Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boggs 8 hour: it only hailed a little

This weekend was the traditional season opener for the Sheila Moon/Big Swingin' Cycles team: the Bike Monkey 8-hours of Boggs.

This being an El NiƱo year, the weather was, um, active. Two days before the race it dropped a couple inches of snow on the course. The day before, it rained all day, replacing the snow with a couple inches of mud. By the time May Woo and I showed up on Friday afternoon, the sun was peeking through a little.

Still, it's never encouraging to wake up for an 8 o'clock race to find your bike covered in frost.

Fortunately, I had a plan: the Marin Bikes guys were there in force for the weekend, and although they resisted my encouragement to race, they were willing to lend me a Nail Trail 29er, in an almost-small-enough size.

My teammate, Retrotec's John Blackwell, was recovering from illness, and I knew he was going to show up late. When, exactly, I was not sure. He claimed by the end of my second lap, but I knew the fate of best intentions.

It was around the second lap that I started to bonk. When you're bonking on your second lap of what could potentially be an 8-hour solo effort, it's not a good sign! I figured, though, that I could finish the lap, and if Blackwell was there, I'd be fine. Otherwise, I'd keep going and stop halfway around the course, where it ran up against our campsite.

When I got to the end, I started looking around for Blackwell. In unison, Murphy, Justin, and someone else shouted "Blackwell's not here!" I put my head down and headed out on lap 3.

Over the next half lap I entertained myself by listing the ways I had screwed up the preparation for the race: Skip Breakfast? Check. Fail to bring any food? Check. Miss filling up my water bottle with electrolytes? Yep, that too. Neglect to apply chamois butter? You bet.

My lack of prepraration was only made more obvious when I got to camp, on the backside of the course halfway through the lap. I took something like 10 minutes to wolf down food, grab some grease, and generally get my head together. When I got back to the start/finish line, of course, Blackwell was finally there!

I ended up doing two more laps over the course of the day, while John did three, putting us solidly midpack (18/53) among two-man teams.

The Nail Trail was a great bike let down by tires that weren't really suited to the slippery mud we were riding. I switched to a 26" bike after lap 3, and suddenly the intermittent big rocks on the course were something I actually had to pay attention to, while the 29er swallowed them right up without me even having to notice. The latter bike, though, had WTB Exiwolfs, and they were pretty much the perfect tire for the course, particularly as it dried out over the course of the day.

The team had three podiums: Matthias won Pro Singlespeed, Krishna was second in Pro Men, and Uri and partner were first in 2-person Singlespeed.

fire time
We closed the day with a feast for 30 people, including home-smoked meat, macaroni and cheese (from scratch) and veggie skewers. We also managed to knock down a half-dozen or so cases of Spaten, along with a few bottles of more warming liquor.

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