Monday, October 27, 2008
2008 Hill of Truth (the race) Part 2
There was alot of smack talk going on this year on our club website as to who was going to beat who. Some friends of ours who have a whole lot more experience at endurance racing were looking to even the score after last years' event. Somehow last year we managed to finish ahead of them.
They have been looking for revenge from last years showdown and I'll have to hand it to them they were prepared, serious and bound and determined to make us look like chumps. They even named they're team after us (Granny's Getting Flossed) hoping to be just ahead of us in the standings and everyone would get the joke. Couldn't they come up with something better? Maybe we'll have to change our name next year. It didn't quite pan out the way they had planned. We allowed them to believe up until the day of the race that we were racing in the singlespeed division but really we were in the sport category. Anthony and I wanted to race the SS's but it just wasn't in the stars for us. My Karate Monkey was the only SS steed in our quiver. Anthony's fork crapped out on him again and I had to loan out the KM to him at the last minute. I didn't think it was a good idea for me to be racing it just yet. My back sometimes will still let me know it's not 100% so I wasn't ready to push it.
It was nice racing in the sport class this year, we concentrated more on having fun racing and not worrying to much on how we did in the standings. The Mamasita performed beautifully and she got alot of compliments even out on the trail.
I was second out for our team and I was prepared for the course to be a little bit nasty. This year's course had quite a bit more climbing than last year and my first lap felt I felt like I was fighting the bike and the trail the whole time. The roots were slick as crap and the mud was sticky like peanut butter. Sections of the trail that were normally fast felt like I was in slow motion. I haven't had to ride much in wet conditions this year due to the lack of rain we've experienced here in the good ole south. That and add the first wave of racers went in a really got the trail muck nice and stirred up. On one particular rooty uphill section I spun out and had to jump off and scramble up the hill. I felt something odd brush my leg and I looked down and noticed that my seatbag was only hanging by 1 strap out of 3. Not good, it had my good Crank Bros. multi tool in it and I didn't want to lose that. I tried to strap it back on the best I could but I had a feeling it wouldn't make it. I think the velcro is on it's last leg and it may be time for a new one. As my lap went on I kept checking on the seat bag and sure enough it wouldn't stay on. I finally gave up and left it hanging by the one strap instead of wasting more time fixing it.
One section of the course that has drawn alot of attention on some forums before the race also drew alot of attention in the way of heckling spectators hoping to see some good crashes. This particular section of trail was along a steep embankment and the trail almost vanishes off the side of hill just as you round the corner. As if not to make things worse if you don't manage to keep it together and stay on the trail you can expect to go swimming in a creek filled with some of the nastiest funk that looks and smells like poo with several beer drinking spectators cheering you on. (Alot of people did end up crashing and going to a swim and some were caught on video.) As I reached that section I managed to maneuver through with style and ease much to the approval of the spectators. As I passed them I realized they were some of my homies from way back and they kindly offered up a cold beer if I stopped. I thanked them but kept going promising them I would catch them next time around.
When I hit the last section of pavement and really let it rip, big chunks of mud were flying up in my face like crazy. It didn't taste like peanut butter either.
The seat bag managed to stay intact the until the end and when I got back I unleashed a little duct tape on it.
My second lap went by much faster and smoother, the trail had dried out some and the dirt was starting to pack down. I broke out my ipod packed full of some good tunes. I had also in true NASCAR fashion adjusted the air pressure in my tires and fork and got some more wedge on the right front. That last part can only be done to a car but I thought it sounded cool. I was bobbing and weaving around trees climbing up roots and flying through rock gardens with ease. I was thinking of my buddy at the nasty section drinking beers and heckling people and I was torn on what to do. Stop mid race have a beer or keep going and subject myself to heckling if I passed up their offer of another cold frosty beverage. As I rounded the corner I said screw it I'm making good time why not stop and chug one. I hit the brakes and reached out for a beer only to be turned down. They were all out but promised me more was on the way.
My 3rd lap was that lap where it just dark enough to make it hard to see and just light enough to make a headlight worthless. I hate wearing a head lamp, mine is so heavy it drives me crazy. I knew I would need it before my lap was over so I strapped it on and took off on my 3rd lap. My buddies had given up their post at the poo pit and gotten closer in. I think the second beer run was too much for them to go any further. When I saw them I slammed on the brakes again grabbed a beer and chugged away. As I sat there only one rider passed me. I finished the beer thanked Drew and hit the trail hoping I hadn't lost too much time. I eventually caught the one rider who passed me and regained my spot. No harm done. The 3rd lap went by quick and smooth I was still flowing fast and felt good even after chugging a beer.
I was in the pits waiting on Brad and I noticed his time was a little slower than normal. I hoped he was okay but when he rolled in I could tell I mean smell that he had gone for a swim. He actually had 2 wrecks, the first broke off one of his lights and the second took him for a swim at the now famous "Rachael's landing" due to a lack of lighting.
This was probably my slowest lap, I wasn't really pumped about going out because most of my friends were done riding and chilling by the campfire. Somewhere between Brad's lap and mine we made up one more spot, sweet!
I knew this would be our team's last lap. We actually could have done one more lap and probably should have. As fast as we were riding Anthony could have put us up one more spot but still not on the podium. The trail was dry but the roots were not, I swear they were more slick that my first lap and I was all over the place. I managed to stay up right through my lap but there were a few close calls and a few times where I spun out and was forced to walk uphill. As I passed Rachael's Landing another rider and their bike was being pulled out of the soup. I wonder what the count was on the number of people who went in?
When I got back in we called it a night and I pulled up a seat near the campfire. I found out that Brad had to leave and go to Andy's apt. to shower off. The funk he landed in was pure nastiness.
All in all we had a great time, I always try to talk myself out of doing a last lap but I feel this conviction of not letting my team down. And as usual 1/2 way through the lap I'm glad I did it and I have no regrets afterward. We ended up in 6th place in the biggest team category. Not too bad for a bunch of guys just out having fun.
If you wondered what I was wearing each lap I decided to be a little different this year. I went with the baggie shorts and sleeveless T's for each lap. I also chose to show my Nascar pride and sport Dale Sr. and Jr. T's for the first 2. No matching lycra uniforms this race. I don't plan to make it a habit though. My lycra is alot nicer than baggies and cotton t-shirts during a long race . Especially when your sweating and it cold outside.
I have to thank Melinda for all the help she was during the race, she made everything so much easier for me. I feel sorry for those who's wives' choose not to attend. I couldn't do it with out her and her moral support.
One of the guys watching all of the carnage going down at Rachael's Landing got a bunch of it on video and posted it here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Until next year