I am sure many of you have read several accounts of pain, suffering, delusions, possibly hallucinations, trimph, bitterness, what ifs, could haves and the overwhelming feeling of a phenominal accomplishment. I felt a little like this video clip. I signed up for this? Wow! You all know how I got into it and from previous posts have read about other failures. Well, I was looking at PCPP for some sort of redemption. Something to say my summer of riding was not a waste. Although, how could a summer of riding a bike be even close to waste? Impossible. Anyways, lets start out at the beginning.
We decided to stay overnight in PC so we wouldn't have to drive up in the morning for a 7 a.m start. This was nice. I got a better nights sleep than I did before Butte so I was already feeling much better. Ate a bagel with some peanut butter and honey and half a bar with some water and coffee. Rolled to the start area around 6:30 a.m and quickly found the rest of the crew. It was a bit chilly but not too cold. I really never felt cold once we got going. I "self sorted" to the 10+ hour finish time, mostly because I had miscounted and missed the 9-10 hour start. I self sorted on accident. Does that still count? Had I known what was to come, I would have self sorted more to the back of that group. The 12+ hour finish time. Oops, just gave it away. Round Valley was good, fast twisty singletrack, cool temps and good vibes. I found it comical watching people bust their ass to pass people only to get stuck behind 200 "other" riders, or better yet crash into a bush. Seriously, its a long day and I didnt feel that the energy required to pass people was worth burning. That said, I did pass people that I found going extremely slow. It had to be done. E.Bright went to pass some dude and the dude turned right into him knocking his bars out of alignment. Bright yelled some choice words as he rode away. I was glad to find out later that it wasnt anything major. Enough to piss you off though. We rolled through the first loop in just under an hour and we started the Skid Row climb. I felt pretty good over climb. There were still lots of riders around and passing was tough so we mostly just settled in. Passed a few people on the short downhill sections only to catch up to another "group" of riders. My stomach started feeling shitty about half way up the Deer Crest climb to Silver Lake. I can't really put my finger on it. I was staying fueled, had 2 gu's and a pack of honey stingers over 2 hours. Stayed hydrated but I just didnt feel good. I had good legs but my stomach was not good. I let some people pass and then got passed up by the rest of the guys in the hood. I rolled into Silver Lake wishing I was done. I painfully knew what was before me and it reminded me of hell. Not that I have been to hell but if you had mtn biking in hell, this trail would be there as well as a few others that we rode.
At the beginning of the race I decided to try out Brads new CR333 stuff in moderation. Meaning, instead of 3 scoops, I would use 2 and only utilize a few bottles throughout the race. Just as a way to get some extra calories in. Mistake. I tasted the stuff the night before. Sweet and tasty. First drink I took from the bottle at Silver Lake I thought it was going to come back up. I was doomed. Half Evil was pure evil on my stomach at the time. I dropped my camelback off so Lindy could refill it while we rode this shorter section and put the camelback back on as we headed out to the mother of all mothers loop. I could barely get 1/2 the bottle down and my stomach was growing angrier and angrier. I got into a good flow on the downhill of flagstaff loop. Thats such a good piece of onetrack.
I took a few minutes to gather myself at the 2nd stop. I had just arrived as the rest of the crew were heading out. I was able to drink some coke and some water and get some food in before heading out. Team Big Bear was good. TG was good. I got into a decent rythm put my head down and just pedaled. (man i missed headphones in this race). For some reason, TG started getting rough. Really rough. I started thinking man did I blow my shock and my fork at the same time? Nope, im just a pussy and the trail was kicking my ass! Then the fun began. Johns Trail. I spent the entire time on Johns Trail (felt like an eternity) thinking to myself who in their right mind would ride THIS trail when there is so much buttery smooth singletrack around. Seriously, who? What a god awful section. nuff said. Like gettin a wax, just rip it off so its done. Not that I have even been waxed, just sayin. I wanted nothing more than this section to be over. Alas, as soon as its over, you get to climb your ass back up to 9300 ft to shadow lake. It was hot, long and I thought I was going to die. That sums it up pretty well. There was walking, crying, contemplating and suffering. The voices in my head said stop. Turn around, you made a valiant effort. Your not going to make the cutoff. I kept going. I felt I could make the cutoff. And at this point, that was my immediate term goal. Get to the #3 aid station before they say, sorry try again next year dumb ass. That descent was ripping! I have no idea how I managed to hold on to my bars. Fastest descent of the day by far. I rolled into the aid station #3 at 3:30 an change. I made it. It was here that I found out the others were not too far ahead and that ERIK had been in the portopotty for the better part of an hour. YIKES! He emerged long enough to congratulate me for making it to the cutoff. I started asking around for Banks. He hadnt been through. I was puzzled. I mean, I know I was deeeeep in the pain cave but I would have noticed my good pal Banks if I had passed him. I had been chasing that group all damn day. Nothing. I asked a few of the other guys I came in with if they saw him, nope. Then he emerged from a different direction. SHIT! He overcooked a turn and got off course. I was bummed. I know this meant as much to him as it did to me. I felt a bit deflated. Don't worry Banks! I am 66.6% IN for next year. (never thought I would say that Saturday afternoon)
I somehow talked Riessen into tredging forward with me to the finish. I am not sure what the conversation was like. Probably like this. Riessen, I need someone to care for me if I dont make it. Your a Dr. and my best shot at survival. He probably said HTFU I'll kick your ass all over this section even if I have been pissing out my ass for the last hour. GREAT! I have company. This was huge because I was cooked from being solo for so long. No ipod meant the voices in my head were much louder than I wanted them to be.
Riessen and I started out that steep fireroad to connect with the Spiro Trail. Spiro was great, until it wasnt. It was nice to get into the shade and we had a good conversation going. Not the most enlightening conversation ever. We pretty much told each other about our dark moments and how shitty we were feeling. WHERES MY IPOD? Sorry Riessen, my inner monologue was already kicking my ass. We eventually just started talking about random stuff. If you have ever ridden with Riessen, you know how he talks and its so scientific and Dr. like. It sounded like this at the time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. No offense Riessen. I normally like it when you talk. Because that means Im not talking. Man, Spiro seemed like it took forever. I have no idea how long it took us. 50 minutes maybe? an hour? Then the hell would begin. MMT Reroute. This trail has been well documented. While riding fresh, you can power through this section and its not that bad. While riding tired after 60 miles of technical, twisty, rooty, rocky onetrack this section felt like the devil was grabbing my tires. I walked a good part of this. I was drunk and it felt like I was staring at every rock TRYING to smack it with my tire. I just kept thinking, keep moving forward. If I have to walk, walk. If I cant ride, walk. Move forward. Neither one of us could eat or drink much of anything. We were both battling that feel good one minute, feel terrible the next. This was the enemy. We contemplated bailing at each and every road crossing, or dirt road that looked like it might take us into town. Nope, I am finishing this fucking race. If I have to walk, crawl or sit here in the bushes to take a crap and then keep going, Im going to finish. (I only had one trailside dookie. Sorry bout that) So, really long story here. I will try to sum it up. We endured, we were triumphant, atleast in my mind. Coming over the last hill, you could hear the bass thumping. I thought for sure the party would be over and everyone would be packing up. Site for sore eyes. We saw the forum. I started to cry again. Seriously, the emotions of the day were so messed up. We ripped the downhill the best we could. We were both exhausted mentally and physically. Rolled onto that asphalt and made our way to the finish stretch. I made a wrong turn and went to the left of the tape instead of the right. I didn't care. I heard the cheering, I felt the warmness of the fans bringin us home. It was such a good feeling. I was eladed to be done. I crossed the line with one of my good friends. I wouldn't have made it without his company over the last stretch. The nice lady asked me what size feet I had. At the time, I thought what a bizarre question. Then I remembered. OH! My socks! For some, that craving of food keeps them going to the finish. For me, it was the socks, Lindy and Hannah waiting for me at the finish. Good stuff.
Suffer well? Hmm, I certainly suffered. Not sure if I suffered well. I finished. Thats all there is to it. My time estimation was clearly overestimated. I learned some stuff along the way. Overall, the experience was amazing. The vibe at this race was phenomenal. The trails, (most of them) volunteers, staff, marshals, mechanics, and most of all Lindy and the Draper Crew Girls. PHENOMINAL. We need to get them shirts for next year.
Thanks to all the crew from D-Town. The rides and company were all more than I could have asked for in a summer. Should we do it again next year? Maybe.
The badass award definately goes to BRIGHT. Riding the last 18 miles with a bike with no seat is hands down badass.