Thursday, April 05, 2007

It Is Here

Broussard, D-Kuntz, Dave, SingleTrack Pig and myself all showed up for the weekly pain in Dupont.

Our route:

Longside, Pine Tree, Sheep Mountain, Buck Forest Road, Hickory Mountain Road, Hickory Mountain Loop, Ridgeline, White Pines, Buck Forest Road, Jim Branch, Lake Imaging Road, Buck Forest Road, Sheep Mountain, Buck Forest Road, Cascade Lake Road, Rock Quarry, Wilikie, Micajah

It was about 20 miles and we got back just before dark. I wasn’t sure if we could park at Corn Mill Shoals, ride to the top of the park and make it back before dark but we did it. Even with one flat tire, we still made it.

A couple things to note from the ride, don’t give Sparks to Broussard. The first climb, he was singing while I was struggling to breathe. I don’t mean the kind of singing that you can kind of hear, really loud singing. To quote Dave “That’s how I knew what direction you guys were going.”

Jim Branch is a ton of fun, but all the trails we did last night were a ton of fun. Nice ride gentlemen.

Thursday is a rest day for me. Thank the lord I need it, especially considering the fact that I am supposedly going to ride my bike for 50 miles on Saturday. It will be one of my last long base covering distances before my first race of the year. It will also be the longest ride so far this year. Bow chikky wow wowwwwwww.

So what to do on a rest day? Talk about the only weekend in golf that really matters that’s what. Yes, it is that time of year already, the azaleas are blooming and the red bud trees have yet to shed their beautiful flowers. The green built in TV towers are already in place and the caddies have been throwing green dyed sand into the divots for over three weeks now. Augusta National misses no detail when it comes to this event. It is absolutely ridiculous, you would think that the grounds crew was out all night combing the grass and individually placing the sand particles in the bunkers. If you ever have a chance to go, which you probably won’t, do it; it will be a moment to remember even if you hate golf.

If a husband takes his wife to the masters and she has never watched golf before in her life, she will still be interested. It just happens that way, it is contagious at Augusta, there is no place like it in the world. The food and beer are cheap, relatively speaking for a sporting event and the camaraderie amongst the crowd is second to none.

That must mean, that Tiger is about to dominate Augusta once again? I would rather he not. It isn’t necessarily that I dislike Mr. Woods and his incredible nature to win anything he sets his mind to, it’s just that I would rather see a competition. You see Augusta National is a place that thrives on competition. If someone rolls in an eagle on 13, (one of the furthest points on the course from the club house) you can be sitting by the green on 18 and hear the roar of cheers come up through the valley. I want to see a putt for a win on 18, not a sullen Tiger walking off the green getting ready for ANOTHER green Jacket.

The year I went to Augusta in 1999, was the first year they introduced “rough” or a second cut of grass. The entire course used to be one big fairway but they did away with this due to the fact that players and equipment have driven golf into a new era. Sort of like having 8 inches of travel to eat up the rocks, what’s that, there were rocks on that trail, I didn’t notice.

So it is a great thing that I am riding long and hard on Saturday because come Sunday, I will be watching the boob tube. There is an interesting thing about Augusta on Sunday that I never knew about until I witnessed it for myself.

If you want to be where the action is, the place to be at the end of the day is sitting around the 18th green of course, but how do those people get those seats? There are no grand stands around 18 like other PGA courses, only personal chairs.

As a caddy, we learned that you just put your name on your Augusta National green chair. Magic Marker style and yes, you have to buy one and yes it has to be an official Master’s chair to sit it on the course. Then you take your chair to the desired location and set it up. You can leave it un-attended for as long as you like. No one will sit in it or bother it. So being an employee in 1999 my roommate took all of our chairs over early in the morning to set them up in a prime location before the general public was allowed in.

I woke up after Lonnie had taken our chairs, so I wanted to go check out the spot he picked for me. I moseyed from our apartment, used my caddy pass to enter and started wandering toward 18. Just then, I heard a ton of commotion and I realized they were getting ready to let the masses inside. I looked over my shoulder to see a conglomerate of people waiting to get in. All of them wielding multiple Master’s chairs and looking to lock down their own piece of real estate on 18. I think I saw some of them breathing fire and snorting smoke. I watched stunned as they opened the gate, it was a free for all. They had cops telling people to walk but it didn’t matter. People came at me in a full on sprint carrying as many as eight chairs. If you can imagine the running of the bulls, with no bulls and everyone must carry at least 6 folding chairs, you can envision the madness. I stepped out of the way and watched people careen past me. It took my breath away.

You would think that after all of that madness, I wouldn’t be able to find my chair but there it was awaiting my arrival. It is still a glorious day in my mind. I remember sitting in my chair on 18 when Greg Norman rolled in an Eagle on 13. Even though I was over a half mile away, I could feel the air vibrating from the emotion as the roar worked its way up the valley. Greg wouldn’t last against Jose Maria Olazabal that day but it was great watching.


namrita o'dea said...

Sorry I'm not going to make the ride this weekend. Hopefully next time. Enjoy the forecasted high of 44* and...dare I say it...snow :0

Sadistic Goat said...

Hope you didn't wear the legs out to much. Pain everlasting shall be on the menu for the weekend, oh plus some fun riding with a bunch o sadistic enduro nuts. Did I mention I called the forest service and said, " Oh hey guys, would you mind taking a grader up 475 B. You see, we have this ride going on this weekend and 30 miles into our 50 mile ride we would like a slop fest for 6 miles going up a gravel road." Sweet... they were on in it in minutes. Said they'd have a few chaps cheering us on with Tomato and Goat written in the mud as we chase Eddie down.