Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tuckerman's! Inferno Race Report

Tuckerman's Ravine

brie takin' a swig from the team btl. justin rockin' the mullet, sean on right

team x-ray
sean, alan, brie, justin, myself, plus erika, aspen, and tyne - and we had a solid posse for the inferno. i'll skip the how-do-you do's and get to the race.

dropped alan off at 630a saturday for the 7a start on a nice, sunny cold-ass morning. he jumped-out for his warm-up and i was off in search of bagels and coffee. an hour later i was riding to the kayak take-out in a cpl layers, trying to warm-up the legs. i felt great minus a desperate yearning for starbucks or equally strong java. if you got the addiction, always bring them beans!! the local convenient store was not packing the heat. back to the race, so i'm heading to the kayak take-out and see alan humming along in the lead of the 8 mile running leg, 3-4 guys close behind. he looked intense, was spending a bit of time in the cave.

20mins later i'm stretching a bit and chat for a minute w/ steve piotrow, the cyclist alan mentioned would be on me like white on ... a white rhino? moments later, team EMS rolls through in first, then 60-90secs? later steve roars-off in 2nd. sean tags me into the mix 20-3osecs back from steve after a strong 6 mile kayak.

steve rides super smooth and my early attempts to close the gap were crushed on the first good climb. once on rt 16 i settled down, focused on the cadence, and enjoyed a borrowed gu. steve had opened the gap to 90secs or so and i really needed to focus;
smooth-out my mashing and let the legs open-up.

with 5m? to go, the legs were definitely feeling better, stronger, and someone told me i was closing the gap. it was time to dig, i stood, went for the big ring, and the chain dropped-off the top - a regular occurrence on my 5yr-old training bike. in training, dropping the chain is no big deal, in a TT it's a bit different. a cpl heavy pedal strokes later and i'm on the side of the road with the front derailleur's chain guide stuck in the rear derailleur. disaster! been racing long enough to know that there's no need to panic. assessed the situation, couldn't rip the chain guide off w/o breaking the chain, so managed to get the guide back onto the bolt, but the clip broke off that kept it attached. who knows how much time elapsed, time seems to stop when these things happen. 3mins? 5mins? i was totally losing this race for us!! instead of pulling us into 2nd, i'm dropping us into the abyss.

a cpl guys pulled-over and asked if i needed help, i decline, ride 1/2 mile and the guide falls off and i'm back to fixing. they pulled-up again, this time w/duct tape. a cpl pieces later, many thanks, and i'm off, now in fourth place and really chasing, spinning like mad w/only the little ring in front to use. those two guys were the shit, thanks!! the last 3 miles went-by in what felt like seconds, was really fired-up now, mucho adrenaline had me hammering like a mad-man, needed 4-5 miles more of climbing to make the most of it! i tagged justin and he was off like a shot up the hiking/running/scrambling leg to the bottom of Tuckerman's where Brie was waiting to hike the bowl and ski the gates to the finish.

i tell a fellow racer what happened to my derailleur, a judge overhears and tells me we're disqualified for accepting outside assistance. i'm no cheater and agree that if thems the rules, thems the rules. i begin looking for my car which justin had stashed earlier and bump into alan, sean, and erika and tell them we're dq'd... everyone was so stoked. kidding.

turns-out we weren't dq'd, but honestly, i wasn't very upset, it was waaay too nice a day to get worked-up. the sun was so warm, clear blue skies, no wind. alan and i find the car, get changed and soon are hiking-up Tuck's in shorts, snowboard strapped on, a 12-pack in the pack for a little team celebration.
justin pulled-off a monster hike and Brie rocked the ski, bringing us back into 3rd place. After the race Brie and Tyne hiked to the summit for a run, while i managed to get a 3/4 run in while looking for everyone, sporting shorts, a tank top, and a can of PBR. alan ended-up getting delayed by some doggie day-care, but eventually we all found each other in the bowl for a celebratory shot, big grins, and smiles. to top it off, the shelbourne ski trail was ridable to pinkham notch! pretty damn sweet day.

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At 4/22/2008 12:53 PM, Blogger Barkernews said...

Wow. That is A LOT of people! Looks like fun.

At 4/22/2008 8:15 PM, Blogger Andy said...

for a second I thought there was some guy in the air crossing up skis above the headwall, but upon closer inspection think it's a chopper. freekin awesome conditions.

as for the race...that's a pissa.

At 4/23/2008 8:52 AM, Blogger jeff said...

Friends of Tuckerman's posted the results and even if the bike had stayed in one piece, we still would have finished 3rd. Steve p was killin' me! Just stoked those guys hooked me w/the duct tape - that saved us!

a few folks were taking big drops off icefall and center rocks, pretty burly stuff. the whole ravine would erupt into cheers, or "oohhh's" if they crashed and rolled for hundreds of feet. guess that's why that medical chopper was wheelin' about!

At 4/23/2008 12:35 PM, Blogger rick is! said...

bummer about the chain but that seems like a kick ass race!


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