Monday, May 21, 2012

Syllamo's Revenge 2012...

Syllamo's Revenge 2012 race report...yes, it was a hella-fun time!

All things Arkansassy went down without a hitch over the weekend as a handful of jerks from KC headed South to make an attempt at world domination. Flying the green & black was Travis, Jesse, Jamie, Dave, Mia, Jason and The Pirate. Travis drove most of the crew down in the team bus fully loaded with testosterone, bikes and beer. I flew solo with a few stops along the way to visit family and have an unexpected yet pleasant chat with the Searcy County Sheriff. I guess they even have traffic laws in Arkansas, who knew. Fortunately he was in good spirits and did not search my hippie wagon for dead hookers or kilo's, and I was on my way in no time.
The drive was impressively long. What I thought would take minutes took hours. It was 11:30 p.m. when I arrived at camp Timbo, located minutes from the race venue and inches from Syllamore Creek. I had high hopes of powering down a sixer of carbohydrates around the fire with my race-mates, but to my dismay, everyone was snoring the star filled night away, probably dreaming of events to come. Not to be one to ruin my own party, I sat alone, well not alone but with the company of three dumpster-diving raccoons, and swilled toxins that would indeed keep me afloat during the blistering heat that was to come. As my eyelids failed me, I crawled a mere three feet from my thrown into the fetal position atop some ratty Mexican blanket I stole from a donkey-show whore in Juarez back in 1998.
Morning came early, or so it seemed and I was up and poaching coffee from the nearby espresso master FM. I think he called it coffee, but the amount of mud left in the bottom of my mug was tale-tell of the true meaning of a caffeine buzz that would send me up the infamous climb at the start of the race at ludacris man-speed.
The climb is brutal. I don't know the specs but as a guess it's 20 miles long and as steep as Mt Everest; at least that's how it feels when you're running 32x18 on a single speed. Conditions where dry, very dry and the corners loose. I almost prefer the wet conditions of the two previous years, but there is something to say for dry rocks and low creeks.
The man-train entering the singletrack was in fact much less of a train than I suspected, and for the most part I was able to ride around the folks walking the technical spots and make-up some time. After about 15 minutes I settled into a groove with a group of about 9 riders as we pushed and pulled each other through some awesome trail, over obstacles and breathtaking views. 
My nutrition plan is always simple, familiar and dialed. I do one bottle of water, one bottle of HEED/Purpetuem and a flask of Hammer Gel. At aid stations I'd grab a few orange slices, PB&J and fresh bottles. I kept on myself to drink and eat as much as I needed, even when I felt i could do without. I'd hear folks talking of cramps and being tired the entire 50 miles. You have to get your nutrition dialed before a race like this or yes, you will be in the hurt locker, you have to be smart about it.
Another issue I saw over and over was tires. I don't know how many hundreds of times I have to recommend NOT running weight-weenie tires. That crap is for roadies, so is shaving your girly legs. Run some bombproof tires or suffer a DNF and/or a lot of frustration and disappointment. It's not rocket science. I run Specialized Grid tires, tubeless with Stan's Sealant. I've had to install a tube one time in the last three seasons. The proof is there, get smart.
Back to the race. It was a hot day and people were having trouble. I too was having trouble with the heat but kept pushing myself to stay hydrated and did what I needed to do to push through. The aid stations offered a sigh of relief that even massage with happy ending couldn't compete with. Handleballs was our team pit crew and did a fine job loading bottles and giving out Dill Pickle hand-ups. Thanks dude, it was good to get some motivation every 20 miles or so.
The Niner Air 9 Carbon was a sweet ride. She flossed the trail with ease and hopped logs like nobodies business. I ran Ergon GX-1 grips for my third season doing this race and they were great for comfort and changes in hand position. All was dialed and my experience, yet again, was much like Luke when he got the hole shot and blew the Death Star to high-hell.
Per Pirate standards, I was able to 'Finish, not last'. I also beat my personal record by almost ten minutes. Syllamo's Revenge is a good time. If you are interested in Endurance racing, try it out. A good day on the bike is sure to be had, that or you might die in the woods,  just sayin'.. 
A shout out to Travis for getting 2nd overall, The Manimal for 2nd in SS, Jason for 3rd Overall, Peat Awesome for 6th in the 125K, Luke for kicking my ass big time and a big HELL YEAH to Timbo for finishing in style. 

Whats next? How about UFDSSC? That's right, Single Speed Championships. They had me at 'Take a shot shortcut'. That and they have a Fixed gear class. Let the suffering begin!

Results are HERE
Photos are HERE
Check out T.Donn's Race Report HERE

1 comment:

Ben Bolin said...

Nice write up! I gotta get back there for that race again. Perfect conditions this year.