Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Darkhorse 40: The Temperature's Rising

The above photo — that's how spent I was the night before the event from our one lap pre-ride. I told myself that the difficulty I had turning over my 58" gear was related to the four hours in the car on the way down and my kind of flat week training-wise, that once I got going during the race my gear would feel just great, I would tick it over like hummingbird flaps its wings. I am really, really smart if you hadn't noticed already. More on that later.

What became apparent from the pre-ride was that heat was going to be a major factor during the race. I hit the Pedialyte hard in hopes that it would cover my ass from dehydration and massive cramping. What also became apparent is that The Dark Horse Cycles guys know how to put together and mark the hell out of a course. The terrain is so different from what we have up around our way. Speed is the key. Not hilly, but with brutal, hit you in the nuts with a sledgehammer punchy climbs coming at you regularly, with long sections of swoopy, flat-out singletrack, interspersed with these weird, little plateaus, comprised of this slippery, striated rock. Some you launched over, others you lunged up and dropped down the other side. Fun, fun, fun, holy crap, it is fun stuff.

We camped basically right on course, therefore somehow I thought I would have so much spare time in the morning that I would actually get out for another pre-ride (in retrospect that would have been way up a the top of the bad idea scale), I really don't know where the time goes, but no chance. I warmed up for twenty minutes while riding to the port-a-potty a mile down the road because I knew I wouldn't have to wait in line. After chatting to Colin and Linnea about their running over a deer incident on their way down from Windham it was pretty much go time.

Exactly 13 minutes before the start my right grip decided to let go and start slipping. The dew overnight was heavy (a portent of the swampy humidity to come) and it must have worked its way into my grips. I threw the bike on the stand, popped off my bar end, and re-glued the grip with some rubber cement, knowing full well that this would only prove to lubricate the slippy grip further, but hoping it would set up...in the 100% humidity. Right crackhead. I would spend the race half-gripping my bar end (which really hurt) and part of the exposed handlebar where my grip used to be before I slid it over two inches to the inside. In an admirable act of empathy and solidarity the left grip decided to let loose too shortly into the race. Sweet!

The start was mayhem, the Pros, Singlespeeds and Cat 1 Expert 30-39s all went together. My gear was big enough to pass geared riders on the road (always a good sign) I was able to move up into what would have been a great position going into the singletrack, had everything gone well...

To be continued.


rick is! said...

whaaaaaaatttttt? you can't stop just like that mister silly pants!

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

A podium pic of the man!