Super 8 doesn't have soap. Instead, they have "deodorant bars" next to the shower. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to bathe with it or rub it on my armpits and groin, but since I was the first one to shower, I chose the latter.
After not consulting me, Don decided that we would go out to Chambersburg the night before the race and split a hotel room with Tim and Brian. The other two were late, so we found a red robin and did some fat loading. In the middle of a conversation about stupid people, I was staring at a picture of a kid photoshopped next to a massive puppy and wondered out loud, "Where the hells did they find such a big puppy?"
"That's an elephant."
"Oh...I thought its tail was wet.."
After our waitress came by for the 7th time and politely asked if I wanted more fries or water, we decided it was time to leave.
Since I was the youngest of the group, I won the floor prize at the hotel and zipped into my sleeping bag on the hard greasy carpet. I listened to the other two grumble about the cold in the other room for a few minutes before they snuggled up (purely a guess) in the big bed they were sharing.
We drove out to the Michaux early in the morning, and stood around in the spring cold for 30 minutes before registration opened. I was highly disgruntled because the Super 8 had not provided muffins with their breakfast before we left.
After another hour of hopping around for warmth, it was race time. We rolled down a fire road to the bottom of the mountain, and froze the whole way.
We turned around, and then we were off to the mountain top. The Pflug (on gears) took his place at the front of the pack and started breaking away with two other guys. After a few minutes of climbing, we turned through the finish area and began the Canada Hollow ascent.
Before long, I caught the first guy spit out by the Pflug, and started working my way up to the next one. The climb was steep and sustained and full of baseball-sized rocks. I could see the whole way up it, and was slowly closing the big gap the Pflug had put in on the road. I passed the other guy and settled into 2nd.
Almost 20 minutes of climbing after we started, I turned into the single track. I was all alone. I smashed my pedals into some of the hidden rocks, crashed coming around a corner, (Apparently an Igniter can't be pushed through a corner like a Rampage) and tried in vain to get a rhythm going.
I rode the rest of the 9 mile lap alone, did the screaming chattery downhill back to the bottom of the mountain, then headed back up. Half way up Canada Hollow, I looked back and saw a guy in a red jersey. I put in a huge effort to increase my climbing speed from 6mph to 8, and left him behind. Up in the distance I saw the Pflug, just a little further ahead than he had been on the last lap.
I held onto 2nd for 2.5 hours, then on the 3rd lap I started to crack. We were on the second section of fire road after Canada Hollow and the single track, when the guy in the red jersey caught me and hammered down. I watched him get smaller and smaller as I spun out on my silly speed.
On the forth lap, I had to hike up part of Canada Hollow. With my climbing speed cut in half, I was passed by another guy at the top of the climb. I decided at that point that if I got in before the 4 hour mark, I wasn't going out for a 5th lap. I was toast.
I did the rest of the lap, keeping an eye on my computer, hoping that four hours would roll around before I got back. On the last downhill, my hands were screaming, and I was super relieved when I hit the bottom and my speedometer said 4:01. I climbed back up the fire road, and right at the finish I saw another rider. We sprinted for the end and slid across the line.
"Hey you got 8 minutes! Go out for another one! Go! Go out!"
"No. Absolutely not."
I stood at the finish and watched one of the guys behind me go out for a 5th lap, thus moving me into 5th place. But I just couldn't stomach the thought of climbing up Canada Hollow again. So I ate a bratwurst.
Not that it mattered, but I was the first SS in, and Don was the second, even though he was riding rigid. That's a sweep of the imaginary SS category. The only time I had to walk a little was Canada Hollow on the last lap, and I was able to clear everything else on the 38x20.
But more importantly, I was victorious in the number plate competition: