Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Buck, It Has Been Hucked

That's right ladies and gentlemen, the 2008 edition of the Happy Fun Racing's Huck-a-Buck cross-country mountain biking race was this morning at the Lake Crabtree trails. And while the ranks of BCC racers were thinned due to family obligations, working at the jobby-job, and the infamous case of the Mr. Potato-hand injury, there were still five of us able to proudly pull on the yellow of our new kits and give things a go.

I wish I could say that things went off without a hitch. The trails were in good shape, so that was not an excuse, nor was the high heat and swamp-like humidity (really, would you expect anything less from central NC in July?), and the HFR boys always put on a good show, but I think it's safe to say that the BCC racers felt wounds of a thousand paper cuts. (Cue good excuses in 5... 4... )

Brian (aka Hollywood) and Ben (aka B-Swad) lined up for the four laps of the expert race. Brian let us know that he started off the morning by puking before even leaving the house, so he was already in a calorie deficit. True, Brian always throws up at least once on any decent ride, but even so it probably still figures into his performance. Having gotten the stomach problems out of the way early, however, Brian said that he felt as fast today as any day in recent memory, and was pleased with the way that he was able to push the Stumpy around the tight corners of Lake Crabtree. When this man is on, he's on!

Ben, on the other hand, was racing expert against the (semi-)pros for the first time. Still, I have no doubt that he would have acquitted himself handsomely, had he not be waylaid by a shooting back spasm during the race. He said that the twinge was so severe, in fact, that at one point during the race he had to lie down beside the trail for some ten minutes in order to calm his nerves down enough to keep riding. Any lesser man (myself included) would have happily pulled out of the race at this point, but Ben -- masochist that he is -- decided that he would pedal it on home despite the pain. His placing may not end up looking that good, but given that his back was giving him enough pain that he visibly had trouble swinging his leg over the seat at the end, we'll chalk this up as a 'win' anyway.

Daniel was the lone BCCer in a friggin' enormous sport class. This was one of the largest categories I've ever seen at a cross-country race, and I can't imagine how crowded the first lap must have been with all of the lycra-clad bodies rubbing up against one another on the trail. I'm not sure how Daniel's race was, other than the fact that he was the only BCCer to ride hard enough that he had to throw up after the race. Super. Cool. Personally, that's an automatic 'win' in my book, as it shows your capacity to push yourself to your body's very limits, but Daniel's two daughters didn't seem to agree, proclaiming his feat 'gross.' Kids these days, what with their inability to respect the stomach ailments of their elders...

(On a side note, Daniel's daughters were easily the team's loudest fans, and their cheers each lap were a great incentive to keep going. Thanks!)

Dave and I were both in the highly-contested single-speed category. Similar to last year, the HFRers were unable to provide us with mid-race beverages, meaning whatever skills that we'd honed in the bars of Durham (shout out to our sponsors at the Joyce and Alivia's here) was rendered moot. Dave had also done a little extra training the night before while celebrating his girlfriend's impending move to Maryland (congrats on Johns Hopkins Sarah!), meaning that he spent the minutes before the race contemplating a pre-race boot, and -- like me -- swearing off the uncouth practice known as 'warming up.'

However, that didn't stop him from dragging his Bianchi to the front when the gun sounded. Nor did it keep someone from throwing an angry 'bow into his side as he tried to enter the trail. Much to my dismay, the race started with Dave -- certainly one of the best bike handlers in the area -- spread eagle on the turf before me. As if that wasn't enough, not a quarter mile later he went down again when an over-eager racer ran into him from behind (I heard his yelp through the woods). Smarting from the first rather hard fall, and miffed at the discourtesy in what is otherwise a very friendly race, he made up time throughout the next two laps for a respectable finish.

This was to be my last race in the Triangle, and on a course on which I've previously had some success. However, as packing books doesn't count as training, and no amount of dissertating helps you push your bike at high speeds, I had to settle for respectability in my race. I was able to avoid the carnage that engulfed Dave, but the fairy tale win-(or even place)-in-my-last-race was not to be. C'est la vie.

Truly, the Hucking and the Bucking is always a good time. I saw guys out there in jeans (oh, the chafing that must have ensued!), one dude pushing a 42x18 gear (sweartagawd), a great turn out in all of the categories, and another highly impressive performance by Duke alum Alex Hawkins in the single speed category: really, without the absent Chris to give him some competition, the Hawk is putting on a clinic, with the rest of us just spectators.

All things told I think we acquitted the new kits nicely, if perhaps not quite as successfully as we would have like. Next up: the Race at the Reactor for most, and a moving truck north for yours truly.


co2cycle said...

Back spasms? Vomiting? Logorrhea? Sounds like a rough day. I'm sorry to have missed it. Next time, we shall be redeemed.

DukePirate said...


Don't worry, we talked a lot of smack about your general lameness in your absence.

Actually, a few people asked me where you were, including Alex, but also a couple that knew you mainly as "the really fast guy on the yellow bike" -- evidently you're moving too fast for them to even get the make. --jm

co2cycle said...

General lameness? Don't you mean my "General Lee-ness"?

DukePirate said...

We would never disparage your General Lee-ness.