Wednesday, November 4, 2009

12 Hours of the HOT (the funny, cool and weird)

Are you sick of hearing about my weekend? I think I'm almost done. Believe it or not we had a ton of fun and I am already looking forward to next year rain or shine. Riding in conditions like last Saturday's just improves your skills and makes you that much of a better rider and I for one could use all the practice I can get.

The sun did come out for a small portion of the day and I know it doesn't look sunny in the pic but we were greeted with not just 1 rainbow but a double. I can't remember ever seeing a double rainbow before so I chalked that one up on my cool chart. It wasn't long afterwards that the clouds rolled back in and dumped on us some more. Thank goodness for EZ-UPs, did I say that already?

Endurance racers can be some of the most unusual folks, the more hard core they are the more weird they seem to be. Just hanging out at an event like this can resemble staying the night at a carnival and sitting around the fire with the carnies. It doesn't always have to be Halloween to give these folks an excuse to dress up or simply wear nothing at all. I've seen, heard and read about nudity at these events multiple times and the naked lap is something that tends to happen at many races especially after the kids go to bed or sometimes during the middle of the day depending on how much free beer is flowing. The HOT has seen a few naked laps in the past years but it usually takes a donation of $$ from the crowd to encourage some fool to do it. This year was no exception, but three guys decided not to wait for an incentive. They proceeded to do a few naked laps around camp for free instead of the race course. I failed to witness this but Melinda took advantage of the Kodak moment.

An endurance race wouldn't be complete without beer, alot of the time beers get cracked during the race, at least that's the case for my crew. It's hard not to partake when your pit crew is enjoying a dark frosty beverage when you come flying through the pits. This year free beer was being handed out courtesy of some guys in a Sweetwater Van. I'm not sure if they stole the van or if they worked for Sweetwater because there was no free Sweetwater, but they did have Fat Tire, Yuengling & Yahzoo. Everytime I walked past I grabbed 2 or 3 not to drink right then but for after the race. It's safe to say that I got enough that I didn't come home empty handed.
Speaking of free stuff, swag is always a must at these events, To pay $50+ in entry fees and not receive free swag is a cardinal sin. Listen up promoters, nothing hurts your numbers more than not giving back to the racers. I'm not talking about ads for products, we want the goods. I've received bags of advertisements many times before and all that does is fill up the trash bins in the campground faster. We want gels, bars, beer, stickers or whatever, oh yeah, skip the watered down spaghetti dinner, we all show up with food. The promoters for the HOT always do a fine job of rounding up free swag, I haven't bought a water bottle in 3 years because of this single race. I always come home with an arsenal of Heed, gels, endurolyte pills etc. This year they didn't seem to have as much of a variety but I did come home with about a years supply of Hammer products.

GRT has never really gotten into the costume scene but I always make sure we have some sort of decor mounted to our bikes, usually in the form a small jack-o-lantern. This year we went with a little more scarier attachment, mine was Frankenstein. Out on the course several times racers would turn around see Frank up front leading the charge and pull over to get out of our way.

I'm not sure if this guy meant to fall in the mud or if he did it accidentally but once he was down he decided he liked it or wanted everyone to think he meant to do it because he turned around got a running start and did a few mud slides on his belly. I wonder if that kit went from red to brown permanently.

All weekend people came and went wether on a run to restock the cooler with beer & ice or just giving up and heading home. All that traffic plus bikes and people milling about made a pretty good mess of the field between us and the road out. I could tell that Melinda was worried we might get stuck but I kept assuring her our truck was a 4x4 and we would be fine. I don't think she had faith in me after our experience on the beach in the Outer Banks. Two years ago our friend Bob got his RV stuck in this very field and had to call AAA to pull him out. By the end of the day Saturday he had pretty much decided he was going to have to do the same this year and he did. I wonder when he's gonna realize his RV doesn't have four wheel drive and quit parking in the middle of the field with a 100% chance of rain coming. Sunday morning we took our time loading up letting most of the crowd clear out so we had more options for an exit strategy. I scoped out the area found the route of least resistance and traffic, put the truck in four low and didn't stop till I hit pavement. I did sling some mud & grass but a slow and steady pace saw us through.
Had enough? I have, I need to go work on the Mamasita, she's not been touched since we got home on Sunday and I plan to ride this weekend.

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