Monday, August 06, 2007

W101 report

This race recap brought to you by the letter P

Perpetually pedaling with pounding palpitations without pursuit preconceptions or the posterior pang resulting from propulsive power output, instead persisting with a plan and a pace to plug away on piles of precipice and patiently plummeting on prolonged Pennsylvania pitches.

Well, that quickly sums it up. For a more detailed account read on...

Friday morning nine of us met at Seven Cycles to caravan down to Pa in the spacious accommodations of two vans. Skip Brown, driver of Whiptastic Van #1 was accompanied by ever present W101 racers Kerry Combs, Lloyd Graves, Greg Montello and Mike Ramponi. Bunch of strong peeps, should be a good weekend... Van # 2 was provided to us and driven by Harry Precourt. Thanks HP. you da man. Rolling with Harry in the big diesel van #2 was myself, Thom Parsons and Jeff Whittingham and a large amount of camping and bike gear.

We only got lost once in rural Pa when our map failed us a little but we stopped for directions and quickly got back on course.

Camp set up was quick and comfortable and we got right down to business eating lots of pasta and going to bed super early, 9:30 pm. Jeff had loaned me his 27 year old boy scout tent to sleep in, thank you very much. Kept the dew away and was quite comfy. As I layed in the tent in the out skirts of the soft grassy field in Coburn Pa I was pretty psyched to be there, not nervous but anxious to get it on. I wasn't much of a student while in school, JUST getting by most of the time. Home work was always completed half ass directly before it was due with minimal effort applied. Laying in the tent I felt confident I had done my homework this time. An honest effort put in. But more importantly I felt thankful for being in this position, for being healthy and strong enough to take on such a task and pumped to be living this lifestyle. To do what we were about to do..something that might seem unimaginable to most people.

Rise and shine was early. Got a really good night of sleep thanks to ear plugs that softened the piercing chirp of a million chirping crickets. chirp chirp.

Oats with banana and a cpl swigs of coffee and I and over two hundred racers, geared up ready to ride all day. We stood on the start line listening to Chris Scott on the mic with race directions.
Endurance events typically have a nice rolling start and this was the most civilized rolling start that I've ever experienced. For more than twenty miles we rolled together as a peleton on hilly wilderness fire roads. Kicking up a huge dust cloud on the first long decent it paid to be way up on the field. Things quickly broke up after aid #1 and the pros put a gap on a few chase groups.
I was with Greg "the leg" and my boy JW trying not to burn early. Having never met Montello, or ridden with him, I was pretty impressed with his climbing strength as he gapped me on most ascents. I grabbed the lead on a grassy downhill and opened it up and thankfully kept the bicycle upright and puncture free.
Jeff was having an especially strong day in the saddle, making it look like child's play. Strong enough to sprint out of sight but experienced enough to know better. Pretty stoked that I was there with these dudes, and pretty sure they felt the same. A reoccurring thought was that Thom Parsons and Harvey Minton were going to come up and join us at any moment. I knew they were back there, wanting it, fighting like hell, only a minute or two behind. When would the cloak of invisibility be shed and one or both of them appear? Another day, another race. I am sure of that.

Some quick tech sections and mostly gravel roads for the first 60 miles. Greg and Jeff had gone ahead ten minutes leading up to the Sassafras climb, the first real climb of the day. Jeff had suffered a fall at a high rate of speed on the gravel but picked himself up to come back strong. It was an unfortunate mishap and bad timing on my part, for that I'm sorry bro. I was passing on the left to give my good friend a much deserved pull precisely as the road dove down and to the left subsequently leaving JW skating right on an unfavorable line strewn with ball bearing rocks atop a slippery off chamber line of death and dirty road rash. Later cold beer numbed his wounds as he told the tale of how his good friend buried his dick in the dirt to anyone who'd listen...that was pretty much every one. Sorry again.

This tale reminds me of a couple twenty year olds in rural Maine in '97 on an epic ride, one guy loses a crank bolt and can only crank with one leg...One guy (me) aids the disabled rider (Daren)to the top of the hill by pushing on the middle of his back. As we crest the apex and I deliver a final shove, my handle bar gets crossed up with his shorts and I instantly go down to eat pavement.

Oh well, back to the race... So I'm alone now chasing about 15 riders in front, including JW and Greg, but I don't look at it that way. I am simply eating huge amounts of food and drinking gallons of whatever liquid I have aboard. It's 90 degrees in the shade, and my only thought is to stave off Mr bonk for another 40 miles and get done.

Now on some fun trails, fast gnarly single track with twists and turns, small trees and slightly banked turns. I rip around another turn and to my astonishment there they both are. Greg had suffered a flat that slowed his progress and JW had snapped his seat post that had ended his incredible day of racing the 101. We spoke briefly.."anything I can do?" He had tried to fix the snapped aluminum post but the broken section was frozen in the steel frame. I felt for him, but nothing I could do. He had a shot at top ten, instead the sag wagon awaited him at aid 4.
Another aid station, more enduralight pills, some vitamin I and yet another cliff bar. Another climb and a few more fast descents and I gapped up to Benji and Les leach. Fortuitous timing as I showed up, we quickly had a trail side safety meeting where we shared a friendly moment. Five or six miles later I am again joined with Benji and Matt F as we start climbing the final 1000 ft hill. Legs feeling heavy, I am spinning without real power mostly just wanting it over. I had hoped that I'd be able to attack at this moment but could only going through the motions, spinning away up the climb as Benji attacks Matt and leaves us all in the dust. Pretty impressive show of fortitude and strength this late in the game. Wish I had kick left in the sticks, got passed one more time on the long descent off that nasty last hill..oh well. I limped on to finish in 19th.

No flats, no broken bike, no bonk. My idea of good time. :)

Rick came all the way from vacation land
I think they should call Maine Lobster land

top SS'er

Buck is a miracle worker

wet melba toast

Skip was fresh as daisies post race and decided to spin home to Massachusetts on his 36x17


rick is! said...

nice job man. I missed the buried dick story, sorry I did. Maybe next time you won't beat me by a full hour! See you at the NH100

jeff said...

wasn't your fault, was in a pisser mood, had to blame something on someone. the keg stand cleared my head. sorry man.

namrita o'dea said...

keg stand?!

great writeup, and race.