Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Am My Own Worst Nightmare...

not Alec Petro as previously alluded to. Although he is pretty scary. You see, his weakness used to be technical skill. He was like a Bugatti with bald tires, all power, little control. Apparently the guy's a quick study, he was having no trouble riding his bike during The Landmine Classic Marathon event yesterday. I held out hope that I would eventually catch him, picturing him slipping and sliding all over the wet rocks and roots, trying to put out his insane watts haphazardly, wasting all his energy and ultimately cracking. Not the case, far from it in fact. Can't hurt that he just got one of these.

Back up. And hold up...

I zipped over to the Bugatti site while I was "researching" this " piece" and found the following:

With best thanks!

With the purchase of one of our products you receive a high-quality "BUGATTI Veyron Calendar 2009" free of charge.

- While stock lasts -

So buy a what? Million-and-a-freakin'-half dollar car and you get a free calendar. Sign me up! Sorry, been watching a lot of Top Gear while I blog.

But anyway...
to The Landmine. It's part of The GT Golden Bike series (too rushed to link everything, I'll let you do the Googling if you don't know what the hell I'm spreching about) so there are Cheerleaders there. They had some awful rickety chants, one about "the racers in the middle, let me hear you sizzle" and "the racers in the rear (as they flipped up their skirts at us) get right out of here"...or something like that. Whatever it was, it caused me and eventual Marathon winner (I'm assuming here, he had a good lead when I left to take Miriam to the ER. Hey! hold onto your jets there, it shall all be revealed in time...if I have enough time that is) Mike Lorranty to look at each other bemusedly and say "this is just fucking bizarre".

These poor girls had probably worked Sea Otter and some other big events, so they're looking around Wompatuck State Park going "What the fuck are we doing here" and we're looking back at them thinking the same thing. Sorry, I'm swearing a lot today, I know.

The Venue was impressive on this misty morning

As usual we started to a six gun salute. Wait a second that's not normal. Chris Gagnon went down right next to me in the hole shot sprint, as if he had been shot by one of the starter rifles. I fell onto third wheel behind Mike Lorranty and, yes (queue ominous and foreboding orchestral music) - Alec Petro. Mike was freaking DRILLING it from the guns (can't get over the guns thing) down the first mile of fire road to the hole shot, I don't know what was going on behind me because I was sitting on the tip of my saddle spinning like a god damn gummy bear on a milk shake machine (I don't even know).

BLAM! My right pedal clips a rock as we swerve around a puddle (fuck, I should have gone straight) and I absolutely yard sale at about 18MPH in front of I don't know how many dudes, bike bouncing, body sliding and rolling over rocks and roots. I land off the trail, pull my bike out of the way, see that my bottle are missing and my chain has dropped (you have to whack a Single Speed good to do that). I then wait for the entirety of the Expert Marathon field to pass before remounting and beginning a frustrating chase through the first section of singletrack.

I don't know how long it was before I started catching guys I was actually racing against. I found Matt Domnarski and rode with him for a bit, then Stephen Humphreys and John Peterson. I sat in for a while, recovering from the initial surge. My left leg was hurting somewhere on the back of my quad, I was limping on the bike. It was good riding with John and Stephen, we'll all be doing the VT50 and we'll probably spend some time together there as well.

After a while I got the fires burning again and began gapping the other guys here and there. However, after I had accrued a decent gap, I went off course for the first time, having to double back and get back in line. Then my wheel shifted in the frame on a quick up hill, causing a stop, impetus was beginning to be lost.

Still thinking I could win this thing, I took off, getting out of sight and then earshot of John and Stephen. Soon I could hear the tell tale signs that I was closing on the two in front of me, screaching Disc Brakes. "Are the two in front together?" I asked an EMT as I passed. "Yup, they just went through". Sweet! I sprinted up the next hill, smelling blood, came out onto the pavement, put it on the big ring...no wait...spun like mad down the road looking for those riders. After a while of not seeing arrows I thought "wow, this is a long section of crappy road stuff". Just then Alec Petro came riding toward me, aw crap. He was pissed. I was pissed. We doubled back to find where we'd gone astray.

We saw John Peterson and another rider shoot across the road, a quick left-right, with the arrows barely visible from the course, at least at race pace. Alec put it in his super-gear, I tried to hold on. Peterson did, I didn't, the idea that I was wasting my legs for a less than impressive finish eating me from the inside out. The dark veil dropped over my mind and fell down to my legs.

I hadn't given up entirely yet (that's coming right up) I heard the guy in fourth had gone down on the bridge coming up to the Start/Finish. I rallied through the spectator area, showing off for my mom and niece. I saw Peterson on the side, he hopped back in it as I passed. He would let me lead into the first section of singletrack, shortly after that I came upon Gagnon, rode with him for a little bit, then the tentacles of darkness came creeping again (tentacles, veils...it's all darkness). I backed off, letting Chris go, I sat up waiting for John, knowing that he could tell me the fastest way out. I gave him my litany of excuses and cut out.

While spinning up the road I saw my Wife coming out of the woods. She had gone down in a mud bog, cutting her arm deeply. She needed to head to the ER. She was in good spirits despite this fact, happy with getting the hole shot in front of a large Sport field and holding onto 3rd place until her accident. She'll be back! Oh yes, watch out now. So, Miriam happened to fall right in front of a photographer (not Sebastian from Candlewood) who continued to snap photos of both Miriam and the guy who had fallen in front of her...and then the people that fell behind her.
Riders were in a tangle, Miriam was obviously more than just muddy and bruised from her tumble, but when she asked the dude for help he replied "I'm just here to document the race, not to interact with the racers". When asked again he repeated this statement with renewed attitude.

As Linnea from October Bikes said "What an asshole. What, does he think he's dealing with some indigenous people who can't be disturbed?". She's from New Zealand, so when she says things like "Asshole" it sounds as pleasant as me saying "Tulip". Apparently the douche works for a "magazine" (for all I know it could be the Hingham Sun-Times). If you know him or know someone who knows him, pass along a message for me "Hey photographer douche, you are a major raging douche". He may have been there as a result of the whole Golden Bike Thing, which is good, because he probably won't be back. If I figure out who he is, next year he can document me running over his face. When he pleads for help, I'll treat him with the same common decency he showed my Wife. Cretin.

Wow. That felt good. There're a lot of loose ends in this report but I am out of time. I'll just say that I hereby volunteer to help with course marking next year at Landmine. This is an awesome race, but if you talked to enough people afterward, one thing was abundantly clear - the course markings sucked. I'm serious, I will spend Saturday marking the course, taking corners at Expert/Pro race pace to make sure it reads at that velocity. Hold me to this, I will be there. I love this race, it is amazing on so many levels, but it needs help in that department.

Crap! Out of time. I'm off to SSWC in the AM.

Somehow I hit the "One Life To Live" filter on my camera


Cathy said...

Good luck at SSWC! And tell Miriam she should have taken her bloody arm and used it to smack that douche - now THAT would have been some interaction! Hope she heals quick.

Colin R said...

Hey, I had a similar thought about offering to help with course marking next year. With 80000 turns and that much rain I'm not surprised there were some issues, but I'm willing to ride half a lap (you can have the other half) Saturday afternoon to scout it all out and put logs across the wrong turns or something.

Email me if you were serious about this and I'll email the bikebarn guys with an offer to help.

SteveS said...

I had issues last year with the turns off the roads. The markings in the woods were great, but the little arrows painted on the pavement. You're just not looking for those. They really ought to come up with a better way. It shouldn't be that hard.

Rigidnsingle said...

Sounds like fun, Good luck at worlds...

ElZo said...

I missed a turn or two at Landmine last year. I'd figured it was because I was a sucky novice racer. Maybe not.

Keith said...

Hope Miriam is all patched up. Shave in prep for the tattoo at SSWC! Landmine definitely needs more markings including how deep the mud holes are on the power line section. I damn near lost my bike. Ben lost his chain in there, yes a WHOLE chain! OK I volunteer to put chicken wire on the effing bridges. WTF no one is going to walk a bridge.

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Good luck at SSWC!
And I hope your girl heals with the quickness.

Miriam K said...

FYI...I (the wife) am totally fine...just a nice deep gash that I wanted to get professionally irrigated. Gangrene is so out of vogue and I have already “been there done that”. There is no way I could have self-inflicted the amount of pain needed to thoroughly clean that thing properly. Thom probably could have done as good a job as the ER nurse, but with us being newlyweds and all, we are still in that honeymoon stage of not causing the other to convulse uncontrollably in agony. I know, it’s just a phase, but we are trying to hold on to it as long as we can.

Thanks for the well wishes.

dougyfresh said...

Good to see everyone is okay.

Kill 'em out in Durango! Now that it is so close I'm freaking out that I can't go. This sucks.

zencycle said...

Great race report, you have a fantastic writing style. Keep up the good fun work.