Friday, September 26, 2008

Trans Rockies Day 5 "Thunder In Elkford"

Hey everyone,

Does everyone know how to cross over logs when you are mountain biking? The common way to cross larger logs is wheelie your front tire over and then dig your chain rings into the log, use momentum and pedal over. It works pretty good if you have good balance. Remember this.

Anyways, on Day 5 of TR we had the dreaded gravel section of Dante's 9th ring of hell known as "The Rock Garden". Of all of my TR 2007 memories, the Rock Garden was a stand out low point for me. I walked most of the way down and the photos from Spectrum Image show me as a defeated piece of dog meat walking down.

Dennis and I swore revenge this year on this fabled section of the course. With all of our solid miles of training behind us, it was make or break on the Rock Garden.

We rode another very solid day that day with completing some long climbs fast and working with other groups to keep pacing along. We were making great time and we both felt good. The heat wasn't too bad and we were well stocked with gels and hydration. Getting to the Garden, teams were starting to slow and we had passed lots of them. We even had time to stop and help the first aid motorcycle who couldn't climb the hills to get to the Garden. I wanted him in front of me in case I took a header and would need his help later. Always planning ahead!

Getting to the top of the Garden, Dennis and I decided that we would let air out of our tires to see if that helps and we tested that morning, 2 seconds would let out about 5 psi and we could easily descend at 25 psi in the tires. It was like magic, like butter, like nothing. What took last year about an hour with blood sweat and tears, took about 8 minutes riding. We were like downhilling rockets.

We were so excited getting done with no wipe outs, no issues, no scratches, no flats. It was a sprint to the finish. We had just 6km to go and we were pumped. Heading to the last corner I yell to Dennis, "Big gear it in!" We were just stomping our way up the hill to the last corner. The final volunteer is waving to us and yelling "Good job boys!" and holding her hand up to High 5 me. Sometimes I am kind of a celabratory guy so I raised my hand to match her gesture. I didn't even have time react. She tightly holds my hand and pulls me to the ground on the pavement. Helmet and bike bashing into the cement, flesh burning, pain searing, I am laying on the ground, 25 feet from the finish line. 

Just when I start to wonder where Dennis is, it hits me, lime an Evander Holyfield kidney punch. Actually, it was the Dennis Marineau riding over his partner at the finish line punch. he pulled the perfect log crossing right over my rib cage. He perfectly placed his pedal (which dug into my hip) and used all his momentum to bridge over me at the line. I am extremely thankful that he was in his big chain ring in the front, that was the only thing preventing his teeth of his chain ring from not sawing me in half!

I really can't say enough how lucky I was the Dennis practiced that move, the chain ring pattern on my back was cool, it would have been about 300 stitches if he wasn't in his big ring though.

The stunned silence at the finish line was great. Bike mechanics came running to help us and we made it to the line. The pile up delayed us by about a minute, we didn't get caught by any teams and the day was over. My pride took a serious beating that day. I felt so embarrassed. I lost concentration for one second and I could have ended the race for both us. Not the smartest move on my part. The race announcer called me and told me to go the first aid tent for a look over as Dennis and I had a fair bit of road rash. 

With my head hung low all I could say. "Unless the first aider has a band aid for pride, I think I'll be okay."

It was another fun day at Trans Rockies and it adds more information to the mental race book, don't even look at the volunteers, like watching a guy weld steel , look away and smile!

One note about the volunteer. Apparently her ring got caught in my riding glove and I nearly tore her arm off. I hope she's doing okay.

Slayer Dan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised Lockie didn't pile into you as well.

Rod M

Just kidding Lockie, I like giving you a hard time.

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