Monday, January 12, 2009

Type 2 fun specialist

I guess that's it. Good at suffering. What a stupid skill.

This has been an interesting year already.
New years weekend I made the trip up to NE IA to pick up some vital Puglsey parts, visit friends, and play in the snow a bit. Ended up hiking all over Lee and Andrea's farm(s) looking for good boarding hills and just exploring.
They even have evidence:

That turned out to be the best run of the day. The problem with my current out of bounds boarding setup is twofold: A)not enough float in the nose of the board and B)local terrain is not deep enough to clear the saplings and brush. This leads to handstands without using my hands, hanging upside down from saplings unintentionally, excessive cursing, ect. And I managed to crack the step-in interface on my no-longer-supported-or-in-existence Burton step in boots.
Guess that means I'll be making the move to hardboots sooner than I thought. But that also ends this seasons boarding, as a hardboot setup is no small investment.
Other entertainment at the Venteicher house included watching a gamer addict horror movie that's gonna be hard to scrub from my mind, trying to burn their house down with my initial penny stove water boiling test, leaving the state for a fabulous dinner at Miami Springs, camping in their back yard in freezing rain, and drifting the pugsley to the Quick Trip for groceries.

This past weekend was the second running of the Triple D snowbike race. Last year was a real learning experience, working my ass off to go in a straight line while the Pugsleys floated away, and then freezing my feet in the dark of night to be one of four who finished. Sufferfests are so addictive. Lots of research and investment has gone into preparing for Triple D and Arrowhead this year. Lots of time out in the cold and wind on studded tires, cranking out miles. Learning how to stay warm in the coldest of conditions. A fair amount of time spent walking next to my bike, to be honest.

I stopped by the Heritage trail on the way home from Waukon the weekend before, and the trail was solid lumpy ice. Studded tires for sure. So I went home, did one hard ride on the Endomorphs just to get a feel for them(really fast for a big tire), then swapped the 2.4 Nokian studs onto the Large Marge rims. Went for a ride on the studs that Thursday, no way, studs on the Puglsey was just too damn slow. Hope for snow, swap the tires back.

I had decided to carpool with Tracy, and we were going to go preride some of the trail to help figure out the tire situation, so I was up at 4:30am to drive to Burlington. We figured this race should be a heck of alot faster than last year, no need to stay overnight. Driving conditions were slow with alot of fresh snow on the roads. We ended up in Dubuque without any preride time, just as well, lots of snow gives the advantage to fat tires anyways right?

Ride around the parking lot half a dozen times, letting air out of my tires till I think they're pretty low. Packed pretty light this year, maybe 12lbs of dry clothes, tools, spares on my back. Lots of food and 2 liters of water strapped to the frame and in the frame bag. Pretty soon its time for the race start. Lots of studded tires, lots of Pugsleys.

The neutral rollout through town is alot of hilarity as everyone tries to stay upright on the partially plowed streets. Then we hit the totally untouched pavetrail. Maybe 4-5inches of sugary powder snow, with patches of hidden ice. Following the narrow tracks of studded tires is less than entertaining on fat tires, throws me all over. Ice is hell, snow slipping on ice, cursing myself for leaving my YakTracks in the car, not the last time. Turn the corner up the long hill(1-2mile), Tracy powers by and I follow. We almost start the hike a bike directly after the climb, but end up riding the road till we start heading North out of town. Then the 2mph pushbike race starts.

The pack doesn't split up much when we're all pushing bikes, you can still hear everybody is basically still here. There's a few more rideable spots for the studded folks, so I have to run to keep up. I run myself up to second place. Cory is riding well in the lead. Good thing the pugs floats, at least it's easier to push. One last section of gravel, surf through 8" of fresh powder on the level B, and drop down onto the Heritage trail, which is unfortunately untracked and unrideable. Back to the hike a bike line. Hike through the frozen creekbeds at several washed out bridge sites, look over to see riders riding the gravel road next to the trail, crap, missed a re-route. Hike over to the gravel, ride 500ft, turn, hike back to the trail, fall on my face trying to get onto the trail bed.

Keep pushing, still not rideable. Finally we cross onto the open portion of trail where there has been maybe two snowmobiles down the trail since the new snow fell. Still can't ride. Pramann is walking right behind me, he says this shit would never happen in Minnesota. Drop the pressure till it sounds like the air stopped coming out. Try again, ride a little, break through, ride a little, break through. Stupid skinny tracks throwing me all over, and they're not even riding. Finally push ahead enough to get ahead of everyone. Try riding. Holy shit, it's working! I'm gong 4mph instead of 2, but it's working! 10 minutes later there's a paceline of three Pugsleys and one skinny tire rider and nobody else is in sight. Lance, Pramann, Tom, and myself. We take turns making a trail to follow, except Tom who pretty much has to follow to ride at all with the skinny tires.

It's brutal work trying to stay smooth, stay in a straight line, stay upright. Following is so much easier. We come to another bridge out and the snowmobile tracks go out through the field. Follow the possibly rideable tracks or hike a bike down the trail? Lance and I follow the tracks, Pramann and Tom hike on. We end up hiking up the mother of all hills for the day just to get back to the trail. Dave and Tom waited briefly, and then split as soon as they saw us coming down the hill. I manage to bend the seat rails on my saddle coming out of the ditch and twist my Ergons down when I about lose it on the icy gravel. Wrench the seat back up, good steel rails. Now Dave and Tom have a good gap on us. I manage to reel Tom in pretty fast, but Pramann is floating away.

We get to the crossroad for Farley and the sled tracks improve greatly, so I up the tempo. I seem to have lost my followers, but I'm gaining on Dave. The windswept plains give me a break with a couple of gravel patches peaking out for a boost in speed. I pass Dave a little less than halfway between Farley and Dyersville and keep hammering. Deflated Endomorphs feel terrible on hard surfaces. Make it to Dyersville at 6:21pm in time to snatch the only burger at the gas station. Wait around to see what the plan is, are we really gonna ride back through all that? Who's left anyways? Anyone? The pace is already slower than last year, at this rate I wouldn't make it back till after midnight! Not sure I have a ride home at that time. Dave pulls in and bags it. Lance shows up saying something about getting water out of the creek? Tom shows up and bags it. I've about had enough fun myself. Lance pulls out his dry socks which are wet, and puts them on. Crap, I'm not done yet. Put my dry stuff on. We agree to ride back to Farley. Anything past that is gonna suck. Cory shows up just as we're leaving. Hammer back to Farley, feeling pretty good. Discuss the options, more "fun" or ride into Farley and save it for another day. Ride into Farley. Call Tracy for retrieval, eat another burger, and drive home(after a stop at Dairy Queen). The end.

Congrats to Cory for playing the game well and beating me out of first by pushing that extra two miles. You earned it.

Thanks to Lance for putting together an event for nutcases to gather.

Thanks to Tracy for retrieving me.

Full results to be found here.



ScottM said...

I guess that's it. Good at suffering. What a stupid skill.

Stupid? People have devoted lifetimes to becoming 'good' at suffering...

Ari said...

Good to see you on the Surly blog.

Ari said...

Good to see you on the Surly Blog

Neve_r_est said...

Scott: this is true, and it's a skill that served me well, but sometimes after the third day of being crippled afterwards I question the value of this.

Ari: Yea, I know people who know people, er something like that.


Squirrel said...

Never a dull moment with Dennis....

Steve Fuller said...

Someone has to be willing to push themselves beyond normal limits. At least you have all of your fingers and toes. :)