Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cascade Creampuff 100

I can't remember the last time that I slept to awake at 4 am for any reason, usually I am seeing 4 am from the other side, leaving work, aboard my bike looking at the Space Needle, that dominates the Seattle skyline on my pedal home. You can only imagine how in shock my body was as I awoke on Sunday morning after a few hours nap to grape nuts and a banana, my favorite still after all these years. I was filled with memories of humming and just plain loving grape nuts, ah the times of my younger days, just now I need a little coffee to kick start my day. We left our cozy room, read really tight quarters and headed to the start of what I hoped would a good finish, but mostly I to put a stop to the nerves and demons of the last few years, which where dominated by lack of fitness, illness and what I like to call life happening moments. The Creampuff, it's easy just look at the name, is a joke often overheard, take note this is no walk in the park, with 6,000 ft of climbing per lap and 3 laps of pure love it is both lots of up, on fireroad, all except for that last 1,500 ft on singletrack. An all singletrack descent that varies from the Jedi section, think Ewoks, and turns that could cost you more than you are willing to part with. The view from the top is just amazing.
Happy campers
I could go on but I will get to the details of this epic race. After a "neutral" start which meant that the pace car sped away and we were left to our own devices, nothing neutral about it we were at the bottom of the climb. Lap one is somewhat of a blur, Kevin and I were feeling great, half wheeling each other all the way up. "you need to slow down" I heard as I blazed through Aid 2, the party stop. I had a rumbling in my stomach, and was a bit bloated, this was a sign of things to come. Like all races and especially endurance races there are always obstacles to overcome, both physical and mental, the first lap brought none of those, I was just having a great time. "Nothing like morning laps with your buddy" Kevin shouts over the wiz of freewheels and the sound of dry disc brakes. It was awesome, and it looked like we might ride the day out together. We pass our friend and fellow singlespeeder Bart, who is running a rigid fork, drop bars, and a 34x20 gear on a 29er, he was going to run 34x19.
On our return visit to Aid 2, mark says "your in 5th, keep it up." Kevin and I continue the descent and start to pick riders off, we are just flowing down the trial. We near the bottom and have picked off most of the single speeders in front of us, later we found out it was all of them. We hit Aid 1 grab some supplies and head out. At the bottom of the climb my stomach takes center stage, I hang on to Kevin for a bit and then have to slow down, damage control. I watch him pedal away. This is where the mental games come in to play, the mind over matter. I soldier on, telling myself it will get better. Here is where I force myself to eat, and drink to feed the machine. I arrive at Aid 2, resupply get some back work done and head out. I start to feel better and by the time I arrive at the top I am feeling it again, down I plunge all the way to Aid 1 feeling great, hit the River trail, a short nasty little 3 miles along the river I was feeling good again, and paced it out deciding that reserves need to be conserved. Then the wind went out of the sails and I was forced to dig deep in the bag of tricks to make it through to Aid 2 for almost the last time. I wanted to quit, to call it a day and enjoy some of Wade's Porter, but I had told Danielle "If i make it up here on the final lap, tell me to get on my bike and ride walk, fuckin crawl if you have to, you are going to finish." That is exactly what she did. So I did.

This is where I get to my slice of humble pie. I watched the leading lady fly by and then a couple singlespeeders and then the second place lady right as I hit Aid 3. I had a nice hike with my bike up to the top, and then descended like a child, everything hurt so bad, that is sometimes what happens in these races, and we always forget the bad and remember the good that's how we end up back on the start line race after race, year after year. Needless to say I cracked and fell apart, not without a little PBR for the last descent though. After my return to Aid 2 for the last time, I just wanted to finish with no problems so unlike my usually character I headed down with conservation in mind. Crossed the line, after pedaling with one leg for awhile the other was all locked up. I drank lots of water, took endurolytes probably not enough, and finished, I am unsure of my finish time, but it was way off what I did in 04, but then again these are different times.

The Creampuff is a big family, and it sure was great to see the old friends and make some new ones. The memories will not be forgotten soon, and my love for Oakridge has returned. Thanks to all the volunteers for their help as well as encouraging words. I think I forgot to thank them at the time, but I was a little out of it.

Kevin ended up winning the singlespeed class, what a great gift for a soon to be dad. There is a great write up by mark here.
I will add more pics, but flickr doesn't seem to want to cooperate and neither does blogger. there you have it. I will leave you with a shot of the pre race meal....I got it uploaded before it all went to pot.


monk3y mike wellborn said...

Good job dude. That race is a mofo no matter how in shape you are. Just finishing is a credit. I miss (and don't miss) the pain and suffering. But you're right. Good people, great trails, and a kickass time.

Japhy rider said...

well done, Nat!!! you finished, and man, that's nothing to sneeze at. my efforts in the previous Puffs have been closer to 14 hours. i have sooo much fun out there, riding different trails (coming from the high desert it feels like a different planet!), meeting new people, camping, and rolling around in poison oak.


Cellarrat said...

Yah finished and sounds like had fun who cares about that time thing!

nice write up!

mogulboy said...

I apologize, I am just getting to reading this. Nice write up are more of a man than 99.9% of the riders out there...especially me. I was down there for a DH race about a month ago.