Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nuttin' Up

This time a week ago, the 2012 Monster Cross wasn't even on my radar as something to do on my Saturday. I originally had to work but that was changed and since my sister was going to attempt it I figured what the heck. Doesn't matter that I haven't trained much and that I haven't ridden my cross bike since January. I'm Duckman and I (used to) live for this stuff. Uh..... riiight.
Put the names Eric Weaver, bike event and Pisgah National Forest together and you will have something evil. Eric comes up with some pretty wicked events and the Monster Cross, although probably the easiest of Pisgah Productions events, filled the bill. 70 miles, 10K feet of elevation gain, gravel roads, a long section of the Blue Ridge Parkway... Yummy.
I lined up with Megan, Anet Lamberson (sans Bob) and Michael Ritter (a good friend and former Dr Skip's Medicine Show teammate) and a hundred or two other assorted crazies and soon enough we were off.

After a short section of road we turned into the first section of FS road and I immediately jam my chain into my spokes. Crap! Maybe in addition to training, I should have also looked at the bike closer. Once I got that fixed, I found myself in DFL and chasing the main group down. Uh.... what am I doing that for? Didn't I just mention that I haven't trained much lately? I need to back off and just ride. Unfortunately it took me until I caught a good portion of the pack before coming to that conclusion...
The race becomes a ride now.
That would soon change. I was riding a climb about 4 miles from CP1 with Michael and when I stood up, my seat just felt funny. Well it should have felt funny because a bolt in the seatpost broke and it flopped around like a dead fish. I failed to see anything philosophical or funny about that. I was beyond screwed. I managed to get it set to where it was at least somewhat stable as long as I sat on it and I rode onto the CP. Descending on gravel roads while staying firmly seated is kind like trying to walk while holding a roll of quarters in your buttcheeks.. It ain't easy. I got passed by tons of people: little old ladies with walkers, a pack of Girl Scouts on bikes, a herd of turtles and two kids on strider bikes (would have been three but I shoved the third one into the weeds - don't judge). I made it to the check and a guy from Liberty Cycles zip-tied my seat and got it at least rideable.
I decided to try it, what did I have to lose?
The ride now becomes about survival.
I had 26 miles on the BRP and then mostly down to the finish. Sweet right? Yes, but I (along with others) missed a crucial turn that was poorly marked and after climbing about an hour after the turn I missed, I found myself atop a ridge looking dead ahead at the Smokies..... I was pretty sure I was waaay beyond screwed now. Turning back, I wanted to quit. I had no idea really where the turn was and I was sick of climbing and out of food and almost no water. Time to "nut up" and finish this thing. I found the turn and was greeted with several glorious miles of paved DOWWWWN. Yes!" The best thing was there were still people on the "70 mile route coming to the turn and I was now assured of not finishing LAST! Yay me!
The final 16 miles were part gravel, partly paved and had a couple of short, steep climbs and was pure joy -not. I got to the final 5 mile section of pavement and put my bike in the big ring and pushed as hard as I could. My suitcase of courage was empty so I tore the bottom out of it.
I finished. I don't know how  long, I don't care. I finished and that's enough. Megan finished the 70 mile ride (hahahahaha, I'm gonna call it that now) a little ahead of me and that made me happy. Michael and Anet did well too. None of us crashed and it was a good day!
Thank God for zip ties.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No Really, I am a Bike Racer.

I am midway through my taper for the upcoming Pisgah Monster Cross this weekend and I am slowly remembering what it is like to race a bike. Unfortunately my legs won't remember until about 3:00 pm Saturday. Similar to PTSD patients in the third or fourth month of therapy. I've ridden in Pisgah before, I've climbed 10K plus feet in Pisgah before. No big deal right? Um... yeah. For the last 7 months I've been riding my bike roughly 200 miles a month. What used to be a decent week of riding has been displaced by life stuff and well........

It is what it is.

I will line up Saturday and I will have my raceface on and I will be ready for battle, even if

the battle is in my mind. Who knows, maybe I will be inspired to actually do actual training and get into actual, you know... like shape. Who knows..
In three days time, I'll crack open my suitcase of courage and we'll see what's in there. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Riding on the "D" Train

I'm baaaaaaack.

Looking back through the archives, it seems that I used to do some really tough races on bikes. At one time I was in pretty decent shape and on at least two different occasions, I cross-dressed to race my bike.....Hmmm.
All that stuff seems like a lifetime ago. My life after racing has been really busy and my fitness, well lets just say "she ain't what she used to be" referring to the blonde, double G alter-ego that I have been associated with. I've been busy with a myriad of things, work things, house things, dad things, thing things and more things. I still ride bikes, love bikes, need bikes in my life, and even race bikes once or twice...... a year.  I have seen my fitness fall way off from what it has been but anybody who has been in this sport for any amount of time knows about that. Layoffs are inevitable and on the D train, every seat sucks and the only destination is Hurtsville, population - me.

I am riding, once or twice a week but riding nontheless and in typical Duckman fashion I have decided to do the Pisgah Monster Cross Race. I started training for it today and the race is next week. Time to taper....

Cyclocross is coming up beginning at the end of the month and after that, who knows. I'll bet there will be a bike and a certain level of discomfort in there though.