Again I need to thank Richard (MrBall) for the use of his bike (my new one is still not in). It was all shined up, new brake pads, following the Crank the Shield. NewfieSteve showed up (on time!!) at my house for our trek to Hardwood. Then it was off to Fig’s house, he carpooled; he was doing the race in the Solo Under age 40 category, so we shared a pit area.
This is Fig…I have no idea what the silly headgear was all about.
We saw many familiar faces at this one. Martin was in the Solo age 40 + category, Egggman in the Solo Singlespeed, Stefan (from the Crank group) was in a tag team (our competition!), and many others! Unfortunately, EnglishJim could not do it…he was still recovering from a slight injury sustained on day 3 of the Crank.
So…back to the race…Steve took the first lap. If you are unfamiliar, this is how these races work; we were a tag team (there were also 3-4 person teams and solos), so it works as a relay. Laps are 10 km loops, and the rider out on course carries a computer chip (which corresponds to the team number, records the team name, and lap times). When the rider comes in at the finish of the lap (into the transition zone), he/she scans the computer chip (on scanners set up in the transition zone), and passes off the chip to the next rider on their team, who then races off to complete a lap. The most laps in 8 hours wins.
Each lap takes about 30 minutes to complete. We usually solo these races, but we tag teamed the last one, and it was just so much more fun! Tag team allows you to complete the lap as fast as your skill and endurance will let you (in solo you have to set a pace that you think will get you through the complete 8 hours). Then after your lap, in tag team, you have about 30 minutes to stretch, eat, adjust bike/clothing, or whatever….then go out and give ‘er for another lap.
So Steve came in after his first lap, I grabbed the chip from him and I was off! The course started out with a long, drawn out, doubletrack climb…then dove into twisty singletrack. Most of the course was twisty singletrack, with 3 or 4 short bits of doubletrack to allow for easier passes. The abundance of singletrack made it tough to pass until you hit doubletrack. The singletrack was flowy with a couple of slippy rooty sections to keep you alert (there were plenty of crashes on these sections…luckily not by me or Steve!). Steve's early lap times were blazing fast! He excels at the twisty singletrack! I do not; my strength is power and endurance (to maintain a high pace for an extended period)…so this wasn’t an ideal course for me, but I maintained consistent respectable laptimes. Steve and I make for a good compliment as a tag team.
After my 3rd lap I came into our pit, I checked out our note pad…because we don’t have an opportunity to communicate, we keep a note pad in the pit to notify each other of any issues like injuries (usually like “my ass hurts!”), mechanical problems, or other stuff (35 min lap…f*#k I’m slow!!). Anyways, at this point Steve noted on the pad that he had reapplied diaper cream, but also, and more importantly that we were in 3rd place. 3rd place!! That was great! We came into this race with no allusions of grandeur; we were still recovering from the Crank the Shield, I am on antibiotics (from a nagging injury) that are messing up my system, and we were in a very competitive field (lots of fast guys!!).
When I came in after my 4th lap we were in 2nd place!! Then we fell back to 3rd…then after my 5th lap we were back in 2nd…by only by 39seconds. We had to give it everything we had; hammer; lay the boots to ‘er…all that stuff…and that is exactly what we did. We managed to not only hold 2nd but we extended our lead on 3rd to the point where they must have determined that they couldn’t catch us and, after finishing their 13th lap at 7:22, decided not to do another lap (of course, me not knowing we had 2nd sewn up, took the chip from Steve at 7:20; after his 7th lap…our 13th…and destroyed myself to make sure my 7th lap…our 14th…was as fast as I could go). Confusing? Here is an easy guide…
I know…I’ve used that one before; but damn it’s funny!!Point is, we took 2nd in a competitive field, in a race we only intended to have fun in…damn rewarding!!
Me (in green), and NewfieSteve on the podium.
Now the wife thinks I am Superman (her new name is Lois). Actually it is amazing how much Supes and me do look alike.
Here is Superman.
Here is me at the start line…you be the judge.
Anyways, as for our friends…congratulations to Martin, who came in 3rd in his category (and was only 10 minutes from 1st!), Egggman was 3rd in his category (and his first podium!), Fig did not win/place/or show but completed a very respectable 12 laps.This is Egggman on the podium, on the right. Congrats Eggg!
Well, with the wonders of technology we kept the wives and EnglishJim up to date throughout the race…and ended the day at my house with Lois, Lisa, and EnglishJim joining us to recover, with pizza, Sleemans, and 40Creek…and as the recovery progressed…the stories got better…and that is where this one should end.