Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mammoth Gravel Sh!tshow

I've finally figured out why Big E gave me this after Polar Roll. I mean, of course I knew crying on the way to the start line was a bit extreme, but at the time I just sort of thought it was a one time pre-race mess.

Enter Mammoth Gravel Classic.

I did fine on the way there. It's more of a ride than a race so I refrained from crying during the hour long drive. I was even pretty relaxed...until we parked.

Then I saw people and bikes. Lots of them. To me this meant "race" and to my mind this meant "meltdown". In other words, I felt like I was going to pass out from nerves and I had to pee. Immediately.

As I headed down the hill to Cyclova, I discovered my brakes, which I thought I'd "fixed" the night before, were squealing. Again. Thankfully, Horns exited the shop as my bike literally screeched to a stop. Now, mind you, I can adjust my own brakes, but when these "meltdowns" happen, really it's better to just let someone else deal with my bike. I would probably break it. Or pee on it. (You never know- it might help the squeaking.) So, Horns obliged my freak out and fiddled with my quick releases.

After emptying a gallon of nervousness, I headed to the start line, where I promptly discovered that I didn't really know how to use my new GPS, which had the course directions on it. Back to meltdown mode. Of course, since I was now surrounded by a couple hundred people, it wasn't hard to find someone to rescue me. It also wasn't hard for Seve to show me that I just needed to hit a button and "Voila!" the GPS works.

Perhaps the next time I get a new toy I should read the directions.

You'd think that since my brakes were now fixed and I had a functioning GPS, I would be calm.

Ha. Ha. Hahaha. 

On the contrary, now that I didn't have any bike issues to stress over, I proceeded into full blown internal panic over whether one of these hundreds of people was going to run me over at the start. Basically, this means I stood there during the entire pre-race talk trying not to pass out. Or pee my bike shorts.

Needless to say, I was relieved to start riding so the freak out in my head would stop. Once we rounded the first corner, I finally convinced myself that no one would run me over and the panic stopped, mostly because it's really hard to panic when you're pedaling 120 rpms on a singlespeed hoping the entire field doesn't pass you on the first downhill. Of course, I'm pretty sure the entire field did pass me on that downhill, including Mr. Marx, who thought it best to be a wise-ass and shout, "How's that single speed treating you?"

Now, I'm not sure if he shouted this to purposely light my fire or he just wanted to be a smart ass, but either way, it turned on Rosie, my racing alter ego.  I might be a hot mess, but Rosie just wants to kick some ass. She doesn't have time for messes. Once she's turned on, I'm pretty much powerless to turn her off until the finish line. (And yes, I do realize that perhaps I should work on some sort of pre-race ritual that will turn Rosie on before the start line so we can avoid anymore pre-race sh!tshows.)

Anyway, Rosie was on a mission to pass back as many people as possible, especially Mr. Smartass Marx. Thankfully for her,  the single speed and its 29er tires could pretty much float over the sandy sections, so it wasn't long before the smartass himself appeared up ahead. For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to sneak up on him and slap him on the ass, which was going superbly until I got right behind his rear wheel. At this point, he swerved, nearly taking me down. As I jumped onto the grass to avoid a crash, I screamed. Unfortunately, at this point, although my hand wasn't on his ass, my mouth was rather close to his ear.

Let's just say, he finally knew I was there. He yelled something about needing Depends as I rode off. Rosie doesn't stop to help people who crap their pants.

The rest of the 70+ miles went pretty similarly. Someone would piss me off (like the guy who saw me struggling up a hill and said, "I don't mean to discourage you, but I think the hills get bigger") and Rosie would kick in even more and push harder. Even the three dead chickens and a random deer head in the road couldn't slow her down. (Thankfully- because who really wants to be going slow when there's a creature in the area ripping the heads off deer?) And the guy in the last 10 miles who would slow down, but whose ego couldn't stand being passed by a girl and would then speed up every time I passed him? Rosie was on a mission to beat him. Unfortunately, he had gears and the single speed couldn't quite match him on the last flat mile into town.

 But hey, at least he had to work for it. Rosie wouldn't have it any other way.

Now- I'm off to work on my pre-race ritual to channel Rosie. I'm gonna need her this summer...