Saturday, June 14, 2008

Their Hour of Need

I know some folks on RAAM who need your words. Let's send some big time love to the boys and girls of Team Type 1. They've got a green crew this year, but are out there given 'er their all.

This year a team of Norwegian super monsters has designs on toppling TT1 from the leader board. These big frost apes are doing quite the job as you read this. TT1 did a valiant job of pulling them back once, and I am hoping they have it in them again. I chose not to participate this year, but I fear I've made a bad call. Only a couple of the crew, and 3 of the riders, have RAAM experience, and the learning curve can be tough! I've tried to wear Phil's phone out, discussing this race as it rolls along the western US. It seems he is a little surprised at the addiction, we both feel for this event. I can't help but think that a little more experience, and probably more importantly, fresh bodies, unworn from the past 4 days of sleepless RV and minivan travel, could help bring this race back together. It is absolutely killing me to not be there to help plot, plan, and motivate with the rest of the crew.

Phil had no sooner stepped into his home in Atlanta, after watching the team roll out from Oceanside, then he started to plan his intercept. I thought he was kidding. But he called yesterday and said he had a ticket to St. Louis, where he'd drive to Jefferson City, and meet the Team at the time station. My heart sunk as I looked at all the work stacked on my desk. I've never wanted to put myself into what I know can be a living hell, so bad in all my life.

This damn race has become ingrained in my psyche, or something. It's like an evil virus that I can ignore all year, until it's time for the teams to fly west and begin final preparation. Then it's like I forget all of the sleep and shower deprivation, the whining of both crew and riders alike, and the sheer stress of trying to make no mistakes or errors that may lose any of that time, the riders scratched and fought for.

Even though I chose to sit this one out, my heart still sings with their victories, and aches at their loss. I promise you that the emotional roller coaster those riders are enduring right now is much worse than this blog rant of mine, so pop over to the TT1 blog, and leave a motivational comment for the gang. They read them after their shifts, and it feels good to know people are watching and supporting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I've Got No Air!

There's a curse following me around the past week or so. Things that contain that which surrounds us everyday, in such a manner as to allow smooth locomotion, refuse to do so when in my possession or presence.

It started the day before we left for Bump-n-Grind. I got up that morning, and there was only about 10lbs of air in my truck's rear tire. That vehicle now being untrustworthy, Paul and I hijacked my poor wife, at 7:00am, to give us a ride to the agreed upon meeting spot for our trip. "I'll deal with it when I come home." I said. Fool.

All is going well in the race. I'm flying on the downhills! After all, as a clydesdale, my climbing is not so great, so I've gotta make up for it somewhere. I love these long, rocky, fast downhill stretches! I'd just gotten around some nervous, sketchy, panic braking, overcautious, skinny guy, when I felt the wind leave my sails, as my rear tire nearly rolled off the rim in a right hand switchback. Apparently, I'd punctured somewhere on my pass attempts. Fool.

Thursday's Joe's ride is going well, for the first half of the ride. But I forgot to eat something right before the ride. During the 2nd half, I'm just holding on. The hot summer air feels like a furnace in my lungs, and I can't go fast anymore. With the fast laps over, a few of us are cruising in at a nice, slow, cool down pace. Pfft. Pfft.Pfft. Pfft. Damn tubulars! I knew I should've been more proactive about selling them, and getting a replacement set of clinchers. Fool.

Friday, Marcus needs to go pick up his rental car, out by the airport. I agree to take an easy ride out there, and we'll drive the rental back. The road bike is still on blocks, so the 'cross bike comes out. I remember, as we roll out from Mark's, I have no more long valve tubes for my rear wheel. Oh well, I'm running Specilaized kevlar belted, puncture resistant tires. What are the odds? The key here is puncture resistant. Fool.

Sunday's mountain bike ride rolls around, and I'm just gassed. I don't really even want to ride, but it's Sunday, and I'm hoping that the ride will clear my angst. I grab my front wheel to put it on my bike, and imagine my lack of surprise to feel a flaccid 15lbs of air pressure. This tire has been losing no more than a couple of lbs. of pressure a week, ever since I first mounted it on the wheel! I pump it up to proper pressure, hope the Stan's sealant will reseal any slow leaks, and roll out. Fool.

That was it. I was cracked. I pumped the tire up again, and headed for home. 30 minutes in, and I was calling it quits. That's right. I quit a ride over a flat tire. Or was it 4 flat tires? Either way, I got home and my wife calls. She's surprised I'm home so early. I tell her my tale, and she sighs and says it's not over, yet. Apparently, she awoke to a flat tire on her car this morning, also.

No more stories now. I'm going to go out to my shop and try to contain some air.