5 weeks ago
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Enduro II: Krishna's report
Summary: paced myself terribly, navigated poorly, had a good time.
Part I. Sprint, Get Lost, Repeat
Twice around the statue, grab the first map, jump on the wheel of some locals: sweet! Uh, oh: red light, major intersection. The front of the pack goes through, I don't. Interminable wait. The leaders disappear into the distance.
Go! Burn some matches! The Marin CXR really didn't help with pacing at this point: with ultralight semi-slick tires and the fork locked it feels almost like a road bike. "Stomp those pedals!" it screams. So stomp I did.
That was pretty much how it went all the way to Mt Tam: push way too hard trying to bridge up, loose more time getting off-route, and go hard again, passing the same people I had passed a few minutes earlier.
I had a small hope of getting the KOM, but Chas took that down in style. We milled around in the East Peak parking lot wondering where the checkpoint workers were, so the first 15 or so people to arrive all left together.
Part II. Rocks and Golf Courses
Eldridge was just as rocky as I remembered. I should have played it safe, but was having too much fun on the new bike, so of course I got caught by an unexpected section of knife-blade flakes and flatted. Passing the lakes was new terrain for me, and since I was mostly riding solo I was looking around and appreciating the scenery. Most of the leaders were still at the start of the Pine mountain climb, so I had company while grinding slowly up the rocks. Only DFL Brad was up the road, several minutes ahead.
Part III. The Dirt Kaiser Express
The next few hours were a wild ride on the coattails of Matthias, a.k.a. Dirt Kaiser. We quickly dropped our companions descending Pine Mountain. Tiny semi-slick tires are not the weapon of choice for fast descents on gravelly fire roads, but the new bike was loving it and I was able to hang on.
Rip the Pine Mountain descent, pass Brad fixing a flat, get passed by Brad, pass him fixing another flat. Look out for that guy this year! More beautiful, dry, rocky terrain. In Tamarancho the semi-slicks had nice traction on the tacky hardpack, and good thing, since Matthias was really killing it. On the final stretch of B-17 the rocks caught up with my little tires again, so I sat down and pulled out my second tube. As I was leaving Tamarancho the guy with the aero bars on his road bike was dropping in. That made me smile.
Sasha guided me down to the water drop under the bridge, where I picked up some much-needed liquids. To my surprise I saw Matthias again-- he had hung around at the water stop for a while. So there was a big group of us chatting and pushing our bikes slowly up Gunshot. This is when I realized something was wrong with my right cleat. One of the bolts had sheared off, leaving the cleat to pivot on the remaining bolt, making it very hard to unclip. Not good!
After some discussion, no one from our group went for the Big Rock time bonus. I could provide my long list of reasons, but they can all be summarized as general wimpiness and lack of fortitude. So we turned our backs on Big Rock, and once again Matthias was ripping the descent, leading me away from the others.
Matthias had been an amazing guide ever since Pine Mountain, so once we were back on the pavement I tried to repay this a little with some hard pulls. They felt hard anyway... I'm afraid they were probably feeble.
Now that I was finally hydrated with the water from under the bridge, I realized I hadn't peed since leaving my house in the morning, and this was rapidly becoming a problem. It was past the uncomfortable point and starting to affect my outlook on life, so I finally said goodbye to Matthias where the bike path crosses under 101 and took an extended piss. Ah! I feel human again! So much happier and faster on the bike.
Part IV. Mr. Twiggy the Impaler
My spirits were good and I was motoring along with a faint hope of catching Matthias, but the bike path had other plans: my front wheel nudged a 4-inch stick, flipping it perfectly on end, whereupon it impaled my rear tire. Instant flat. Ah well, good thing I brought patches.
I lost more time with an inefficient route through the Presidio, but finally made it back to Murphy & Emily's place, barely ahead of DFL Brad, which turned out to be third place overall.
As expected, Murphy and Emily put on an awesome after-party, and the prizes were really impressive. A huge "thank you" to all the volunteers and sponsors!