Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lake Hope to Boulder

We're rolling. Through the Hocking Hills, which is the prettiest part of Ohio I've been in.

But after a few miles, it starts to flatten out and the 1300 miles of lame mid-west begins.

Then we hit 70 and start really moving west. I make it through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and most of the way into Missouri. It's 2am by the time we hit St. Louis, and we've been up since 6. With the 30 miles of  racing earlier on, it's been a big day. Just outside of St. Louis we can see lightning. It doesn't look theres anyway we're going to miss that.

Then it hits. Wind blows the tiny convertible all over the road. The lightning cracks and spreads out like a big electric spider. I'm terrified. We're so exposed to the storm out here on the plains. Colleen comforts me by falling asleep.

After another hour, I need to stop for gas. I run into the station through the rain to see if they've heard a forecast. But their satellite has been knocked out. I run back out to the tiny convertible and drive away.

There's a clunk and a scraping noise. I jump out and look behind the car. I drove away with the pump still attached to my gas tank. It's dragging along behind the convertible like a little rubber tail. Whoops. First time thats happened. I run the pump and hose back to the gas station and speed away.

I've been driving for ten hours, and the storm isn't making progress easy. I finally decide to pull off at an abandoned Conoco station. I curl up in a ball in my seat and fall asleep.

Three hours later it's still storming. I crank over the engine and head back out onto 70. 150 miles till Kansas city.

We hit the city and the sky clears. I'm so glad. We stop to eat breakfast in the parking lot of a Holiday in just over the Kansas line. Colleen decides to drive for a while, even though shes never driven a stick shift. I give her a little coaching, and we're off. 420 miles until the Colorado line.

Unlike last year, Kansas is actually pleasant this time. It's only about 85, there's no engine burning my leg, and the tiny convertible gets great air flow. I fall asleep for a little while Colleen drives.

We hit a toll booth and she stalls the engine. Then stalls it again. And again. And again. "Clutch, clutch! Put the clutch in!" I yell. The man in the booth is shaking his fist at us and people behind are honking. She gets it started and pulls through. All good.

We stop at Hays, "Oasis on the Plains," and I drop a Quiznos sandwich on the ground. Dammit. But Kansas is almost behind us.

We cross the big open part of Colorado, then we can see mountains in the distance.

Another few hours, and we're in Boulder. We meet Sam, Deidre, and Anne at the new Valmont Bike Park, and Deidre crushes me by 5 seconds on the 30 second Duel Slalom course. It's sweet to finally be here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lake Hope '11

I clock out of work early on Saturday to spend a few hours working on my bike. I clean everything, repack some bearings, and eliminate all the creaks.

"If I can just get through Ohio without it being muddy, I won't have to clean my bike for the rest of the month." I say to my co-worker Wild Willie Davis.

Colleen and I finish cramming everything into the tiny convertible, then start the drive down to Lake Hope State Park south-eastern Ohio. When we get to the park at 10pm, we park by the lake, set up our hammocks, and go to sleep.

I wake up at 3:00am. There's something rustling around next to my hammock. I put my glasses on and look into the dark woods. Can't see anything. I smack my hatchet against the ground to make some noise. There's some gobbling and stupid sounding shuffling through the leaves. Turkeys. I go back to sleep.

When the sun comes up we check out our surroundings. There are a bunch of targets. We were sleeping in the archery range. We pack up our stuff and scoot out of there before somebody sticks us with an arrow.

We make coffee and check out the little lake. It looks like it would be a nice place for a lame family vacation.

After a few minutes there's some stomping down the stairs of the pavilion behind us. A guy in a hat grumbles good morning and opens up the boat rental shop. He spends his days selling Lady Buck's Special Sauce, but flies the Jolly Roger on his counter to show that he will give no quarter to children who want a Hot Diggity Dog without the Special Sauce:

We drive over to the registration area for the race, and it starts to rain. Shit. Then it rains harder. By 12, it's dumping. The trails are going to be a mess.

We stand on the start line. I don't want to do this.

"Go!" We sprint up a gravel hill then down a road. Dirty spray is shooting up into my eyes. I can't see. We turn into the trail. It's really sloppy. I pass Brad and a few other guys and start churning through the mud. This is going to be a long race.

I finish the first 15 mile lap. Derek Bissett is right behind me. He passes me on the drier sections of trial, and I pass him when it gets really muddy and disgusting. I'm not feeling great. I squeeze my back brake. Nothing. Great. Now I'm going to have to find pads when I get to Colorado. I should have just kept driving. We would be through Indiana by now.

Two miles from the finish I crack. I can't even pedal up the hills now. I start walking through the mud. This sucks. I cross the finish line. My bike is destroyed and I feel like crap.

I go stand in the shower. The water is just a hot little trickle. I almost have to stand against the wall to get under it. I hate Ohio. It's evil land. Every bit of it.

The rain stops. It would stop now. Brad drives away with his windows up. Some screaming and thrashy guitars leak out of his Subaru.

"Long drive back to Pittsburgh?" somebody asks.

"No, long drive to Boulder." I say. We pack up the tiny convertible again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

the big trip west in the tiny gay convertible

So, I haven't really mentioned this on here, nor have I planned it very well, but Colleen and I are driving to Colorado tomorrow.

Our route is gonna look something like this:

We'll leave tomorrow night and head down to Zaleski, Ohio. I'll be hitting the dual West Virgina/ Ohio Series race Sunday morning, and hopefully I'll race fast enough to win enough money for gas. After the race, we're burning across the Mid-West as fast as the little gay convertible can carry us. I predict that I'll make it to Kansas City before I have to take a nap, and then it'll be so hot and sweaty that my legs will fuse to the leather seats.

Once we leave the Plains of Corn and Firey Misery, we'll stop in the land of pretentious-medicinal-weed-smoking-super-rich-hippies: "We're independent thinkers. It's true that we're sometimes called the "People's Republic of Boulder." The University of Colorado was founded early in Boulder's history, in 1877, and along with it came the free-thinking ways of a college town that was once touted as the "Athens of the West." The Naropa Institute, founded by Tibetan Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, added an even more progressive element to the educational makeup of Boulder when it opened its doors in 1974. As one of the most highly educated cities in the nation, we value a diversity of perspectives — something you'll probably notice right off the bat."

Since they value a diversity of perspectives, I think I'll find some motor oil and tires to burn. The most educated city in the nation will surely understand that I need billowing black smoke in the same way they need fake meat and organic burritos.

Ah, delicious Appalachian hell-fire. It warms my soul. (picture taken half an hour south of Ohiopyle.)

Anyway, Sam claims to have a comfy futon, so we'll spend a few days in Boulder (I actually do really like it there.) But I do plan to sharpie snarky things on every "Native" bumper sticker I see.

After defacing property, my long hair and sandals will allow me to blend in with the not-actually-native population.

Once we leave Boulder, the trip details are a little fuzzy. I know we're going to Breck for the 4th of July, I know I'm dropping Colleen off at the airport on the 12th, and I know that I'm doing the Breck 100 on the 16th. In between, I'm not so sure.

Fruita, Crested Butte, and Moab are all possibilities. I might head down to Fort Collins to hang out with the Niner folks. Once Don Powers and Professor Shelmire arrive in Breck, I'll probably walk up a mountain with them. Then Don Powers will vomit everywhere.

Since I'm not going to pay to stay anywhere, and bread and peanut butter is cheap, I'm pretty free to go wherever.

And that's it. I'm going to race my bike a bunch, hang out with some cool people (not counting Sam or Don Powers. Aaron is only cool because he wears capris), and see some super beautiful country. I'm pumped. I'll be putting up words and pictures on here whenever I can find the internet.

(Since I need to be blogging more about it, I'm considering this trip part of my very loosely organized preparations for the Pisgah Mountain Stage Race.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Big Bear 2X12 Race Report '11

The Pflug meets me in Ohiopyle at 8:00 on Saturday morning.

"Alright man. I'll follow you down there. It's fine if you need to open it up a little," he says.

I'm not going to waste an invitation like that from an officer of the law. We rip out of the parking lot in front of a line of cars that are stopped at the railroad crossing gate. Up 381 and out Dinner Bell Road. I stop for gas at the top of the mountain on Rt. 40.

I forget for the 57th time that the gas tank of the tiny gay convertible is on the passenger side. I've already put my card in, so I have to swing around. As soon as I pull away from the pump a guy in a Chevy Lumina shoots into the space. I have to walk over and tell him to move.  There's a Charlie Daniels looking guy in a big golf cart thing waiting in front of my pump.

"That idiot thought he was cutting me off. Do I have 'cut me off written on my face?' A guy in a big Dodge tried to do that to me once. I told him 'you back that truck up before we have a problem buddy.' What an asshole. Where you guys goin with them bikes?" he says.

Maybe the 'cut me off' is written on the golf cart you're driving on the road.

"We're going Big Bear. There's a duo team race today. Three 12 mile laps a piece," I say  

"Oh yeah? Big Bear. That's a nice place," he says.

We pull into the airfield at the far end of the Big Bear campground. Tim de la Garcon and Rob Spreng have a little pop-up tent set up next to the showers. We park next to them.

Sam and Deidre ride over. They're back from the western lands of boca burgers, medicinal marijuana, pretension, and big mountains for a few days.

Sam and I ride down the gravel hill to the start. "So I got this super comfy futon. I haven't slept on it, but I've sat on it. It's all soft and stuff. I hate bike racing. I'm doing Breck Epic this year. Bikes suck," he says.

We line up. I look around. The teams we're going to have to watch for are probably Morgan Miller and Benji, and Marc Glass and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

"Alright, I'm gonna give you a ten count. 10. 5." The promoter revs the throttle of his quad. "3,2,1." He guns it and motors up the hill. We clip in and go. Everybody is going hard for the hole shot. After this road, it's single track for the next 12 miles. Not good to get caught in the back.

This is killing me. I'm in the top five, but this gravel climb is way too long for a flat out sprint. But we're still sprinting. I see the top of the hill. Almost there. Keep drilling it. We crest the hill and turn left into the woods.

Everybody slows down for a few seconds to get tuned into the rocks. Then we're moving at full speed again. I'm getting dropped on the flat sections by geared guys. I can usually keep up in the woods. I guess a $1200 prize check is a powerful motivator.

I get behind Sam and follow him up the first little rocky climb. He loses traction and hops off his bike.

"Look at you Colorado boy. Can't ride rocks anymore?" I yell to him.

"Stupid bikes. Bikes are stupid. Stupid bike racing," he says. He gets back on his bike and rides away from me.

We cruise through the flowing section in the pine trees, then start the long downhill. I get of the saddle, bend my arms, and let go of the brakes. I'm bouncing and skipping over the loose rocks. I couldn't be going any faster.

I shake my hands out at the bottom of the hill and climb up the other side. I pass Sam as he's fiddling with his derailleur.  A few more rock gardens to go. My back wheel locks up and skids in the dirt. I look back. There's a log jammed into the rear triangle of my bike. Really? I try to yank the thing out, but it's the same length as my rear wheel. This is ridiculous. I finally yank it free and get moving again.

One more twisty trail to the transition area. There's a tall bridge over the road. I hammer up it, carefully make the turn at the top, and ride down the other side. I hand the baton off to the Pflug, and head back to the tent.

That lap was a 1:04. That made me the 6th rider in, and the first single speeder by two minutes. That'll do. Colleen should be here to rub my feet and feed me grapes soon. I call her. "Where you at ho?" I say

"I don't know. On 26," she says. Crap. She's lost again. I give her directions, then go sit down on Rob's tool box. I lend Sam a wrench so he can to fix his unbreakable titanium derailleur hanger. We talk about how hard the lap was for a few minutes, then it's time to go again.

"This is always the shortest hour, then out there it's the longest hour." Rob says. I head over to the transition area. Pflug rolls in and hands me the baton.

"Ride smart." he instructs. Sure thing Pflugger. I roll back out into the rocks at a good pace. I'm gonna try to make this a smart lap. We have a nice lead at this point. I'm alone for most of the lap. Back through the rock gardens, around the pines, and to the start of the downhill. I'm feeling good. I boost off a little rock as I'm ripping down the hill. Thunk. Shit. That's a bad noise.

I know I hit my rim on that landing. I hear a little hiss. Oh crap. It's going flat. I stop before the steep part of the hill and hit it with a CO2. It just makes the air come out faster. I squirt my water bottle on the tire to find the leak and shake it to try to get the Stan's to seal. A little puff of water squirts out the side. Sidewall tear. That's never going to seal.

I ride down the hill anyway, hoping that it will. It doesn't. I pull off into the woods to put a tube in. Our lead is shrinking fast. Marc Glass rides by. Now we're in second. I use my last CO2 to fill the tube. I stand up and sprint down the trail. Crack! My wheel skids to a stop. The tube blew out. Now I'm in trouble. No C02 left, no tubes left. I start begging for stuff from passing riders.

A girl stops and gives me a tube and CO2. I'm extremely grateful. Morgan Miller passes me. Now we're in third. Dammit. I fumble with the tube and CO2. Finally I get it in and start rolling again. I pedal as hard as I can. I've gotta make that time up. The Pflug is waiting for me at the finish line with his gun. I'm too young to be shot.

I catch Morgan before the end of the lap, but I can't get Marc. I give the Pflug the baton and head back to the tent. Colleen is finally here, but there's no time for foot rubs and fruits now.

I've gotta fix this stupid bike. I grab my spare set of I9s from the car and start to air them up. The back tire hisses. Shit. My spare wheels have a ripped sidewall.

I enlist Sam's help and we swap my spare rear Mountain King to the front, and my primary rear Race King to the rear. Beads pop on, tires air up, and I put the wheels on my bike. Now I can try to eat something real quick. Colleen grabs me a peanut butter sandwich and I sit down on the toolbox. I look at my watch. I need to be back over to the tent in 10 minutes.

The Pflug rolls across the bridge before the Dread Pirate Roberts. Nice. He made up a bunch of time. I take the baton and head out.

The whistling starts immediately. A loud, high pitched whine that gets louder as I go faster. I didn't adjust my brakes. Both of my rotors are rubbing bad. Dammit. My bike feels like it's barely moving.

I look back in the pine section and see Marc Glass. I'm going as hard as I can, and he's still catching up. He passes me. How the hell is this guy going so fast?

I hang with Marc as long as I'm able, but he drops me a mile or two before the transition area. I roll into the finish and hand the baton off to a very un-happy looking Pflug. I feel like I'm going to die. I've never pushed that hard on a lap and gone so slow. I check the time sheet. 1:08. Four minutes slower than my first lap.

I walk over to the tent and sit down with Colleen. I'm registered for the Stoopid 50 tomorrow. There's no way in hell I feel like doing that. I close my eyes.

"Was the Pflug super pissed with my flatting?" I ask Colleen.

"No, but he told me about this time a dog tried to bite him. He cracked it in the head with a nightstick. Now dogs don't bite him anymore," she says. Oh boy. That's how he treats things that make him angry. I really hope we don't lose. I better keep my helmet on just in case.

We walk back over to the big tent. Man I hope the Pflugger was able to catch up again. We see a silver kit in the distance. The Pflug rolls up the ramp. Victory! I get to live to race another day.

In celebration, I pull on my Canadian tuxedo. The Pflug hikes up his shorts, tucks in his t-shirt, tightens his belt, and puts on a plaid hat that looks like a cross between a radar cap and a beret. He looks like a white Urkle. We're given enormous mugs and checks for $600.00. That was a solid day's work. I'm not going to Stoopid 50. I go fill up my victory mug.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mohican 100 Race Report 2011: Part 2

I tuck in behind Ernesto and let him pull me across the rolling farm roads. We hit a steep gravel climb. The wind is blowing and the sun is roasting us. My vision goes blurry. Ernesto tries to give me a little push up the hill, but only succeeds in pushing me off to the right. I dizzily reach the crest and keep pedaling. Ernesto and the other guy ride away and leave me by myself on the road.

I pass a little barn, which triggers a memory of last year's race, which triggers a memory of the song that was stuck in my head last year. Crap. Now I have to ride 50 miles with Lady Gaga.

I turn into the single track at Mohican Wilderness and start slowly up a climb. JPok mashes past me. Snap! I use my mind power to break his chain again. Take that caveman. I re-pass him.

At Aid 3 I grab some oranges and start the steep single track climb back to the top of the ridge. It's a long walk to the top. Back down some gravel on the other side.

A train of geared guys chug past me. I speed up to try to catch the back of the pack. Riders zoom past. I put my head down, when I lift it I see the caboose. Ferrari. Damn. Spin a little faster. Come on, catch that line.

My legs shut down. I'm done. I watch him ride away with the line of geared guys. And I've blown up. These next 40 miles are not going to be happy.

I cross a hi-way by myself and start the rail trail of despair. 12 miles to go on this thing. My tires crunch on the crushed limestone. Lady Gaga invades my brain. Rah rah ah ah ah, roma roma ma, gaga oh la la. 11 miles to go. Fuck me.

A horse and buggy comes trotting towards me. The Amish guy and I nod to show respect for each other's chin beards. 10 miles.

A line of guys roll past me. "Pick it up! Jpok is right behind you!" they say. I grunt. 8 miles. I lose one more single speed place.

5 miles. This is awful. 2 miles. My ass hurts.

I pass a guy with a camera. "How far?" I say.

"1 mile." he says. 200 yards later I roll onto pavement. That guy was a terrible judge of distance. I hit aid station 4 and eat melons. 28 miles to go in this race. I've got it. I start to climb away from the aid station. Nope. Don't have it. I jump off my bike and walk.

More road. I forgot how much road was in this race. I start walking up another steep fire road. Brad the Birdman of Charleston and Jpok are right behind me. Brad catches up to me spinning his little gear and dismounts.

"I'm not in a good place right now." he says. We walk together and Jpok rides past. Snap! I break his chain a third time. We hike away from him. Brad remembers that he's riding a geared bike and remounts. He spins away and I'm lonely again.

I zone out and pedal slowly. I'm not racing at this point. Rob passes me with 10 miles to go.

"Took me 15 more miles to get you this year!" he says cheerfully. I give him an evil squint and stare at his drivetrain. Break chain. Break. Break. Nope. Apparently that only works on Jpok. That's all I've got. I let him ride away.

I ride the last few miles of road, then back onto the single track. I roll back into the campground and under the big inflatable Kenda arch. I'm so glad that's over. Somebody hands me a pint glass.

I stumble off my bike. My lungs start to lock up and I can't take more than a short breath without coughing. I walk back down to the cabin.

Don Powers is sitting at the picnic table, and Brad the Birdman is laying on a towel under a scraggly tree. I ask Powers how he got back so fast.

"I was throwing up the entire time. I rode back after aid station three. It was just a constant stream of vomit. That's Dahn Pahrs doing what Dahn..." he says.

"Shit mother fucker!" Bird the Birdman interrupts him. He rolls over and sits upright. He's covered in spots of white bird poop. A cute little blue jay chirps happily in the tree above him. I can only get a few laughs out before I start coughing.

After laying in the grass for a while I walk up the hill to take a shower. I can only stand under the water for a couple minutes before I have to sit down and rest. My ass is on fire from the chaffing. It feels like I sat in a tub of salty brake cleaner.

I lay down under the tree again and hope I don't get pooped on. Bird dropings fall in the grass around me. Aaron and Rob make their way down to cabin. We all agree that it would be a good idea to get ice cream and race go-carts.

At the go-cart track, a stern warning is playing on loop. "There will be no bumping no racing and no hitting the sidewalls. A go-cart is not a bumper car. No fun is allowedThere will be no bumping no racing..." We get into our little black cars and buzz out onto the oval track. By the second time around the course, everybody has already lapped Aaron.

I get behind Brad and wait until we hit the corner. I keep my foot to the floor and nail the back left side of his car to try to spin him out. It doesn't work. Don Powers slams into the back my car and my head snaps forward. I take the inside of the corner to get away from him. We rip past Aaron again when he slows down to apply his lipstick.

Back at Cozy Cabin #9 Four Lokos are retrieved from the cooler. I attempt to seduce the older ladies with my flowing hair and exposed nipples:

Photos courtesy of the Birdman of Charleston.

Don Powers dances with his tribal-belly-button-fringe and crotch shirt over Brad's face:

By the end of the night, despite the signs, I can't resist the urge to take my pet park bench to the bathroom with me:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mohican 100 Race Report 2011: Part 1

Rob, Don, Aaron and I check into Cozy Cabin #9 at Mohican Adventures on Friday afternoon. Brad the Birdman of Charleston is scheduled to arrive later. The cabin is a little A-frame with three beds on the lower level, and two mattresses smashed together on a loft in the peak of the roof. I walk into the cabin last. All the real beds are taken, so I'm forced to share the upper love nest with the Birdman.

After placing my sleeping bag in the Nest, I walk out onto our porch with a pizza sub that I bought from the Duchess Convenience Mart. I gaze across the algae-puddle in front of the cabin. A rusty pipe that's supposed to be a fountain spurts sadly in the middle of the pond. There's a port-potty behind the cabin. This is a good spot. I take a bite of pepperoni and bread. We change into riding clothes and head out to do a quick 12 mile warm up.

We follow Rob on the way up the first switchbacks. The trails are perfect. They're dry, fast, and smooth. Last year at this time we were riding through the rain, wondering how muddy it would be on race day (the answer was very.) At the six mile mark we turn around and ride back. I get out front.

I hear yelling from behind me. "Dahn Pahers! Pahrs Pahrs Pahrs!" (like a pikachu, Don Powers can only communicate by shouting his own name.) Aaron rolls up next to Don to translate. "You took the wrong turn. We didn't go this way," he says. 

"What are you talking about?" I say.

"This is wrong," Aaron says.

"Dahn Pahrs!" Don Powers says.

I'm confused by all the yelling, but I keep heading down the trail. It turns out to be the right way. As I'm feeling smug and directionally gifted, I rip around a tight corner. Without warning, both my tires let go. My bike slides into the woods and I skid down the trail on my right hip. I roll over and groan. I ripped a hole in my shorts. I pick my stuff up and start riding again.

Down the last hill. I'm going way too fast again. I duck around a low hanging branch, make a quick right, and bam. I'm detached from my bike, flying forward over the bars. "Fuck me!" I yell from the sky. I hit the dirt in a heap and tumble into the woods. I look back up the trail at the little stump that's hanging out. I slammed into it with a pedal. Rob looks down at me rolling around in the leaves, "Well, I don't think we'll have to worry about Montana tomorrow," he says. 

My elbow skin is scraped. I pick up my bike and spin the front wheel. It's way bent. Dammit. The other three go check out the new trail to the finish line. I ride back to the cabin and start turning spokes to get my wheel back in line. That was so stupid. I have to ride a hundred miles on this wheel tomorrow morning, and I just crashed the shit out of it. 

Brad the Birdman pulls his wife's Subaru into the gravel. A few minutes later Tim De La Garcon dismounts his carbon super bike and swaggers up to the cabin. Now everybody is here.

"Lets go find some good meats," I say. Hungry for a t-bone, De La Garcon agrees. 

"There's a good tavern in town, but I can't remember its name," he says.

We drive to Loudenville and walk the two-block-long main drag. 

"Is that the one Tim? The Mohican Tavern? You couldn't remember Mohican? You know, that Native American sounding word, the one that might have something to do with that race we're doing tomorrow?" the Birdman says. Tim pushes him and scampers out into the road in front of a pick-up truck.

The tavern is dimly lit and taverney. I order a blue cheese burger twice, from two separate waitresses, but am only brought one burger. I am glad. We discuss long bike races. Tim leaves the table to talk to some girl. We leave him at the bar with her and walk down to the gas station. Four Lokos are purchased.

Phones start buzzing and ringing and singing at 5:30 in the morning. I roll over on the plastic mattress. 

"I didn't sleep at all," Don Powers groans. I'm stunned that he can speak without shouting his name. The others agree to general discomfort over the night. I slept better than I had in weeks. While the crappy mattresses were crappy to all those house folk, they were a few steps up from my thermarest in Ohiopyle. That's a win for tent dwellers.

The start is at 8:00 am in Loudenville. Everybody heads out at 7:35, but I'm not even close to ready to go. By the time I re-set my front brake, make a peanut butter sandwich, check my tire pressure, grab my food, and use the port-a-potty (not the one behind our cabin, some asshole pooped on the seat of that one,) it's 7:50. I sprint into town and sneak into the front line on the sidewalk. There's a $200 prize for reaching the city limits again this year. I stupidly think I have a chance at it.

The siren blasts. We start spinning. I take the lead, but slow down a little. I don't want to blow up. The preme is at the top of a huge hill. Still going to fast. We hit the hill, and the geared riders start whizzing by. No chance at it. I slow down, but it's too late. I already dug a little hole for myself by sprinting. JPok, Matt Ferrari, The Pflug, and Little Dylan Johnson pass me as we turn onto a gravel road. The air is thick with the fragrance of cow dung. 

We dive into the first single track. I make some quick passes. The Pflug is only a few places ahead. That's perfect. My plan is to stay with him until I detonate. Hopefully there won't be too many miles left when I blow and I'll be able to score a decent finish. 

We ride into the Mohican State Forest loop and I jump right onto the Pflug's wheel. He's holding a nice steady pace. Nothing too serious, but we're still passing a groups of geared guys. There's almost no traffic up here. It's great. 

20 miles of beautiful flowing trails and little dust plumes. We roll through the first aid without stopping. I haven't seen the Pflug drink water yet. I look behind me. Little Dylan is sticking on my wheel like a leech on flypaper.

We leave the state forest and hike up a loose rocky climb. "So are just JPok and Ferrari ahead of us?" I ask the Pflug. 

"Just JPok. Ferrari flatted," he says.

I see JPok in his yellow argyle jersey at the top of the hill. We ride through some pine trees and onto a gravel road. I look behind. Little Dylan is falling off as we pull down the road. In a few minutes we catch up to the group with JPok, Ernesto, and some other dudes. Guys start making little attacks to get into the Aid Station 2 first. 

The Pflug rides in first, grabs a bottle, and sneaks away from JPok and I. I'm the last of the three to leave. As soon as I have JPok in sight I hear a snap. He jumps off his bike and starts working on his chain. I pass him and duck behind Ernesto as we pull across a long windy section of road.

Meanwhile, somewhere behind me, Don Powers is heaving like a wounded rhinoceros and spraying the vegetation with a lethal stream of Dr. Peppery vomit.

To be continued tomorrow. (Bumper cars included)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a blogging win

Yesterday I loaded my rig up with some boxes for Ohiopyle Prints:

I put the hammer to the floor and made the long haul all the way over to the other end of town.

I could get into this big truck driving thing.

In other news, the Pisgah Mountain Stage Race Blog Competition has been won! Thanks to all the fine folks that voted, asked other people to vote, and put up with my incessant begging, I'll be racing in Pisgah this September.

It came right down to the last few hours of the competition, but my network of friends were more votey than Dicky's. I was really surprised how many votes it took to get a spot. In the end it was 759 for Cory, and 705 for me. I think we only had about 300 votes a piece in the Breck Epic Blogger's grant competition last year.

In any case, 2,800 people voted, and a few thousand more probably heard about it. So we did our job about getting the word out about the race. I'll be posting pre-race preparations and all that fun stuff in the coming months.  

So again, thanks. You people done me real happy.

We're leaving for the Mohican 100 tomorrow. It looks like the weather is going to be good this year, so I'll probably be able to avoid getting horrible stomach cramps and fevers from farm run off. I'll have a race report up on Monday. Now I've gotta go finish prepping my sweet sickle.