Monday, September 04, 2006

SM100 2006: Bee Sting Boot and Rally!

New phrase of the year is 'Bee Sting Boot and Rally.' It is my new greeting.

My buddy Brian (see right, pic #1) flew in from San Jose, CA, for the SM100. I told him about the race and he managed get a pass from the 'boss' to come out and race. He showed up at my place at 8:30am on Saturday with race bike in back of Lincoln. Damn those cars are big... I cooked up a hearty breakfast, we transferred his junk out of the rental hoopty and we were off. To the shop. We had to stop by Chevy Chase to pick up the ez-up and I had to fix a broken nipple on Joel's bike. All that done, we were off, again.

It was raining when we left DC and we were taking bets on when we'd see blue sky (IF we'd see blue sky) as we approached Harrisonbug (aka: the 'burg). After our safety meeting, we settled in with some Kyuss. Brian couldn't believe how pretty it was along I81. We got half way to the 'burg and we got blue sky AND sun. We were stoked. So much for Ernesto. Chupa me, Ernesto!

We rolled in to Stokesville (love that name) and found our camping compadres right away. Scud and Margaret, Mark, Evan, MattyD and Katie, and more. We had a little tent city just off to the side of the main start/finish area. It was beautiful in there. The ground was barely wet from the rain the night before. We expected the course would be in epic shape.

We got registered and grabbed some Scud grub from the kitchen/pavillion and started to socialize. JoFo, Chris, Pooch, Kent, Camp... everyone was there. Food, beer, talking, laughing, rider's meeting, drop bags then bed. Brian hadn't gotten much sleep in two days so he hit it right around 9. I stayed up until I had the urge to 'lose weight the old-fashioned way' so that I didn't have to worry about it in the morning. I got the sleeping bag out, jumped in the gravity chair and slept under MattyD's 'cheezy up.' It was a beautiful night, getting down into the 50's. Sweet.

Here's some pics. Uncle Bri on the drive; MattyD and Joe 'Do you know how much this camera costs?!' Foley doing some insta-reminiscing, digital-style; Scud on the job, feeding hungry riders; sunset at Stokesville on Sat; Uncle Bri dropping the drop bags; Uncle Bri, Kent and Joel at dinner on Sat.

That damn gong came earlier than expected. As usual, I snuggled in my bag as long as I could, getting up, throwing on clothes and getting on the bike with only about 10 min to spare. Safety meeting, line up, shiver and off. Chris started us a few minutes after posted start time, otherwise known as 'right on time.'

I was nervous about doing well this year, but not about finishing. I proved that I could finish last year (12:22:17) without lights with minimal training and I thought I would do better this year. I knew the course, knew about the nutrition, gearing, pressure, tires, etc. My body was the only question mark.

I got up the first climb up to the radio tower a lot quicker than last year. I didn't push it, but I was able to motor up with only a few granny-ringers on the steep parts. I didn't walk, which is what I try to avoid, in general. I was grinding up Wolf Ridge (climb #2 and really hard) with Swampy (at the bottom), chatting and havin' fun. I got stuck behind a rider who couldn't clean the lower part of the singletrack (one of my goals) and kept getting off the bike but not moving out of the way. She (oops) was riding a lower gear than me as well so every time I stopped, 6 dudes behind me stopped as well. I was trying to give her some distance so that I might be able to avoid stopping, but she just couldn't keep it going. It sucked. I finally passed her when she tried to make the first steep switchback and came off the bike. I called it and rode by. That's just bad manners...

So, to pay me back for my impatience, I had a little run-in with a bee. Or a wasp or something. I was stuck behind about 9 guys, walking up the last switchback when somebody said 'OW, SHIT, I GOT STUNG' and one second later, I felt like somebody stuck a hot poker through my calf. I reached down without even thinking and smacked my leg. I didn't see what bit me (an elephant, if you ask me!) but I was bleeding a little and it looked like I had a splinter, but it was the stinger.

Now I've been bitten by tons of bugs growing up. Yellowjackets (12 at once is my record), bees, wasps, whatever, and never had a problem. 5 minutes after this bite and my heart was POUNDING in my heart and throat. I know what anaphylactic shock is all about and I got real nervous, real quick. My lips went numb (?) so I decided to sit down. Sit down turned into lay down 1/2 a second later. I watched a ton of people pass me, asking what was up. 'Bee sting' I said. 'You alergic?' 'I guess so.' One SUPER nice guy gave me a few benadryl (YOU ROCK!) and I just laid there. After about 10 minutes, my symptoms stabilized and I realized that I was going to live (important) and that I might be able to get myself out (also important) and maybe in 1 hr, I could start riding again. Brian showed up and he took stock of what was going on and he decided that I needed to move. Brian is my boy and I trust him so I managed to get my dumb ass off the ground and start walking. I got about 10 paces and I said, 'I think I'm going to BLAH!' Here's the 'boot' part of the 'Bee Sting Boot and Rally. I threw up a solid quart or so (benadryl and all) and felt great about 1 minute later. I mean Lazarus-type shit. I felt like $100. I got back on the bike, rode the rest of the way up Wolf Ridge, Brian flatted and I rolled on. I got to the bottom of that descent (fast!) passing 3-4 people and hit the fire road CHARGING! I rolled by at least 25 people by the time that I got to CP2. I even managed to catch Joel! I felt great. Seriously.

Everyone at CP2 realized that I was the reported casualty from the top of the ridge. One volunteer at the rest stop took a little convincing that I was ok and not delerious. He kept asking me questions, obviously looking out for my best interest to which I finally replied 'ask all the people that I just passed how they think I'm doing.' It was a little sharp, but I was trying to let him know that I was serious about being fine. I was truly greatful for his concern and I in no way wanted him to worry and if I upset him, I am sorry. I don't think he took offense, but for Karma's sake...

The Dowell's Draft traverse was deep, fast and wet. It felt great, though and I managed to provide JoFo with a little respite from the heat with a personal shower. He LOVED it...

The rest of the ride was uneventful after that. I was so stoked just to be able to ride again that I didn't even think about my time until the bottom of Braylee's. I got in to CP4 after RIPPING down that hill, passing quite a few people, mildly out of control and loving it. I left for the re-enactment of the Bataan Death March up to CP5 at mile 75. I surged when I felt like I had some power and relaxed when my body told me to. I did the climb a lot stronger than last year and left the checkpoint MUCH quicker than last year. I left CP4 with Jonathan but dropped him on the fast fire road stuff (singlespeeder) but he came in just a few minutes behind me at CP5. We rode off together to conquer the last, gut-wrenching section up to Bald Knob and the pure pleasure of the descent off the back side. At the end of the race, Brian would say, about that downhill, 'I was eating a cookie out of the gnar jar.' I managed to drop Jonathan (and a few others who stuck with us) coming off that mountain all the way down the hill. In the sections you can actually pedal, you are choosing between your highest three gears. It's just freaking fast! I was all over the place, barely hanging on, forearms pumped, looking 20-30 feet down the trail, just trying to keep the bike upright. I managed to clean all the little drops and logs and crazy-fast rocky-ass turns with more speed than I felt comfortable with. Hey Chris, can you say Super-D race? The main reason that I do the SM100 is that downhill. That rain made the loamy dirt feel like velcro. Nobody can say ANYTHING negative about the trail conditions this year...

I got to the bottom of the drop and pedaled right through CP6. I hated that pavement climb, as short as it was, but it's only a warm up for the last couple of climbs. The last 10 miles are kinda brutal after you get the 'I'm finished' thoughts in your head after Bald Knob. I had been back and forth with these other two guys who were riding together and we started the climb together. Somehow, I managed to ride away from them and get to the singletrack first. I passed another 4-5 people on the fire road singletrack stuff (big ring, baby!) and BLAZE into the finish line, fellow City Bikes Team members cheering me on. It's rad to have people you know yelling for you. The only thing better is hearing Jeremy, Emma and Susan yelling for me. Alas, the weather question kept them away this year.

I finished. Again. I don't have the oh-fee-shul time yet, but I think it was around 11.5 hours. That cuts about an hour off of last year, although my bee-sting detour and subsequent dehydration from puking MAY have affected that. Ya think? (Official time: 11:33:46).

My ass hurts a bit, I'm sore and tired and a little foggy. The first thing I asked Brian when he got back was: 'Is that the best one-day ride you've ever done or what?' His response? 'Absofuckinglutely.' Brian is a rider, for sure. His input means a lot to me. The fact that he LOVED this ride means something.

Let's not forget Kent shooting with the sight too close to his eye and putting a hole in his head, just above his eye... And riding fast...

Brian and I have been friends for almost 10 years now. That's pretty cool. Brian took me on my first ride in Marin, my first Skeggs/Corte Madera ride, me, Brian and Lars all managed to make it to each other's weddings in Santa Fe, Germantown and Lake Tahoe. I'm pretty stoked that he made it out here. Now that we all have kids and houses, it's harder to get together. This really meant a lot to me and I'm glad that Brian made it. The SM100 is such a great ride, world-class, really. Thanks again to Chris Scott and all of the amazing volunteers. Oh, and Jeremiah broke is previous record, finishing 100m and 14k' of climbing in 7:15. If he wasn't such a nice guy, I'd hate him.


At 6:14 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Why the hard on about Chris E.?

He's one of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met (on or off the bike).

It really sounds like there's some misunderstanding. I suggest you contact him directly and explain your grievance.

Until you've spoken with him it's really not fair to call him out on your blog.

Good job on toughing it out and having a good ride at the 100. That race is hard enough without having to deal with a bee sting reaction.

Chris Nystrom

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Chris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger camps said...

Nice race words, cool to share that w/a Cali boy.

what's wrong with Eatough?

stay safe,

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Hey, I wish I understood the Eatough thing myself. Why do you think I posted it? I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Since he was uncool the first run-in, I blew it off. When we saw him the SECOND time and got an equally uncool reception, I got concerned.

Why aren't people asking him why he was less than pleasant? You can defend him on your blog, but I'm expressing my opinion on this one. Until he does something to change my opinion, it stands.


At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriouly man lay of eatough. he's the nicest pro biker I know. so he came down a trail a little fast. guy knows what he's doing and means no disrespect to you.

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
I love reading this stuff. You didn't say what bike you were riding ( or did I miss that part?) (show us a pic of the bike!)It's amazing what a good puke will do ;-) Sounds like you had an anxiety attack rather than an allergic response. Glad to hear that you could still ride and even finish. Rob

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Interesting how the Trek East Coast Team manager is full of vim and vigor about his man being #1 and I'm the guy who is the jerk for writing about something that was depressing. I've ridden with Ned plenty of times and there's no way there's a nicer guy than Ned.

Posner, if this is so upsetting to you, why don't you have him send me an email apology?

Whoa, I get treated badly by a sacred cow and somehow it's my fault? What did I do wrong? Posner, why no email address? I have that one from the time that Jason Berry was up in Patapsco and we all rode together before his screening of 'Off Road to Athens in Baltimore.

And since when am I not allowed to do something on my blog?

Of all the stuff that I've written about, THIS is what people are interested in?

Maybe I should just call John Burke and ask him what he thinks. HE'S a real class act and I've had many more positive interactions with him.


At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your blog and your writing. However, since you seem to really have your tampon in sideways on this one, I'll reply to a few "points" you've made.
1- I am not the east coast team manager, haven't been for 2 years.
2- who said anything about anybody being #1? Chris is a good friend and I didn't think your original comments were justified or appropriate
3- why do you feel so "badly treated" here? Is chris the first person to ever pass you on the trail without living up to your own personal standards of coolness and trail courtesy? probably not.
4- what do you care about my email address?
5- you can do whatever you want on your blog, nobody has stated otherwise
6- "off all the stuff you've written about..." As I mentioned, I think you run a pretty good blog, I've read back pretty far because it is interesting...but it isn't cool to publicly call someone a variety of names in a public forum without anything more to base it on other then "he wasn't cool when he passed you on the trail" I'm not sure how it could be put any more clearly then that. It's not because it's chris, I'd react the same way if it were anyone else I knew personally.
7- please, call John Burke. Be sure to share with him your other 926 reasons not to buy a trek. (are there really that many?)

If you want to argue with me, email me, now you have two addresses to choose from. But I am not your enemy, and I'm not a public arguing kind of guy, so this will be my last post here.

And if you want Chris to apologize, you'll have to ask him yourself if you ever get the urge to go to him directly. Or you can keep blogging about it.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah, there's one other thing, totally un-eatough-related. good thing we didn't get this weather on Sunday huh? CRAP!!!!

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Oof. What did I expect? If I don't have anything nice to say... I broke a rule.

I shouldn't say un-nice things about anybody. All I did by posting that stuff was lower myself. I get it.

Note on post forthcoming...


At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That edit is appreciated. Not that it was for me, but I think your point is still made, but without the personal offense of earlier. Also, wanted to let you know that last post wasn't mine...I am not quite that riled up. And I try not to call people dude when writing, only in person. If you head up to avalon give a holler and we'll go make fun of some roadies over there.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That edit is appreciated. Not that it was for me, but I think your point is still made, but without the personal offense of earlier. Also, wanted to let you know that last post wasn't mine...I am not quite that riled up. And I try not to call people dude when writing, only in person. If you head up to avalon give a holler and we'll go make fun of some roadies over there.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That edit is appreciated. Not that it was for me, but I think your point is still made, but without the personal offense of earlier. Also, wanted to let you know that last post wasn't mine...I am not quite that riled up. And I try not to call people dude when writing, only in person. If you head up to avalon give a holler and we'll go make fun of some roadies over there. Nothing soothes the soul like a good trailride.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, you can tell I don't do this very often, sorry

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great seeing you fly by me after your bee sting. Are you sure it was a bee and not an steriod injection? I'll be waiting for the results of the "A sample".

And a huge thanks for fixing my nipple (the one on my rear wheel) at the last minute. And for all the pointers over the weeks leading up to the ride. You were a big part of me completing my first SM100. What a ride!

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Had a blast at this years SM100! Brought two rooks wit me, and they're hooked! I heard about you on the trail, glad to hear you're still alive and even gladder that you finished (ahead of me!)


At 10:07 PM, Blogger camps said...

more safety checks seem to be needed

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Camps, the safety meetings should be a pre-req for EVERYBODY out there...


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Matt Donahue said...

Great job Mike! I'm super stoked about your results this year. I was expecting you to catch me at some point, after you dropped me at that watershed ride on the road section. I'd say the bee thing was what slowed you down.

Seems like there is a lot of noise about the Chris E. encounter. Since I was also on the ride that day, I'll second that the group he was seemingly leading did not yield the trail to our group climbing up, two times. In my book that doesn't make him a bad person, but he is a recognizable member of the cycling community, an embassador if you will. So in situations where he might encounter others on the trail it logically makes more sense to yield to others. Of course, maybe he did and we didn't percieve it that way. However at the end of the day it is all about perception and from our perspective, we were at first psyched to see the pros out on the trail and then somewhat dismayed that we were yeilding to them while they descended and we climbed.

Everything I have heard Chris say at past events leads me to think he is a great guy. So I'm not going to throw names or blame. It was most likely a misunderstanding that can hopefully be avoided.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger gwadzilla said...


that cat fight got ugly
I had to look away

all seems pretty stupid

has the dust settled?

Mike K....
I did not read through the end
well, let me make a metaphor about traffic
as we all know I am obsessed with traffic

in traffic there is frequently a situation where an action takes place
a driver is being an asshole, an idiot, or just making an common mistake
the a driver behind them becomes angered or offended and lays on the horn
then the scales shift
the guy leaning on the horn becomes the asshole

At 11:24 PM, Blogger gwadzilla said...


I bet there are people who think they are being buzzed or disrespected on the trail by your action on the downhill

we all like to smile our way down
who wants to break momentum or a groove

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Jason Berry said...

I have to weigh in on the Eatough thing as it reminds me (president of the over-reactors club) of some good advice (that I need to be constantly reminded of):

You never know what might be going on with somone else until you ask. Don't jump to a conclusion and if you feel dissed, let them know. If, at that point, they are still uncool, fire away!

I would be that if you contacted Chris and told him of your experience, he'd feel bad, offer to ride w/you sometime and try very hard to make amends. He's that kind of guy. Poz is too - seriously. I've spent the last 3 years following the World Cup and Norba and these two guys are probably the nicest pros I've dealt with, including Ned (who was less than nice to me but hey - maybe he was having a bad day, I surely wouldn't rip on him publicly).

If you have an issue with someone, take it to them. Anything less is not fair and weak. Like my performance at the 100 this year! God knows there's a few guys who I passed riding like a monkey with it's ass on fire - not so cool if I say so myself.

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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