Monday, June 15, 2009

stoopid 50 2009 race report

I'll start by saying that the Stoopid was a beautiful course, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to die (on the inside. while riding. i'm just sayin its hard.)

getting there:

The lady bear and I got the grumbler on the road about an hour later than I planned. Fortunately, the old grumbles did not give us any trouble and we arrived at the Penn Roosevelt camp ground in Rothrock Forest at 10:45. It was obviously pitch black by that time, and not wanting to disturb anyone who was sleeping, I parked the grumbler by the side of the road and pitched our tent a few feet away under a large conifer.
From 2009 Racing Season
Our lodging for the night was strategically placed on top of a small rock that protruded into the lady bear's rib cage. Magnifico.

I had a comfortable sleep and awoke with the sun to get everything packed up. By 6:45 we were ready to go, and headed over to the start area.
From 2009 Racing Season
We ending up being one of the first ones there, and almost had first dibs on the portapoties. Life doesn't get any sweeter.

I ran up to the registration table to sign the obligatory "I promise I won't sue you if I die" paper work and get my drop bag. I came back and ate some cereal while the lady bear made me samiches and packed the bag with cliff bars, organic un-oreos, and other delectables.
From 2009 Racing Season

From 2009 Racing Season
I like to think that the flying ham on the bottom left corner of my drop bag made me faster.

At 8:15 I had to take another dump. And apparently, so did everyone else. I did the potty dance for a solid 15 minutes while I waited for my turn in one of the two bathrooms. By the time I was out, there was only 25 minutes until the start. I pulled on my bibs and jersey (courtesy of the fine folks at twin six) and filled my bottles. Then I headed over to the racer meeting.

the race:

The start was controlled, so for the first few miles we followed a truck up a paved road. Unfortunately, I was standing near the back of the race meeting, so when the promoter yelled "roll out!" I was already near the back of the pack. I was technically not supposed to pass while we were still following the truck, but I knew that if I didn't I would have about 100 pieces of slow moving traffic in front of me when we hit the single track. I should have done a lot more passing than I did those first few miles.

When the truck blew its horn to signify the end of the controlled start, I was so far back that I could hardly hear it. I picked up the pace a little bit, but I did not want to kill myself those first few miles.

When we hit the single track, the course jammed up almost instantly. My speed dropped to about 6 mph as I fought to ride the rocks and not hit the guys wheel in front of me. The only time I, or anyone else could pass, was when someone dabbed and fell to the side of the trail. There was a solid stream of riders in front and behind me. I knew that the lead guys were going a metric shit ton faster than 6 mph, so I got a little edgy.

After a few miles, the herd finally started to thin and I was able to ride at my own pace. I was loving the single track. I felt so at home there with the big rock gardens, logs, and little chatter rocks every where in between. Just like Laural Mountain, there was not a section of smooth dirt anywhere.

I rolled by a photographer and threw her my most dashing smile. "Rigid eh?" she yelled. "Yep. It's a bitch." I shouted back as I pedaled away. Using the power of their squishy forks, a few guys were passing me on the rockier down hills, but I knew that there was really nothing I could do to stay with them. So I contented myself with the lovely views of the mountains in the distance.

Just when my hands were starting to scream for mercy from the relentless jarring, we hit the fire road and started to climb. I had not been able to eat or drink on the single track, so I at about the one hour mark I sucked down my first gel and drank half a bottle of water.

I was feeling great and immediately started passing people. I rang my little bell and let my tongue loll out the side of my mouth as I pounded by one single speed. Judging by the disgusted look on his face, I think he thought I was crazed.

The road kept getting steeper, and I stayed out of the saddle passing both geared and SS riders. As I passed one geared guy, (passing on a climb takes at least a couple minutes. it feels like your going in slow motion), I said "I spose there's some climbing around these parts" "Yep. This is an 18% grade." he replied.

'huh.' I thought as I motored by.

When I hit the top of the road the view was spectacular. It was a perfectly clear sunny day and I could see for miles. I really wanted to stop and take it in, but I had no time for relaxing. It was a race dammit.

The fire road turned back downhill and I fully expected to be passed by some of the geared guys that I had gone by on the climb. But it never really happened. I spun up to 30 mph, got off the saddle and tucked in to get the most out of the hill. Only one or two guys on full suspensions went by me in their big rings.

I knew the aid station was coming up soon, but it surprised the hell out of me when I rounded a corner and it popped up.
From 2009 Racing Season

I slammed on the brakes and skidded over to the table. With a cloud of dust settling around me I pulled in and grabbed a sammich while a volunteer filled my bottle. Within a minute I was back on the road. Good service.

I ate half of the half sammich while I caught up to the two guys in front of me that had bypassed the aid. By the two hour mark I had eaten one gel and 1/4 of a pb&j. You can probably guess where this is going.

We went back into the single track, and I really started to slow down. The constant beating from the rocks was taking its toll, and guys with suspension where passing me in alarming numbers. I went up a steep rocky climb that opened into a section of muddy double track. When I turned back onto the trail, I was met with a long twisty rock strewn downhill. Under different circumstances, it would have been a blast, but as it was it just hurt. A lot.

The climb back up was partly ridable, but it was almost as fast to hike it. As usual, I made up a few places as I hiked by people.

At 2 1/2 hours I still had not eaten anything else and was running out of water. I started to pray that the aid station would appear soon. The terrain was varied from rooted pine forest to sun baked field on that section of trail. But the overriding theme was rocks. And more rocks. The rocks never seemed to end. I watched in dismay as three single speeds passed me. But still the trail continued with its relentless beating.

After what felt like an eternity, I exited the trail and hit the fire road. I was starting to bonk by this point. I looked down at my computer and saw that I was only moving at 7 mph on the road, where earlier in the day I had averaged 15. My legs felt dead, but I was hesitant to eat because I was out of water. After three hours of hard riding, I had only taken in 250 calories, while I had likely burned nearly 900. That's a bit of a deficit.

After a few more minutes I said screw the water and ate my emergency cliff bar, and washed it down with a gel. I felt a little better, but now I was hungry. In a couple more miles, the aid station appeared again. I had my bottles filled by my padre and the lady bear, who had apparently become aid volunteers.

I ran over to check out the food table.
From 2009 Racing Season
1 1/2 bannas, 1/2 of a pb&j, a few oreos, a chewy bar, and a bottle of water later, I was back on the trail. There was only 15 miles to go, and with the food in my belly I was starting to feel much better. I hooked up with a geared guy and we took a few turns pulling each other up the climb. Somehow, almost all of the last 15 miles was up hill. I had caught two SS's and was feeling much stronger. Then, at mile 42, in the middle of a huge climb, I felt my back tire go squishy.

Shit. I stopped and pulled out my CO2, only to find that at some point it had sprung a leak, and was now empty. Double shit. I started walking up the hill while I waited for some riders to catch up to me. As they went by, I begged for some CO2. One fine soul answered my pleas and gave me his inflator. (thanks jake)

I pumped up the tire, and fortunately the stan's sealed the hole, and I was on my way again. There were only 8 miles to go, and for most of the time I was alone. Before the race, the promoter had mentioned that the final 2 miles to the finish were a super technical rock garden, so the whole time I was on the fire road, I tried to mentally prepare myself.

I hit the down hill, which was actually a mile and a half from the finish, and immediately began to curse the sadistic mother f###er that designed the course. It was hard, and I was tired. I was not pleased. My hands were just being completely worked over by the combination of rocks and rigid fork. Then I rolled through the finish. And I was completely pleased. Two riders rolled in right behind me, that I had apparently held off on the descent (by held off I just mean that they had nowhere to pass.)

I shook my hands out and winced as another rider said to me "Not bad for a rigid. This really isn't the course for that shit." I immediately vowed to get a suspension fork.

But now I'm not so sure. I really am a stubborn ass.


Anonymous said...

Good report

Montana said...

well thanks anonyman