Friday, June 26, 2009


This pic was sent to me with a joke already attached. Since I hang out with a bunch of wise asses, let's see what you can come up with on your own. Let the captioning begin. Your prize will be a big fat plate of wet grass from the neighbor's freshly mowed yard, so please don't expect anything special if you're the funniest. Just revel in your awe inspiring ability to carry the funny stick. Just be sure it never touches the ground, otherwise you bring bad luck on the entire squad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Easy Bake Oven

I said in my last post that the Dauset course suited my strengths, and that I hoped to do well. What I should have said was, "Stay tuned for tales of Bigworm's tour of Dauset's Outdoor Easy Bake Oven!".

Notice the bright shiny exterior with large, easy to read control knobs.

As usual, I was having a blast preriding the course. The familiar lines were there, as a large part of the course was run in my preferred direction. It was a little dry, but certainly not out of control dusty. I drank a ton of water on the way up, and more during my ride, and still more afterwards and into the night. This little heat wave of ours is pervasive, and I didn't want to blow it.

This year's easy bake oven is the easiest to operate, yet.

Come race morning, I lined up and noticed just two other guys on the line with me. One of which I beat at Yargo, earlier this year. The other was my buddy Junkman, who dropped me as I imploded on the 2nd lap at Yargo. I couldn't wait for the rematch. I was completely blasted going into Yargo, so I knew I had a better chance against him this time.

Just combine all of the easy to find ingredients, per your recipes directions, set the timer and temp, and you're all set.

The whistle blew, and I made a quick decision to lead this one out. I usually sit in and stick to my plan, but my excitement at a true shot at the top step, sent me on a New Plan. I wanted to be able to flow the singletrack at my pace, so I grabbed the hole shot, and started to settle in. On the downhills, the gap would open. On the climbs I would try to chill a little, and they would come back. I went too easy at BUMP, so I decided to push a little this time. I wanted to be alone, so I could relax.

Keep an eye on your cooking, to be sure all is going well. Smell that tasty goodness, as your Easy Bake Oven does all the work for you! Peek through the Easy View Window, to see your treats turn a delectable golden brown!

About halfway through the lap, Krystal(A guy in my class is riding for Team Krystal Burger. A clydesdale. Quite apropos, huh.) asks how I'm doing. Now I've spent this whole race so far, trying to figure out how to unload these guys, without blowing sky high. I've been running a little harder than I should, but if I can just break their resolve... Now how broken is this guy asking if I'm alright. I let him by, and he assures me he's not going any harder, just get on his wheel. Yeah, you can imagine my surprise when that didn't work out. I kept telling myself that the last time we raced, he cracked and I caught him, so just keep it steady, and hopefully history will repeat itself.

Please don't allow children to use the Easy Bake Oven unsupervised. Items left in the Easy bake Oven for too long could cause a fire hazard.

Now it's just me and Junkman. He's slowly gaining, as I try to keep my pace under control. No sweat, well, actually a lot of sweat. It was hot out there. At the exit of the Huff-n-Puff section of the trail, the promoter has provided a couple of guys with coolers to pour cold water on your back. That water was welcome, but freezing! Eventually, Junkman passes me on a downhill. This worries me a little. Like I mentioned in the Yargo post, he's got skill, so I don't want to let him get away. I sit on his wheel, and we carried on a conversation, while I secretly plotted my 2nd lap tactics. Did I tell you it was hot out here. Somewhere in the last couple of miles of that lap, Junkman got a small gap. How the hell did that happen?

Seriously folks, we here at Dauset's Easy Bake Oven are deadly serious about keeping children and idiots from using the Easy Bake Oven unsupervised. Otherwise there will be a big ass fire, and all your culinary hopes and dreams will go up in smoke.

As Junkman and I started the last lap, he had about 10 seconds on me, but by the time we got a mile in, I'm pretty sure he had over a minute. The heat became suffocating. About ten minutes later, I took a sip from my bottle, and downed nearly half the bottle easily. Oh oh, that's not a good sign. When you can drink half of a 24 ounce bottle in one gulp, and still feel parched, the damage is done! I began to worry about having enough water to finish the last 6 miles. I just hoped that the water dousers at Huff-n-Puff were still there. My water bottle had been completely dry for 10 minutes by the time I reached the piece of trail where they had been earlier. Nobody was in sight, though. I was stoked to see the cooler was still there! I opened the 1st, and there was 3 bags of ice and a little water in the bottom. I hoisted the cooler to the table and let the trickle fill my bottle. I went to another cooler, and there was about 2 inches of ice and water in the bottom. I grabbed a cup off the ground, cleaned it on my jersey, and scooped and drank until the freezing temps were cramping my throat and stomach. Oh well, my race is over, but I am riding Dauset. I've got a full bottle so let's just finish this out. All power was gone. I rode slowly, but I rode. The heat was just out of control. My internal temps were through the roof. At least the fresh water had gotten rid of the chill bumps that had covered most of my body earlier.

We warned you there would be a fire. All warranty claims must be filed in triplicate with our service department and attorney's office. Expect a reply within 1-2 years.

I blew it. Derwood and Big Jim Slade were about a 1/4 mile from the finish on the trail, walking back to look for me. I was glad to see them, and trust me, they had jokes! I lost nearly 20 minutes on that 2nd lap, all because I had to push too hard. In that heat, I should have backed it down a notch, not pushed it up a notch. The carrot of the W was just too much for my weak ass willpower. So be it. I'm 39 and still learning my lessons.

I was sad to hear that Mingo didn't enjoy the trail. I have not taken anyone there yet, that didn't like it. I guess it just didn't fit his style. Or, maybe he just had a rough day. Son of Mingo did his 1st Big Guy race. He's 10 with a racing age of 11, so he did the 11-14 juniors race. That meant a full lap of the 9 mile course. No kiddie loop this time. I talked to him before the race, and he was nervous. I asked what worried him the most, and he just shrugged. I know what he means. I've done a million of these, and I still get so anxious before the start. Once the whistle sounds, it all blows away, and you get to work. But the anticipation, that's the killer. He finished the race, and he says he was glad to not be last. I heard his Mom was a nervous wreck, as Mom's tend to be when their offspring jump to the next level. He said he didn't want to ever do that again, and he may stick by that claim. Either way, it was a big accomplishment, and I hope he hangs on to that, more than the hurt and fear.

What a trip. We had a great time hanging with all the family members who made the journey this time. Usually it's just the guys who are racing. This trip we had Mingo's entire family, Derwood's family, my Better Half, and my little brother. Everyone seemed to be smiling alot, so I guess I wasn't the only one enjoying the vibe. I even saw a big grin on Big Jim Slade's mug. Honey, Greatness is Home!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Light and Dark

After Bump-n-Grind, I kind of floated on a wave of disappointment, more like post partem depression.

There was so much hype and build up, as we got ready for this race. Marcus was trying to make a serious shot at his move up to expert. The first couple of races produced doubt in his mind. Truth be told, he did really well, it's just tough when you've been competitive in Sport for so long. Unfortunately, the fickle hand of fate dealt him an evil series of blows that culminated with him backing out of the trip the night before we left. It had to be frustrating to put in all those months of work, and not even get to participate in the race the whole season was planned around.

The trip was still fun. The ride up had everyone in tears, as did the trip home, but maybe for slightly different reasons. We had a huge crew riding together again, on Saturday. The trail was in great shape, but I do think the downhill after Blood Rock is getting rougher every year. I'm riding a 5" travel bike, and I swear it beats me up, now, more than when I rode hardtails here, years ago. Maybe I'm just going faster, and the smoother ride is negated. Maybe it's just getting rockier.

My preride went well. I felt great, and for the 1st time ever, I didn't go too hard on Saturday. The race rolled around, and all was good. I started in the middle of the group. I was in sight of the leaders, but rolling more my own pace. I kept a close eye on my heart rate numbers, so I didn't let the adrenaline kick me into overdrive too soon. That's really become a big deal as I've gotten older. About 4 miles in, I had the dreadful feeling that my rear tire was low. A second or two later, I felt the rim bottom out on a rock, and my worst fears were confirmed. I stopped at the beginning of the road to the climb, pulled my wheel, pulled out my flat gear, and made a snap decision to give it a shot of co2 and roll. I was down to about 20psi, but it had been that way for 10 minutes. Maybe the Stan's sealant would seal the problem, and I wouldn't need a full fledged tube install.

The increased tire pressure felt great. It felt like I was flying again. The climb gave me less trouble that it ever has. Ice Berg passed me right before the top, and JC caught me just as we crested. I went straight to the big ring, to carry some steam over the next few rollers. In past years, I wasn't even close to rolling the big gear, I would be so blown from going way too hard by now. JC and I caught Berg on top of the 1st roller. I asked if he was alright, and he almost puked a gel all over me. Apparently he REALLY doesn't like that flavor. We started to roll out, and I felt the rim bottom again. DAMN, this is so frustrating. I stopped and gassed it again, and struck out on a wing and a prayer. She held pretty well until about the last 3 miles. By then, I was really protecting the back wheel. I couldn't corner very hard, or the tire would try to roll off the rim. Don caught me in the last few miles, and I tried to ride with him, but the bike just wouldn't cooperate. My finish time was less than stellar.

I'm happy about the fact that I stuck to my plan for maintaining a reasonable effort at the beginning. I felt great on the climb, for the 1st time ever. I rode the majority of the singletrack after the descent off of Blood Rock in the big ring. In the past, I'd hit those rollers and wind up in the granny gear, fighting off cramps. None of that this year. Despite these positives, I feel like it was a missed opportunity. Looking at my numbers later, I realized my average HR was 155. It should have been closer to 161-163. I think that going slow, trying to protect my back wheel, for so much of the course, kept me from achieving my potential. I feel let down. Like I let myself down? Not sure. Like fate was dicking with me. Maybe. Either way, it was very anticlimactic.

After returning home, I just didn't really want to talk about it, and I have not had much else to say, so it's been nothing but crickets around here. I decided to skip the Farmington, GA race, so I could get a little done around the house. Dauset is this weekend. I know, it's Father's Day, but the Ol' Man's got other responsibilities on Sunday, so we're taking him to breakfast Saturday, and leaving for the race around lunch time. My little brother has been wanting to go see one of these races, so he's coming up this weekend, as is Mrs. Worm. I'm really looking forward to it. I like it when my wife comes to the races. A few of the other guys are bringing spouses, so they'll have each other to talk to, while we race. I love this course, the climbs are tough, but nothing as sustained as Birmingham or Thomaston. Plenty of fast flowing singletrack, with just enough rock thrown in to keep you on your toes. It's honestly the course that most caters to my strengths, of the entire GA series. Hopefully there is still enough juice in the tank, left over from that infernal Plan that trained me to perfectly protect a flat tire while maintaining a low HR.

Around home, things are always the same, but a few things are bubbling up here and there. I rode with Juancho and Cupcake at Munson. That was a blast. It really is nice to see some other faces, and mix up the your riding crew vocabulary. I'm a little worried abut my buddy, Wrecking Ball. He really does seem to be having a hard time with his physicalities. He rides with us, and rides way stronger than he has any right to. Yet, he feels like he's crawling. I don't know how much pain he has after the ride, but if his depression is based on his performance during the ride, he's got nothing to be worried about. But when you get home, the endorphins wear off, and things start to ache. If that's the problem, that's a little tougher. Regardless, I think the crew just needs to try to hang out without the bikes a little. That would help the injured avoid some of the left out feeling. We've all been on the injured/reserve list, and it does get a little lonely, when the only time you see your friends, is on the bike. Hell, during Marcus' longest bout with the broken body, he was driven to take up RC cars, and we just can't let that sort of thing happen again.