Got a little behind on this, but that's the way it goes living in an information dead-zone:
"I have to help open the store in the morning. I'll be there around nine," I wrote.
"You get race on time better. Gnarmire look for a new teammate. DAHN PAHRS. smash bye." texted Dahn Pahrs.
"I'm really curious how this is going to work out. I think I'm going to drive myself so that I can leave when Montana doesn't show up on time," wrote Gnarmire
"I'll be to the damn race on time," I wrote, getting pissed.
Everybody went to Maryland the day before the race to pre-ride. I had to work the morning of the race. I knew that I could easily open the store, then drive an hour to the start line. But as our pre-race electronic correspondence showed, Gnarmire and Dahn Pahrs weren't so confident. Gnarmire spent all night before the race chewing on his finger nails and crumpling his panties into little bunches.
At 7:30, I leave Ohiopyle. At 8:30, I pull into Rocky Gap State Park. I get a text from Dahn Pahrs.
"Are you on the road yet?"
"Just left. It's gonna be close, but I should make it before 11," I said, hoping to stop Gnarmire's fragile heart.
I pull into the parking lot and carry my dufflebag over to the Pittsburgh West Virginia tent area. I look left. There's not a line for registration. There definitely isn't a large line for registration.
"Oh, Gnarmire, hurry! We have to register! There's only two and a half hours before the race starts, and I still need to eat a pickle and fill my water bottles!" I yell.
We fill out the registration forms. Then we sit around for two and a half hours, because we're there two and a half hours early. I give Gnarmire dirty looks behind his back for doubting me.
Two and a half hours later, I set my bike down, and run over to the start line. It's a Le Mans start. I jump up and down a few times, and wish my West Virginian arch-rival Nate Anon good luck.
"I don't like you and you sound like you just had a peanutbutter-novocaine shot in the middle of your tongue," I say.
"Go!" says the guy with the stop watch.
In a few steps, I look back. I already have a big lead. Cyclists are so bad at running. First to my bike, I jump on. Sprint out of the field and onto the pavement. Jason Cyr burns past me. He's fast this year. That diabetes causing African virus he got is really working well for him. I try to hang on, but it's no good. He's moving up the road too quick.
I turn into the single track with Nate behind me. Skid into the first tight corner, straighten it out, and into the next one. Nate's right there. We hit a wide spot, and he passes. I stick on his wheel.
Through the rock garden, back down a little hill, and around the lake. Jason hits a tree or something. His tire is rolled off when we pass him. That's a bummer. Up the big climb, I stick right on Nate's wheel. I have to try to get away from him somewhere.
We hit the only descent on the course. I rip down it, then look back. I pulled away by about 20 feet. A few seconds later, Nate passes me again. He's riding gears, and I just can't get away on the flat course. But he can't get away either. I sit behind him and we rip into the start finish area together. I punch the little plastic baton card, and hand it off to Gnarmire. He rides away with Nate's teammate JPok.
Back at camp, I eat a couple pickles, drink some water, and sit down. Little over 30 minutes later, it's time to go again.
Gnarmire hands me the punch card. JPok is going out again. I sprint out of the start with him. We crush the lap. At the end we pull up behind Gretta Daniels. There's no room to pass on the tight winding section. JPok sees a hole, and shoots through it. I've gotta go with him. Try to follow, and run into Gretta's handle bars. She almost crashes into the lake.
"Oh shit! Sorry about that! Didn't mean it," I yell apologetically. That went badly. I pedal hard to catch up with JPok. We roll through the start finish and I hand the e-punch to Gnarmire. He goes out against Nate. Gretta rolls through the start finish and punches me in the back. I deserved that.
The break goes fast. I barely have time to sit down before Gnarmire is back again. He's a little bit behind Nate.
I go out for the lap alone. Nate's out of sight, and my legs feel heavy. I'm grinding up the climb on the backside of the course. Jim Mayuric sneaks up behind me, then spins away. Shit. Now we're in 3rd. I try to go with him, but he's climbing too well.
Back into the start-finish behind Jim, and a little farther behind Nate. I give Gnarmire the punch and walk back over to the tents.
The Pflug rolls into the pit. He's racing solo. One of his carbon crankarms is wobbling badly.
"Rob can you go grab me my other bike?" he yells to Cinder Bloch.
"What happened Pfluger, did that crank arm come apart?" I say. The carbon is splintered around the bottom bracket.
"Yeah," he says.
"I bet they're really light-weight though. Think all those weight savings made you faster?" I say. The Pflug glares at me. I'm glad he doesn't have room for his gun in that kit.
Grab the punch from Gnarmire. Out for another lap. It starts to rain. By the end of the lap, the backside of the course is a sloppy mess. I can't put anytime into the Nate/JPok or Mayuric/ Mold teams.
Gnarmire can't either. We do more laps, the course gets worse and worse to ride, and we solidify our position. We're about six minutes behind 2nd, and 20 minutes ahead of 4th. Before the last lap, I talk to Jim.
"Hey man, if we get in right before the cut off, want to just call it instead of going back out there?" I say. He agrees. JPok agrees as well. The course is miserable at this point. We clean off and change clothes.
Nate gets back 10 minutes before the cutoff. JPok tells him that everybody right behind him. Nate looks sad, then goes out for another lap. I laugh. Mould gets back a few minutes later. Jim doesn't go out. Gnarmire rolls in right after the cutoff. I don't even have deal with the guilt of quitting the race. Sweet.
And that's the end. We finish a solid third overall out of around 160 teams. First single speed team.
Then there was a shot-ski and the burning of some dumpster wood. To appease Prof. Gnarmire, I will write nothing more of that on the public internets.