Crossing Over Intergalactic Style

I always want to enter these team relay races, but since I am more or less a bicycle nomad, I don’t have a team any longer but I do have a network of people out there that I enjoy riding with and I think they even like riding with me. I had a text from two of my favorite old riding buddies each asking me to be on a team for a cross race relay.

I had to decide between the two which was going to be hard until a good ole dose of real life removed 3/4 of one team leaving me with an easy decision to make.

Team Concept 6 hours before the race

This new team had one person I have known for the last 7 or so years and two other people that I think I have heard their names before. This was a four person split co-ed team where I was the most experienced cross racer! I don’t know if anyone could have seen a day where I had more race experience than other folks. I guess they don’t count finishing places when looking at race experience.

Through the exchange of a few emails and some good ideas tossed back and forth, we decided on a team theme and name. There were points for costumes and themes and we needed all the help we could get. Team Awesome sauce was Beth’s idea late at night when she registered us. I came up with a theme and shirt idea and around 1am the night before the race, figured it all out.

“Hot” and “Vodka” of team Awesome Sauce

The forcasters had doom spelled out for our race day with a call for thundershowers for a good portion of the day. Being a race on the farm, who cares what happens? There is not a race official for three counties! We were on our way to the Osterling’s farm in Marysville, Pa without a care or expectation in the world.

Upon arrival at the site we got to see some of the course that Mike Kuhn had dreamed up. We also felt the oppressive humidity pouring over all of us. We were sweaty by the time we got our of the car let alone actual racing for the day.

If this does not say party, what does? Tim and Jay of Lone Wolf

We set up with the Lone Wolf crew because in spite of their fast legs and faster bikes because  we knew they would bring the party.

Camp for the day was set and now it was time to get nervous, since I was picked to go off first. Not only has it been a long time since I raced, I also had to participate in the Le Mans style start with the rest of the twig factory.

Luckily the run back to our bikes was not too far and although I was last through the barriers, I was not last into the woods. This position changed on the first large uphill, but still it was pretty sweet to not be DFL after a running start.

Blend of skill, experience, and dedication on the line for their first lap.

The first lap was more or less a mystery for me as I did no warming up besides carrying coolers from the car to our site. Mike had set out choose your own adventure sections where people on Mountain bikes or with mountain bike skills could fight their way through some single track or the roadies and true crossers could chose another path that was more suited to their skill.

I generally took the singletrack paths on each of my laps as I felt that I had to on account of the giant tires I was running on my bike.

I wish there was a loop around for those of us on single speeds that picked a killer gear to push all day.

Amy “vodka sauce” made her own barrier hopping style.

I was running something nuts like a 42×19 at a place that does not have a single inch of level ground. I also know Mike well enough to know that NOTHING will be easy on the farm.

There were three places where I had to get off and run/walk due to a cacophony of reasons but not limited to my fat ass, high gear, and over all elevation. Those places added to my over all lap time but I still kept it in the 20 or so minute mark most of the day.

Luckily the 2/4 of my team shared the go slow mentality of the day making our rest periods long and our suffering periods short. This came in handy once the rains came.

A few drops of liquid love from the god above hit my rear end as I was coming through the last few feet of my second lap and was just about to hand off to Jeff. This is DeJaVu since I did the same to him at another relay, although that was in the middle of the night in one of the worst storms I have ever been out in. He just smiled and kept going.

Jimmy and his thousand yard stare

The rain only put a damper on the race for a few moments before everyone just bucked up and trucked

on. I don’t think any team quit or gave up the ghost because of the rain. Every team solidered on. In my opinion, the short laps and the awesome vibe just kept everyone moving. In the middle of one of my rain laps I thought there was lightning striking behind my rear axel. but I knew I would be back at the relative safety of our encampment if I just kept it moving and ignored the puckering in my shorts.

Eventually the sun came back out and the steam started to rise. How perfect was this? Warm mud everywhere on the course. It made this race the perfect set up for a real cross season preview. I think we hit most of the major weather and course factors in the four hour race! We were hoping for snow, but that would just be strange.

At the end of the day…

…People won stuff…

…Gary raced in a clown suit all day…

…People got muddy…

…they got clean…

…and people had a good damn time.

If you care who won or any of that nonsense…stop on over here.

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Comments
One Response to “Crossing Over Intergalactic Style”
  1. Great recap. “Twig Factory” is now one of my favorite terms. Clink.

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