Friday, August 31, 2007

The Lowdown

I'll have to make this a little more brief than I had hoped since I'm in the midst of packing for the big race this weekend. Hang onto your seat - this will move qiucker than the Tower of Terror.

Last weekend - drove to Slatey Fork, WVA to do the Wild 100. The gang this year was solid - no less than 4 of us would tackle the 100k or so of self-guided racing through 6 checkpoints in the backcountry. We started worse then ever when Olsen broke his chain about 100 yards from the parking lot. We were passed by every single rider but that was kind of a novelty. Little did we know that woulld be par for the day. After last year's debacle when Olsen and I shared 5 flats, I hoped for some redemption this year but it wasn't to be. I think the other 3 each had at least one flat and Olsen's chain needed love a couple more times. Luckily the weather was perfect, even a slight bit chilly so we soldiered on and made good time when we were not immobile. I was enjoying the fact that we learned from last year's poorly chosen routes through cow pastuers and briars and applied new routes to shave off time this year. I paid close attention to my efforts and eating and felt great all day. Well up until some clown called me a roadie as we pace-lined past him and his slowpoke buddies in baggy shorts. Whatever. We got to the final decent and Chris Brown asked me for a spare tube in case he flatted. I didn't see the wisdom in this request and told him I'd be right there if he did flat and kept riding. He flatted. And I was long gone. Poor bastard had to wait for other riders and ask them for a tube. Then for a pump. What's worse is that Shawn then flatted leaving me to head in for a solo finish. But not before I took a wrong turn about 100 yards before the finish and started climbing again. Those name-calling-clowns somehow passed me before I got turned around and finished in front of me. UUUGGGHHH. Bike racing.

I took a couple days off before heading out with Shawn on a light training ride. It had recently rained and the road was kinda slick in spots. We had just bombed down a hill and around a corner at top speed when the thought of taking it careful entered my mind. I slowed down a little as I headed into the next turn. Before I could tell what hit me I was sliding on my hip with the bike still attached to my feet which were now in the air. I knew that would leave a mark but I wasn't prepared for just how big it would be. Due to the family nature of this blog I'll keep from assaulting your eyes with a shot of my skinless ass but take my word for it - road rash is nasty-mo-nasty. Clothed photo is below...note ugly ensemble of clothing. This is why roadies hate mt. bikers. We have no fashion sense and aren't afraid to bring it to the streets.

This lead to Saturday when Shawn joined my friend Al and I for our last big ride before the SM100. We planned to do 5-6 hours of Gambril, just outside of Frederick, MD. Things were again wet and slippery from a recent rain and the temps were forecast to be the hottest of the summer. Great. 107 with heat index - no really. WHich is like sucking on the tailpipe of a car while riding. It was brutal. 2 climbs up the mountain took us 4 hours and I was hurting. Luckily Al was worse and I graciously offered to follow Al back to the car to make sure he was ok while Shawn went on for another 2 hours of sweat-lodge-cycling. When we got to the car, the stream a few paces away was beckoning. Al and I approached what seemed to be a quaint, innocent little brook with nice, cool water babbling through it. I spyed a refershing looking pool about knee deep and slowly waded in. Suddenly, something wrapped around my leg and I shot out of the water like I'd been electrocuted. In a blazing flash of water, flying flip flops and scales, I shook what appeared to be a snake off my leg. When I landed about 10 feet away I saw a splashing in the water that was very confusing. Amidst Al's laughter I tried to identify what had attacked me. I saw what looked like a fish, then a snake, then a fish. WHen the whitewater settled it was both! I snake had bit the tail of a fish about the same time I entered the water - it must have gone around my leg for the attack and unfortunately included me in the ensuing hoopla. The fish was huge for such a small stream - a solid 7" brook trout. The snake was huge too but that might be my memory short circuited through an electric jolt of fear.

Al busted out his trusty video-phone and recorded this short clip:


I thought for sure it was some sort of man-killing copperhead or watermoccasin but nope, after further research it turned out to be the very timid, very safe Northern Water Snake. Huh. Seems like a lame name for a creature than can drag a trout out of water and eat it whole.



In an effort to remove this day from the books, I rode into work at InnoTech on Monday only to mis-judge a bunnyhop over a curb, thus landing square on it and denting the #@*%# out of a pricey Kysirum (sp?) wheel on my road bike. Expensive commute.

After all this nonsense, I honestly hope I have rid myself of any bad juju before this weekend. I've got everything organized and ready to roll. The photo above represents about half the food I will take in during the 10-? hour race. Floyd Landis will be lining up beside 449 other mt. bikers who hope to finish the grueling 100 miles that will test every nerve and muscle fiber we have. I've done everything I can think of to prepare, now it's just time to let it roll. So this Sunday, if you think of it, send some good vibes my way - I'll surely need it.

Peace-out.

3 Comments:

SquidBuzz said...

That thing was freakin' huge!

Good luck this weekend and be safe.

9:50 PM  
Marty said...

J-man!!! You've seriously been having some wildlife encounters. And here I thought you were a city boy.
Best of luck this weekend! Kick that race's ass...shazaaaam!!!

12:17 AM  
Shana said...

So....? How was the race? I sent all sorts of good vibes your way!!!

12:23 AM  

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