This is a bit of a long one-
Last time you heard from me, I was sitting in Hot Springs Starbucks thinking that I was capping off a slightly bad day with a decaf, a cookie, and some venting. Unfortunately, my daily shipment from the failboat was still being unpacked.
Back at camp, I’d already set up my tent (as a changing spot) and hammock (the snazzy new one from Eagle’s Nest that I got as a Christmas present from my parents). I was getting tired, so I settled in and got cozy. At first, the hammock seemed like a cocoon of awesome. But then, the wind blew gently… rocking the hammock ever so slightly.
I felt seasick almost instantly.
After deciding that I’d rather NOT be seasick all night, I ended up lowering the hammock enough that my butt touched the ground , which prevented the swaying/seasick combination. It was surprisingly comfortable, so I was out pretty quickly. Of course, some other campers rolled in around midnight and decided that a race course/ campground was a great place to drink and make lots of noise at midnight. So, at midnight:05, I yelled at them to please be quiet.
Stunned silence… then some muttering, very little noise, and a patchy remaining night of sleep.
In the morning, I took the advice of commenters on my previous post and went to the Pancake Shop in Hot Springs. Damn, that was good. I went back to camp to do the last of my race prep.
10:00 rolled around, and the race was on. I don’t mind a LeMans start, and I felt well-positioned and paced during the first lap. I decided on the 2nd lap that I’d stop big-ringing (39t) the climbs and start hitting the 29 on the steeper spots in order to keep from killing myself early. Unfortunately, one shift from small to large at the top of a hill resulted in chainsuck, which somehow resulted in the chain dropping to the inside of the small ring and wedging itself in between the ring and the frame. I had to stop and muscle it out, which took what seemed like hours. As I re-mounted my bike, Laureen Coffelt and Heather Ladd appeared on the trail behind me (remember what I said about Laureen being ready to kill you if you have a mechanical? Yeah… it was like that). I rode like a scalded cat.
When I passed back through the pits, I stopped to swap bottles and grab half a sandwich. Laureen passed me without stopping. Since it was only the 3rd lap, I decided to play bulldog for a little while and stuck to her wheel. I thought I had everything figured out… then we crossed a small creek. My foot came out of my left pedal. I tried for a minute to clip back in and realized that something was amiss. When I pulled over, Laureen never looked back (well, at least not when I was watching her ride away). Heather passed me soon after. The spring in my left eggbeater was broken, and I made the limp back to the pits.
I’ve never hated myself as much as I did at that point. I’d prepped as if I was going to an NUE-type race rather than a lap race. I had tools, but no replacement parts. No one in the surrounding pit area had a spare pedal of any type. I wanted to curl up & die in the back of the Element. I made one last effort to find a replacement pedal, and if finally paid off- I found a nice man that had an unfortunate wreck and was not continuing on in the race. He was using crank brothers Smarty pedals, and offered one to me for the remainder of the race. I slapped it on and took off into the pain cave of redemption.
The next two laps, I was passing people like they were in slow motion. As I rounded the last two corners of singletrack before the pit road on my 5th lap, Heather’s rear wheel was in front of me. I passed her, made my fast pit-stop, and told the officials that I was bangin’ 7 gram rocks, and going for a 6th lap. Heather was right behind me, but eventually dropped away. The effort had landed me back into a podium spot with Pua (who had pwnt all of us) and Laureen (who I finished about 7 minutes behind).
Photos and a rundown of everything I f*cked up to follow. For now… bedtime.