Jun 2, 2009
This whole year cycling/ racing has presented one interesting obstacle after another. Each being solvable, thank you, and therefor each being a moment of pride in a job well dealt with. From India to DSG, to this weekend at the Mohican 100 I've come across a problem that when resolved it makes me feel quite accomplished even without a trophy to display.
I suppose that is why racing bikes can be considered an instant gratification device, not unlike crack. I mean anything that makes you feel good can be addictive, even if the process of getting it can be as painful as riding a 100 miles or robbing a convenience store and getting your leg run over as you trip while sprinting away across a busy highway.
There are very few places in life where a mistake can seem so colossal, while actually being so trivial and repairable. Sure if you take a wrong turn during a race after having almost bridged a gap created by an earlier crash, it's going to seem as if all was for naught and the purpose of continuing is questionable. At that point one has to find a good reason to continue.
At the Mohican I went through a list of reasons why to bail, which turned out to be an existential debate on why am I here. I'm here because it's part of a series, and since I'm no longer in a position to get worthwhile points I should ditch. If I do this race then I might be expending unnecessary energy, I should ditch. I could quit and race tomorrow at Iron Hill and make some money to feed my dog. Do 100 milers appeal enough to me anymore? I mean really, the sense of accomplishment is old hat. I've done close to 20 of these things, most of the courses 3 times at least and this was going to be my 4th time around this track.
That's when I realized that the sense of accomlishment comes in a variety of colors. I do sort of like coming from behind. I did feel responsible for leading 5 other riders astray when I missed the turn and they had come from a long ways away. Maybe I should vindicate myself by trying to stick with it and do some work to make their time feel a little more worthwhile.
Eventually that seemed like the thing to do. I put my head down, tried to make up for lost time and kept the pace decent. When I was on the front I tried to do my pentenance. Surely one or two of the lead group would fall off and someone in my group would have a chance to take maybe a top 5. Eventually it came down to Bart Gillepsie from Utah, Rob Litenwalner and myself. Bart was one of those guys I had come to respect just out of seeing his name and understanding him to be a good racer, and I was super excited to get to race him. UNfortunately it was under the auspices of me getting us lost and we didn't really get to have the cage match I wanted. Rob is an old friend by now and he was having a great day, getting dropped then ramping it up to catch back on.
On the last few climbs, Bart pulled away, and all I could do was motor along with Rob as my riding partner. At aid station 5 Rob got hot bottles that had been in the sun all day, and when he had to stop at station 6 I was able to continue on.
The last mile of the race course passes by my car and since I had long given up on caring about the possiblilty of counting the race to my overall series standing I took the pleasure in letting my dog, Gertie, out of the cage and she did her first unleashed trail run with me to the finish. Rob caught us just before the end and offered to wait but I told him to go on and in the end I finished 9th just behind Rob and Gertie.
Well that was over, I felt accomplished despite the race issues of an early stick in the rear wheel and going the wrong way. And I felt really good. It's too bad I didn't have an opportunity to ride with the boys on the front.
After eating I went back to camp, cleaned up and saw Elk come through then my traveling partner Nik Schaffer. After little socializing and eating Nik and I jumped in the car and followed Matt Ferrari home to State college where we slept, then woke up early enough to eat an early breakfast before heading to the Mid-Atlantic race at Iron Hill where I wold get a chance to crush myself and maybe earn back some traveling cash.
As usuall the race was humid, but the course was super packed and after a quick start with the legs punching me, I managed to go to the front and stay there. Holy crap I couldn't believe I felt that good. And I got paid enough to cover my weekend expenses! Ahh the life of a desperate Pro, chasing the bills.
Up next is the Hoo-Ha and then the Cowbell challenge in NC. I'm looking for traveling partners to NC if anyone is interested. Then I go to Colorado on the 28th. And If anyone wants to drive out with me to split the trip let me know. You'll probably have to fly back from Denver since I'm not coming back till after the 18th of July.
I'll be doing to Marathon Nat. Championships in Breckenridge then the Breck Epic then the Breck 100.