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NB's Take on the The Dirty Dozen


Larger pictures below
(at very bottom)

I didn't expect to have my ass handed to me... 

Lap #1
Dr. Josh, shaggy and I met brewer and Special Ed (my buddy and one of the photographers at the race) at the camp site around 9:30... 10:00 on the Friday night before the Saturday-morning start.  Our trip to the race involved much caffeine and a heavy dose of ADHD thrown in for good measure.  One day I'll listen to a song in its entirety... this was not the day.

After setting up our tents in the dark and scrounging up some pine needles, twigs and rotten firewood to help warm the bones, it wasn't long before I was in the tent nestled snuggly in my 20-degree synthetic sleeping bag.  I dosed off after about 43 seconds and spent the evening dreaming about the events of the next day...

My Iron Man watch coerced me into emerging from the tent around 6:00 am Saturday morning.  After reigniting the fire with more twigs and rotten wood, we unloaded the bikes from Sherman (my truck), woofed down a little breakfast and made our way to the barn, where the waiver signing and goodie-passing-out was already under way.

I was surprised by the number of people who came to race.  I was even more surprised by the number of 4... 5... 6,000-dollar mountain bikes that seemed to be everywhere.  It appeared that the money being awarded for the winning teams was significant enough to bring out the big dogs complete with team tents and trailers and bike trainers and massage therapists and and and...  All we had was a couple of spare tubes, a few bruised bananas, a 12-pack of Coke, and some extra pairs of mismatched socks.

After checking in and standing around for the 7:00 am mandatory meeting, we were told to come back at 7:30, because the registration was taking longer than expected. 

At 7:30 we received our directions.  Ride as many laps as possible in 12 hours.  O yeah, the start would be a "Le Mans start".  What that turned out to be was a herd of mountain bikers staged three-hundred-or-so yards from their bikes... all of whom took off in a mad dash to reach their bikes and begin lap #1. 

Of course my dumb ass decided I would go ahead and jump to the front.  So I ran as fast as I could for 300+ yards on the gravel track... through the concrete-floor barn... and out the open barn door on the other side... all while wearing mountain bike shoes... to find brewer holding my bike with a surprised look on his face having been looking furiously through the crowd... obviously not expecting me to emerge near the front of the pack (not the very front... but damned close!).

I grabbed my bike and took off!

I guess it was somewhere after being passed about 14 times within the first five minutes of the race by the aforementioned "big dogs" on the overly priced mountain bikes that I realized my overzealousness to win the foot race to the bike at the start was probably not too bright. 

"On your left"

"On your left"

"On your left"

...

My first lap was my fastest.  45 minutes.  And that included the 300-yard run.  My calf muscles only one time let me know they could take me out at any moment, but they let me make all of lap #1 without throwing me to the ground in pain.

I passed medallion #165 to brewer and watched him run through the barn to begin his lap as I simultaneously calculated how many more laps I'd have to make and postulated why stomach bile has to taste like that.

I pushed the bike back to the camp site quite pleased three other riders had to complete laps before it was my turn to ride again.  My ass was happy to be off that mountain bike seat and sitting in the comfort of my 6-year-old-five-dollar-folding-Wal-Mart chair... at least for a little while...

Lap #2
Sitting waiting for the rest of the boys to take their turns on the 8.6-mile loop, I spread some peanut butter on two partially squished pieces of bread and devoured it in about five seconds.  I thought about washing it down with a Coke but though better of it.  As the resonating belch echoed throughout the camp site, I was reminded why I thought better of it in the first place... sure was good though... besides, I had a couple of hours before I would be riding again...

I rested for about thirty minutes or so after eating my sandwich and a bruised banana brewer gave me, but then I got bored and started to wander around as the morning sun began warming up the day.

I wandered over to the transition area and watched brewer come in after an impressive lap and watched Dr. Josh run through the barn after being passed the medallion.  I still had to wait two more laps before I would begin my second lap, so I decided to head over to the NiteRider trailer and pick up the lights we had reserved for the race.

More piddling here and there, and eventually it was my turn for Lap #2.

shaggy handed me medallion #165, I placed it around my neck, and I took off running through the barn in my not-made-for-running-mountain-bile shoes to retrieve my bike on the other side.

I decided to pace myself a little better this lap.  Blowing my wad before I was even a couple miles into the lap didn't prove to be an intelligent strategy on the previous lap...

For the most part, lap #2 was without incident, except for Special Ed snapping my picture a few times during the course. The most memorable thing was that I didn't have 20-or-so guys on $5,000 bikes whipping past me in the first mile.  I did get passed a few times during the lap, but my ego was stroked a little more with each slower rider I passed during the lap...

"On your left"

...sure does ring better to the ear when it's your voice saying it.

Like the previous lap, I did have to push my bike up the one extremely steep section.  I could say that "I had to" because the riders in front of me were doing the same since there was no way around them... but the reality is, I was glad they were in my way.  I was also happy that my calf muscles didn't act up after the climb, and I pressed on without incident.

As I rounded the last corner and began the gradual hill climb to the transition area, I could see brewer patiently waiting for me.  I handed him the medallion, and off he went.

Just as exhausted as the previous lap, I pushed my back back the camp site and placed my tired ass into the my five-dollar Wal-Mart chair again.

Lap #3

Coming soon...

 

Race Pictures


And I'm off! (on multiple levels)


"If I could just get these shoes clipped in..."


Take it away brewer!


My bike even needed a rest between laps.


"Yep I see you, Ed.  Just don't take any pictures if I fall!"


See the smiling face?  That's 'cause I'm at the bottom of the hill...


Peace!


My endurance immediately came back!


Being in front is hard work!


Had I seen the guy with the camera, I would have jumped higher!


"Where are you brewer?  I'm ready to get off this bike!"


Dat's righ'... dat's my game face!

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