Friday, August 17, 2007

King for a Day

It's almost been a year since I did the Shenandoah
Mountain 100. Hard to believe it went buy so quick.
But I anticipated feeling like that since every time I
do this race I feel like I should have put more
training hours in. Not this year. For many months I've
sacrificed any social life or mid-week lolygaging for
training. It's all about cash deposits in the U.S.
Federated Bank of Pain and I've never been so rich.

Picking up again from last week, I've resolved to race
in the name of my friend Chuck. Not so much to
remember him since I'll surely be swearing up a storm
out there and who wants to be thought of during such times -
but to remember what it's like to push past
what you think you can do. Way past. Even tho I had to
miss the Wilderness 101, I came back from New York
City and rocked out over 330 training miles last week,
most of which was off road. The average daytime temps
did not go below 92 so it was honest work, honestly brutal.

The week culminated in the GW National Forest with a
solo ride up Narrowback ridge where I was greeted by a
slumbering bear in a tree. He saw me first and dropped from
his perch with a BOOM and took off through the brush like a
bull in a china shop. This tactic worked well in scaring the S#!T out
of me (I was only about 20 feet away) but I pray he doesn't do
the same thing to escape one of the hundreds of local ding-dong
hunters who, this time of year, love to send a pack of dogs after
Mr. Bear, tree him and then blast his brains out. Boy
I can't think of a better way to feel manly then to
chase a very timid animal thru the woods with a pack
of dogs and then, from at least fifty feet away shoot it dead.
Tracking a buck with a bow and arrow is one thing
but hunting bear with dogs is another. Is that really a fair fight?
Does that exhibit one's hunting skillz? Where is the sport in that?
When you bring the pals over to show them the menacing pose
Mr. taxidermist put Mr. Bear in? Shhhh, don't tell anyone you shot
him down from a cowering, terrified position in a sapling.
I really need to get this out of my system sometime.
I'm considering writing a book or making a film (I can see it now, "TOUGH GUY. NOT.")
about all the yahoo's out there who think they are tough but in truth are
insecure, fearful little men hiding behind their monster trucks and Hummers.
These are usually the idiots who yell at cyclists as they drive by.
Just once I'd love to have one step into the ring with me. Just once...

Breath deep. Where was I?

So after I took the wrong trail 3x, I made it out of
the woods as a triumphant burst of shotgun blasts
bid me adieu. The darkness was growing as I quickly pedaled
past the scores of parked pickups with dogbins (they really are
in the woods training their dogs for bear season) and back to
Todd Lake where I had parked my wimpy 4 cylinder pickup.
Here I scored a nice little camp site and had
dinner. Poor planning found me eating the only quasi-nutritious
food the nearby country store had: graham crackers,
beef jerkey and shot blocks but I was ok with that. They also only had
Bud and Coors in cans (which looked much more
refreshing than bottles) so I opted for the latter. It's been a while since
I've enjoyed a Coors. Cold as it was, it still sucked.
BUT - I felt wonderfully detached from the petty issues I left
in DC. I thought about my buddy Chuck and all the good
times we had. I read my latest issue of VeloNews by
the light of a cheap latern ($4), the night sky was packed with stars
and everything seemed ok for a little bit.

For that one evening, I was King of the World.

The next morning some of the DC gang met me for more
training. Most went off on their own ride but one
buddy, Dave Caz must have been looking for the USFBP
to make a deposit. I dragged him along for 65 miles of
tax-free toil through most of the SM100 course. The
best part about it was ovalizing my granny gear about an
hour into the day's ride(if it's only got 2 bolts holding it on,
consider it useless).

That gave me even more return on my
investment! Now I know that I can do most of the course w/o a
granny - and that might be the mental edge I've needed.
Or not.

So after almost 8 hours of riding goodness, I raced 3 hours home
to sleep for a few hours before heading out to film some
bass fishing for ESPN at 4am. I had sworn never again but
since this tournament was close to home (right on the Po), I figured
what the heck? It wasn't easy to find but luckily I noticed a parade of
bass boats at a gas station and followed them to the launch. I felt ill from
lack of sleep and my legs were twitchy. I was afraid the day would just plain
SUCK. But instead, I lucked out and got paired with a guy
named Grant Goldbeck.

He's the nicest, most polite and down to earth bass fisherman
I've worked with. Figures he's a Northerner - from just outside DC.
We chatted the entire time he fished and luckily for him (and to my complete amazment,
he was catching good bass right off the discharge for a water treatment plant
across from National Airport. I've never seen or would have imagined big largemouth
being pulled from under the flightpath at National but there they were.
He ended up in 12th for the final and that brought home over $12,000.
Not bad compared to cycling!

Today I head to West Va for the Wild 100 and
65-some miles of more training in the guise of a race.
Makes me wonder what Jon Posner is up to. I hear he's been
working at the bike shop a ton. This is good - less riding and more working.
No I won't talk any trash but I'm starting to grin...yes Poz, I'm grinning.

Unfortunately my buddy Dave had to go back to NYC for
a followup visit where they found a sac of fluid pressing
against his new kidney. They rushed him in for emergency
surgery to fix it. Poor bastard has lost over 30lbs since this
started. Say a prayer if you would. He sure could use
it. That or send him a box of twinkies.

Till next week-


SquidBuzz said...

Give out his address and I'll send him more than that. Maybe Cheese Curds or something from Wisconsin.

9:18 PM  
Bunny said...

I never thought this whole "browse your local profiles" thing on blogger would be so entertaining. Just one more opportunity to touch some random person's life, you know? That picture of you reading by the cheap lantern with the stars is something I've always wanted to do but never got to. Your buddy Chuck also led quite the life. Sometimes I read these blogs and think how much I'm missing out on.

8:11 PM  
Shana said...

12 grand? Maybe fishing was the way I should have gone...

PS- I really do think you should make that movie. You can start filming in Northern Wisconsin.

8:42 PM  
gwadzilla said...

okay JB
two things
I just used the phrase king for the day
and I don't want to think I ripped it off

and secondly

that is a whole lotta words!

I came by to see if you were going to be filming this weekend

maybe you should put your dogs on Eatough and Landis
with cameras taped to their heads

the hunting challenge of which you speak
it makes me yearn to go turtle hunting
but personally I think that the cordless drill has taken the sport out of it
in the day of extension cords there was some sport to it
or at least a whole lot of extension cords

10:48 PM  
gwadzilla said...


see you this weekend

good luck!

see you on the course

10:49 PM  

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