Saturday, May 9, 2009
Inspired by my good friend Big Head, I have decided to get my blog on... Here goes...
Syllamo's Revenge is as infamous as its name implies, nowhere else will you find a MTN Bike race w/ 50 miles of hardcore rip roarin singletrack of this caliber. OK the OC 80 has it goin on too, but its in a league of its own so thats another blog for another day. Back to the message at hand: Syllamo's Revenge was wetter & more out of control than a Girls Gone Wild video. (To my mother, don't worry I haven't watched those since high school).
We rolled into Mt. View late Fri night and camped out @ the Hwy 5 trailhead. Big O ("yeah you know what I'm talkin bout" -Office Space) & Blockman caught up to me after I had gotten pulled over for doing 61 in a 45. I wanted to be pissed @ the cop but he was so nice. He kept tellin me to pay attention to the road and not look around. After the initial discontent of taking advice from an authority figure esp a policeman I came to realize that the advice might come in handy during the race tomorrow. >>>Fast forward>>>
Threw up the hammock b/t 2 trees and read a few pages from Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries before dozing off about midnight. "And the rains come, and the rains come, and the rains come" -Radiohead. Used the rainfly from my Dad's tent, thought it would be better b/c it was bigger. WRONG. Should have known that is not always true after the fiasco w/ the Swedish Penis Enlarger (just kidding).... Ha ha... Anyways the rainfly had foot long slits in it and I was soaking wet by 2 am. Hard headed I am by nature, but I thought it wise to sacrifice the stars for one night to stay dry & warm so I headed to the Elemente. This is not the first time I have retreated to my Hub of Adventure in the form of a Honda Element affectionately named Elle. Previously I threw up the white flag after being circled by a mtn lion in Leadville and being charged by a grizzly in Yellowstone. This event was far less dramatic but neccessary nonetheless.
After ~5 1/2 hrs of good sleep I woke up refreshed and proceeded to jam out to Rage's "Killin in the Name" as I woofed down cereal & soy milk while simultaneously calling my best friend a puun if he chose not to race in the mud. Peer pressure prevailed and we headed to the race. As usual we were fashionably late and arrived only 30 min before the race began. This left me just enough time to register, do yoga, meditate on the mission of destroying the weaker self within, and take out my fake teeth (can't chew Clif shots with the flipper and I have better aerodynamics w/o front teeth). Hah ha, you outta see the looks. Jumped right out to the front of the starting line w/ all the serious racers in a pair of sandals on a fully rigid SS w/ no front teeth. Their faces were glorious, they all had WTF written across their foreheads. Only downside was I didn't have any time for my ritual pre-race duce or to warm up.
We hit the steep 1 mile climb out of the gates and nobody was really pushing the pace so I jumped up to 2nd place on the UFO (name your bike people, how can you ride it fast if you don't even give it a name and a personality; UFO=Unidentified Flying Object w/ an Untamed Freak Onboard. Let your bike become an extension of your body, be the bike, let it be your friend. On our 1st date we rode in the rain, on our date we biked naked, try it sometime I know 2 people that have done it & they both loved it. Your on a bike in the woods man, surrounded by nature & God and love, fly free "Balls Deep"-Pete Block) Held onto to a Top 6 spot as we entered the singletrack. Up the climb I was thinking "Oh God, why the F* did you bring the SS," I got real nauseous and wanted to vom; yeah only 49 miles to go! Thank you Todd Henne for recommending a 32x20 instead of my usual 32x18. I would surely still be lying on the side of the trail had I not made the switch the day before the race....Back to the saga @ hand..... Bout 1/2way around the yellow loop I fell into a groove behind some other SSers and last year's Syllamo Champion, Matt Keevon. He was taking it easy after just running over a raccoon and getting 3 stitches in his hand. Not sure why past champions are running over raccoons these days, but I thought that story had to be too long for the trail, maybe its part of a new training regimen?
Got to the 1st Checkpoint in around 10th place and felt good, it had gotten muddy so I switched my tune and began thanking the Rain Gods for the wisdom to race my SS. Green & Orange loops were ballin and I'm lovin life on a rigid. "No gears, no suspension, no worries." Caught up to David Bowen on the Orange and proceeded to get us temporarily misplaced (some naysayers like to call this "being lost") but Bowen wisely quit listening to my directions and got us back on the right track. Crossed Livingston Creek as the current pushed my bike downstream with all the fury of a 40 yr old virgin. Got to Hwy 5 & Checkpoint numero dos in ~7th place. Saw the OC 80 SS champ taking off and I was thinkin "Oh yeah!" Amanda (wife of the infamous Big Head) hooked it up on the H20 as I sucked down the sweet ambrosia of the gods (goo gels). As I was taking off, saw Jonathon Sebring pull up and was like "Oh shit, he's already here and he's got gears!!!" So I stuffed enough orange slices into my pants to feed a small Cuban village and I hit the trail, fast... This is the hardest part of the race + being wet + trying to save my energy for the last 20 miles + a lil crampage=hike-a-bike. Kept hearing Sebring behind me so I tried to stay one switchback ahead of him "out of sight, out of mind". Love the guy, but he's in my class, Men under 29. Gotta drop em.
Once I got onto the flats again I turned up the heat, let it flow like lightning and stayed off the brakes. Hit the last checkpoint and took off in 9th, passed a guy..."Yes"...8th... He passes me back..."No"...9th... Top 10 that's my goal, feelin strong, I can do this. Oh shit, something is wrong with my cleat on the right sandal. Damn those phillips head screws knew I should've gone allen style. Bite the bullet, off the bike, multitool out, phillips yes, tighten, quicker, 2 racers pass me, No no no, fast fast fast, back on bike, haul ass, I'm off. Spent the next 10 miles trying to reel them in, but to no avail. I know this trail is like a mirage, it will fake me out 5 times before I actually get back to the parking lot... Flashback to 2006: my first Syllamo's Revenge. I'm 7 hr in, so tired, so hungry, by back hurts, stomach burning, muscles died long ago, dragging on. "This trail is like a mirage when will I get to the trailhead again, is that it: no, maybe there: no, this has to be it: no no no." Jump off the bike and rip apart my camelback searching for anything to eat. About to resort to nuts & berries. Find a blueberry bar, oohh so good, ate it like a hungry bear right in the middle of the trail. "When will this strange hypnotic trail ever end, I'm about to start hallucinating, seeing things that aren't there." .......
Fast forward to present time. Remembering this past moment vividly, I'm much stronger now, sing Radiohead how bout Optomistic "The big fish eat the little ones, The big fish eat the little ones, Not my problem give me some, You can try the best can, If you try the best you can, The best you can is good enough." Back to the Red Loop trailhead. "Oh its on now, let it all hang out on the downhills." Now Rage-"Blasted through your head, Blasted through your head, I give a shout out to the living dead...Just victoms of the in-house drive by, They say jump you say how high." Back to the fire road, now down the mtn, no brakes, saintcha...
Finish line in 5:49, 11th overall, 1st place Men <29.
Life is Good. Let the Social Experiment continue: Syllamo Team Champs: check. 1st place under 29 class:check. ARK Marathon Championship: check. Overcoming immense adversity to complete a goal: check. Practicing mind over matter: check. Killing the weaker self within that says I can't I can't: check, check. Destroying "the true enemy of creativity (self doubt)": check. "This is one for the good days" -Radiohead: check!