Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Soul has been crushed!

PMBAR 2010... I should have know by the race slogan, Crushing Souls since 2003, that I was going to be in for a tough day in the saddle. JD and I prepared as best we could, convincing guys to go out on 4-5 hour rides every weekend, heading to Pisgah to do some recon on the trails and generally speaking riding as much as we could to prepare for the devastation.

While I think all those things helped nothing could have prepared me for the mental and physical battle of wills that would ensue.

JD and I hopped in the car Friday morning pumped up and ready to ride. We zipped down the interstate only to hear a loud crash just before Greensboro...we look back and JD's bike is hanging from the roof of my car. My King Cobra roof rack just disintigrated and JD's bike was holding on by the rear tire strap. You can imagine the degree of freak out that was occuring on I-40.

Luckily, JD's bike was fine aside from a slight adjustment to the headset. My car got a couple of battle scars but nothing considering the potential gravity of the mishap. Unscathed, we pressed on to the mountains that were beckoning our souls.

Upon arrival, we quickly set up camp and slipped out for a quick ride, came back to camp, sucked down a couple of cold beers and called it a night.

Race Day:

6:00 AM: Wake Up call
7:00 AM: Sign In
7:59 AM: Receive the map with 5 checkpoints(riders must hit 4 of 5 to finish...5 checkpoints gets a time reduction of 3 hours)
8:00 AM: Start Riding

We decided to head on up Black Mountain to the first major junction before we open the map up and hopefully avoid some of the inherent log jam that was sure to happen. No such luck, we were able to ride most of it but several very ridable sections required dismounting and quick remounting due to the line of riders in front of us...The mental aspect of the race was now on, we were both getting frustrated with the hike a bike on non-hike a bike sections.

We arrived at the first junction, pulled out the map and designed a rough plan on how to hit 4 checkpoints as quickly as possible. While hindsight is 20-20, I think we made some reasonable decisions and for the most part we didn't get turned around too much.

The first checkpoint was brutal, the second and furthest away could have been a potential disaster. We connected with a couple of hammerheads at the first checkpoint. They were going the same way so we tried, in vain, to stay with them. These guys stopped for water before the 2nd checkpoint while we pressed on so we ended up ahead of them...only to be caught on the climb. We stopped to check the map after an hour of climbing and decided to keep climbing, just then a team came down the mountain and said they had climbed to the top and the checkpoint was not there. As luck would have it, the checkpoint was 50 yards from us...HUGE morale boost!

The 3rd and 4th checkpoints were a bit easier but energy was at an all time low. JD and I at some points we just barley turning the pedals over. Honestly, It was the hardest ride that I have ever done!

After the final checkpoint, we straight up gassed it. We passed 2 teams in the last 45 minutes and bombed the descent on Black Mountain. I came into the finish, my soul officially crushed, body in shambles, dreaming of the token burrito promised at the conclusion of the race.

We navigated the finish line and scampered over to the leader board. At the time, there were 6 teams that got all 5 checkpoints and 5 that had 4 checkpoints. I couldn't believe it...I actually put down the crappy veggie burrito that I was shoving down my throat and just stood there in amazement.

100 teams started the race and we were sitting in 12th place, WOW! Of course some other teams arrived with 5 checkpoints and pushed us down the list. Turns out we ended up in 21st place, personally I am going to exclude the 5 checkpoint people based on the fact that they are freaks of nature, insane, and apparantly have no soul to be crushed!

Either way, it was an amazing event and a bunch of fun.


jd said...

for real. why wasn't "soul" on the required gear list? this could filter out some of the aliens posing as humans.

felonious said...

haha, that's the best comment of the year JD. also, what is it with your bike and car racks?

jd said...

I don't know. I guess the waltworks is just a beast that refuses to be tamed.

John Miles said...

I like the idea of JD's bike being skittish around bike racks and prone to busting loose from their measly confines. Yakima, you can't handle the WaWo!