A Winner of a Weekend
The last time I won an athletic event was a 75 mile road race back in 1995. That day was the best I have ever felt physically. I literally felt like I was being pushed up the climbs, it was so easy! As part of a 5 man breakaway, I made eye contact with my wife who was cheering at the 15 miles to go mark and pointed at myself, then held up my index finger indicating first place. That was kind of a cocky thing to do for someone like me who is normally pretty shy and reserved. It’s just that I felt that good…
Back then I had nearly limitless training opportunities, and I was riding my brand new beautiful celeste and chrome Bianchi frame. What a bike. Lugged Columbus EL-OS tubing, handmade in the Reparto Corse in mother Italy. I couldn’t help but ride fast!
Fast forward 14 years and I have to resort to taking more of a sideways approach. To get the win this weekend, I had to complete an event that when roughly 200 runners and 200 mountain bikers were given the opportunity to compete – there weren’t any other takers. The event I’m talking about is “The Whole Enchilada” category that combines the 32 mile Sage Burner trail running race with the 64 mile Original Growler mountain bike race on back-to-back days. While I didn’t know it during the races, I was the only one to have signed up for such foolishness. Like the kid being given a nickel to eat a worm, it didn’t take much to entice me into the stunt.
As they say, you gotta be in it to win it, right? I was in it, up to my eyeballs. I set the bar pretty low by doing the run with a 6 month old serious case of insertional Achilles tendonitis that hobbled my steps. I did the ride on a 12 year old hardtail converted to a single speed with zip ties holding the chain tensioner in place, pedals that refused to work in the mud, and a completely blown out suspension fork with no rebound damping to speak of. The record is waiting to be broken!
I got a super cool piece of handmade pottery (that I’ve nicknamed the claret jug) for “winning” as well as some nice recognition at the awards ceremony. I was really satisfied with the accomplishment and had a great time out on the awesome trails of Hartman Rocks.
Stay tuned for full reports of each race in a few days. (Update: report is here.)
We spent all day Monday in the mountains as a family having fun geocaching and hiking all over the place. A freak hailstorm caught us up on a hillside and we had to take refuge in a cave of sorts. Everyone mostly fit inside, but my back was exposed and I was treated to marble-sized hail filling up the waistband of my pants as I bent over trying to shelter the kids. Of course they thought it was the best day ever! My legs held up pretty well, I think they’re just too tired to be sore.
Posted on May 25, 2009, in bike, race, run. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
There’s a reason you were the only one signed up for the two events and thus won them, because you’re a badass!!
Really, I spent half my race on Saturday thinking both about how much fun it would be to ride those trails and how hard it would be to ride them. You grinded it out and did BOTH events. Don’t belittle it by saying you won by default. You won because you took on the challenge and completed both races. In my opinion, what you did this weekend is much more impressive than your road race win in ’95.
It’s great to see you back in action. Great job!