Monday, February 18, 2008

Cause your dying to know...

I'll tell you about my time at the 24 hrs of Old Pueblo. I had an amazing time, connecting, reconnecting and meeting for the first time many folks. Putting faces and hand shakes to blog faces that I have read for a bit. I will try to make this short and sweet and leave out the superfluous details. We arrived in Pheonix to warm weather and sunny skies, however my bike did not make the plane flight that we were on. When I dropped it off at the TSA counter I should have woke the guy up, had a feeling something wasn't going right. We had a few hours to kill. We got a ride to pick up the van we had rented, our lodging for the next few days. What else to do but go to a brewery for some tasty adult beverages and some great food. That killed a few hours, by the time we navigated through Tempe, then it was back to the airport to sit and wait for my bike. We wondered just what we would do if it didn't arrive, since we were staying in the van. Well it arrived and we hit the road south towards Tucson. We arrived at the Catalina State Park late to a sign that said the campsites were sold out, we improvised found the trailhead parking and went to sleep, half thinking we would be awoke by the park ranger a bit later. That never happened and we were happy that it was so hot. We miss the desert.

The next day we woke up went for a great hike, then headed out to the venue. We arrived, I began to build my bike for a pre ride and we commented on how cold it was getting. I rode the course, towards the end running in to DJ and Jeff, we chatted and then they made the comment that it was supposed to rain and snow for the next day and a half. Are you kidding me. Here I am on vacation from the rain and snow, and what do I get but rain and snow. Cruel joke, well I quickly decided to just flow and have fun no matter what. There were many people there I wanted to see and hang out by the fire with, but with all the rain, and snow, it was not quite as easy to do. It also kept those with other places to stay away until Friday.
Friday it rained all day. We drove the road to the venue a few times on Friday and it was quite an experience in a two wheel rented van. We got sideways more than once. So Friday turned in to a day of rest. If rest is hanging out in a 40 degree rainy mess. Picked up our race packet, saw Scott the director of the Cream Puff, Roger, Mark and Amanda, Shawn and the other Bacon Strippers, then took the rear brake off and fixed my bike. I had brought two tomicogs, and I had trouble deciding what gear to run, I settled on 34x18 for the 29er. Thought i might be a bit spun out on some parts, but in the later laps would be just right with tired legs. Finally talked with Dave, to find out he was going to be in the next day. Just before the race started. Kevin, my riding partner from the north also opted to stay in town until race day, because of that we got to take his tickets to the dedication dinner to Richard Cunningham, good food and it was interesting to hear him talk. After that it was early to bed, what else to do when it is so damn cold and wet.
Race Day
Woke up to some sprinkles, but by race time the clouds had lifted and it look as though we were going to get some sun. Finally. Dave showed up dressed to the nines. Well if I'd known it was that kind of party...... He get out of the van and not two minuets later, my friend Gavin rolls out, funny haven't seen him in 4 years or so. We reminisced a bit about the old days, the old races we had been at together and such, too many stories to go in to here. He has a baby girl, wife and a job at Spot. Here's the teams blog. It was good to see him. I was up for the first lap. Our plan was to have fun and see what happened, Fun was the key. Hell I am riding fixed in the desert, since it had rained so much the most I got to ride the rig was around the expo. I had no idea, since I usually ride the monster cross fixed and the 29er ss I didn't know if the bb was lower, would I get pedal strike, was I geared too high? Too Low? I had a interesting hop in my front wheel, would that prove to be a problem? I had no idea, I just planned to ride and have fun.
1st lap
Old Pueblo has a long run, I was mid pack when we hit the bikes. A 29 inch inseam doesn't lead to having a great stride. I pedaled like crazy and spun up and down it all. Shawn, of team bacon strip and I went back and forth, and before i knew it I was headed for the timing tent. The course had some mud that was super energy sucking, and lots and lots of cactus. I was surprised to hear that I was close to the top 20 people in. I had no idea. I felt good about that. My friend Kona sponsors this great event. Kevin and the other Kona employees were on a four man team. Kevin rode a Kona Africa bike with a basket and coaster brake consuming 4 beers on that one lap and still put down a great time. Kona also had a more serious 4 man open team, that won the whole event.
Dave and I went back and forth for awhile. Darkness hit and I went out for a couple of back to back laps. Great to chase you Roger. Roger was rolling solo ss and keeping a great pace, I had to work to catch him. Passed i am indisposed, thanks for the laugh mike. Came in to rest, but had trouble sleeping. I felt pretty good. I was worried because after the first two laps my stomach really was turned inside out. Dave had all the bad luck for the team. First a double flat, then cactus.
He asked if I could do another 2 in a row, not a problem, that is what team work is all about. I ended up doing 3 in a row, with a nice 40 min break in between 2 and 3. Then Dave went out for the final lap, funny think I was thinking I would probably go out for a 4th if he wasn't there, I felt great on the last lap. All in all it was a great time, we ended up with 14 laps, 8 for me and 6 for Dave. Mission accomplished. The fun factor was high. Thanks again Dave. Enough with the words, more about what I learned by riding fixed in the desert at a later time. I'll leave you with this parting shot.


Cellarrat said...

Way way too much fun!

Japhy rider said...

that was rad! thanks for the stories and killer pics, and definitely thanks for sharing the top self apres ride freak water, cellarrat. i don't think i've had whiskey that fine since... the Vapor Trail! speaking of, any chance you guys will try to do that one if it's a go go this summer?

warmest regards.

Anonymous said...

Nat great seeing you, fun riding with you! Dave "cellarrat" nice meeting you too.

See ya at the puff!

Jeff Kerkove said...

Excellent to finally meet up with you after all these years of chit-chat through the blog world