Monday, February 09, 2009

The Most Horrible Thing Ever 2009, Official Halfway’er

(Picture - Clay before the start)

Two years in a row I have made it halfway in this horrible race. Last year Dennis and I accomplished the halfway mark and this year I did it solo.

Its Two O-clock AM Saturday morning and while most humans on the East Coast are vast asleep in a dream world, I am pushing my rigid single speed Karate Monkey up Farlow Gap. As it is rare to push up Farlow (this was my third time) its even more rare to have company. So being the sort of person I am, I was trying to start a party. I talked most everyone up, about where they were from, why they decided to do “The Most Horrible Thing Ever” so on and so forth. However, no one was in the partying mood, I took the hint and pressed on with my mouth halfway shut.

Just then, as we headed to the true hike-a-bike section on Farlow I saw the lights of our documentation crew which consists of Mike N’ team. I had been chatty with the two fellows in front of me but NOW IT WAS ON! I was three hours into a 36 hour race and time was precious so I yelled “ON YOUR RIGHT” and stormed off the trail and around the team in front of me for a valiant pass. The craziest thing about being somewhere in the middle of the night/morning is that no one really laughed at the time but I knew that memory would stick. It just so happened that I would remember this moment 20 hours later when I would descend the same trail I was ascending now.

Let’s back up a couple hours to right before the start of the race. I wake up in my tent, and thoughts of the Grand Canyon flood my mind as I slept in that same tent 90% of the time during my trip down the Colorado in January. Then I heard the same wicked sound I had heard this past October at 5:30 am at White Pines “ding-ding. . . ding-ding” it was Eric’s dainty warning that the racer meeting was about to begin. “Holy Cow” I thought, I am not at all ready. I had fallen asleep at 9:00 and now it was 11:45. The race starts in 15 minutes.
Needless to say, I was a little late starting. Clay and I had discussed riding together the weekend before but when he realized I wasn’t really ready, he took off. If I wasn’t the last racer to leave camp, I was very close.

Here were the stages and we were on Stage 1:

I really wanted to go slow for obvious reasons but I was also motivated to catch Clay as I knew he could be caught because of a pending injury. You gotta kick a guy where it hurts ya know.
So it is with this mission that I trudged up 475B. I saw many, talked to everyone and then at Cove Creek I saw Peter. I commented that it was good to see him healthy this year as he was sick the year before and pressed on.

(Picture - Peter's bike on Cove Creek's entrance)
Nothing like coming down the paint shaker (cove creek) first thing in the middle of the night to wake you up, I cussed Mr. Pisgah Productions for bringing us back to camp so quickly so I made my amends by stopping and having some pizza and a beer.
I chatted with Erinna about how far everyone was ahead. Not that it mattered, its just fun to be in the know.

Next up was Daniel Ridge and ultimately Farlow from Daniel. I started passing some more folks and just generally having a good time riding the SS way too much but its so fun.
After the fiasco on Farlow with no one wanting to party with me, I quickly went down 140A. I was taking it slow bouncing around in the rocks thanking myself for rocking tubeless again (not one flat in 21 hours for me) when I came across Clay with a flat. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTT SOMEONE TO PARTY WITH!!!!!!!!!!!

I stopped and bragged about how fast I was while Clay fumbled with the flat. We partied and then I helped him stuff all of his crap back into his useless saddle bag. If you want a real damn bag, order one from Epic Designs! I haven’t broke the thing yet so it just might be indestructible.
Clay and I pushed on, we talked about whether or not there was a trail from Courthouse falls to the Devil’s Courthouse and then railed the steep descent on Sumney Cove. We both cleaned that wicked descent and I was stoked beyond belief. I really love that trail and I rarely force myself to go out there, thanks Eric.

Nothing exciting until Butter when clay and I discussed new to us single track, butter was golden as always and really cool because it was frozen. The entire night was very other-worldly because of the deep frost that coated the ground in crystals. It was extremely weird seeing what looked like huge wet mud ruts and then magically your tires would just roll over them due to their frozen nature. (Picture - sleeping bag frozen before the start of the race)

The sun started to show its rays just as I pedaled the road back to camp.

The rest of the race will come tomorrow along with The Most Horrible Video Ever, you won’t believe what you see!!

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