Sunday, April 27, 2008

That was hard.

More if I recover.


Ok, I think I'm over the fever, so a few more details of my weekend and events leading up to it.

My goal for TIV4 was to make it to the start line, uninjured. I was registered for TI V1 and V3, V1 back and neck problems, V3 IT band re injury from the Sebring 24hour.
A week ago Sunday my work sent me to Apadaca, Mexico for Interesting, yes, an annoying speed bump in my TI prep, yes. They had me scheduled to fly back the Friday of TI. Nothing like a good dose of jet lag, a week off the bike, and a chance for a good case of food poisoning to get you tuned up, right? I finished up what I needed to do down there as soon as I could and managed to get them to fly me back on Wed. Get home to find my mom was sick with the flu all week, I find myself coughing and blowing my nose nonstop by Friday. Head to the chiropractor to fix what ails me{back was out before leaving for Mexico). Hop in the truck with my crew, banker Steve. Drive through a torrential rainstorm and damn near miss the race meeting as we walk in at 6:30(could have sworn the race meeting was to be at 7:30) Crap, pretty much missed the meet and greet, maybe there will be time for that later.
Finish the final preparations about 9:30-10:00 and try to sleep without suffocating in my own mucus. Wake up at 1:00am, 2:00am, 2:30am, and finally 3:00am when I set my alarm.

Dressed and out the door by 3:15. Multiple oatmeal raisin cookie breakfast.
Ride around in the dark cold not recognising anyone hanging around the start point, ride up in Palisades to warm up a bit and test the newly wired headlight. Light works. Roll back to the start to find Cornbread and Skip, and Fuller, at least I know a couple people here. And soon enough we roll out, up quarry hill. The group spreads out almost immediately, as expected I climb backwards through the group, a trend for the day on climbs. It levels out a bit and I'm happy to have a big ring, it puts me back up with Cory and Skip and the group that establishes itself as the chase group for most of the day. I find that my pace doesn't match up well with anyone Else's, I climb too slow and roll too fast. I manage to drop a chain or overshift a few times causing extra work to stay near the group. soon enough I'm off the back with a few others. The sleet/snow and winter temps are laughably familiar. At least it's dry. This wind is punishing already. Ice is to be found in bottles at Protivin, but then again so is the group. Stay in the draft as much as possible, I try to pull but I just don't have it. I stay till I'm stuck in the wind on the tail of the line or we hit a good climb and then I die again. Keep blowing nasty yellow crap out of my nose. Catch up on the downhills and the sheltered flats. Regroup again at Cresco, a few calories, a few more riders in the group. Off to make two wrong turns as a group. Confusing street signs and a visit to the river that was a low water crossing. Stuck in the wind again, float off the back. Ride with a SSer on a Soulcraft I'm sure I should know, but I can't place his name. He saved my ass and doesn't even know it. That wind. Catch up with Skip as he floats back. The wind breaks a little and I roll off using my gears for what I can. Roll into Waucoma. Regroup once more. Another rider off the front joins, weary from the lead group's pace. The wind is crazy, blowing up gravel dust storms off the peaks of the hills. We get a nice tailwind into West Union, coast at 30mph. It ends all too soon. Grab a bite to eat. Head back out once more as a group, but I can't hang. Legs just can't push hard enough. Drift off to climb hills at 4mph and ride the flats at 10. Climb onto Dove road. First hill up I find a der pulley and its pieces, bet somebody wishes they still had those. I spot someone walking the hill ahead of me as I crest the first climb. Do what I can to catch up but he's riding the downhills and flats faster than I am. When I finally get close I find that it's Skip, fighting the demons of Dove road. Wasn't his pulley then. Walking looked almost appealing at that point, but I figured he'd catch me anyways. I was practically climbing at walking pace anyways. It leveled out a bit and soon enough Skip and Bonsal caught up. Rode with them a bit till it got walking steep again, and idled away in my lowest gear. That was the last I saw of anyone till checkpoint one in Wadena. In the meantime I thought about weather or not I wanted to try to make the cutoff, it was going to be close. In the end I made the cutoff by 5 or six minutes, but it didn't matter, my legs were cooked.

Finally got a chance to sit around and chat with a few folks. A few others rolling in to make the cutoff. Skip and Bonsal rode in, Ben Shockey and the Yazoo group rolled in a bit later. Paul and Cory were shuttled in. Lance Andre had enough fun in the lead group with his shattered thumb, and stayed behind. Lots of cooked legs in the circle.

Somewhere in there I came up with the crazy idea of riding back to Decorah via pave. Three others thought that to be a swell idea as well. Two energetic SS brothers from WI, and the other turned out to be Ari from Chicagoland. Funny who you run into at these things. The ride out of the valley wasn't too bad, but the loong stretch back over to West Union reminded me that I was already cooked and now was becoming overdone. I pulled a little, dropped back on the climbs, and ended up falling off the 8-10mph paceline a couple of times. Burgers at the Barrel drive-in and hot cocoa and a windbreak at Hardees was much appreciated. Even more appreciated was the ride back to Decorah provided by the WI crew.

Back in Decorah I showered off, and banker Steve and I wandered down to Oneata River Cycles to see the happenings and possibly locate a bike for Sunday's TT. Hey, you never want to miss the opportunity to ride Decorah trails. Ron Moffit once again unwisely agreed to loan me his ride. Last time I rode Ron's bike the bars came loose and the rear brake lever failed, during the race. I should have known better. I'm going to owe him money. My knees were still screaming at me Saturday night.

Sunday morning I woke up and headed down to pick up Ron's bike. It seemed kosher, though it did sound like the freewheel slipped alittle when I rode off and the front brake stuck a little. Signed up for the TT, paid. Knees felt a little better. Tried to preride a little of the new section on trail. Went okay going backwards. Watched O'gara slice his side wall on some glass on the trail in the first 20 feet of his preride. Loaned him a phone. Water was running across the trail in a few places. Most of the first mile or so turned out to be unrideable. Had to stop and tighten the seatpost 30ft in. Front brake not only stuck, but also had about 35% of it's normal braking power. I managed to bend a brake lever and almost take myself out on numerous occasions due to lack of traction and control. Soon found my knees to be unhappy with racing a SS uphill, so I walked pretty much every hill. Most everyone who was behind me ended up ahead of me. Finally made it to the grass field, what I would assume to be over halfway through the course. Remounted, tried to ride a little. Snap. Broke the chain. Put the chain in my pocket, more scooter bike practice. Knees weren't letting me climb anyhows. Tried to slow for the switchback coming back into the valley, didn't really happen. Get up, turn the bike around coast to the bottom and hop the tape. Walked the pave back to the finish and DNF-ed my second race of the weekend.

Many thanks to Steve Jones for crewing, driving, funding, providing a place to crash(thanks to Jim), staying sober during crewing hours, putting up with my crap, and letting me nap on the way home.

Thanks to Ron Moffit for being foolish enough to loan me a bike in full knowledge that my karma will kill it.

Thanks to Deke at Oneota River Cycles for making my hobby affordable, dealing with my odd tastes in equipment, putting on kick ass races on great trails, and making me feel like family.

Thanks to all that raced or were involved in TIV4 for being the eclectic group that makes this event the addictive madness that it is.



Paul said...

Great seeing you again Dennis! I can't believe you guys jumped back on your bikes to ride to Decorah! I hope the wind was at your back! Great job!

Cornbread said...

Great riding with you Dennis! That wind was brutal. I almost got blown off the bike a couple of times. Yikes.

gpickle said...

Awww Shit, that is one awesome race report! And it's 2! Sorry things did not roll smoother for you man...

I must confess that I laughed when I got to the part where your chain broke. How much can go wrong in one weekend anyways? Well you tested the limits out there. I turned down Moffits bike loan offer for the tt last year, now I am glad I did.

Wish I could have been there to hang out with Deke and the crew, every time I go to Decorah I think I should just move there.

Thanks for the write up!

deb said...

rough weekend. i want to know more about this long-ass race you did.

work sends me all over the place, too... it's a load of crap.