Monday, June 15, 2009

The Pinnacle EFTA NECS #3

It's 5:26 AM, I've been up for an hour, I have no idea why. Things got kind of twisted up and turned upside down over the past few days. The plan was to hit The Stoopid 50, that was before my back sprung. Actually , for a while there, the plan was still The Stoopid 50, but after consulting with a few experts it seemed that the reason why my back was screwed up to begin with was due to hard races, long car rides, and little to no recovery. It hurt like hell, but I had to pull the plug on the PA trip, it was too dumb of a thing to do, even for me.

After missing two and a half days of work because I couldn't even throw my leg over my saddle, (in over three years at the shop, I have never been in a situation where I couldn't ride my bike to work and I have no contingency plan) spending countless hours on the couch with a heating pad and ice packs, finally going to the doctor, getting put on muscle relaxants (which made me feel like a jellyfish on a pier), I decided to take up a friend's offer of acupuncture. Saturday morning , after an hour and a half of the Acupuncture/Massage combo I was seriously a new man. My back was out of spasm and I could move normally again, it was incredible.

So now the plan is to head up The EFTA Pinnacle race in Newport New Hampshire, we'll see how that goes.

5:16 PM
I'm back from The Pinnacle and all I can say is, I'm glad I chose to drive two hours to suck it big time in New Hampshire rather than driving eight hours to suck it big time in Pennsylvania. There was a point, as my legs were not cooperating going up the Pinnacle climb where I thought, "Jesus, it would suck if I were sucking this bad on some climb down in State College, trying to turn over a bigger gear with these crap legs just 15 miles into a 50 mile race". In a way I made a really good decision, in not making a really-immensely-horribly-stupid decision. OK, maybe we drop the really and the immensely and end up with just horribly stupid.

Here's one of the funny things...
After bagging on the PA trip I had no real intention of racing this weekend. Then I decided to race, one problem, Miriam had taken the car with all my tools and my vast array of cogs to Rhode Island. I had a 34 X 18 on the Superfly, The Pinnacle course is kinda climby, I wanted something lower. My first take on the situation was "Shit, I'm doing something so dumb, running a way too big gear is the least of my worries". Then I realized that I probably had a worn 32t chainring in the basement. I didn't have a chainring bolt backing nut spanner, which made life slightly difficult as I had to use a clapped out pair of needle nose pliers to keep the wee buggers from spinning. So with my 32 X 18 successfully installed I could sleep easy.

Not quite.

The rain started coming down. It had been a gorgeous day, I had no idea it was supposed to rain. I got out of bed and checked the weather for Newport, NH. It was raining then and the forecast was for more of the same. I shuffled lethargically down to the basement to try to put a mud tire on the front. I failed to set it up tubeless, threw up my hands, and went back to bed. In the AM, with a slightly clearer mind set I realized I could bring the tire with a tube and use it if absolutely necessary.

When I woke up at 4:30 I made coffee and crossed my fingers, hoping that my neighbor and ride to the race Mo, would bag out and leave me to spend the day loathing myself indoors. No such luck. It rained the whole way there, yet surprisingly the course wasn't a bog. I've definitely done muddier versions of this race. I kept the XDX in the front, glad that I had the Mud-X to dig in on the steep, greasy climbs. I actually came up with a wicked, wicked sound theory during the race (my cognitive powers were at an all time high, as I demonstrated by, for the first time ever, forgetting to put my race number on). With the Mud-X on the rear I could dig in, but while standing and climbing on the single speed, you put a whole lot of weight on the front wheel, I think that having a big, balloony tire on the front helps keep the front from digging in and bogging down. This is a good thing.

The Elite field was massive, no less than six 29er Crew guys out there, including eventual winner Andrew Freye. I was dropped from the hole shot. I have a tendency to start slow, but this was just parody. As the main climb bit I clawed past a few guys, but wound up in a bad position going into the singletrack. I was behind technical, single-speedin' wizard, Paul Simoes, but we were in heavy traffic and he was more aggressive than I in making passes, making a daring pass on Johnny Bold and quickly shutting the door. I did eventually get around Bold so I could open it up, I actually closed back down on Paul because he was stuck behind a few guys.

I dug around and found something like some fire inside me and began to separate myself from the group I was with going into lap two. Not sure who was there besides Paul and Mike Lorranty from I.F.. (I do recall Ricky taking off up the climb) but as I came out of the first singletrack part of the climb onto the steep fire road, something happened, my bike stopped and I went flying. My RWS skewer had slipped for the first time ever. I futzed with it for a minute as maybe five or six riders went past. I got going but somewhere during that period when I was sidelined my legs had shut down. "Sorry dude, you said we weren't racing, you tricked us, caught us by surprise, now we know what's up and we're freakin' outta here!". After that the RWS Skewer held fast. Perhaps I didn't torque it quite enough during my late night tinkering.

From there on out it was strictly no man's land. The only other riders I saw were lapped riders. I was down and out but the course was motivation enough to keep going. I liked this course in its previous incarnations, back then it was a sadistic suckfest. Now it is dialed. Nasty climbs into really beautifully cut flowing, semi-technical traverse, then into a bunch of twisty, slick-root riddled corners through the trees, then just fun and sweetness and sickness, finishing up with the Pinnacle Plummet, which always puts your nuts in your ears.

Thanks to Brian Currier and the guys that put this thing on, you do good work.

Not to put a damper on what was an overwhelmingly positive and purple fuzzy bunny race report, but I do believe I am going to be taking a little break. My body is all out of whack, time to hit the reset button and get to back to work. Need to stay fresh if I'm going to race into October and beyond. Looking at about four or five weeks without racing, capped with a wedding - my own.

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology"

Mo said that the Pro way to take an ice bath was with a winter hat on
and a nice hot cup of shut the fuck up...I mean tea.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for ignoring the body and coming up to our race Thom. Racing sans number added a new level of uniqueness (is that a word?) to your reputation. The size of the Elite field blew us away, we were expecting a quarter of that with the weather we had. Time to head out with the rakes and pull the mud back in where it belongs.


Alex said...

when I take ice baths, I wear two sweaters and a puffy vest. What can I say, I'm a wimp. Good luck fixing yourself...

Keith said...

Rest up friend. Love the knitted red hat, believe in it's magical powers. Can't wait to see you wearing a puffy vest next. Rubber duckies help to rejuvenate.

Clever how race sites like Pisgah forget to make it clear where in the world the throw down takes place.

One of two

megA said...

This has nothing to do with your post, but I don't care. . . I saw this in Outside Mag while sitting in the dentist office waiting room today and thought of you. I'm sure it was just the hairline that reminded me of you:

Wheels said...

I bagged the race because I couldn't seat my tubeless tires the night before. I'm soft. good on you for going. Enjoy the break and marital bliss!