Friday, August 10, 2007

Wilderness 101


fri. made the drive to amish country w/andy, harry and thom, the seven cycles van motoring nearby, skip, lloyd, kerry, greg, and mike aboard - all good folks, all bringing a totally unique personality and reason for loving being on their bikes all day - mike's love was clearest as he yelled and sang, "i'm gonna ride my bike all day, bike all day!!!" during the opening miles. and after hanging w/mike, can't stop yelling, "wet melba toast!"

we pile-out of air conditioned comfort into the stifling heat of coburn, pa, sweating just standing around, so i move slow and drink lots. problem solved, but inadvertantly make everyone wait on me for a mass pre-ride. quick 4-5m jaunt on the technical fisherman's path, chit-chat, jeez these rocks are big... feeling good about saturday.

7a start, not as humid this morning, we're all taking it nice and easy, cpl miles into it i sense we're picking-up, paranoid ab0ut getting stuck back like at mohican, start to make my way forward, 250'ish folks out here, lots of good spirits, slowly move past mike singing the joys of all-day riding. we begin to climb and find myself working harder, eventually see that we're reeling-in someone who's gone off the front, happens a cpl more times. keep moving up,
not looking to push the pace, just cruising, see the usual suspects, some not-so-usual, we're all waiting for the singletrack, the big climbs, the hand-numbing descents, the fun!

the road begins to head down to the left and i'm 2nd or 3rd wheel, pull ahead, needed to drive this bus at least once, screaming down, old piranha's not hooking-up well, tap the brakes, need to shed some speed and hear a loud "yip-yip-yeah!" behind, slide to the outside and jb rolls through the corner full-tilt, big smile, me sliding way right barely holding-on. not sure how you couldn't be having fun! past aid 1 and into the first big climb. tinker, josh, harlan, jb, and sam do their thing, take it off the front, i wish harlan the best of luck as he moves along. if you didn't already know, harlan lays it down and breaks the course record! w/ jb also breaking the course record, a mere 5mins in front. harlan certainly has been doing his homework, jb mentions in his race report that harlan picked-up a gear or two this yr, no doubt!

a number of chase groups form, i try to take it easy on the climbs, lots of work ahead of us today, patience always pays. a cpl big climbs and surprisingly tough, fast, super damn fun descents later i find myself working in the midst of a mixed group
(ss and geared) of local tough guys, greg, andy. a move is made at the btm of little shingletown, not sure where we are so i work hard to close the 10-15 sec gap, grab greg en route, get-on, group slows. ha.

we all stop at aid 2 and re-load. smaller groups form, find my climbing cadence, which means riding alone, watching as guys come back or move up, constantly yo-yo'ing. take a spill on a high-speed corner, tire simply not hooking-up, rip hip back open, later find that my pump was all f'ed and i had 45psi vs 32 in the front tire, kinda a big difference, one i should have caught. blame the fall on andy's line, wasn't his fault, just pissed-off. up quick and through aid 3. enter a nice singletrack climb, the climbs just don't seem steep today, everything feels so right. cpl miles into it i lay-down a touch more power, have been eating/drinking on schedule, riding conservatively, but experienced enough (finally) to know it can change at any second, need to stay on pace till it's time (last 10m), sitting right where i want to be, somewhere between 8th-12th position, hard to know exactly. start playing with the trail, having a blast. the descent gets pretty narrow, ravine to the right, sandy, scary, make it down and let-out a "whooop!" - that's the best, involuntary "whoops!" good stuff. these trails are gnarly, nice and technical, but good flow, can really roll. the rock types are sharper down here than in new england, more sand, see more folks flatted than any race in memory.

a mile later (mile 60 something), SNAP! my seatpost sheers-off at the seat-tube. hun!? what!? really!? it's sheared-off right at the seat-tube. i try to remove it, no way, then try to push the broken piece down with the seatpost, no go, start banging the seatpost down w/a rock... no dice. a few mins have gone by, cpl riders. i put the seatpost in my camelback and move-on, my race is over, around the corner is greg. flat tire. he's not into it. mentions he's gonna wait for thom and ride w/him. andy rolls-up looking strong. soon we're rolling, i keep-up for a while, then andy is gone, then greg. my feet are burning from standing on the pedals, wasn't bad for the first cpl miles, but by aid 4 (mile 70'ish), i realize this is really over, the sag wagon awaits! sucky.

i felt no guilt in drinking many beers, but do feel bad for telling folks that my fireroad whipe-out was andy's fault. old, bald tires, bad air. not good air. bad air. too much air.

am definitely bummed how things turned-out, was focused on having a good one here and being in the overall top 10 for the 100 miler series... practically took my entire bike apart for maintenance, but never checked the seatpost... next up, the SM100. may not ride so conservatively there, got nothing to lose!

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2 Comments:

At 8/10/2007 9:39 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Jeff,

It was a bummer to pull into #4 and find you there. When you first showed me the post I thought it was your seat tube not your post. Either way it sucks. Sorry man. Never heard of a Thomson breaking like that.

JM

 
At 8/13/2007 10:32 PM, Blogger namrita o'dea said...

that's crazy. sorry you had such bad luck on a good day. go for it at sm100!

 

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