I’d had a crazy week that was more than filling up what limited time I don’t have. The Manimal and I had ripped-it-up during our weekly night ride and I was feeling pretty good in the cycling scheme-of things and he talked me into NOT cleaning out my garage, but instead driving three hours southeast to Binder Lake for the Tall Oaks Challenge 6hr race. I do love endurance racing, so the twisting of my arm was short lived and I was good to go. I feel like, in the overall bike racing scene, that endurance races are the real deal. This is where hard dirt single track riding meets not only fitness but mental will power. If you are a bad ass at endurance racing, you are a bad ass all around in my book. Just because you can ride fast and win some XC or CX races does not make you a man in my book. It’s the long haul or chopped balls as far as I see it, and the Ethos posse saved face and threw down on Sunday. All you shit talkers can eat my shorts!
The Tank Posing
As it goes The Manimal, Pyro and our pit boss Double D all headed out at 6 a.m. in the Vdub, luxury style. We arrived, set up a nice pit area right on the course, and readied our rigs and minds for the fun 6 hours on what turned out to be a crazy fast single track system. We were all kitted-up, had nutrition laid-out and ready for a quick hand-off and lined-up for the mass shotgun start.
The Course = Stellar!
JP was first into the woods, killing it. Travis was not far behind and I was in my typical mid pack position. Considering the train of riders, peeps were pushing hard and there was no real congestion on the trail. At about mile 1.2 we hit a loose and fast downhill section. This is where the race changed for me. Just two places ahead of me a rider crashed hard into a tree. I guess my past working Search and Rescue, being an EMT and understanding the value of time if hurt in the backcountry made me stop to check the situation and see if things were o.k.. As I arrived a women was curled-up sitting and rocking, guarded and moaning in pain. Her helmet was cocked-back and I could tell things could possibly be bad. She had hit HARD! After a minute or so she finally was able to tell me her name and I did a quick and dirty assessment of her condition. I felt she could possibly have a concussion and broken arm, so I asked a few riders to spread the word to get help and I stayed with her to see if she would come out of the almost shock-like condition. Thankfully she did and after some words I felt she was o.k. to walk out. I helped Mia and her bike off the course, leaving mine in the woods; I planned to return once she was in better hands and finish my race. We made it back to the pit area, I handed her off and proceeded back to my bike.
Mia and I after the race
Now for more trouble. I decided to start cutting switchbacks as I ran back to my bike. This was a jackass maneuver and I found myself lost in the woods. I could not find my bike and the trail did not look familiar. Finally I heard some riders and was running down the trail just as The Kid and The Manimal whizzed by on their second lap. At this point I knew I was out of the race. There was no way I’d make up a lap +, so I decided at that point to hop on my rig and do some blocking for the team.
I rallied it hard on that first lap, red-lined the whole way trying to stay in front of the 4th position rider and see if I could scrub even a few seconds off his time when he caught me and wanted to pass. I was no jackass, I just wanted to see if I could push the pace and also help out my team. I arrived back at the pit area where I dismounted for a break, knowing that I was now riding just for the fun of it. I stepped next door and checked on Mia, and she was doing WAY better, which was a huge relief. NO race is worth someone being left injured in the woods, and I was more than happy to help her out with no feeling of anything owed to me in return. I was having a hella-fun day!
The Kid riding into the finish - last lap
For my second lap I thought I’d push it to see what kind of lap times I might have averaged if I were still in it for the money. Karma lap two began as I ran upon Gino pulling pit-crew for some fella who busted his chain. Me being all helpful-like overheard the need for a quicklink and stopped to oblige. There went my lap time once again. The course however was ripping, and I did manage to pull of some sweet moves, and during said lap hit a sweet log skinny on the right side of the trail with the skills of a squirrel on a wire. I also proceeded each lap to catch major air on the two dirt jumps out on the grass,,, if you raced you know the ones. Too bad the photographer gal was not standing close enough to catch my X games-like stunts on film; only then would you know how bad-ass I truly am.
The Pirates Lair
Back at the pit I get this idea that it’s beer-thirty. I also decide that it would be a good idea to let Peat Awesome bunny-hop me as he plowed through the pit area. Unfortunately Peat is so awesomely fast on that old POS bike that all I could catch was this sweet wheelie, which he could have ridden to the booby barn and back no problem.
Peat Awesome showing his Superior Awesomeness
Finally I did toss back another lap as well as three Boulevard Singlewide IPA’s, which was just enough carbo-loading to send me out on a last lap chasing The Manimal and Coletrain for a burning 39ish minute lap that truly felt like the best of the day.
The Kid in GO mode
The team killed it as usual today; The Kid and Pyro wining the duo, JP and The Manimal pulling in a tight 6th, Sarah and FM somewhere closer to first than last, Coletrain with a 5th in the solo (on a SS), Kay with 1st and K-Rocket with 3rd in the solo, JDoug and Craig I'm sure did a swell job too, but my memory fails me as to what level of kick-ass they performed. For myself, I succeeded in pulling of my standard goal of ‘Finish, not last’, which is a wonder since I was for the most part hanging at the pit area drinking barley pops (thanks FM!) and eating team Rocket's Ginger Snaps.The three hours back to KC went well post Mexican food and Margs. Hope to see you punks at Casa De Burnsey for the Wednesday Night Ride!
JP explaining the nutritional value of Ginger Snaps