The Race – Day 2
The best part of hypothermia is that you doze off to never wake again. Last Saturday I was well on my way to deceased when a voice said to me, “Do you want to go into town for breakfast”? I climbed back into consciousness and once again I was among the walking living humans. Well most humans anyway.
The rest of them were still slumbering so I took the opportunity to go out on a Latrine tour. The first one was frozen over and any additions just sat there on top of the ice. I posted a Butte 100 poster and proceeded to the next one. I posted a total of 4 posters and covered the entire Hemingway Butte Recreation Area’s bathrooms. My mission was complete and it was time to go “into town”.
We found this nifty hardware slash grocery slash cafe in Melba called the Melba Valley Market. We walked in and quickly got glances by all the townie folk wondering what these weird looking people were doing in their village at 8 in the morning. Were we lost? At first we thought the signs for “Cafe” were wrong as this looked a lot like True Value with a grocery store added on. We walked to the group of folks and were greeted by a nice woman offering us coffee, menus, and a smile. We were all set.
We arrived back at the venue with full bellies, me with hash browns topped with salsa. I was hoping the salsa didn’t re-visit me during the race. As soon as we arrived the wind started to blow. We BARELY got a hold of the tent to keep it from blowing away. The wind would set the tone for the rest of the day and would be responsible for sandblasting our skin and giving us wind burn.
I suited up for a pre ride. I was zipping along on the course and showing off to a couple youngsters when the rear tire went flat. Damn! Earlier in the week I had broke my rear wheel and couldn’t use Stans fluid so I had a tube instead. For the rest of the hour I repaired a rear tire that didn’t seem to like goat heads (a thorn) and gave my two cents to everyone that passed me. I arrived at the car ready to abandon.
Ross looked at my front tire and it has 12 goat heads protruding out of it. There was no way in Hell i would survive the race on a couple tubes and patches. If I did it would take me all day. I searched for an way to race but there was none. The decision came down to go until I flat and run out of tubes or save the effort and watch my friends race. I decided to make a day of it and mozied finally towards the start finish line.
The pros went out and for a second I thought, “man it would be nice to race in a group of twenty”. I gathered with what seemed to be thousands of cat 1 riders. I was thinking that all the other categories should just back off until we were on our way. I sat and waited to be staged. Usually we would be let off in or separated into groups so as to avoid massive confusion at the start. Suddenly someone said go and we were off. I was in a blob of riders and it was like the Boston Marathon. I waited for a moment to get going as the massive field went forth. Then I hit it hard trying to pass as many as I could and get up to the leaders.
The intro loop featured a tough climb followed by a series of rollers. I got behind what seemed to be some fast dudes and only 8 or so from the front. We hot a compression and started rolling up the other side when the dude just slowed to a freaking crawl. He was in the wrong gear and I avoided smashing into his rear tire my ditching myself into the weeds. The group passed me.
I remounted and proceeded to regain the front version 2.0. Nearing the start finish area the track widens to about a hundred feet. Real wide. I decided to overtake the majority of the pack there. It seemed everyone was glued into this huge moving blob. It seemed like they were BMX racing or something in slow motion. Bam! I hit the left side hard and started passing the giant swarm of young cat 1s (or cat 2s cheating).
Suddenly out of the pack comes this rider and hits my handlebars. He took me out and landed on my front tire. I broke the buckle of my shoe ripping it off and planted my helmet firmly into several rocks and timing equipment items. I couldn’t move for like what seemed a long time and just relaxed imagining my race was over and a nice little trip to the hospital.
First I started hearing someone talking to me, “Come over here and get out of the track, here I will help you, just relax you’ll be ok”. I stood up and the pain in my neck jumped at my awareness like flames in a fire. Ouch, I grabbed my neck. It took a while and as I stood there watching the entire field ride away I looked at my bike. Hmmm, just a twisted handlebar. I twisted it back and before anyone could grab me I jumped on and sped off. “What about your neck”, someone yelled. “Don’t know”, I yelled back.
I rode the entire race with misaligned handlebars and front fork. It seemed to be holding together ok. I passed everyone I could and took out all my frustrations on the trail by ripping up climbs that no one else dared to do. I did take it easy on the descents because something was wrong with the steering.
At the end of lap two I had caught many riders and finally settled down into a survival pace. I was wanting to at least beat these three or so riders that seemed to be going as fast as I was. I passed them but they stuck onto me like glue and didn’t let me go. On lap three the spectators yelled, “look around, look around, this is the race guys, go go go”.
In the middle of lap three I took a wrong turn and the three got away. Apparently I missed the racers meeting and didn’t know we had 2.5 laps and not 3. I turned and went after them. Again everyone was yelling at me to catch them and regain the lead. What lead? I finished behind them.
Apparently I had caught everyone. I did not know that, if only I knew the plan to do 2.5 and made that turn I would of taken the podium. It would of been a great comeback. I compared the race times with he pros who did the same distance … would of been 4th … COOL
I received 2nd in my age group but I was just thankful for the one thing that kept me going. The entire race I kept thinking one thing. “I haven’t flatted yet”. Damn, I am lucky to just get to finish the race. Good day in the dirt.