Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fool's Gold Time Stamps

Fool's Gold was long enough that I can't remember it all in a fluid fashion. I only have these blips.

5:02 - It's too early to be getting up to race. I hope I don't forget anything...

6:00 - We're supposed to be rolling out, right now. I wonder if Big Jim Slade is flipping out.

6:07 - En route. I wish this diet coke was the fountain variety.  The bottled version has too much fizz.

7:02 - Shit! I forgot my gel flasks back at the hotel. Better cram a couple more stinger waffles in my camelbak.

7:15 - This camelbak has to weigh 40 pounds. I HATE a camelbak!

7:18 - Pour out half of the camelbak.

7:40 - Wow!! This is a huge crowd for the start.  I hope BJS lined up with Silk, near the front.

7:45 - Neutral roll out.

7:47 - I finally cross the official start line.

From here on out, I no longer knew clock time. All I had was the actual roll time on my Garmin.

0:37 - Camp Wahsega. The base of the climb up Cooper Gap. The last time I saw StorminNorman, as the folks I knew dropped my bis ass.

1:12 - This creaking pedal is gonna make me lose my ever loving mind.

1:46 - Shit, I forgot to take my endurolytes. Better stop and take some now, before it's too late. Damn it! They're not in my camelbak. Must have left them in the truck. It's gonna be a looong, cramp filled day.

2:11 - Ahhh. The top of the climb, and the first sag station. Refill camelbak and top off bottle. Chat with Naked Indian, before he rolls out before me.

2:15 - Blast past Naked Indian, and quite a few other folks, as I try to gain back some of what I lost on the climb. This descent is sick fast, and waaayyy fun. Scared myself a few times, but so worth it!

2:56 - Skip sag 2. Too soon after last sag, so I think I'm good to go ahead and take out Bull Mountain.

3:11 - Whoa, was that hunger pains? Been trying to eat something every 0:45-1hr. Guess it wasn't enough. Get passed by Paul, as I get rolling, again. Trying to eat a Clif Bar while grunting in my granny gear is tough!

3:21 - These 2 old cats, lounging just past the creek are cracking me up! Reminds me of The Benny Rooster and Longshanks Sr. How'd they get way out here? Looks like they're having fun heckling the racers, though.  We crack jokes as I work my way past them, beginning another uphill grunt. Made me smile thinking of all the rides I've done with our favorite 2 old cats, back home.

3:35 - Oh please, Dear God, let that be StorminNorman's red jersey I see walking that climb up ahead of me!!!

3:36 - Awwwww! No such luck. But that is Ms Paige, I see up there. Guess the technical stuff is catching  up to her. 

3:45 - Ride past Paige and Paul, standing by the trail. She does not look happy! Ask if they're okay, and keep on rolling.

3:47 -  Suhweet, fast downhills! This is why I suffer so long to get up here. Worth every second!

3:51 - Pass a fit looking guy, who says he's fighting cramps. That sucks. OOOuuuuucchhhh! Shit! Damn!!! Guess it's my turn. Son of a bitch, that hurts!!!

3:51:05 - Fit guy passes me back, looking like he really does feel my pain. He wishes me luck, and pedals out of sight.

3:57 - BAM!!! Hit a rock so hard with my back wheel, I almost get tossed over the bars. Please don't flat. Please don't flat. Please don't flat.          Shit!

3:59 - Glad I could limp it this far. This is a good spot to watch folks climb this little hump, while I swap my tube. Booyah!! There's those damn endurolytes! Gulp. You've got to be kidding me! This tube is brand new! How is there an effing hole in it?!! I'm gonna kick Red Dragon in his baby maker when I get home! I hope this glueless patch kit holds.

4:19 -  Begin my ride again, now joined by Paige and Paul. I bomb the downhills, they catch me every time the gradient turns against me.

4:25 - Ahhh, Sag 3. Time to remix a go-go juice bottle, and refill this dead weight on my back. Mmmm, cookies and M&M's. Somebody out there is looking out for me!

4:55 - Glad we didn't miss that turn! Wonder how many folks did...

5:14 - Creek, big creek! Paul was wondering if it was rideable. I said sure, rode to the middle and got off. I stood knee deep in that cold water, and dunked my helmet. It felt amazing, as I was starting to overheat. I heard Paul laughing as I began climbing the other side.

5:16 - Really? Was that a rain drop?

5:18 - Apparently God has a serious sense of humor! Now that all the pretty, fast people are off the course, the bottom's gonna fall out. Guess that creek was the least of our worries, when it comes to wet equipment. Wish I had glasses, to keep the mud out of my eyes.

5:45 - This rain is serious. I hope I have enough brake pad left to make the last couple of corners that follow those BIG downhills on the road back to the winery.

5:55 - Sorry Paul, but if I stop to wait for Paige, I may not get started again. What, you're not stopping either? Oh boy! Hope you don't get in too much trouble.

6:01 - This is pure evil! Even the paved uphills are destroying me.

6:03 - WTF?! Why can't I catch Paul?! I'm pedaling as hard as I can, and my heart rate is only 126. I think my heart may have died.

6:06 - Yeah yeah! Whatever, fit dude! You're soooo fast on the pavement. And you're white Hammer jersey is filthy!

6:07 - If I could catch that guy, I'd tackle him.

6:21 - Please don't make me have to walk this steep bitch right here in the winery.  Okay, paper boying this hill is less embarrassing than walking. Yeah, let's go with that. I'm kicking Eddie O'dea in his baby maker, if I can lift my leg that high.

6:22 - Thank God that's over! I wonder if I'd get in trouble if I hucked my clay orange bike, followed by my clay orange body, into the pool?

??:?? - That hose barely got the mud off. I bet Big Jim would cry if I just went and climbed straight into the truck. I'm pretty sure my right ass cheek is cramped.

??:?? - As soon as I can move again, we need to eat.

My official race time was 7:01. That was a lot longer than I expected. The patching of the flat fiasco, and the rain, certainly didn't help.  Oh well, I suppose it gives me something to improve upon, next year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brews, Blues, and Bee-Bee-Q's!

It started out as an innocent look at the map, but ultimately, I turned Big Jim Slade's world upside down.

Phil won't stop talking about this rib shack, so I finally got a name, and googled the joint. Fat Matt's. A name like that, how can it not be good? The captain already sounds like a brother clydesdale. While looking at the satellite view of the location map, I happened to notice a little marker, less than a mile away. Sweetwater Brewery. 

Now, Big Jim has wanted to tour this place since the beginning of time. He has a bit of a thing for seeing where his tasty beverages originate. Unfortunately, I broke his heart on our last NC trip, that had 2 tours scheduled, when I came down with typhoid. After arguing incessantly, they decided to call the trip short, and brought me home to die in my own bed, or yard, or wherever, as long as it wasn't in the hotel room with them. Me being me, I've always been bummed to be the root of this void in Big Jim's heart. So when I saw this little icon, I let him know just how close it was.

In the meantime, I had started perusing Fat Matt's website, and discovered that they offer live blues, every night. And then, way back in the deepest recesses of my pleasure cortex, a speck of light blinked into life. This light brightened, until the very angels delivered upon me, the idea that maybe we should leave on Thursday, hit the brewery tour, hang for the blues and ribs, and then stay the night with little brother Phil. A quick message session has BJS all fired up, and Phil is all in. BJS and I split our remaining travel companions between us, and commenced to selling them on the idea. Our level of employment uselessness, had reached all time highs. Neither could concentrate on our jobs. I could already smell and taste that bbq!

In an effort not to publicly shame the naysayer(s), I'll not say who shot this beautiful bird from its trajectory, but let's just leave it at, it a'int happenin'.

So, now all I can think about is the fall NC trip. I'll be putting that together as we return from Fools Gold. There will be brews. There will be blues. There will be BBQ(s).

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hay is in the Barn

Yep, the day loathed by folks unhappy with their work choice, has arrived again.

Today, it has a little different tint for me. I don't have much going on at my day job today, so I've arranged to turn wrenches for a little extra dough. I need to finish finessing Mingo's bike back into working order, on the off chance he takes the Fool's Gold bait. Wrecking Ball got his name from his innate ability to mysteriously explode seemingly indestructible bike parts. I'm fast beginning to refer to Mingo as, The Grinder. Nothing ever fails catastrophically with him, but I promise you, he gets every last ounce of goodie out of that bicycle shaped oreo. No worries. We have the technology. We can rebuild her.

Speaking of Fool's Gold, she looms on the horizon.. We roll out Friday morning. Phil is supposed to be meeting us in Atlanta, for lunch. He texted me something about "the best ribs EVER!". I just need to be sure the restaurant that houses such an accomplishment has an organic, low fat, turkey sandwich, that looks and smells suspiciously of Subway, so Silk will be happy. The other two in the truck are card carrying southern boys, so hopefully they will be good to go.

Fool's Gold spooks me a little. Given the facts that I'm a true to life clydesdale and a quarter, or damn close, and the organizer's bizarre ability to find a damn 10 mile climb, in GA, it's gonna be a long day for me, my taint, and my saddle to become super close; like marrying your first cousin, close. I look forward to the trip, though. No doubt, it will be a challenge for me, but I'm okay with that.

It's not the general difficulty of a ride that long that bothers me, it's the fear of cramps. Being a well insulated big guy, and the fact that it is still summer, even if it is NORTH Georgia, I cramp like mad after 4.5+ hours. I've tried a million tricks, with mixed success. After their first Fool's Gold, Silk, Double D, and Danny Boy came back touting the magic of mustard. Sounded good, so I gave it try. Total flop. Now I'm pedaling down the trail, trying to not to cry as an angry muscle attempts to relocate my groin down by my kneecap, and really wishing I had a hot dog, a slice of cheese, and some chopped onion, to go with that useless mustard I just gulped.

So be it. I have not died yet from cramps, so I probably won't this time, either.

Has anyone heard from Lil' Ball lately. Best I can tell, he hacked the Drunkcyclist site. I hope not. Some of those AZ boys seem a little twisted, and several seem to be somewhat nomadic. They may come looking for him.

It's a week of easy rides for me. Like Silk said, "the hay is in the barn". I guess now it's time for some recovery type, barn dancing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My level of twitch is growing leaps and bounds. Maybe it's the overtime my brain has these days. Maybe it's the need for something new to replace the hole left by what was known. Maybe it's just the amazing photography and stories told by these guys.

No matter the reason, it's coming. This fall, maybe sooner, I intend to try my hand at some sort of bikepacking. I envision a cx bike, rural paved and clay roads, and destinations like Suwannee River, or Lake Seminole; maybe somewhere over by Marianna. I foresee swimming in cold refreshing water at the end of a long dusty day on the road.

My skills are limited by my ignorance of what is needed, but my intelligence will fill in the gaps either by trial and error, or proper guidance. Personally, I hope for the proper guidance route.