all the retailers where all holding down their tents/product. It got steadily worse. Fold out shit got mangled. The night was butt cold, so staying up near a fire was the best option.

  9. so sorry to have missed it, mainly cuz the stomparillAZ were racin PUGZ, and that seemed like fun. INstead i road up to 11000′ in the snow on the pugz and crashed a hut party then built a snow cave and slept in it, not quite as warm as could have been cuz i punctured the roof. You wanna know a lil secret, merino wool, against your skin and layered on out and you shall be warm. Wool stays warms when wet. one of my favorite laps ever didn’t even count, the year they stopped moab24 cuz of the monsoon, i went out in the rain and rode the brakes off my ss; wet and warm had a joyous eve, even though they called the race 10 min after i left the right clothing body temp and attitude make cold and miserable a fun place to STOMp
    KEep it UP!! PS anyone who stomps fat tired bikes is invited to telluride march 19th for a pugz shred hut party pugz rally, check in @ stomparillaz.net

  10. Word Slappy. Hecks yea on that snow cave jaunt. I got a small vid of one your boys rolling his monstertruck-bike and he wasn’t going slo. I’ll try and get a post together by next week.

  11. Pingback: The mental playlist of a 24 hour race. | Drunkcyclist.com