Thursday, June 01, 2006

Long overdue

Ok, the week is almost over, but here goes... My in depth Boyne Race Report! (better put a pot of coffee on.. ;) )

I thought I had an idea of what I was in for. I was a little right, and a little wrong.

Somehow, my SE Michigan brain couldn't wrap its head around running a gear easier than 2:1. I shoulda listened to Andy. I started in 2:1, and let's just say, it wasn't that much fun.. =[

Combined with the part that I wasn't warmed up, the going was slow. On the first of the long climbs, Erin passed me with words of encouragemetn as I hoofed it up the hill. I soon caught back up to her and hoped to use her has a rabbit to get me through the rest of the 1st lap. The second hill had other plans. I was off the bike again, and Erin's blue Darkhorse jersey disappeared into the distance. Back on the bike after the climb i started to close the gap again, but then ran into traffic. 3 slow guys in front of me taking their sweet time. We were in the tight single track now, and being a 24 hour race, I didn't want to be "that guy" and try to blow by all three in a bad spot, so I waited. I eventually got by, and Erin was no where to be found.

The rest of the lap was uneventfull. More walking, and some fun downhill. It took that lap to get the feel again for the downhill leading back to the start/finish area. Let me just say I love my disc brakes!! I really got a feel for being able to stop when I needed, and as a result was able to let it run when I wanted. I hit some crazy speeds in the sandpit downhill. My Fast Tracks just floated over the sand, I got my weight back, and let it go!!

Coming back to the start I tagged Junior for his lap, and started to work on changing the gear on my steed.

That first break was spent entirely working on the bike and getting ready for the next lap.. no resting.. that sucked. Becuase I didn't have a 32t chainring, I had to change my freewheel. I was faced with the dilemma of replacing my nice new White Industries 17t freewheel with a cheep $8 BMX 18t to get the desired 1.9:1. Andy to the rescue, AGAIN. He had a spare wheel with an ACS freewheel (a little better than the BMX freehwheel I had). All I had to due was center the axle, and tighten'er down and I was good to go.. there was even a tire mounted. It was a sight. Black bike, piss yellow fork (thanks again to Andy), one red rim and one white rim. Kevin supplied some neon zip ties to complete the ensemble...

I rode my second lap on Andy's rear wheel. From the start the freewheel was clicking and making all sorts of odd noises. This was not going to do. To add to my discomfort, I forgot my water bottle!! I had my perpetuem/hammer gel/gatorade mix in one bottle, but no water to wash it down.. ugh... This was going to be a long lap in the 85 degree heat!

So, after my second lap I was off to the Latitude 45 guys to see if they could remove my freewheel so i could install my cheap 18t. With a little elbow grease it was done, and I had a full set of red rims again, and a cheap, but healthy sounding 18t free wheel.

1.9:1 was the way to go. Much less walking. On my third lap I made almost the entire grinder climb without walking. Acutally, the whole lap was awesome. I was hitting lines, having fun, and enjoying myself. When I did hit the top of the grinder, and came out to the paved part of the cart path for the last 200+ yards of climbing, I found myself behind two other riders. Now this section, though paved, is no walk in the park. I started with a slow cadance, and slowly built up momentum, even as the path turned upward. I ran down both riders, making up a gap of around 100 feet. Man that felt great!

Over the first three laps I dropped my time from 60 min to 55, then to 54 minutes. Not times I'm particularly proud of, but considering I hadn't really ridden my bike since Addison, I'll take it.

I was WIRED after that 3rd lap. High on life and biking. I wish I could've bottled that feeling and kept if for later in the season. I'm sure it'd come in handy.. =]

I began my night laps at 11:30 pm. The night was a welcome relief from the heat of the day. And the solitude was awesome. In my two night laps I think I saw maybe 4 people. My next lap was at about 3am. I grabbed my iPod, and listened to Massive Attack's Protection throughout the first portion up to the rode crossing. Then I put on Tool's Undertow to help power me up that grinder one more time.

You have not lived until you've flown downhill at 30 mph on a bike at 3am with Tool blasting in your ears!!

Safe at home base once again, I settled in to rest before my next and hopefully last lap. I'd done some math, and the chances were that I'd have the chance to ride a 7th lap. We'd been in a dog fight all day with another 4 person mixed team, though they'd steadily pulled away from us all day long, and it didn't look like they were letting up. I figured if we couldn't take 1st, and wouldn't lose 2nd, then I'd just see how I felt when the time came.

Waiting for my 6th lap I was spent. There was no energy to eat, sleep, shower, nothing... I wrapped up in a jacket and sleeping bag in my chair under the tent and just was.

The rain started about 5:50 in the morning. Storms had been spoted on radar before that, and the lightening could be seen on the horizon for hours before dawn. Paula was apprehensive about starting her lap with the threat of lightening, but she was a trooper, and off she went. The rain continued, and seemed to get a little worse. I wasn't keen on riding in the rain either. I started having Addison flashbacks.

As it was, the rain wasn't sooooo bad. I still had a good lap. It was my slowest lap, but I imagine being my 6th had something to do with that too. It was uneventful other than the mud. The rain beat down the sand nicely, and I had a blast on the downhill once again.

When I got back, I was chatting with one of the Darkhorse ladies and we heard a rumour that the race might be called at 10am. That would mean no 7th lap decision for me!! And Paula would be spared a second rain lap. Rumour turned to reality, and Andy was our last rider out on the course just after 9am. The coolers were opened, and the beer came out to play. I'm not sure I've ever had such a well earned beer. I'm sure I've never had one kick me in th head so hard. Funny what happens when you drink alcohol on no sleep and nothing but a liquid diet in your stomache... =]

Well, that's it for the race portion of the report.. Long, and not very exciting, I know. One of these days I'll figure out how to pack more exciting info into less space.

Next up, Pontiac Lake Time Trial!!

Keep riding!



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