Monday, September 1, 2008

Pedal, pedal, pedal

Team Sloppy Top Tubes finished the Soggy Bottom 100 in 15 hours and 17 minutes!

Despite being the subject of a mass bird flipping at the start, Tim put in a hard effort in the climb out of Hope. He battled a disintegrating trail, slick mud and rocks, and pools of water 30 feet long in the hottest part of the day.

Ken picked up the baton in Cooper Landing and put in a fast time from Cooper to Devil's Pass, gaining some ground for the Tubes.

I started my ride around 7pm, fully aware of the darkness that was to come for the second half. The adrenaline was gushing as I left the parking lot at the Devil's trail head. It was a combination of the people cheering me on and the nerves I felt about riding in the dark down to Hope. The 10 or so miles above tree line were some of the best I have put in on a mountain bike. I got to watch the sun set over the lake at Devil's Pass as I rode. For those miles it was perfect.

Then it was a race (that I couldn't win) to beat the last bit of daylight to the finish line. To sum up this portion of my ride, here are a list of hallucinations and daydreams I had while pedaling furiously through the pitch black night on the 18 miles of descent down to Hope:

1. Every stump, shadow and hole looked like a bear.
2. Bats! Does Alaska have bats? I saw three of them fly low across the trail at different times.
3. Someone saying my name from behind me at least three times that made me stop and turn around only to realize, Oh yeah, that's right, I'm out here by myself. And it's @#%%-ing dark out!
4. I kept thinking about what everyone was doing at the finish line. I pictured cheering, dancing, a big celebration, and tried to pretend like I was there.
5. Heather jumping out from the trees with a big smile on her face shouting, "Pedal, pedal, pedal!"
6. Bear breath. I noticed that when I would breathe out a big cloud of vapor would form and hang in the air. Then when I was riding down near the creek where it smelled like bear and dead fish, a few times I rode through giant clouds of vapor, like mine, only bigger. Bear breath.
7. At one point I pictured all of my dead ancestors out there riding with me. I know, creepy, but somehow... comforting.
8. I thought that I heard Jill shouting from behind me once, but was convinced that her and Jenny were not actually there. (This one may have been real, because they were only about 10 minutes behind me) I thought about stopping to wait, but standing there in the darkness next to the loud creek was more than I could handle. I had to keep moving.
9. Last but not least, I pictured Tim and I trading in our bikes for a nice boat.

The finish line was fun. Even though I couldn't really see the people and had no idea who most of them were, because they were blinding me with there camera flashes, I was happy that they were there. I said at the finish line that I probably would never ride the whole Soggy Bottom, but today I'm feeling differently. Physically the 37 miles that I did felt great. So I may be changing my mind. How quickly we forget.

I'm proud of my team for doing such an awesome job!


Tim said...

You think about next year's Soggy. I'll be trying to figure out if I can learn to tie knots for sailing, or afford diesel for motors!

Great job in the heart of darkness. I'm not sure who looked more relieved at the finish line -- you, or Brian!

bikegirl said...

congrats on finishing the soggy!
Your hallucinations make sense to me. Those are exactly the things I'd be thinking - I mean, every time I see the stumps during the daylight I think they're bears...

get some rest