Monday, September 20, 2010
It's finally come and it's very sparkley ('10 Peanut Butter Festival)
Behold the Shimmering Golden Peanut of Victory!
I headed to the New Bethlehem Peanut Butter Festival on Saturday hoping to meet my arch blog rivule on the field of battle.
Colleen and I leave the house a little late. Half way down 66 we hit a road block. An old man directs us to the left. After driving a few miles down the road, we come to an unmarked intersection. Nuts. Not again.
I turn around and roll down my window next to the old guy. "Is there a way back to 66?" I say.
"Oh yes yes. Just go up'n over that mountain on the gravel road by Hall Nursery, then come down on Pritz." he says. Wonderful. Up a gravel road and over the mountain. I'm so glad we left late.
We follow his directions, and 20 minutes later we're back on 66, two miles down the road from where we got off.
We pull in the parking lot in New Bethlehem at 10:10. Race starts in 20 minutes. The race director is almost done with the pre-race meeting. I run over to register, then fill some bottles and pull on my kit. Aaron rides over to the Grumbler and tells me that my rivule isn't here. Damn it.
Everybody is ready to go when I get to the start line, so I stand on the side walk next to the front row.
"Bwoot!" an air horn blows and we take off. I spin down the paved road and get in front. That lasts about 25 seconds. Everyone rips by me in their big ring. A few single speeders rip by me in smaller gears.
I feel like I'm gonna throw up. I drank two cups of coffee this morning, but no water. I suck down half a bottle to try to settle my stomach.
We roll through a slate dump. I re-pass everybody but two guys. Up and over all the steep piles of slate. I still feel like puking. But unlike Don Powers, I keep it down.
I roll down a field and onto a gravel road. I catch the other two guys and take the lead. Martin Flinn stays right behind me. The rest of the field falls away.
We hit some single track that looks like it's loose fresh-cut stuff. It's really slow going. I have to dismount and run up most of the hills.
Martin passes me on a steep climb. I stick on his wheel for a while, then pass him back.
I hit it on a gravel road and try to get away. He drops his chain, and I put some time in. The rest of the course is flatish gravel and paved roads, and I'm terrified that he's going to shoot by me in the big ring. I keep looking back. The gap stays pretty constant.
We ride through a tunnel that has a stream running through it. Martin is right there. Some locals are cheering as I splash out of the stream and start up the steep hill. They cheer louder for Martin.
I run up the hill and put a little time into him. I try to open the gap more, but he refuses to be dropped. We go behind a baseball field, then hit a paved road in town. Finish has to be close. I put my head down and sprint.
I go past a big crowd of people. They yell and clap. I roll back into the parking lot. Shit. This isn't right.
I ride around the block and back to the crowd of people. Dammit. Where the hell is the finish?
"Where's the finish?" I yell.
The crowd points up the hill "Oh.. Sorry." they say. I ride up the hill and roll over the line. Martin is already there.
After a few seconds of deliberation, the promoter decides to deduct a couple minutes from my time and move me back into first. The last turn was not marked, and for some reason the people at the bottom of the hill didn't see any reason to point me in the right direction. Martin is a good sport about it, and I'm awarded the tallest peanut trophy.
Colleen and I head to Wooster, and then to West Branch State Park the next morning. She races sport, and finishes 35 miles of twisty single track in about five hours. I lounge around the start line all day. My penalty is having to answer the question "Hey, why aren't you racing?" 35 separate times. I'm delighted to answer that I'm too burned out to do any more long races.
After falling off a few bridges, endoing into some rock gardens, and causing at least one multi-rider crash, she toughs it out and takes 1st in the imaginary women's SS category. I think she secretly hates me for getting her into mountain biking.
I'm feeling much less shitty now. The last XC race of the season is this Sunday. Three of us are tied going into the West Virgina Series Final. Sunday's winner will win the SS series. I better get myself ready to rip.
Then it's 'cross season. Yay!