A friend, Scott Von Woodbridge or SVWb, and I did a 12 hour race last weekend and planned on doing the Single Speed two person category (yes there was one and we were stoked) but ended up that we were the only team. I do like victory, but winning by default is just hollow, very hollow so we decided to do the two person team category. So it was the really plucky huge (6’2″ and 6’4″ 220ish each guys) against 6 teams of fit, young and little people. Okay, we weren’t racing midgets but our two person team likely outweighed several of the three man teams…. that isn’t really such a good thing.
Now I can only type for me but the racing,, for me was, at least early in laps, painful and slow. The race started with a parade lap, and it was a parade. A whole bunch of guys and a couple of gals in tight fitting clothes riding slowly through the woods trying not to fall over was funny. At least I suspect it looked funny because I was one of those out there trying to not fall over and look cool. I didn’t fall over, that is all I can say for certain.
After the parade….. the race started…… for some, for me the sufferfest started for the lap. Trying to move smoothly and easily through the racers was impossible mostly because I was pedaling in squares and feeling as if I was going to loose at least one lung and perhaps a spleen and I think my kidney did almost fall out my foot, which was not fun. But I still moved up through the field passing with care and trying to be as friendly as possible to my fellow racers as I passed them. But the roots… the roots… the roots… and the tight trees and the roots….. and roots….. I was very surprised with the roots. Around here we have rocks and roots and those, I am ready and was prepared for, however the roots in Fredericksburg were a slight and not pleasant surprise. And as I rolled along wondering how many more laps I had to do I thought’ “NO THE ROOTS WILL KILL ME” if I do two more laps. But about as I realized that the roots and tight trail was going to be my day, the lap ended almost as it began, me trying not to fall over and look cool as I handed off my little wrist band to SVWb and off he went into the roots.
What he thought and felt about the roots of hand punishment I don’t know, he didn’t complain he just rode and rode well. Then he came into the start finish area and handed off the wrist band and off I went….. into the roots and tight trails.
Personally I took off and into the woods with a less than happy and positive attitude and I really believed it showed in how I was riding. I still felt like I was pedaling in squares, had little to no power and was losing organs I need to live out of my foot, back, or eyes, which speaking of, felt as if they being rattled from my skull. Yes, I was having a lap one repeat, except I was passed by one rider, a rider from team 106 and rider on the team that would eventually be the team that would challenge us. He passed me with about two miles to go and I was pretty unhappy about losing a place. It was not cool at all. Not sure of how much time was lost I handed off my wrist band to SVWb and walked back to my FJ and thought about my upcoming day. Suffer and work and place third of out of six teams or buck up and work harder and end up second or maybe first. I munched M&Ms, pretzels and drank a Sprite bucked up and decided roots…. roots…. and tight trail were not bad, I was after all riding a bike for fun, what else can I say? Last place, first place, who cared? I just wanted to buck up and do what I could and that is what I tried. A few minutes later SVWb showed up and I went out.
And I bucked up like a good little camper and rode as a fast as I could. I felt good, kind of, and did my lap. No complaining in my head about the terrain or tight twisty trail, just head down and pedal as I fast was able. This lap was my best, not sure about time wise but I rode the entire lap without getting off the bike once. There was one little rise in the course that was smarter to walk, IMO, than ride most laps but this lap it didn’t even register. The legs felt good, it happens once a year. I guess I am out of luck for the rest of the year. Whatever, I had a great lap, then I handed off the wristband. Back to M&Ms for me.
I will spare anymore details of the rest of the laps except to say that no lap felt as good as my third but they all felt better than my first two. Maybe I warmed up, maybe I got over being a big crybaby or maybe I woke up, I’m not sure but I am really glad whatever happened did happen.
Team 106, the team that passed me, was second place on my sixth lap behind us by something like 14 minutes so my lap six was just a ride along and enjoy the dark with my freaking awesome lights and finish the race. The pizza for the post race festivities arrived just as I left for the last lap. So all I wanted to do was cruise and finish up safe and sound and get our whatever prize we were going to get and eat pizza. Another parade lap so to speak. I rode it as if it was and when I finished we had 14 minutes left in the race. Team 106 had no chance, but I held onto the wristband just in case….
Twenty some seconds to go in rolls Team 106, are you kidding me? Really? Twenty seconds? Come on…. Sheesh. So what is a slightly chubby guy with a piece of pizza in his mouth supposed to do? I took off and chased. This time I was not going to let him stay away or pass me after I caught him. Head down and off I go.
On the first climb I come upon this poor fellow working like a dog. Not a hound chasing a raccoon to tree, not a bird dog tracking down bird, not a husky pulling the sled to get medicine to poor sick children, not even Willie chasing a squirrel, but a dog who needed to take a nap under the front porch after a long hot day. Better yet it was Team 106. I passed without saying a word on the first climb and really tried to drop an anvil on his motivation. I wanted him to stop trying to catch me and just hope to finish. Did I succeed? I have no idea, all I know for certain is Team 106 didn’t catch me. We had won our two man category. Sweet, where is my beer?