Monday, July 21, 2008

Meet "The Sloppy Top Tubes"

Given the amount of pain I feel right now, I have determined for sure that my body is not ready to ride 100 miles of singletrack on a mountain bike in one day.

And so I present... my relay team for the Soggy Bottom 100.

Tim, "The Critic"

Ken, "The Descender"

Julie, "The Intimidator" (or at least I'd like to think this is how I got my team together, just go along with it guys)

It's not set in stone, but I'm pretty sure this is also the order we will ride in, giving me the last leg from Devil's Pass back to Hope, which is about 32 miles.

Sunday morning, Brian and I woke up not quite feeling our best. But we had agreed to do a key swap down on the Resurrection Pass Trail, so had no choice but to get up and drive down to the Devil's Pass Trailhead for a long ride. Arriving at the parking lot to the first sunshine we had seen in a week, we felt much better about our choice.

After a series of ups and downs and moans and groans as we settled onto our bikes, the real ascent up Devil's Pass started. I knew that my legs were not going to be very fresh because I did a hard ride on Friday and ran up and down Wolverine Peak on Saturday, but I was not expecting the burning I felt and the general feeling of not being able to breathe. I dropped all the way down to my lowest gear. Even granny gear felt like hell, so I grit my teeth and growled my way up to Devil's Pass.

We climbed and climbed and climbed and as soon as it started to let up, I gathered myself, shoved some Teddy Grahams into my mouth (yeah that's right), and looked down at my shifters. The left one said 2. I was not in Granny gear after all. I was in the middle chain ring the whole time.

My mood changed from a feeling of defeat to a feeling of empowerment. I was proud that I did half the climb in the second chain ring and it gave me the courage to tackle the rocks that were to come. To most mountain bikers the rocks on Devil's Pass are not even obstacles. Brian even noted that he wished there were more rocks. But I haven't had much chance to practice on rocks, so I get bounced around a lot. A few tosses into the bushes and there was much cursing.

Just past Devil's Pass we swapped keys with the group coming the other way. They were covered in mud, and were surprised at how clean we were. And so for something like 17-ish miles we sloshed and thrashed through the mud on the descent down to Cooper's Landing and I felt like I did riding my dirt bike around the woods of Pennsylvania when I was 9.

But towards the end the pain set in. I started to think about the people that do this for over 12 hours in the Soggy Bottom race and I knew at that point that my body wasn't ready for it. Next year. Definitely next year. So for now I will tackle approximately one third of the Soggy Bottom 100 on August 30th as a part of a relay team that is now being called "The Sloppy Top Tubes".