My original 12 Hours of Tsali write-up was borderline pornographic if not completely incoherent, like a Penthouse letter dictated by Thomas Pynchon, so I figured I’d post my play list that was never used. Gone Riding bans I-Pods with headphones so shit got pretty crucial from a sanity point of view around hour 8.
You can only ding a handlebar bell so long before you start thinking horrible thoughts. On second thought, my play list was too big for a blog post so maybe I’ll just include the first hour or two. Wait, I need to include a race detail. Hmmm, where to start? I guess I’ll start with Friday night’s binge drinking and sausage consuming. After the sausage/binging, it was time for 4 hours of sleep and an early morning run to Bojangles (!) for biscuits and coffee. Fast forward to the start of the race. It was Le Mans which is French for “Kenny don’t run”. But not to be outdone by Kelly Baisley, I jogged so I could beat her to the bikes; send an early message to her: “I will crush you”. The first lap was uneventful.
The second was too. I think I saw Will or was that the third? A loose headset was fixed by Eric after berating him for his slackness. He was already drunk by 1:00 PM. Belligerent by 3:00 and approaching David Lee Roth levels by 5:00. I eventually met up with Kyle and we rode together until I attacked him on a climb to see how he was feeling. He faded like a high top and I was soon getting wind of first. Not sure where I made contact with him, maybe the fifth lap?
Anyhoo, he had a splacknasty Lynskey with splacknasty I-9 wheels that got a bell ding of admiration from me. The next laps were fairly uneventful. I started walking the long fire road climb and “shreddin” the backside swoopiness. Lights went on around 8:10 for me. It was quite a scene. I was totally unprepared. Nothing was ready so I made Eric do everything, berating him, staring at him with disdain, disgust. It felt good. After the 10th lap, I decided to call it a day. I was handed a beer and started to decompress until I realized Will could catch me if he busted out two fast fucking laps. I set my beer down, after Kelly lit sparklers for me and went out for a leisurely 11th lap. I passed 1st on the gravel road climb and thought “This is for Jeremy Edge you SOB!” He then hammered past me 20 seconds later, but it still felt good. Didn't walk the fravel road once! Rolled into through finish line for my real finish at 10:45, 5 minutes too late for lap 12 and called it a day. I’ve never done the champagne thing before on the podium so when I opened the bottle, instead of arching out like a super-charged, virile, firehose blast, it dribbled, flat and impotent onto my feet. I wanted to drink it anyway so that’s what I/we did. Then Kyle vomited uncontrollably behind our tent set-up next to Sycamore Cycles. Now that's punk rock. Pretty sure the only reason I won first was because Will was overgeared, Kyle was undernourished and most of the heavy hitters were racing at Burn 24, but hey, a win is a win!
Woo hoo, Team Hoffenchard!!
seems i wasn't alone in my attempt to ride in a metric century MTB race over the weekend. tip of the hat to ole kenny. i didn't have the esteemed pre-race company of Spanky and KB, Joshica and other supporting cast like our very own Kenneth but i did have some beers in the company of a few newly met characters: Carlos, editor/publisher of the BikeMonkey 'zine and promoter of events, Jason Silverek, local norcal photographer and owner of one of the sweetest SS's ever (a custom Retrotec/SyCip/Soulcraft he was given in thanks for shooting the Top Tube Calendar), and a few other select individuals camping out around Lake Sonoma. also like kenny, i had NO bojangles biscuits for breakfast.
we all knew saturday (race day) was going to be hot. i had no idea that i'd be contemplating at what point the body might combust or my face might melt off. the highs were predicted near 100 degrees and they topped it. at one point on the race course i found myself standing near a cooler with chunks of ice in my hands. just standing there holding ice cubes. but there i go getting ahead of myself . . .
12:45pm — With the return of the first riders which included Barry Wicks, Glenn Fant, Brian Astell, Shane Bresnyan and other fast riders we received word of the quickly aproaching shortage of fluids on the course. In spite of 7 aid stations with gallons upon gallons of water we were running low after just one lap. The high hadn’t been reached yet, and going back out spelled doom for everyone.
"other fast riders." really? wow, somehow i managed to get tangled up not too far off the race leaders in a group of 'fast riders'. not how i'd planned the day but i'll fucking take it!
1:00pm — The race was called. A handful of riders were turned back from station 4 due to the order. Nobody seemed to terribly burnt, unless it was by the sun.
When life gives you lemonade, you always smell it to make sure it isn't urine... and so began my inaugural Sumter Metric Century race Saturday morning. Actually, the race started Friday night as Eric and Kelly were in town which meant beers and chips at Yo Burrito, and then cruiser bikes to Speakeasy in Five Points. There we lounged with Gabe from Hawley, drinking and cavorting. Then, as always, the clock showed 1:30-1:45 and it was time to ride home. In bed by 2:30 and then up at 5:30. Christ. Three hours of sleep left me feeling pretty crummy and mildly hung over but there was racing to be done. I skipped breakfast knowing I could pick up an assload of biscuits somewhere on the road. Turning off at the exit towards Lick Fork State Park, I didn't see a biscuit vendor in sight. I kept driving and realized I would go biscuit-less. Damn, a biscuit would've hit the spot. I show up to the race in ratty camo shorts, a soiled button up shirt from the night before and my John Deere cap with coffee stains. Looking like a mentally unstable Vietnam vet, I decide to test the waters and ask those around me in the parking lot if they had any spare food. I think I freaked a couple folk out as they thought I was panhandling for a meal, which I guess I was, but it wasn't because I was broke but because Bojangles are snobs and refuse to move into the sticks. Highbrow snobs. Pfffft. So I go register, take a piss and sit in my car trying to figure out what to eat. Then I look at the huge box full of food purchased by Cane Creek through us and say "Fuck it. I'm crackin' open this muthafuckin' box of chocolate chip Clif bars!" I was hesitant because I didn't want FnG at Creek kicking my ass for eating his food, but as luck would have it, they were Eric's and he's a pussy. So I took two bars, stacked them biscuit-style and slamhammered them down. A pointless riders meeting followed and then it was a Le Mans start to our bikes. I don't run, I barely jog and find walking most unsavory. If it had been socially acceptable, I would've centipeded to my bike but this was a race and breakdancing would have to wait. I got into the conga line and hit the singletrack feeling fine and cherry wine. I caught up to Jonathan LaRoy (registered as Jonathan Lardy) and said hi. He was running what looked like a 34X18 or 16 with skinny-ish tires. I dug the set up and wished I had changed my 20 out to an 18 and traded my 2.2 Racing Ralphs to WTB Vulpines or some reasonable facsimile. Anyhoo, I bid J adieu and rode to the first portion of pavement then on to some dirt and gravel rollers. I was rolling along, spinning furiously and as luck would have it, I caught up to Ross Doswell. I hung back but then figured he'd seen me behind him so I rolled up and had a pleasant chat about stuff, you know, girl stuff. We dumped out onto to some more pavement and grabbed a spot in a fucking paceline (!) to the first checkpoint. Ross and I checked in (mandatory), telling the race officials our numbers and hit the singletrack. A brief bobble allowed Ross to gap me by about 20 yards but I was feeling strong and knew I could catch him whenever. Then after about a mile or two, my pedal felt weird. But it wasn't my pedal, it was my cleat. The cleat came loose and on a climb, my foot shot off the pedal in mid stroke. I thought "Uh oh". I pulled over and started frantically searching for the cleat I had just dumped into the woods. I looked and looked, prayed to Allah, kept looking but it was no use. The cleat was nowhere to be seen. A passing rider (who I would later pass) told me, "Hey, your cleat is in your pedal!". I looked down and there it was, wedged in. I grabbed a rock and started banging on it but it was jammed in there tight. This is where I yelled "Are you fuckin' me? Come on!" and decided to quit the race. Then I came to my senses as I heard Toby's voice, Obi Wan style, saying "If you DNF, you'll regret it. And I also think you're a closet case..." So that was that. I decided to bury myself and ride with one working shoe and a slicker than snot carbon platform on the other foot. I popped out onto a dirt road a few miles before checkpoint two and caught some folks. I asked if anybody had some duct tape to give my pedal something a little sticky to grab onto. A nice fellow had a small square from a sign and put it on for me. I think it fell off 20 feet later but I appreciated the effort. He was a warm fellow who was probably a serial killer in regular life, but today, he was a man of compassion and not somebody who made lampshades out of human ass flesh. The second place womens finisher caught me on some pavement and we worked together as we rode some dirt rollers and then into Modoc. Somehow I dropped her in the singletrack as my left foot kept flying off the pedal Rockettes style, banging my ankle against the crank every time. Then it started to rain and it became impossible to keep the shoe on the pedal so I rode down everything with the left foot either off the pedal or "switchfoot" with my right foot forward which is the complete opposite way I ride and felt very bizarro, like trying to relearn bicycle technique in mid-race. I rolled up on a guy smoking a joint at a fork in the trail and asked him which way do I go. He said something unintelligible, I got impatient and just kept going. Christ, was he a race official? I made it out of Modoc soiled and with a throbbing knee, ankle and taint (from my shoe slipping out on a climb throwing me hard into my saddle. The pain was like a lightning bolt into my nether regions). I rolled into checkpoint three, got some duct tape wrapped around my shoe a little too tight, popped a couple endurolytes just in case and rode the last 15 or so miles to the finish. The rest of the race was uneventful. I figured out that by slamming my toe cleats into the pedal and by keeping my foot pointed down at all times, I could pedal without loosing pedal contact. I did this until my ankle started screaming in pain and then switched over to the pedal, slip, pedal, pedal, slip method. Does the fun ever start? Some more dirt roads and then the last portion of singletrack dumped me out in Lick Fork State Park. I passed some troglodytic freakazoids in pop up campers next to the river and that was all the motivation I needed to finish strong. I rolled in at 5 hours and something, maybe 10 minutes? We started late so my watch couldn't be trusted. Could've easily done sub 5 but 40 miles with one shoe is much harder than most folk make it out to be. Sadly, Ross beat me but I figured he would, unless the serial killer at checkpoint two had chloroformed him and taken him back to his trailer in the woods. I finished second and got my pint glass. I also got two plates full of potato salad, beans and a burger. Then I almost shit my shorts on the way home (and before the race too oddly enough). My gastro-intestinal track was in a tizzy! This was a crazy fucking race for me and was terrible prep for 12 Hours of Tsali. My ankle is fucked, my knee is toast and my bike sounds like it's about to fall apart, but I wouldn't trade the experience in for all the "Cat Fancy" magazines in the world! The End.
they're talking around 12,000 ft of climbing. Bear Republic Brewing is sponsoring . . . so at least there will be beer flowing.
hearts - b
(Pre-race cleanliness) No ride time all week meant fresh legs but less than stellar fitness. Torrential rain all week meant the trails would be muddy and a warm front would make the humidity unbearable. These were the things that should've weighed on my mind, but they didn't as I have been watching the "Venture Brothers" on DVD all week so the usual pre-race jitters were replaced with obsessive thoughts about an animated duo of clone-brothers, a psychotic bodyguard and their neurotic father. Anyway, I spent the night at my folks' crib and woke up Saturday morning refreshed and a little gassy. I met Josh and Kelly at Southside Trail, warmed up for about 45 seconds, waved hello to my Dad and younger-older sister and got in line to race. Somehow I got muscled off the front row and started on the second row. Oh well. The start went exactly as expected: I was dropped by the main field on the swoopy grass. I railed down the powerlines and entered the singletrack caboose style. The rain seemed like it had left the trail in tact, but as soon as we neared the floodplain and creek, all bets were off. Drifting, sliding and the occasional dab were in store. Luckily, the two creek crossings helped wash off the clay and mud accumulation. By the end of the first lap, I had passed some folk and was feeling pretty good. I saw a squirrel eating some sort of nut next to the trail. I rang my bell at him (which I would break after I wrecked on the second lap) and wished him well. He gave me the squirrel finger. A few miles later, I spied Brad (Low Country Velo) after the start/finish line and thought I could catch him. I slowly started to reel him in when he happened to see me and took off on the flat, muddy stretch by the creek. Fudgeicles! That would be the last I see of Brad until the finish. A little disheartened if not borderline disinterested, I pedaled on passing another rider and enjoying the sound of my lungs filling up with mucous as thoughts of bean burritos and mixtapes filled my head. All that peacefulness and serenity lulled my senses as I wrecked pretty hard on the wettest and most treahcerous of the downhills, landing on some roots, whacking my shin on the Kona and tweaking the groinal area. Guh! I picked myself up after an obscenity-laced inner monologue and mashed on towards the Fern Gully connector. I heard an incessant dinging and lo and behold, there were Joshie and Kelly trailside, shouting words of encouragement and taking photos. I had uttered something about the trail being a "fucking nightmare" on lap one but this time around, I kept my silly thoughts to myself although I did bust out a particularly rancid fart about ten yards past them. They probably didn't notice as a horse had taken a dump near the trail earlier that morning. The rest of the race was uneventful. Roots, some mud, some lovely singletrack, no I-Pod. I eventually crossed the finish line with mud in my ears, creek water in my mouth, potential horse feces in my eyes but with a smile on my face, in addition to the feces. Brad came over and we chatted about the mud, etc. He told me he got second so it looked like I had another third place coming my way (and second overall for the State Championship). I wondered if Brad could smell the horse shit too, or if it was just me? I kept this thought to myself. By the way, a podium ceremony, no matter how small and craptacular it is, can be a very awkward occasion. Please consult Rich Dillen's blog for further misadventures on the podium. This was my second XC race of 2009 and could be my last. They're a lot of fun, but with the steep entry, they're just not worth it. But yeah, I'll be doing more XC with Herb in Charlotte this summer.
Hey Brandon, you're not the only one with gratuitous groin shots. Behold!
My jersey is short and my camos ride low.
Here we are in the woods watching the pro race. Joshie wouldn't stop ringing the cowbell.
Kelly was worried about getting a sunburn so she ran a mile back to the car. This shot was taken from about 300 yards away. And yes, she got burned.
2 laps of the Right Loop, 22 miles. Fast, fun, flowy trails (despite the dozens of mini-lake puddles). I forgot how close and how fun Tsali is. Why do people hate on Tsali?! Maybe it's not challenging enough for some, but these trails were made for someone like me. Minimal climbing, maximum flow. Maybe I just haven't been on enough MTB trails in my 2 short years of riding, but today was the most fun I've had on a bike and the best I've ever ridden. Not a lot of action pics, as we were pretty spread out, getting a feel for our own individual race pace in 2 weeks. Chad and Andrea have both been convinced to race 6 hours solo!! Sounds like we are going to have a lot of out of town and local friends there - should be fun for all! Anyone interested in running support for us?