Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vail Lake Race Report

Oh jeez. Where to start. These pics are out of order, of course. MattyD and Kemler are on the right. Then MattyD heading out on his first lap, my bike with Kemler's (working) bike at the start/finish, Kemler before his first lap (flying de colores), MattyD lined up for the run, JoFo after his first lap, the campsite at Vail Lake and the team pic (L to R, me, MattyD, JoFo, Kemler).

I got on a plane in DC on Friday morning. Nothing too crazy early. That was nice.

I got to San Diego and it was cold. It started raining as soon as I got in the cab. I wasn't amused.

I got out of the cab at Bike Tours San Diego and rolled into a war zone. Pete is gutting the place and Joe was hiding out in the back, putting his bike together. It started frikken raining. Africa rain. It was a deluge. This wasn't San Diego weather, it was Seattle weather. I got really scared really quick. I was hungry...

We got the bikes together, loaded up the minivan and headed to Whole Foods for our weekend grub run. I grabbed a pound or so of their ginger-something trail mix and started GRUBBING! I was hungry. While we scooted around and filled up our cart with our race food, I ate damn near 1/2 lb of that stuff. Can you see where this is going? This is called 'foreshadowing.' I was hungry, did I mention that?

We rocked out of there and hit REI for a few essentials. No problems, no getting lost, nothing. Just a few inches of rain. Did I mention I was scared?

After slogging through rush-hour traffic on I15N, we FINALLY make it to the camp ground/resort a few hours later than planned. MattyD and Katie were even later so Joe and I kicked it at the site. Ok, Joe kicked it, I was dealing with A Number One headache. (Foreshadowing). I felt like unholy ass for a solid hour and a half (during which MattyD and Katie showed up). We were trying to figure out where to set up our tents on the acre of campsite we had all to ourselves (no kidding). I went for a walk and lost weight the model way. Yup, campsite boot and rally. I was upset. Too much sugar and ginger, methinks. Actually, I was relieved but my stomach was PISSED OFF! I felt a lot better so we headed off to newly-suburbanized Temecula for some local fare... at friggen Applebee's. I know, I know. I polished off a steak and felt like one hundred dollars.

We set up camp when we got back and I just crashed in the back of the minivan. It was a disturbed sleep. I wasn't happy...

Katie woke me up and the whole morning was a blur. Kemler showed up during the Captain's meeting down at the start/finish area. That was a pretty big relief. Damn that guy is skinny. It was really great to see him again. He's a great guy and I knew we all would have a good time. But...

We got off to a great start. MattyD ran for the Le Mans style start and had a fast lap. I think we were in the top 10 right away. No surprises. I had a solid lap even though I went out WAY too hard on the first (and biggest) climb. The back half of the course requires some power and I was spent. The downhills were FAST! I was spinning out my 44x11 gear. Me likey. There were a few hike-a-bike sections that basically went straight up. There was no way in hell to clean these suckers. WAAAY steep. The last 10 minutes of the course are mostly downhill and FAST! It wasn't technical but to hold the momentum took some guts. There were drops and pretty-big breaking bumps but you could damn-near ride the thing blindfolded. Did I mention it was fast? 1500' of climbing per lap over 10 miles and we were averaging a few minutes under an hour. Woof.

MattyD, me, JoFo, Kemler. Repeat.

While Kemler was warming up for lap numero dos, he rode back into the campsite, threw his leg off the bike and tossed his rear brake over the top tube. It was still attached to the cable, just not to the bike. He broke his cantilever boss off the bike. Oh. My. God. Talk about deja vu. I swapped his Time pedals over to my bike and I sent him off. We had opposite laps so it just made sense. Off he went, no issues. If you read this blog closely, you'll remember that Kemler had issues with his bike at 12 Hrs of Lodi back in 2001, the last time we raced together. I fixed him up then and I took care of him now. Sonuvabitch! I should have known.

I tried to prove something on my first two laps. I managed a 55:59 and 55:42. Not bad. After that, I kinda fell apart. I was pretty un-motivated. We were solidly in first place for Expert. We had the other Expert team camping right next to us and they had been talking about hanging WAY back after the first few laps. Hell, after my first lap, we were ahead by 14 minutes. That's good. By the time we hit the sleepy-time hours, I was starting to lose it mentally.

I don't know what happened. We were doing well. Kemler was stoked on my bike. Everybody felt fine. We were having fun. But it was cold. In the 40's during the night. And it was humid. I couldn't find anything. My brain was working against me. I was slightly dehydrated after my third lap, or rather, that's when I noticed it. I don't know what it was but I just wasn't feeling it anymore. I wanted to go to sleep. And NOW!

I botched the 1:20am lap hand off with MattyD. I was drying my clothes at the fire. Nobody was awake and I didn't have a watch so I was just gambling with the time. I felt like ass. I rode a 1:09 and paid for it the entire lap. I just couldn't get it going. Something was off and I still don't know what it was.

Kemler ate shit pretty hard in a turn and pulled a 1:33 on his pre-dawn lap. He was laying down for a few minutes and got up once he figured out he was alive. He ganked his knee and elbow pretty good and removed himself from the lineup when he got back to the campsite.

We had been knocking around between fourth and seventh overall during the night. I couldn't get my head out of my arse long enough to pay attention to the standings during the night and just did the best that I could. By daybreak, we were pretty sure that we had the Expert class sewn up but the overall was close. We were 1/2 hour out of third (made worse by my lap times) but only 15 seconds up on fifth by the end of the race. MattyD and JoFo really pulled through to ensure our place in the overall. Big ups to the boys. MattyD and my bike get MVP awards. My bike pulled 10 laps and Mattyd pulled seven. Studs, both of 'em.

We have some pics coming from the rest of the team and some stuff posted on Printroom.com. I also rigged up MattyD with the helmet cam for his last lap so we have the last 9 minutes or so of the downhill from the top of the hike-a-bike at the top of the ridge. I have to send this over to a buddy of MattyD to edit it and it's too big for YouTube. We'll get it rolling asap.

This was the first race in a while where I wasn't the last man on the course for my team. I REALLY appreciated that. It's fun to ride the victory lap but I didn't have it in me this year.

All the lap times and standings are hanging out here. Special thanks to Pete from Bike Tours San Diego for letting Joe and I crash at his rad downtown apartment in the Gas Lamp. Thanks to Katie for waking my dumb-ass up when MattyD went out for his laps and for the life-saving PB&J at 3am.

So first place Expert, 5th place over all. I'm stoked. I'm tired. I have a lot of work to do. It was rad. The course was really fun and difficult in terms of physical effort but not in technicality. 'Flow' was the word of the day. Laird did a great job, even though somebody stole his bike...

Thanks to City Bikes, Metro Gutter, Temperance Hall, Whole Foods, Sportlegs, Serfas, WTB for their support.


At 7:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Well done. Your lap times were nice and consistent. Sounded like a good time.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger camps said...

Nice going guys!
Cool seein' Kemler out there again.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Conyers is only a few weeks away...


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