Tuesday, August 28, 2007

EFTA NECS #8 The Pinnacle

“When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack.”

- The Sphinx (from Mystery Men)

This is perhaps the finest race in the EFTA series, the most climbing the most technical, the most dangerous, the most absolutely epic. It’s like Mount Snow except the climbing doesn’t quite blow as badly, it’s more interesting at least. This was Miriam’s first big outing since the accident, her vacuum dressing pack has a twelve hour charge which gave us plenty of time to get up to Newport, NH and back. I’d been out the day before giving my bike a bit of a shakedown, more for my imminent trip to SSWC in Scotland than this race. I’d changed a lot of stuff, saddle height, fore-aft position (trying to compensate for repositioning of EBB due to gear change), and I have to say the “sensations” from my legs were not feeling good. Could have been the ninety plus temperatures or the 100 Brazilian percent humidity, I don’t know, my hopes for a good result were not high.
We blasted up to Newport, singing along to Gram Parsons on the stereo, it was a beautiful day, and legs or no I was psyched about this race, if I couldn’t put up a fight I would at the very least get in some good training for the VT 50 doing the three lap, close to thirty mile Elite class race. The race is held at Newport High School and like all High Schools in New Hampshire they have their very own enormous network of grade A singletrack and an Olympic style ski jump (you ride down the landing ramp for the old ski jump during the race, it’s nuts). We pulled into the parking lot, immediately ran into Jeff and Jenn Whittingham, adorable,baby Seneca in tow. Jeff was coming off a heavy training week prepping for the Shenandoah 100 but he, as usual had a sack of hammers with him and butter fingers…cuz he’s going to drop the hammer, get it? Drunks and small children think I’m funny.
So we do a little course recon/warm up, I give my parents the lowdown on giving bottle hand ups, then head over to the racer meeting. There I run into Paul Simoes, my favorite single speed nemesis, I notice something shiny on his front tire, it was a tack. Paul is known for his turrets syndrome like outbursts of profanity and this caused him to wind up into a full on tirade. My grandmother reads this thing so I won’t add more detail here. He was sweating as he pulled it out “I’ve got no Stan’s in there, is it going to let the air out?”. He went ahead and removed it, the tire seemed to be holding, which was a good thing with six minutes the race start.
The Elite filed was looking large and pretty stacked, lots of the usual suspects and some not so usual. Less dudes than last year opted for the shorter 2 lap Expert Age Category race. The whistle blew, I shot off the right side, took the inside line around the tennis courts and ended up in second or third position behind Jeff coming by the finish area, had to show off for the parents right? I knew this was a joke so I let all the fast guys come around before we hit the opening climb. I was pinned just trying to stay in contact, as we entered the singletrack I counted at least ten riders in front of me, Paul and some other people were behind me, but not many. When we hit the first really substantial climb I passed a couple folks, and when I got to the new switch-backy section I could see Jeff and Kurt Schmid up about thirty or forty seconds ahead. Michael Patrick (fresh off a top ten at Master’s Worlds in France, ya guy) gapped up to me, his jet-lagged legs apparently were taking a while to start firing. I was happy to attend another one of his clinics, compared to this guy I ride a bike like George Bush rides a Segway scooter (or a bicycle for that matter, I wonder if that Scottish cop ever recovered from his presidential rundown). I slipped and slid my way around the wet root covered course for most a lap with Michael, my heart rate spiked like a Moto GP rider going into a corner at 180mph.
Just as we got to the real nastiness, the Pinnacle peak’s big brother, there were a couple of fast guys sidelined, looked like their bikes were intact and they still had all their appendages but they weren’t riding anymore, sweet, two places farther away from DFL!

“You must've torn out the "Q" section in my dictionary, because I don't know the meaning of the word "quit".

-Mr. Furious (again from the surprisingly crappy despite it’s excellent cast film Mystery Men)

When the really gnarly climbing began I could see Jeff and Kurt again, I tried to stay on Michael but he was gapping me left and right. I thought if I could just stay on him he would drag me up to the two ahead…but I lost it. Then I though I’d catch up on the descent, which was extra awesome by the way, crazy downhill berms and flagstones, wicked steep corners, even some of the elite guys were running them. I kept waiting to catch a glimpse of Jeff and Kurt (I knew Patrick was long gone), but no such dice. I saw Uber-fast Matt O’Keefe first, he had double flatted and had decided to bag it, sweet again because if he so chose he could have ridden back to my wheel and beyond even after such a setback. Then I ran into Jeff, he was hardly moving through a rock garden, he’d broken his pedal, tough break, he was out for sure. Redemption will come at The Shenandoah 100 for him without a doubt, he’ll have that much more fire in the legs next week, watch out now.
As I passed the finish chute and grabbed my feed from Jenn Whittingham I heard that I was forty seconds off third, what? How did this happen, where did everybody go? However Paul Simoes was not far behind, I saw him on the other side of the tennis courts at the bottom of the plummet thingy, less than minute.
I rode the second lap alone, in no man’s land, that’s about it…onto the third lap,
this is called “streamlining”.
This time through the feed I grabbed a bottle from my Dad, he told me third was just ahead and sure enough…up the climb ahead I saw Kurt Schmid’s yellow jersey, he still had a decent gap but I started working to bring it down, and it wasn’t happening easily. On the switchback climb section I timed Kurt at twenty seconds, it looked like more, there was another rider ahead of him who looked tough, who could that be? In the section where you’re basically riding over stone walls, down stone walls, over wet bridges made up of small logs I was able to get up to the other rider, the not Kurt rider and pass him, I guess Kurt had done the same. This poor bloke had put his bottle stand up the start loop, not realizing we wouldn’t be going back there again.
I got real close to Kurt in this stuff, but he kept getting the gap back, maybe he’d read a book on how to stick it to a single speeder, I don’t know but whatever he was doing he was getting away. I started to come up to him on the meanness around the second peak but this terrain wore me down, too many steep climbs in quick succession, kept me anaerobic for far too long. I looked at my watch as I am came across the top of the peak, navigating the technical singletrack, I figured there was about fifteen minutes of racing left to go…you can do almost anything for fifteen minutes.
Contact with Kurt was finally made as we came down off the peak, problem…I was running out of single speed friendly trail to attack Kurt in. I thought hard, where are there anymore hills? I could think of just two…that would have to do. I stayed right on Kurt’s wheel railing through the twisty, rooty craziness, we shot out onto the fire road climb leading up to the point where the course crosses itself. The grade is only a few percent but I was able to get on top of my gear, say a quick “hey how ya doin?” to Kurt and spin past him, I could hear a small gap opening but he was still right there, I thought “must maximize gear!” and really tried to spin it out up this thing like I was going across a flat field. At the trail juncture it kicked up before reentering the singletrack, I pegged it, full throttle up the thing, gap was happening, then, just as I got into the mouth of the singletrack a lapped rider bobbled in front of me, Kurt was back on me like Angelina Jolie on and orphan from an exotic country. Time was running out, I kept picturing that long flat run in to the finish around the tennis courts where Matt Hearsey had dusted me years before after I let him get into the singletrack before me at the top of the climb, history was going to repeat itself.
I was going as hard as possible, taking every chance, at one point I came up over this root-covered whoop, I heard Kurt dab behind me, I attacked, just trying to get the psychological gap. It seemed to stick, every corner gave me a bit more space, no nearly enough, I was in a panic. What saved me was the fire road transition between the last two sections of singletrack, it was this nasty little wall of a climb BAM! Up it I went, bike rocking back and forth beneath me, tongue wagging, drool strings flailing, Fu Manchu’s cover of Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” blaring in my head:

“In ancient rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead”

The gap was got, all I had to do was not die on the way down to the Pinnacle Plummet (the old ski jump run out). I saw Jeff as I came out onto the fire road just before the final descent, he attempted to take a photo with my ailing Digital Elph, you can see me at the bottom of the frame, a spec in the distance.
I came over the top of The Plummet, no brakes, flew down at forty-something miles per hour, went sliding around the corner of the tennis courts, and spun my way frantically toward the line, I didn’t bring my cadence down from fixed gear descending Mt. Washington pace until I was around the next corner and I could see Kurt coming off The Plummet, I was safe. I rolled in, my Dad telling me that I “looked like ‘hell’” that’s always a good sign that you left it all out there.
Kurt came in thirty seconds later, we congratulated each other for our respective rides, the guy’s a class act all the way, he’s gotten the better of me most times we’ve gone head to head which made the battle that much more meaningful.
Thanks to Miriam, Jeff, Jenn, Seneca, and my Mom and Dad for coming out and giving support, you guys all rock.
I'm off to Single Speed Worlds in Aviemore Scotland tonight, check back next week for the full story.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

24 Hours of Great Glen

Another race, yet another way too early morning, might seem funny that I always complain about the same thing, it’s just that I am designed on a biological level to wake up no earlier than 8AM, regardless of when I went to bed. I never ceases to cause me pain. It was up at 5AM for this one, had to make a 10Am meet time up at Pinkham Notch, NH, no problem right? Stay tuned.

I went around the corner to pick up my neighbor Greg Montello who had, after a long and nearly fruitless search decided to be our fourth man on our four man pro team.
Already the car was looking jam packed and we still had to pick up Andy Sanidas, we began streamlining the gear in anticipation. We met Andy at the park and ride in Newbury port, packed the Volvo to the gills, even compression strapping three wheels to the roof rack horizontally to get the job done.
OK, everybody in the car, turn the key and go! And…go! Nothing. The battery was dead, oh crap. First thought was to run across the street and see if the gas station had a portable jumper, Andy went ahead and ripped the battery out of his car and had it in the Volvo and nicely gift wrapped before I could even make it to the curb. And…go! We were off. Of course the stereo wouldn’t work without the code (which I didn’t have) all the sweet playlists I’d made for my ipod were rendered useless. Bad breaks, set backs. Natural fact is, brother that I can’t find my chapstick.

We made it to registration with a modicum of time to spare, met our remaining teammate Jeff Whittingham, and began to set up camp. It was hot as hell as Jeff lined up for the Lemans start, the rest of us were off pre-riding the course, hoping to wrap it up before a charging Whittingham came bearing down on us. We got back in time to watch Jeff come in, hot on the heels of Matt Boobar (fast guy from the competition), we were off to a good start. I’ve learned that you basically don’t pay any attention to what’s going on until half way through the race, that’s when lap times start to matter, until then just ride your ass off, go as fast as you can, hopefully you can recover and do it again…another eight times before the day is through.

32 X 17, that was the gear I had decided to start with, I didn’t recall that this race was very hilly, that gear made it hilly enough, after two laps I dropped down to a 32 X 18, familiar and much more comfortable, whatever I was losing on the flat fire roads I was making up by not being bogged down on the climbs so bad. The course was dry, fast, and only slightly different than the previous two years I’d done this thing. They’d put in a little piece of nastiness on the bit of trail across the road, a couple super-steeps that put the “stupid” in single-speed, I had to run it on a couple of the laps which actually left me more recovered for the next climb and the singletrack which followed.

We lead the race until dark, at that point the other Pro team had begun to hack away out our lead, then Greg had a light mishap which cost him a few minutes, his headlamp was stuck on blinking mode which is more dangerous than not having a light at all, turns the trail into a bike disco, not ideal. The tables had turned, MTB Mind took the lead and went with it, we’d bring it down to a few minutes then they’d take it back, it was always just out of reach, like an invisible bunny rabbit.
My first couple night laps were significantly slower (4 or 5 minutes slower), oddly enough on my fourth and final night lap my headlamp went out almost immediately (I hadn’t charged it after my prior lap…hey it’s got a three hour charge right? Right.) leaving me with only a bar mount light. I don’t normally run two lamps so it was good I had this at all but having your only light source attached to your bar is pretty silly, you go over a bump, it illuminates the trees above, you twist through some rocks or roots, it shows you the rock three feet to your right, not the one directly in front of your wheel. Sweet! That said, this was my fastest night lap (the first doesn’t count it was really a dusk lap, hardly used my light at all) I think this was due to the fact that I crashed blindly through all the singletrack then in a state of panic absolutely railed the fire roads and climbs, taking every chance available. That was a 42 minute lap, the two before were about 45’s, go figure.

The night laps were kinda magical, the Mica in the soil reflected the light off your lamps, the sky looked like a planetarium, and the mist in the early part of the course was so dense it was hard to stay on the fire road. It’s inevitable during a 24 to have a sort of down lap, a low point where it’s hard to get motivated, near impossible to peal yourself off your sleeping pad and get your ass back on your bike. Usually it’s around dawn for me but I hit my low early on this night, every bone ached, my muscles were seized, I thought I’d overcooked it way too early, that I wouldn’t get it back, I was going to let all my teammates down, let myself down, I got on the bike and did a 45, I wasn’t stoked. I did end up getting it back and my remaining laps were as fast or faster than the earlier ones, funny how that happens.

The food situation was great, it’s important to keep it light, a 4 Man relay isn’t an endurance event so much as eight or nine ‘cross races with a two hour break between each. I was mostly doing PB & J, cereal with blueberries and banana, chocolate milk, and cookies. A highlight was Chris Igleheart coming up and cooking hot pasta and sauce, stuff like that is key. Even more spectacular was the tar black coffee he brewed up in the morning, thanks Chris.

By morning the other team’s gap was still holding, we were still fighting but hope was fading. It had been down around fifty degrees during the night, by eleven O’clock it the temperature skyrocketed to over ninety. Andy had to have had the hottest lap, Montello came in just before noon, standing on the other side of the start tent, taunting Andy “do you wanna do the lap or not?”. If he waited until noon Andy wouldn’t have to go, Andy coaxed Greg across the threshold of pain and he took off on what was basically a ceremonial lap, just so we would finish on the same lap as the other team.

Breaking down camp was perhaps the hardest part of the weekend, all of us began feeling lightheaded and sapped in the midday heat, it was slow going.
When we’d gotten things pretty squared away we started to walk over to the big tent to see what was going on, I grabbed my phone to see if I could get some reception so I could call Miriam. As I walked I heard the text message beep, I checked it, it was from Miriam, it was this vague message telling me to call her after the race, it was important, but not to worry. This left me bemused and I thought I should walk across the street and see if I could call her. Just then Darcy McGuire ran up behind me, she had received a message from Miriam as well, she told me M had been an accident, that I had to call her. Oh crap. I called her, she told me what happened. She was riding at Massabesic in New Hampshire, she had attempted this thing called “The Log Roll” she cleared it then ate it in the run out, her leg connected with something hard and sharp, it acted like a Hutu’s machete, peeling back a three inch deep, six inch wide, ten inch long slab of her lower thigh. Crazy. She had gone to the ER in Manchester, they sewed her up too tight with bacteria trapped inside, I’ll spare you the rest,
Long story short, she’ll be OK, she just needs to spend a couple weeks attached to a vacuum dressing system.

Wait, did I say that breaking camp was the hardest part of the day? Perhaps it was… after the drive home which was prolonged by weekend traffic, I didn’t sleep at all, not since 5AM Saturday, the only thing that got me through was a huge Coolata from Dunkin’ Donuts, those things are good for something. When we stopped for food I wanted to put my head down on the table and pass out in a puddle of my own drool like I was back in remedial 7th grade math class. The stereo was still out so Montello kept me awake by serenading me with some wonderful songs from the eighties, I knew he was good for something (that and some scorching fast laps during the race) .We still had to deal with the battery swap mess back in Newburyport, this involved a trip to Kmart where I made my self useful by buying Dora the Explorer slippers for my niece while Andy figured out what battery we needed. To make matters worse Andy had left his car keys in a bag which had found it’s way into someone else’s car. Luckily his wife came to the rescue and Greg and I continued on to Somerville ready for hot showers and clean sheets.
Team Go Ugly Early went to Great Glen to win, this didn’t happen but it was an honorable and spirited defeat, we didn’t let the other guys walk away with it. This was a great group of guys to ride with, the team dynamic was flawless, moral was always high, I can’t wait to roll with this posse again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Independent Fabrication STEEL Crown Jewel for Sale

Miriam is selling her I.F....

Price: $1000.00 (complete -pedals)
Size: 49cm seat tube, 51cm top tube
Ultegra 9 speed drivetrain/shifters
Wheels: Mavic CXP 33's laced to Ultegra hubs
Includes everything pictured, I won't bore you with the complete breakdown.

I've gone over it, it's in great shape, no dents,
paint is in good shape, it's tuned and ready to go.

Shoot me an email at thomp2000@gmail.com if you're interested.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This Procrastination's Saving Grace

Ya so I haven't quite got my Great Glen 24 report together yet. Been a little distracted...my favorite girl in the world got banged up last saturday out on her mountain bike. She went down hard after cleaning a thing they call "The Log Roll" up at Massabesic in New Hampshire. What happened to her leg is about the closest thing to a machete wound you'll find this side of Rwanda. 3" deep, 6" wide, and 10" long, seems unimaginable, I know, but I've seen it, it's real...real bad. The thing got infected and now she's back in the hospital hooked up to a bunch of tubes and machines that go Bing! For about a week. Without her at home I find myself drinking too much beer and watching Star Trek The Next Generation.
I have ridden my bike a couple times, old stomping grounds rides at Noanet Woodlands in Dover and Wrentham State Forest. It's fun to go back to these places where I used to be a ninety pound weakling (more like 190lb.fat ass) getting sand kicked in my face and now I've got my Charles Atlas program going and I get to whup-up on these trails that used to kick my ass.

I was also trying out some new tires: Kenda Karma 29" 2.2's.Made the Rig feel like a monster truck, in a good way. These tires were supposed to be my new race tires but thanks to BTI mis-listing them as 500 gram tires (too good to be true) when the actual weight is just shy of 800 grams I now have some fun non-race tires. Man I wish they were lighter! These guys kick ass, what a great tire, so frickin' moto. I was ripping around Dover inbetween hospital visits, then I made a foray into Hale reservation where it looked like the camp couselors over there had just finished celebrating the last day of camp. I came upon a little beach and a little cooler upon that beach, what was in the cooler? Beer, cold Bud cans. Not exactly my cup of tea but this was the beverage with which my high school painting crew was rewarded after a hot day of attacking suburban homes with paint brushes like marauding Mongol hordes. So like a trained lab rat I scooped one out of the melting ice, looked around to see if anyone was looking and cracked it, took a few good swigs, and then I heard a truck coming down the road to the beach. I dropped the can in a pile with the rest of the empties, 'cross mounted my bike and hightailed just as any high school kid drinking under a bridge on a friday afternoon would do when busted. It was a silly thing to do but that was a damn fine tasting beer.

Today I shot down to Wrentham to visit Gramma and do what is literally the "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go" ride. The stuff down in those parts was primarily cut by Motocross bikes not hikers so they have this thing called "flow". Ya sure you got to give trail to a few armor-clad yahoos and suck on some two stroke fumes but it's the wild, wild south east and what you get in return far outweighs the drawbacks and at the end of the ride you get to jump in Lake Archer.
Oh, and while I'm all over the place and nowhere in particular here's a shot of me at the Shenandoah 100 from last year, I'm cramping massively and somehow this photgrapher caught the moment.
His stuff is really good, check it out, his name's Joe Foley. Far superior to your average "hey kid, here's a picture of you head on with your race number clearly visible doing nothing at all exciting" event photographer.
Great Glen report...forthcoming...I...promise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wilderness 101

This is truly absurd, I’m sitting at the base of Mt.Washington, it’s 5:36 in the morning, and I’m at a 24 hour race on a 4 Man Pro team, more about that in next week’s post, first things first. Last Friday at 7AM I met Andy Sanidas, Jeff Whittingham, and Harry Precourt at Seven Cycles in Watertown Mass, we were to caravan behind Skip Brown and the Seven van down to Coburn, PA. Skip’s driving pace soon proved too much for the Precourt van and we were on our own. Of course we reconnected as we made the requisite stop at Wegman’s where Lloyd Graves refrained from purchasing another Three Day Ham and Cheese sub (takes three days to eat it, get it?).

We arrived in Coburn in short time, pulled into the small town park which for one day a year transforms into a bustling festival of offroad cycling. After setting up camp we hopped on our bikes for a little preride, at least a preride of the last five miles or so back and forth, it’s actually really technical this thing they call “The Fisherman’s Path” and it happens after mile 95.
The weekend prior I had damaged my ITB’s at Bradbury Mt. with all that silly running business, they still hadn’t let go even after a professional (if very cheesy and weird) massage. I even had Buck Keich work on me at the event, he definitely helped me but I was still pretty screwed. You don’t want to show up to a 100 miler without your legs. So after dinner I went to bed and hoped for the best.

Wake up time was 5Am, I gagged down a couple rice and egg burritos and a banana knowing full well it would back up on me early in the race but potentially serve me well later on. I’d done this race the year before so I knew the start was going to be tough for the single speeds, 20 miles of dirt and paved roads which don’t roll quite enough for you to stay in contact. I wasn’t feeling good but kept waiting to feel better, staying within sight of the front group for the most part, then the yo-yo started to happen, I had to fight back on the uphills but my legs weren’t psyched about it and eventually I lost it, elastics were snapping left and right, suitcases of courage were busting open, their contents spewing all over the luggage carousel.
My recollection was that the race didn’t bite until after mile 60, I was mistaken, there was plenty of serious badness before mile 60, including what I call unofficially “The you’ve got to be f-n kidding me climb”. This wall that kicks up just after you pass through a campground, incredibly brutal. I’d decided to roll with a 32 X 18, a so called “two to one ratio”, stiffer than last year and much to stiff for my uncooperative lower appendages to handle. I kept waiting to feel better…and waiting, instead of feeling better I got worse, all the while holding out for one of my late race surges.
The way the 101 works is you do all your climbing primarily on dirt and fire roads then you traverse and descend on technical single track, the latter part was the only time I was having any fun. I pretty much walked the climb after mile 60, there I ran into Harry Precourt, this was his first 100 and he was rocking out. I was walking, hardly able to bend my knees, tripping over roots, contemplating for the first time dropping out due to something besides a massive mechanical or a broken bone, I had never felt so low on the bike. I told Harry I was going to go back to aid station three and drop out, he said something inspirational to me, whatever it was I kept moving forward, got back on the bike, struggled up the next little climb and entered the singletrack reinvigorated . Somehow I found the energy to rail through the fun, pointy, rocky stuff at top speed, although all the while I was going “I hope I flat, I hope flat, I hope I flat…if only so I can sit down in the shade for ten minutes”. Not a sign that I’m feeling very competitive. I didn’t flat even as I rattled down what seemed to be a two mile long stone wall, swearing and letting out crazy guttural sounds the whole way.

Jeff scoops his precious pasta salad off the Wegeman's parking lot

When I pulled into aid station four at mile sixty whatever, I saw Greg Montello and Jeff Whittingham there, I wasn’t sure why. I guess Greg had been up in the front, duking it out all day then flatted and lost impetus and Jeff meanwhile had cracked his seatpost off at the collar while sitting in the top ten. Greg was ready to call it a day but thankfully he decided to baby sit me the rest of the way back to the finish. Just as we left Aid 4 and headed up this horrible, choppy, enormous climb, Greg says “OK, no attacking each other”. I was right there with him as I completely seized up and had to hop off my bike and walk/stagger up the hill. I knew the climb was too long to walk, so I’d alternate walking with taking a few labored, painful pedal strokes. Greg was now totally out of sight but as I reached the crest of the hill I hear him yelling for me to get on my bike.
By the time we began to descend Deejay Birtch and a non-communicative geared guy on a Cannondale had caught on. Sadly I got dropped on a 2% grade leading up to some of the second to last section of singletrack. As the trail got twistier I began to gap back up, passing the quiet man with Greg and Deejay in sight, then I almost blew a trail marker, doubled back and saw only Greg ahead of me. When I finally caught up I asked if Deejay had passed him, he said no, at this point I was pretty sure Deejay had gone off course. I never did get to talk to him after the event but I can’t see how else I would have gone past him without noticing.
Just the same as last year we came upon Jonathan “Gotchaweedah?” who had perhaps stopped for a few too many “safety breaks”, he was in space. Again I was recharged by the singletrack of the Poe Trail, crashing down it with wreckless abandon, going to my crazy place, head bobbing back and forth, tongue out, talking all kinds of weirdness. When I got to the end and spun down to Aid 5, I had to wait a while before Greg showed up. It was funny to watch him have a meltdown like four year old when they told him they didn’t have any Coke just as I had moments before. You NEED Coke at mile 88 of a 100 miler, NEED. As we rolled out Greg told me that he would have killed me if I had ditched him, there was no way I was going to ditch the guy after he had sat and waited for my sorry ass so many times since Aid 4, no way, even if he had flatted I would have sat at Aid 5 drinking not-coke for ten minutes. Shortly after we got cranking on the first section of relentless, dead flat rail trail Trish Stevenson caught on, she was hot on the trail of Betsy Shogren. She was content to get pulled by the slow-motion single speed pace line.

After an eternity we reached the final climb, I stayed as close to Greg as possible, oh Jonathan had actually passed me at the Aid station so he was there too, we weren’t really racing anymore, but there was no point in getting beat by the last two people in sight. When we hit the final portion of rail trail we traded off, just trying to get home. As we came through the tunnel onto the pavement that was it, we cooled down to the line, rolling down the 10th Street Alley to the campground. I gave Greg a slow-motion lead out for the sprint, he was reluctant to take it so I pretty much had to come to a track stand to get him to come around, but he did and I pointed to him like Boonen to Stegmans.

After the race we rallied, staying up to the wee hours, watching almost everyone (even Harlan Price) bust out kegs stands, until the beer had run out, and we all felt like our asses were , in the words of Mike Ramponi “wet Melba toast”.