Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pisgah Stage Race 2011: Stage 4

We're cruising up a double track climb. I'm sitting on Adam Craig's wheel. The rest of the pack is out of sight. This is super cool. I wonder how long I can stay with these dudes.

I roll over a rock. Thunk. The back end of my bike squirms around. Flat. Dammit. I jump off and shake the tire around a few times. Well, I guess that's the end of my glorious chase.

The air is hissing out of a sidewall. I can't get the Stans to seal it, so I pull off the tube I have strapped to my bike. It's a cross tube. Crap. This probably won't end well. I hit it with the CO2. Most of the field has passes me.

The tube blows up, but doesn't seat the tire. I work my hands around the bead, popping it on as I go. More time wasted. I finally get the thing back on my bike and start riding again. I re-pass a bunch of people. Everybody is mighty nice about letting me by.

Then we turn onto the Black Mountain descent that we finish on everyday. But this time we have to go up it. I jump off my bike and alternate between running and hiking.

20 minutes later I'm still pushing. I catch up to Cinder Bloch Lochner. He has two sets of flat repair stuff (good idea in Pig Saw,) and gives me his extra. I express my eternal gratitude as we hike together for a while. He says that Jason, who's currently first in SS, is only a minute up. I trudge away and try to catch him.

Another 20 minutes, and I reach something that looks like the top of a hill. I jump back on, turn right, and start riding down the trail. Laurel bushes scratch my arms and smack my face.

The trail gets steeper and steeper. I'm going faster and faster. Root drop coming up. Going way too fast. I drop over it and lock up the back wheel get slowed down before the next one. Pine needles spray up from my back tire. Hell this is steep. I drop over more roots, then the trail flows into a level section.

It pitches back up. Off my bike and start hiking again. The trail keeps shooting up and down for miles.

I'm 1:40 in, and I haven't even hit the first aid station at mile 9. This is ridiculously slow. It'll be a ten hour day  at this pace. I start another long downhill. Then I hit some wooden steps. Photographer to the left, another to the right. I've gotta be close to the aid.

Another big section of steps. There's the food tent. I come to a stop and ask the guys to pump up my back tire. It's already down to 18 psi.

Down more rocky single track, across a wooden cable bridge, then up a steep climb. Man my legs are burning from all that walking. I start the Squirrel Gap section. It seems a little easier to ride up than it was to ride down, but maybe that's because my seatpost isn't broken.

I start catching people. I'm making good time up this thing. I see Melanie McQuaid and the Birdman spinning up the hill. I pass a guy with a banjo.

"Hey, start playing that damn thing. Up?" I say.

He points to the right. "Yep. Up brother, always up," he says, then starts plucking.

I swing up the hill behind the Birdman. Jason is just a few feet in front of us. We speed up a little to catch him. I run around Jason then start moving faster up the hill. "I hate you," he yells.

The Birdman passes me again, then we start a gravely climb. I sit on his wheel. I hit a little stick. Thunk. The back end of my bike squirms around.

"Fuck my nuts. You've gotta be kidding me," I say. Flat again. I jump off and start installing the tube Cinder Bloch gave me. Melanie, Jason, and Morgan Olsson pass me again. Well that's discouraging. I hit it with a CO2, but the tire is still soft.

I ride it gingerly down the hill to Aid 2. I grab my food from my drop and set it on the table. I ask the guys to pump it up again, and we check for a sidewall cut. Can't find anything. I sprint away from the station.

I'm a few minutes down the road. I reach in my back pocket. I forgot my food. Son of a bitch. I can't do the rest of this stage without food. I turn around and sprint back to the Aid.

Food safely stored in my pockets, I set off again. I'm pretty bummed at this point. I ride more single track, a long gravel descent, then start the climb up Black Mountain. The climb is long and slow. Tom Waits' voice work it's way into my head. Miserys the river of the world. Everybody row. Row everybody row. 

Everybody row. I'm so tired. Row. Everybody row. Everybody row. Miserys the river of the world. Damn this is a terrible song to have stuck in my head.

I finally see the fire pit at the trail intersection. Right turn, a little more hiking, then the Black Mountain descent. I'm almost too exhausted to enjoy the downhill. My arms shake and start to cramp. Root drop, water bar, root drop, wall ride, smooth fast section. I roll dejectedly across the finish line. That was such a hard day. 

Watch more video of Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race 2011 on

Watch more video of Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race 2011 on


Anonymous said...

u look rulll good with short hair now, yea.

Anonymous said...

Naw, yer shur don't neither. Yunz was much more prettier as a girly boy...grow it back now, here?