brutal fun

i've been planning on hitting the wems blue mounds race since the beginning of the year. brent from twin six kept telling me to come. not that i needed much convincing... i've been dying to ride there since john raced the ss state champs race there last year. the technical aspect of it drew me in.
we originally wanted to head out friday night and camp... ya know hang out. but then thought about not being with the kids for that long and the fact we'd be ditching them 24-9 weekend we thought best to head up saturday morning.
we had the kids dropped off and were in the car headed to blue mounds around 8:30am. plenty of time to get to the course and even hang out and chat for a bit. just as we got on 39 right before the clocktower (bus 20) in rockford traffic came to a halt. dammit. we turned off the tunes and put on a news station in hopes of finding out what the problem was. by the 3rd time the traffic report came on they finally let us in on what was going on. a tanker exploded just south of 43 in beloit on 90. great. we are backed up this far already! long story short we were rerouted onto 51 which consists of traffic lights, shopping malls... add the semis being rerouted and the other traffic, it took us 4 hours to get there! usually 2.5.
we made it to blue mounds according to the element clock at 12:36. the start time was 1pm and we had already missed the rider's meeting. luckily this isn't as strict as wors with being registered by a certain time. 6 hour solo here we come.
back to the car to get ready. damn it was hot. i was sweating putting on my spandex. i still had to check the air in my fork, pee, get bottles ready, etc. john was pretty much ready in plenty of time... i'm sure he was a little stressed.
as i went to check the negative pressure in my fork some of the oil squirted out right onto my rotor. damn. okay get some alcohol. luckily the camp next to us had some. wipe the rotor. bottles. food. now go pee. dammit. i have bibs on. how annoying. finally got going. i missed the run (damn) and headed on my way. i don't know how much later i was to the start, 10 minutes maybe? i dunno. i didn't really care. i was just here to enjoy the trails.
first section. wild. super fast down hill with big ass rocks. sweet. i had no idea what to expect, it was awesome. i came up on that first big rock with the drop and was sort of psyched out. i wussed out. did the next one and continued on my way.
the singletrack was awesome. i'm still stoked thinking about riding there. i get excited thinking about all those fast sections of picking your way through. i had a blast. yes it's brutal, but oh so fun.
on my first lap i was going pretty good until right before the second climb... for whatever reason i got sloppy. i got really hot really fast and just felt off. my heartrate was off the charts. wtf. i had to slow down (stop) and hang out for a minute before i got hurt. i think i was overheated and a bit hungry. i cooled down on the side of the trail with a couple other guys and chatted. i didn't realize at that time that i was at the top of the climb! if i had known that i wouldn't have hung out as long. not that it mattered. anyway, got moving again and felt a lot better.
made it back to camp where jeremey was hanging out with chris' wife kim. i sat down for a bit to have some fig newtons and some water. i hung out chatting, i don't know how long. i was ready to go back out but thought john was due in and decided to wait... it was taking a lot longer than i expected so i ended up just going out.
i felt way better this lap. rode the climbs (well okay not that second one where it gets crazy) and nailed the singletrack. there were more than a few things out there i couldn't ride... this trip anyway. i'd love to go back there sometime knowing the trails a bit more and find the lines on a couple of the rocks.
as i was finishing my second lap i saw brent's ass. he was hunched over his bike (flat fixing). i ended up rolling around to his tent. we chatted for a few and decided to ride a 3rd lap together. i was a little intimidated. i know i'm slow and i don't know if he thought i was fast or what. it ended up being a great fun lap. the singletrack was even more fun knowing someone was there pushing you a bit. we were chatting... blah blah blah. riding with people is so much fun. i started to get real tired towards the end and ended up walking the gravel climb home. but i was done. if i ever do a race like that again i'll be sure to eat more. i only had a few fig newtons and 2 clif bloks. two bottles of electrolyte drink and 4 bottles of water. some of which was drank by my neck and back.
surprisingly i never went down. i had more than a few pedal strikes and a lot of dabs. my carbon crank is worked from pedal strikes. looks like the dog was gnawing on it. interesting that on my 3rd lap i never struck a pedal. it's amazing how you adapt to things. on my first lap talking to some chick i hit my pedal so hard it through me sideways!
i can't tell you how much fun i had riding there. i love that shit. maneuvering your way through the rocks, roots, etc. finding the lines. do i go around the rock or over? i love to have to think about it. i love getting tossed around a bit. i love getting it next time. taking the wrong line or getting pinballed and having to get yourself out of something by hopping a rock or tossing the bike over something.
i only wish gaining fitness was that much fun. had i had more fitness a 4th lap could've happened.
i finished 2nd place for the 6 hour solo and john finished 3rd. awesome for his first time at a race like this. congrats to chris for his 4th place finish and aaron for hanging in there after 3, or was it 4, mechanicals.
my back is a little sore this morning still and my legs a bit tired heading up the stairs. but other than that i feel great. i'd like to do a road ride later. i don't see myself offroad today.
thanks to the goat for helping out, kim as well- she's got the pit thing down. she has things ready before you even know you need it. i learned one thing, i can't race non-stop for 6 hours knowing there are people to chat with just hanging out!
i'm waiting for other people to post pics so i can steal them.


MTB Girl said...

Awesome job! Someday maybe I'll be brave enough to ride there. :-)

mzzm said...

Congrats on riding the course, finishing and the 2nd place! This was no place for the light hearted. The 12 hr was relax, then major focus and thus didn't catch you trying to talk to me. We had a ball, of course it is easy to say that when the drama unfolds in your favor.

joeyTWOwheels said...

nice report. what a relaxing race - and you took second!

do you think a squishy would have helped you out there?

spicyride said...

no. i don't think so. fitness would have.

Tom K said...

poor fitness is definately felt out there. i forgot how hard that course is. my body is still sore.

D A N O said...


MTB Girl said...

What's a squishy?? Ooooh, "full-suspension?" Sometimes I'm a little slow.