Monday, August 22, 2016

Warnt No Mountains, but Plenty of Bikers

The Leadville season has passed for 2016.  The run took place this past Saturday.  Members of the Leadville Family are already looking ahead to 2017.  Hopefully most with anticipation and joy, though assuredly some look to 2017 for a shot at redemption.  Perhaps they didn't hit a targeted finishing time.  Perhaps they didn't finish.  Perhaps they didn't even get to line up at the starting line.  
For me I only hope to see modest success for my book in 2017. In fact I just want a positive reception. I've resolved that if I go to Loudonville for the Mohican in 2017 it will be to race.  And I think if Leadville is not a possibility (likely not) then I'll want to go full monty: one hundred miles.
I've decided I'm going to start keeping track of my cycling mileage in 2017 again.  Since I stopped after 2013 I've slacked off big time.  As much as I hate being anal about how much I ride it keeps me motivated and accountable at least to myself.
There's no way I can get back to my Colorado levels (5,000+ miles) without being a full time commuter, but I can ramp back up to my 2013 levels if I pay attention.  I feel like I might be able to pull together general conditioning, diet, and cycling fitness finally. 
I raced my mountain bike on Sunday.  It was Troy Hearn’s 12 Hours of Capitol View race.  I did 4.5 Hours of Capitol View and racked up three laps totaling thirty one miles.  For me, at this juncture that was a pretty good day on the bike.  It had rained like a Mohican rain.  The trails were hog slop.  Racers looked like little piggies.  I crashed.  Twice.  And I’m a conservative enough mountain biker that this is pretty significant.  I have a lot of close calls but rarely crash.  This morning I’m sore.  I have a finger that may be broken.  I have a quad that feels torn except I can walk up and down stairs.
I rode out with the Proofer (who should get dinged for dereliction of duty).  We got to the course right at 7:00 a.m. while rain was still falling on the Bluegrass.  I don’t know why, but I figured the start was delayed so I was in no hurry to get going.  I felt no urgency to wallow in the mud. 
Around 7:20 I took off as the de facto (until much later) lanterne rouge.  I rode slowly.  The first ten mile lap took an hour and twenty-three minutes. It was muddy and slick and just a mess.

After the first lap I took a break.  I sprayed off my bike with the hose, cleaned myself up a little bit, and ate a Clif Bar.  Then I swapped for a clean and fresh water bottle and headed back out.
I could tell the trails were drying out and packing in under so much traffic.  Before I knew it I had let the bike roll and was inching up in my average speed.  That’s when I crashed.
It wasn’t much of a curve even.  Not even forty-five degrees.  One minute I was cranking; the next I was groaning in the mud.  I thought I broke a finger.  I thought I tore a quad.  I thought I was going to puke.  I’d forgotten it had been raining for eighteen hours straight before the race started and my muscles remembered every other ride I’ve had at CVP when I could hammer and hammer and hammer.  That crashed knocked the wind out of my sails and my lungs.  I tucked tail and bailed on the second lap.
I hung around the parking lot for a while.  My left thigh was a knot of pain and my right index finger was sore and stiff making it difficult to remove my helmet, fill up my water bottle, and really do much of anything.  I sprayed off my bike again and cleaned the chain.  I dropped down onto the course near the parking lot and took a few pics of racers coming through Ryan’s Gulch.
Ryan's Gulch where Harry broke himeself

A piece of Harry?

Gilfy acting as racer, pit crew, and entertainment all in one
Yes, those are 26+ tires
Then Tomahawk saw me. 
“Uh oh!” he said.
“Nah, I’m good.”
By then the shock had subsided, and other than a shallow puddle of nausea in my belly I was better.  I just didn’t know how my leg was going to hold up on the trail.  I figured the only way to know was to give it a shot. 
I picked up the course where I had bailed and basically had the trail to myself again.  The first hill felt fine.  The next hill felt good.  I decided I’d finish the loop.  I knew Mandy was on her way with lunch, and if I could muster through then maybe some real food would perk me up for a few more laps afterward.  The remaining eight miles of the second lap went down without incident. 
My SAG crew arrived and I ate.  Jeaph had rolled in just before I got off the trail so we sat and visited with him.  He had already ridden a few laps and looked beat.  He said he had crashed pretty hard five times.  In fact, he had broken a wooden bridge on one crash. But he said if I wanted to go back out he’d ride a lap with me.
I didn’t want to go home with only two mediocre laps under my bibs.  I needed to tick a few more miles.  At least another lap.  Thirty miles would be pretty respectable for me in my flab-ulous state.
After a good rest Jeaphre and I headed back out on the trail.
I crashed about a quarter of a mile before the spot where I crashed on the second lap.  Knocked the wind out of me despite being a fairly slow speed wreck.  Hit the same part of my left thigh.  Right index finger seemed no worse for wear, though it’s swollen up like a ripe sausage today.
I have stubby fingers, but this isn't normal
We continued on and I worked through the stiffness and lassitude I felt.  It was definitely a benefit having someone else to ride with and talk to.  That made the lap a lot more enjoyable.  Initially I had planned on two additional laps, but after the second crash, a slog up the Green Monster (archives climb), and waning energy I decided to call it at three laps.  Jeaph agreed.
This year was my first time doing the 12 Hours of Capitol View race.  I’ve wanted to do it for some time now, and am stoked to finally have gotten to do it.  But I’m sore and feel a bit beaten down today.  That’s okay, my knees and back feel really good which is more than I could have said after the last dozen or so such events I’ve done.  If I can just keep from crashing…
Something else that I want to share.  While I was out on my ill-fated second lap I began thinking that all the brain damage I spend on trying to find my niche and my community of like minded individuals is moot.  The local mountain biking community, no matter how dysfunctional, is where most of my friends are.  There were a lot of people I know and like a lot that were at the race on Sunday.  That's my community.  That's my niche.
A racer trying to escape the Mountain Biking Twilight Zone

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