Fresh off Trans Zion I feel the need to reflect on a little 24 hour race we did before that. That is if you call a 60 plus deep field of solos tiny. A couple of weeks ago my partner and I attended the 25 hours of Frog Hollow. Thanks Cimarron! And because of a few key decisions in the race our hiking adventure was awesome. But more on the Trans Zion in a later post.
I did not know Jill had crashed and was trying to get her bleeding leg to the start finish area. In fact eager laps to catch friends for a hug and excited talk about how we were doing faded with the cold air that was now chilling my body. I couldn’t keep warm. Standing there fixing another ripped sidewall. I think it was the cold that turned my mood from having fun to wondering what was the point in being out here at 2 in the morning.
So far my “fun” score was 98%. But now the tally was racking up “not-fun” points at an alarming rate. By the time I fixed my partners rear tire my “fun” score was 95% and falling fast. That bring me to explain why I was now riding my partners rear wheel. This tiny development occurred two laps earlier.
The sun had recently set and now I felt I would start to make up the big deficit I had on the front-runners. The first lap of the race I set my pace at what we referred to “inch worm”. I was going so slow the leaders had two laps on me by nightfall. This had put me into fun mode and I just spent the day riding and having fun. My only goal was to catch friends and say hi. But that was about to change. My pace was quickening and I felt like I had not rode at all. I was as fresh as fresh could be. And now was the time to reap the dividends.
Now dark I felt my rear tire get soft. I was hitting corners harder now and standing on the climbs. The rear of the bike kept swaying to one side. Upon inspection I discovered my rear wheel’s spokes were coming loose and one was broken. When I gingerly regained my pace it went really soft. I now had a flat tire as well. I quickly stuffed a tube in it and started the long decent down the gem trail. Then my rim hit the ground and the tire came off the rim. It seemed that my rear wheel was ka-put.
I went instantly into DNF mode. I was at the furthest point on the course. I now had to walk holding the rear of the bike off the ground. I really was not pissed as much as mystified. My racing bike which I take great lengths to keeping in tip top shape suddenly was out of commission. My new racing wheels worthless. By the time I got back to the pits I would be so far out of contention that I would just be riding for fun. That is if I could get my bike going again. And now I discovered that walking on the trail with a couple hundred racers zipping down the trail using 2000 lumen lamps was not a good idea. So I walked throughout the cactus and sage. This was not fun. My “fun” score was dropping fast. I started to dream of the upcoming hike. A hike across Zion with my partner and friend. I couldn’t wait.
Lucky for me I ran into a course marshall with a tube for hire. We worked for some time to get my bike rideable. At one point he mentioned giving me a ride to the dirt road where I could walk back to the pits. Eventually we did get my bike in rideable condition and a fully inflated rear tire. At the pits my partner gave me her rear wheel and sent me on my way. We were still on the “inch-worm” plan and I could still do fine. But for me I had already started dreaming of a future adventure … trans-zion.
Now a couple of hours after midnight with a borrowed rear wheel I was having fun again and racking up “fun” points. Until I ripped the sidewall of my partners rear tire. And here I was fixing another rear wheel. Riding into the pits again I was totally deflated. No more fun and no more dreams of future adventures. Sleep deprived and freezing I sat in my pit chair making decisions.
Go back out or just give up the ghost? If I quit now I could say I totally had fun at the Frog Hollow. If I went back out I would probably start suffering in the cold and feel the need to go fast. Didn’t sound like fun anymore. Maybe I was coming up with excuses but to be fresh for Trans Zion is what I settled upon.
I sat there much to long and needed to get warm. I got up and headed back to the tent.
“Inch worm FAIL”, I shouted back to my partner.