Monday, April 4, 2011

THE 2011 International Intergalactic Global Open Mountain Bike Team Relay Championship of the Universe Including the Anti-Matter One

THE Relay. I like the farm. A lot. I will pursue any excuse to race there. Having said that I feel that 99.9 % of the racers at the relay had a good time. The format is set in a way so that any of the 58 teams entered had a chance at the win. I toed the line with 3 teammates from Philadelphia Ciclismo. The race begins with a Le Mans start (read: running really far to your bike). I was first in the rotation. When I asked how far the run was I was given the typical Perry County answer "bout-a-miiiile" One word. 
The marathon ended up being 5 minutes. I fell down. I fell down in front of a lot of people. Running. In a skinsuit. I fell running. My coach had the microphone to the PA. I was publicly embarrassed 5 minutes into a 4 hour race. I fired my coach.

Craig handed me my bike and I took a second to come down from redline and recenter. I was in 5th and there was cash on the line for the fastest rider across the line on lap 1. By the top of the climb I made contact with the tail of the group. It was Mike Hebe, Wes Schempf, Bad Andy, and Zach Adams. I worked my way through and found the leader, Bad Andy's wheel. I made a pass in a power section and struggled to put a gap on him. He traded elbows through the tent area and somehow I held the lead. I put a few more efforts in and finally managed to get a somewhat safe gap. These guys were going fast.



I came through the line first, handed off to Jake who took off flying. My lap would stand all day and I took the fastest lap with a 13:20. I then Re-Hired my coach.Tangent: My Cannondale is fast. Very very fast. I love it. 
Everything was business as usual until lap 4. Wes started his lap a few seconds in front of me and I used him as a carrot for a bit. By the flowy singletrack I had found his wheel, but struggled to stay with him through the trees. I was using my legs to keep contact as he just slipped through the woods effortlessly. 
I made a pass before the sketch river trail. We rode in tandem the rest of the lap until Kuhn called out a preme. "A 4 pack of Guiness to Wes if he can come around Festa" Before I could say anything Wes offered to split the preme with me if I let him come around. Without hesitation I grabbed a fist full of brakes and waved him though, instantly becoming 2 beers richer.
Jake crushed his lap, just like the previous 3, and sent Greg, now riding my bike (somehow he conned me into letting him use it) Craig had changed off already and has drinking a beer eating a hot dog. We glanced at the clock together.
"UHHH Craig, do you think Greg can do a 18 min lap?"
"Why?"
"Because its 18 min left, and if he comes back you have to go back out for a lap"
"What was his best lap?"
"18:31"
pause.

Greg, aware of the situation crushed the last few minutes of his lap. He sprinted so hard into the finish he overcooked the last turn and washed out. He picked up the bike and ran through making sure to tag Craig, beating his best lap and finishing it off in 18:13. After the handoff he fell to the ground. We all ran over. Some congratulated him, some gave him a high five, I said " Cool man, but uh why the heck were you running with my bike? Whats wrong with it? Funniest/ most exciting part of the day if you ask me.
Photo: Kyle Miller
The best for last, Lauren got a call 3 days before the race from some friends. They had an open spot on their team and needed a rider. Having ridden my old Yeti, exactly once.  She agreed to try it out. Some quick, ghetto bike fit and some practice in the park by our home Friday in the at times freezing rain, a couple crashes, some small victories later, and she was as ready as she was going to be. She got faster on each of her 3 completed laps and actually did pretty well. Most importantly each time she finished smiling. I'll leave you with an excerpt from her race report.
I was almost done with my lap when I had heard people cheering for me from the tents.  I heard Mike's voice in the crowd as well.  All of a sudden, there was a rider on my left in a turn.  I was extremely startled because most of the time people announce themselves - especially when it's in a turn!  It just so happens that it was my husband who was not cheering for me - he was trying to pass.  Awesome, that could've ended badly!
Husband of the year. Philly Ciclismo got 6th overall. 

1 comment:

Jake said...

Yeah I saw that. Way to put your wife in the trees during a race...