Hanging out, ready to sing some Blues

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wilderness 101

It was 1990, the summer between my sophomore and junior year of HS. I had been BMX/freestyling my whole life and just competed in my first couple of MTB races. Vision Street wear shorts and high top Vans were my kits of choice back then. After a few races of getting spanked I began to compete for the overall as a 16 year old punk BMX junior that looked like a skater. How cool, right??

It was at this time I began reading, asking and getting unsolicited advice on how to “train” and get fast. I received an overload of information most of which I dismissed but the one thing I knew was I needed to ride on the road. I was working at shop but spent all my savings on my Schwinn Paramount MTB ride so I had no green for a roadie yet.

Luckily, my pops had been an avid roadie (even raced some) my whole life and had a sweet ass Reynolds Tubing hand-built Trek with 6-spd Campy Nuevo Record (my grocery getter now infact) with tubies. It was also at this time I heard about the elusive century that racers and recreational riders always talked about. I figured that would be what I needed to do…often!! I was a freestyling punk that had been in 5-6 MTB races and had maybe completed 100 miles total on my Paramount. But hell, I was determined to get fast and to do this century thing. So one Saturday after dad got home from a morning ride I asked if I could borrow his Trek. He was hesitant but he knew I had a fire in my belly that needed to be extinguished so he agreed. Off I went, Vision shorts, borrowed pops wooden sole cycling shoes (Duwegies SP), one bottle, no food, no money, no pump, no tube, and this was pre-cell days. I dumped it in the hardest gear I could turn and hammered away….around 70 miles in I was so light headed and dehydrated I was pretty sure I was going to die but I had read articles about Eddie M. and other Euro roadies suffering to new extremes so I figured this is what I had to do too. I was far from home, a little lost and in retrospect probably in a very dangerous physical place too. I continued to push as hard of a gear as I could—youthful stupidity, an always tenacious spirit and determination to be a “bike racer” kept me going. This was my first experience with the “bonk”--it is such a horrible feeling that leaves you near powerless to do anything but I persevered and never stopped once. I rolled in after dark with 104 miles on the odometer completed, mom was worried about me and how I looked and pops was concerned about his bike. I looked and felt like death. I ate for an hour straight, fell asleep in the clothes I rode in, slept 14 hours, woke on Sunday and did it all over again. This is what I did every weekend for next few months. I probably completed more centuries during that period then all other of my centuries combined.

That next summer (91’) I competed in the very first Wilderness 101 at age 16. They almost did not let me enter being so young and all but I convinced them and I think I got 5th and went back the following two years getting a 4th and a 15th—I forget what order.

So here we are some 18 years later and my life seems to be in a vacuum. I ride a lot, race 100 miles on my mountain bike, I have no girlfriend and have worse game then I did back in 91 and sadly I still experience the “bonk” from time to time. Sadly, I experienced it twice at this years addition of the Wilderness 101 mixed with 4 flats. Yes fan, the 09 Wilderness was disappointing for Chrissy.

Race snap shot:

Start to aid station #1: feeling like crap for the first hour, could not climb at all, had fun with BunnyAid Station #1-#2: Bunny and I caught approx.5th-15th in the SS class, I was beginning to feel better, until I didn’t, Bunny along with 5-6 SSers dropped me but I chugged away.

Aid Station #2-#3: I fell completely apart—the “bonk” I have not experienced one like this since back in the day, had to stop for 15 minutes, regrouped, started catching back on.

Aid station #3-#4: shit talked with Tomi and JP, feeling ok, new goal get in under 9hrs (in 08’ I was 8h8min), flat #1, got passed a lot, jumped on with Cheryl, started feeling like a fast guy again

Aid Station #4-#5: climbed out station 4 like a champ, caught many folks, started thinking maybe a top 10 in SS after all, flat #2, #3 and 4, fire is gone, “bonk” again, I cry.

Aid Station #5-finish: cry, rally, cry some more.

A disappointing day indeed but I still have that never quit youthful tenacity so I will live to fight another day.

Team wrap up:

Bunny: got star struck by Hippy Sue and was out sprinted for 2nd leaving her with 3rd. She still seemed very stoked. Beat Gunnar and I too.

Gunnar: unraveled in the latter half ending up 9th SS 40 something over all-disappointed

Chrissy: 21st SS 60 something overall-very disappointed.

JR: finished his 1st 100 miler. We are very proud of our big buddy.

Next up Big Bear Ultra (50 miler) followed by Fools Gold 100 down in Georgia.

It was a fun weekend even with the disappointment. Chris Scott and his crew rock, big ole thanks.

"May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face" and may your wheels always find it safely back to the ground.

1 comment:

Fat-Boy said...

THANKS! I Heart you guys! I would have never been able to do it without thinking "these guys are going to give me shit if I don't finish".. LOL!