It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, let’s see if this thing still works.
I mean, the last thing I reported was the Boggs 8hr cross-country mountain bike race. And that wasn’t even a post, just an awesome photo from Nick Gaetano. Well in any case, that was the race. Here’s another!
What you’re seeing is the creek crossing right after the start/finish line, which ensured that every rider’s chamois would stay wet, lap after lap, even though the course dried out almost completely after 7 hours of racing. This led to a condition that I now describe as “Boggs Butt,” but that’s a story for later.
Now, it’s been a while, considering this race happened at the start of April, so apologies for the lack of structure, detail, excitement, and good writing that you might expect out of a race report, or just a real blog entry.
At the last minute, Carlos and his band of fearless Bikemonkeys was forced to change the course due to record rain and snow, as well as some new management in the ranger station. This led to a total removal of singletrack, and shortened the course to a 4.3 mile fireroad loop (with something like 600ft of climbing per lap). Suffice to say, this disappointed many would-be racers who came to race on that sweet, sweet Boggs singletrack.
Plans were hatched to “do a lap, then go ride singletrack the rest of the day.” These plans sounded pretty good to me, in fact. But I’m nothing if not stubborn – Once I had turned in a lap, the “real race” was on for me. I was determined to actually ride the entire race. And I did! I played leapfrog with lots of friends throughout the day, as well as getting encouragement and support from yet more friends and teammates. Despite being “not fun” compared to the singletrack option, the course wasn’t really bad. Sure, it had fireroad climbing galore, but it also had fireroad descending galore. And after 7 hours of fatigue and all the lack of concentration that goes along with it, I’m not sure I could have handled a highly technical course. So I was having fun. You know, “doesn’t have to be fun to be fun” fun. At least I was having more fun than my intrepid friends riding cyclocross bikes…
Even though I was going at an “endurance” pace (to put it charitably), my laps were gradually getting slower. My first laps were around the 27 minute mark, but they had stretched out to 30 minutes after a few hours of riding. I mention this, because there was a 3pm time cut to start your last lap. What’s more, this last lap had to be finished by 3:30, or it wouldn’t count. What’s more, I was riding my 13th lap as the clock drew closer to 3. And let me tell you, I didn’t want to make the time cut. I was over it.
But just like I couldn’t start the race and not continue it, I knew I wasn’t going to quit if I happened to come across the line within the time cut. And lo and behold, I rolled over the finish line (and the butt-soaking creek) at something like 2:59:50, because I heard the announcer telling the next racer (and the crowd) that they had “thirty minutes to finish!”
Well, crap. Now I was in for it. So, I did what anybody who hadn’t been going hard enough the entire time would do – I lit. It. Up. I ground my way up the first climb at a quick pace, then attacked the descent like I hadn’t all day. I had an extra bit of encouragement from riding wheel to wheel with Chris, who had blown himself up making the time cut himself (but handling it fine), and my teammate Krishna, who had realized at the finish that he had to do another lap in order to secure victory for his 2-person team. Even though they were both racing in different categories than I was, we were all fighting the same time cut on the last lap. And despite my age-old enemy of cramping calfs, I was able to claw back minutes on those flat and descending parts, and turn in a 24-minute lap at the end, my fastest all day.
I found out later that I came in 16th in Sport, out of 38 starters. Of course, only 28 turned in more than a single lap! I had no expectations for this race, except for “finishing”, so I succeeded and then some. Specific props should be given to my teammate Mikey, who made sure to come through the finish line once before the time cut, for a single seven-hour lap. That’s owning DFL with style. After I came across the line, I enjoyed the best burrito I’ve ever had and an impromptu birdbath in the same creek I had ridden through 14 times already.
Team Sheila Moon also won the beard competition, taking three out of eight prizes, including the coveted Silkiest, Gnomiest, and Most Pirate-y awards.
And the next day, I got to ride all that sweet singletrack that I had missed out on during the race. Of course, I could barely sit on a bike at that point…