Monday, January 14, 2008

Felasco #6 is in the Bag, Dad!

Well, another San Felasco is in the record books. That makes 6 for those of us who've done this gig since its inception. And just as they've done in the past few years, they hooked us up with an extra 4 miles or so. Oh well, I guess I'd rather it go long than short. At least that's what I say now that I'm at home, and have had a couple of days to recover. Now during that extra few miles, I don't think I was saying anything quite so nice about going long. But maybe I should back up, and begin at the beginning.

Friday was the usual hectic rush to be sure you I had everything I needed for the trip. One last trip to the bank for cash, to the shop to pick up Heed and gels, and somewhere in there I needed to actually get some work done. I watched Wrecking Ball, Micro, and Double D wrestle with an ill fitting receiver hitch rack, from my office window. It was like watching a school of those mythical sea monkeys that you could order from the covers of comic books. They would gesture wildly, point at the offending puzzle pieces, wave their hands over their heads, and each took turns walking away in consternation. At one point I look up and Wrecking Ball and Double are actually hugging. I never did get a clear story on that one! Luckily, Double is relentless when he gets something set in his mind, and he manages to successfully install the rack, load the bikes and gear, AND midshift got to cop a feel on the Wrecking Ball. With that, three of the crewers are underway.

Meanwhile, Lil Ronnie and his sister-in-law, Carlos Santana, are heading north from the nether regions of South Florida. Ron calls to inform me that they are going to ride Santos on the way up, as we are not going to be in Gainesville until around 6pm. Dick!! I'm working, and he's rubbing Santos in my face!

Work became something of a joke. I couldn't concentrate to save my life. I just kept moving the cursor around the screen, making cool clicking sounds with the mouse. Enough is enough! So I clock out and don my costume. Oh wait? You haven't heard about the mandatory costumes, have you? Yeah, it seems that Marko has been taking a beating from the original South Florida gangsta, Lil Ronnie, regarding some 22" rims on Marko's new truck. So Mark issues a mandate(Not that kind of man date, Ron! So calm down!) that you don't get in the truck for the roadtrip without being in some type of gangsta get up! I told him I could do "Honky Vato", but I was not equipped to do "Rap Thug". He was amenable, and we were good to go. Mark, Spanish Mackerel, and I are completely ridiculous looking, when Kent shows up wearing a Slipknot t-shirt, jeans, and some ill fitting truckers cap. Immediately I called him out for slacking. I mean come on, man! We all committed to "Gangsta", and Kent shows looking more like "Perry Gas Station"! Poor bastard. He paid dearly for that error. Mark proceeds to drag us to his house where he makes Kent change into the most ridiculous, primary colored pants I've ever seen. Front to back, each quarter is either bright green, bright yellow, blue, or red. A white t-shirt, an old Salsa cycling cap with the bill turned up, and he's Jazzy Jeff all day long, with no Fresh Prince in sight!

The deal is, costumes on, all night, including dinner! Trust me, Alachua just loved us. I spent the whole night keeping one eye over my shoulder. I kept waiting for some redneck to come over and ponder,"what the hell is my problem?". It was like high school all over again. In the end, no hassles. But I laughed enough that my cheeks were still cramped the next morning. (No Ron, that was not another "man date" reference.)

The next morning came too early. No really, I mean way too early! I was awake by 3:30am, and couldn't get back to sleep. I just lay there, willing the rain to stay away for the day's ride. Finally a few others stirred and it was off to Awful House for waffles and eggs. Suitable grease consumption dealt with, we load up and head out, just as the rain starts.

Every year we roll out together. Anywhere between 10-20 of us at the same time. People just love it when we overtake them. They pull over to be polite, and turn around to realize, "DAMN! There's a whole train of these guys, and that little one won't stop singing!". Separation began earlier than usual this year. Spanish Mackerel was on a new, All Recovery, No Ride, training plan, and it was showing. By the first sag stop, he didn't look so happy. Wrecking Ball, and Miss Myra, rolled from the sag a little early, and I followed soon after. This year, I wanted to try and ride more steadily, with shorter stops. It always seems like the longer I stop, the more my body decides we're through, and starts to stiffen up in preparation for not sliding off the couch the rest of the day. I caught Myra, and Wrecking Ball shortly thereafter. We rode together the majority of the way to the next sag. Carl, Mary Poppins, and Derwood caught us just before the sag, with Marko rolling in right behind us. In keeping with the minimal stop plan, Carl, W.B., Myra, and I jetted before the rest of the crew. Aside from getting run down by Darien and Bobbo again, it was pretty much just us, all the way to lunch.

W.B. was getting concerned with how his legs felt. So he wolfed down some food, grabbed a bunch of Oreos, and headed out. I heard Myra left a little behind him, with Carl in there somewhere. I never saw them again until the parking lot at the end. Hell, I still haven't seen Carl. He was packed up and gone by the time I finished! I was trying to stall for Mark, Kent, Ronnie, Micro, and the rest for our return trip. But each time we decided to roll out, a few more stragglers would roll in, and there would be a renewed need to wait for the newest arrivals to get food before we left. It's all the natural way of things, but when you've been there awhile, you start to get impatient.

The rain had held off all day, except for the hotel parking lot, when we loaded up. The sky just hung there, all dark and threatening. But now at lunch, the thunder starts rumbling through. I keep an eye out for Marko. Too much of this, and he'll run for cover. Game over. Marko does not handle lightning very well! I'm usually nonplussed by it. On the contrary, I kind of like the excitement that Mother Nature can bring. But there is nowhere to hide in the woods of San Felasco. No shelters. And not being locals, we don't know the shortcuts out. Once we leave lunch, we're committed.

I'm talking to Kent when I realize that Mark is gone. Kent tells me "Oh yeah. He left awhile ago. Double D went with him.". That was it. It was time to go. I didn't have the patience to lollygag any longer. I took off solo, and a little ways after the big power line climb, I caught back up to the boys. Unfortunately, I was already thinking the effort wasn't such a good idea. From then on, I had to back off on the long climbs. Double was was patient as long as he could be. For those of you who know Dave, you know it wasn't that long. The next time I slowed down, he didn't. I didn't see him again until the parking lot. That's how it goes after lunch at Felasco. Everybody is best friends at the beginning. But after lunch, the hate fatigue starts to set in, and self preservation becomes more important than camaraderie. You can't take it too personally. Everyone has their pace or rhythm that feels right, and it rarely matches the rhythm of even your best friend. At the 1st sag after lunch, I'm getting some food, when Bushy blows through, going the wrong way, wide open. A bunch of us scream at his back until he gets the picture and turns around to get back on the right trail. Bushy is all alone and motivated by that inner survival rhythm. I tried to catch back up to him, but no go

Luckily for me, Marcus was a little tired from the antics before lunch. Apparently, Bob led a race pace chase to catch my group before the 2nd sag stop. Mark said that took a little of the snap out of his legs after lunch. Honestly, I think he was just looking out for me. Sometime after lunch, the cramps started to rear their ugly heads. Nasty buggers! I tend to cramp in my inner thigh. It feels like the tendon on the inside of the back of the knee attempts to pull my family jewels down to my ankles! Getting off the bike just makes it worse. All I can do is keep pedaling through it, and hope it releases. I'm fine on all the flat or downhill sections, and quite honestly, I'm fine climbing. But that moment where the climb ends and the pressure comes off the legs, I'm crippled. I just focus on turning the pedals over smoothly and Mark urges me on if I slow too much. We pick up Pauly Mc, I think, at the last sag stop. He joins our 1/2 crippled band 'til the finish. He and Mark sit in front of me and chat away, while I ponder how someone has hammered 8 penny nails through the bottom of my left foot when I wasn't looking. I wonder if I can take the shoe off, set it on fire, roast marshmallows over it, and then pedal with one barefoot, all while not getting too dropped by Mark and Paul. Remember that hate fatigue I talked about? Now I really need energy to keep focused, but my body has decided to reject calories of any kind. Drink Heed. Stomach cramps. Eat gel. Stomach cramps. Eat Oreos. Mmmm, Oreos. Stomach cramps. Stupid ass stomach! At the last sag stop it was stomach be damned! You see the last sag stop always has Hershey chocolate nuggets. You know, the good ones with the little bits of toffee in them?!! I did my best to eat my weight in chocolate. I figured that I'd either get the calories I needed to finish, or I'd die of stomach cramps. But I'd die happy! No death, though(as evidenced by this post), just more pedaling.

It may have been slow, but I was rolling. I just kept looking for that last piece of singletrack that circles the parking field. It's actually a fun piece of trail, but today, I'm too blown(Not a man date, Ronnie.)to enjoy it as much as usual. The rain has come and gone. Never too heavy, but heavy enough to make owl snot out of this piece of trail. With Pauly in front of me and Marcus behind me(Not a man date, Ronnie.), we catch up to another of the rolling dead. Paul passes him and so I express to Mark how much I hate Paul. I tried to sit behind this guy, but it was horrible. Granted the trail was slippery as all hell, but DAMN! Steer your bike, fool! Is this the first time you've ever ridden?!! Lay off the brakes, you moron!!! My Mom could ride these corners better than this!!!! Now you're gonna MAKE me PASS you!!! I don't WANT to PASS you! I don't want to pedal any HARDER than I am RIGHT NOW! Remember that hate fatigue? Oh yeah! I've got it bad! I just told him I was passing. I didn't ask. Just told him. I went around, and straight into a big two wheeled drift in the next corner. Do you know how stupid I would have felt if I hadn't been able to get that drift under control? I rode the slip and slide the last few hundred yards, and it was over.

The rest of the crewers dragged in intermittently over the next 45 minutes to an hour. We loaded up and headed for Sonny's to start the refueling and the lying.


Spanish Mac said...

What a ride! Lyle and I were keeping it real in the rear (not in a "man date" kinda way)when he had the quote of the day. Let me set this up....we were rolling over the pine double track a few miles out from lunch when this round blumpkin of a lady passed us! Her fat little meat pistons pumping as she tooled along right outta sight(yup, she dropped us). As I'm thinking to myself "did that really just happen" I hear Lyle behind me say "now that's a kick in the dick". Words never rung so true.

Dude, I should write a blog and call it "tails from the backside".

Fat Lad said...

That was awesome, truly inspired for my local jaunt tonight :)

Ayny events in September when me and Mrs Fat Lad are over there?

Fat Lad

AucillaSinks said...

BW, great recap! But not sorry I missed the epic action except that Spanish Mac would have had someone to drop.

Fat Lad, we will make an event in you and Mrs. Fat Lad's honor come September!
The table will be set for your arrival - southern fried seafood, raw oytsers, crystal springs, flowing sinkholes, hickory smoked BBQ, virgin palm tree forests and boiled peanuts, just to name a few of our signature entrees plus sugar sand beaches less than two hours away.
You pick from the menu and we will deliver!

bikechain said...

Man, nice recap. I was good until that last sag stop. Then, I got the worse case of hate motivation ever. It was the "I hate bicycles" kind of hate. Plus, I was sore a f**k for two days - so much so I'm thinking about maybe doing that ride once without downing a six pack or more the night before. It did not help that I left my gloves in the car. My urge to avoid the go-back-to-the-truck party foul was plain stupid. The paws were hamburger. I zombied at Sonny's BBQ and later crashed at the house. Good food, good times. bikechain

Human Wrecking Ball said...

I had a funny thing happen. We always try to bother people by singing old songs that, once heard can't be removed from the skull.
So; I am singing and a guy (as we pass him) says.."oh no its that guy with the beard!" and grabs brakes to let us get away from him as fast as possible. After lunch, I am on a long climb and not having any fun when Mr.OhNo, comes down the hill towards me and says.."You ain't singing now!"
I had to laugh, but there wasn't enough air in the tank for laughing and breathing!
Nice commentary Worm!
Are we aever riding again?

BIGWORM said...

Check the upper right hand corner of the blog, directly below my profile. For future reference, alway try to check it before you head out, in case there have been any updates.

It's cool to see all the stories coming in. Unfortunately, I couldn't be everywhere at once, so if you have a good Felasco story, bring it on!

juancho said...

"You ain't singing now!"


Just rode redbug/overscreet- put me down for 1.5 volunteer hours, the trails were trashed by the rain.

RickySilk said...

What about the mustard?!?!?! You were supposed to be the lab rat.

Lyle said...

That fukcing mustard wasn't working...

I believe I have the destinction of last finisher...It has been a long fall from grace.

RickySilk I think it is high time you man-up and join the adventure. Can't decide if next year I will ride more in preparation or simply drink more beer the night before.

Can't wait til next year.

MW said...

Always go for the extra beer. This was one of the hardest Felascos yet, and it was the one where I was most sober on Friday night. Don't worry about riding in preparation Lyle, you have too many kids to raise. I'm planning to ride in the back of the bus next year with you, Steve, Kent and Ron (and Dan if he blows up again).

RickySilk said...

oh well, so much for mustard. NEXT!!!

MW said...

Mustard works great for making you look like a moron in front of all the other real athletes.

BTW, I just heard that the Felasco pics will be up on their website by mid October, so keep checking.

Lil Ronnie said...

I was reluctant to talk about it after the Felasco, I was afraid I would be laughed at and exiled from the crew. During the ride, I witnessed a great act of heroism. A female rider of the Asian persuasion crashed in front of our small group. She was about to face her demise in the clutches of the Felasco single track when he appeared, Captain Lycra. He was dressed in red, white, and blue lycra, possibly a skin suit, and smelled of chicken wings and beer. He swooped in, bent over defying the laws of spandex and helped the crashed rider to safety. People say that cops and firemen are heros, but I have to add Captain Lycra to that list after seeing his act of selflessness. Next time you crash, hope Captain Lycra is there to unclip you and safely escort you to your feet. I am going to get some chicken wings!