Root 66 Domnarski Farm Finale
Gettin’ ‘Er Done (By The Skin of my Teeth)
Gettin’ ‘Er Done (By The Skin of my Teeth)
According to my “Numbers Man” Colin Reuter, all I had to do to clinch the series lead was to finish this one inside the top ten. On paper this looked like a walk in the park, turned out to be more like a walk in Central Park…at 3AM.
After a quick pre-ride of the first part of the course I was seriously second guessing my choice of a 32 X 17 gear. The first hill was wet and loamy and it seemed to go on and on. I went back to the car to swap it out, only with my current Single-ated situation this was not straight forward. I ended up having to go up two teeth in the rear to a feather-light 32 X 19 to allow the Singleator to run in the preferred “Push Up” position. All I have to say about tensioning devices is this: if you’re going to go single speed, go single speed. Using tensioning devices throws you right back into the world of technical vulnerability which geared riders live in. In that world ice cream tastes like anchovies and cat litter and Rush Limbaugh is president for life.
This left me with about ten minutes to the start, I rolled up to find just six guys on the line (Yeah top ten! This is gonna be a cake walk….right?). Two of the guys were Nathan Ringquist and John Foley. The two guys who were sitting second and third in the series, both of whom would leapfrog me if I didn’t finish this race. Did you just hear something in the bushes? Sounded like someone sharpening a knife…or the gnashing of teeth (going with walk in park analogy).
Up the first climb I used a policy of pre-emption, dismounting and running (while calling in an air strike on a small village in Iraq full of little terrorist babies), by the top, everyone was running and I was in third wheel when we got back on. We headed up the big climb, the legs were definitely not great, kinda got that pinging, twingy, tired feeling, but I was in contact. Mike Montalbano started instigating on his rigid single speed, causing Foley and Ringquist to pick up the pace. The other two guys in the small field dropped off a bit as we topped out and began the descent into a long jeep road section.
Alex makes crazy-good cupcakes: Mojito, Car-Bomb (not very popular in Baghdad), and Bailey's/Guiness. She sells them to fund her Ski-Orienteering adventures. Go to her Blog or the IBC Racing Blog to find out where YOU can get some!
Here’s how it unraveled.
As I was cruising down the jeep road my chain dropped, I looked down to see my Singleator dangling, limply off the back of my bike. The spring had sprung. I tried to put the chain back on and ride, no way. I felt around in my pocket “Did I pack the 18mm cone wrench I need to adjust this stupid thing?”. No sir. Here I threw a tantrum, dropped the bike and began storming around looking for something to kill or maim. Trees are stronger and much harder than I am. One of the other riders in my field had already caught a flat, I leant him a pump while I tried to collect myself. I tried to use the duct tape I had holding my spare tube to my seatpost to tether the Singleator into position. Worked until I rode through a puddle, then Ka-Chunk- Ka-Chunk! Blam! Nothing.
Another bout of histrionics and profanity spewing.
“Alright, I’m a freaking bike mechanic, I have an honorary 70% Haitian rating (long story),
I should be able to make this bike work with rocks and bits of shrubbery”. Just breath…scream…kick something…and breath. I don’t know how long I was fiddling with this mess, but I had been passed by every Expert field and then some. Finally I figured out what to do. I took one of my spare tubes (I had more than one, due to the “I just have to finish situation) and tore it in half with my teeth. The powder inside tasted vaguely of Dandelion milk and cleaning products. Wouldn’t recommend it. I then wrapped the tube around the chainstay and the Singleator shouting “Shut up and do what I tell you to do!” in my Jens Voigt German accent. I tied it off and got rolling, for a couple minutes, then Ka-Chunk! Chain off again. I stopped and re-wrapped the tube tighter this time, it would hold for the rest of the race, only skipping after I rode through large mud puddles. There were quite a few large mud puddles, but I was rolling, not walking, which was a huge plus. Every pedal stroke closer to home was God damn gift.
With $250 (if I didn’t finish I would drop to third in the series) and a bunch of bragging rights on the line I was more than prepared to go for an 18 mile walk. It was going to suck, but I’d do it. Thankfully my MacGyer set up was holding and I was picking up speed. I have to say it was kind of cool way to finish off the last series race of the season (after the rage and frustration began sweating out of my body) just catching up to a few of the Expert riders one by one along the way and chatting it up. There was no sense of urgency as I passed riders, no “On your left!” or “Rider up!” B.S., just “Hi, how are ya? When you get a chance, whatever”. I passed Chris Logan, series organizer on his way to a 3rd place podium finish for the day and for the entire series. I came upon riders like Kevin Sweeney, Brian Rutter, Sean Daley, Ethan Parsons (no relation other than in our Single-Speediness), and Colin Reuter. As I ground up to Colin on the gravel climb mid way through the lap he made a joke about me taking a look at his shifting…which I took seriously, but he waved me off laughing. I tried to get him to come with me, but he wasn’t having it. He just had to finish behind Sean Daley to clinch his second place spot in the series, which he ultimately did.
My second lap was closer to an hour than the first, of course it wasn’t anywhere near fast enough to put me in contention in my own category, but by default I would end up 4th for the day (because one guy DNFed and the other had more technicals than I did) and hold the series lead to the end. I came across the line in a skid, laying the bike down and making gun shooting motions at it. “Put that steed down!” someone yelled. Exactly. Ringquist would get the win with Foley and Montalbano filling out the big kids podium. I would, however be allowed to stand off the podium and receive a pretty decent pay out for a 4th place finish. Nice one Matt Domnarski!
James Harmon and Rob Stine, one, two in the Single Speed series. These are some bad dudes, hopefully they'll race the open class next year
I just have to say thanks to Jill and Chris Logan and everybody else who put this series together. It’s been a great year, with a whole lot of killer racing at beautiful venues. I was proud to wear the Maillot Jaune/Orange (“Orange” that’s French for…”Orange”) Leader’s jersey for most of the season and definitely proud to finish off the series in the overall lead in the Pro category. Thanks also to all the guys I raced against, there’s some real tough competition in this series and some truly gifted riders. Hopefully with the new Mountain Bike Categories we’ll see the Pro/Semi-Pro, soon to be what? Pro/1 category? Fill out with some of the top dudes from the Expert fields, I look forward to seeing some new faces on the start line next year.
Pro Series Overall podium. Jet Jaguar/ Jack Nicholson smile in full effect
Acts of Mental Alertness Awesomeness.
Wait, but that’s not all! We (Alex, Colin, Linnea, and I) stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home. That’s it…Bye!
Kidding. So, I order an Egg & Cheese and an Ice coffee “Extra dark, seriously, REALLY dark”, because if you don’t order it that way, it’s got so much cream in it, it’s as white as my arm above my jersey line. I get in the car, Colin says “Where’s your coffee?”. “On the roof”. “I would never leave my frickin’ coffee on the roof of the car and drive away, no way”. Then I start to back out…”Alex isn’t in the car!”. Well shit, at least she wasn’t behind the car . A moment later Alex walks out the door of the Dunkin’ Donuts “Did you order an Egg & Cheese?”. “Ah …yup”. So glad I didn’t forget Alex…who was holding my Egg & Cheese.
During the ride home Colin tries to convince me to do the Amesbury ‘Cross race the next day, despite my claims of retirement from that silly-horrible sport. Then he jokes about how I should do the EFTA Grillz Mountain Bike race, the finale of that series in Maine.
That’s ridiculous! That’s crazy! So crazy that it just might fall under the realm of “Utter-Stupidity”. That’s where I do my best work.
To be continued…