Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The BKB invades the UP
Like an a small insurgent faction, the stars and hearts infiltrated the Ore 2 Shore peloton, killed dreams (mostly our own), filled the sky with a black dust cloud, then toasted our efforts with the finest lager in all the land!
The race was long but fast considering the course conditions. Luckily it stayed overcast for the entire race which kept the temps down. The road roll out of Negaunee was fast, but the chorus of accelerating fat tires was a beautiful sound. Still bunched up by the time we got to the Lucy Hill Luge, I was warmed up, and riding my own race. Lyle was up front somewhere, and Djonn just behind. The course between Ishpeming and Negaunee was where the dust was the worst. The rusty, gritty cloud invaded every crevice, making it hard to see and breathe. When we crossed under US41, the race was getting pretty strung out, and I was settling in for a long day.
*It is worth mentioning that although I like the Brooks Swift saddle I'm running, I did learn the meaning of the Phil Ligget phrase "On the Rivet". Ouch.
Sean Dombrowski of Marquette and Djonn joined me after the first aid station. We then found Kevin Smith and the 4 of us worked together for the next 25 miles. Sand was the most common foe we fought against all day. Horrible, wheel sucking sand. I told them it was like the powdered sugar without the donut...
The 2.3 Baby Bear tires actually floated thru most of the sand pits, so I can't complain too much. I saw many folks go down, but I kept it upright.
I finally had to get off the bike to address some back issues about 4 miles from the last aid station. Djonn was already gone, powering away from us on the long paved uphill on County Road 510. When I got off, Smith pushed on, saying if he got off, he wouldn't be able to get back on. Sean D., bless his black heart, stayed with me, and towed my pedaling corpse to the last aid station where Pickens, Laura and the Real Roy Danke were waiting, at mile 40, with a 40 oz of PBR. Upon leaving the aid station for the last 8 miles, Sean D. compared my revival to Popeye eating some spinach.
Indeed, my legs felt new, the back issues seemed to have receded, and we tried to hammer out the last few miles. Coming down around the Sand Pit I passed 7 different folks endo-ing in the steep sand trail. One unlucky fellow took out 2 others...Getting to the little bit of familiar single-track on the NCT felt like coming home.
By the time I crossed the Dead River Bridge, all I could think of was going as hard as I could....which by that point in the race was a pretty weak effort. We got to see Bobke Bear in the woods, for a high 5, at the finish line I was greeted with more beer, some slight rain, and much dust and grit from everywhere on my body.
The couple of mile ride back to the Nordic Bay in the rain washed away little. Finally climbing off the saddle for good back in the room, was the best feeling of all.
Final time 3:52, good for 292 out of 518...thanks to the volunteers who helped along the course, the Real Roy Danke for refreshments, Andy Gregg for the race hookup, the people of Finland and last but not least, to my little flask of Mexican Hammergel.
Posted by d*pow