Sunday, March 13, 2011

Race #73: Jimmy & Nates' Death March to the Core of Evil

Yesterday 8 members of the BioWheels/Reece-Campbell team converged on the Hoosier National Forest to compete in Sub 9's Death March. The premise of the Death March is simple and brilliant — there are 9 cemetaries in the Hoosier Forest, the first team of 2 cyclists to connect all the dots via trails, gravel forest roads and roads on whatever type of bike are the winners.

Jaden and Joe mulled over maps for the week leading into the event. They came up with a very solid course that should deliver us to the finish line with very good times. Also, we planned to ride as a team — a CX team time trial! This put a lot of added pressure on a lot of us, I've always liked off-road bike racing because every rider competes for themselves — because I worry that a poor performance or a crash by myself could potentially hurt the teams' time or worse hurt another team member.

So the start was pretty fast and furious and our 8 riders were spread all over the place! We were really gunning it! I turned myself inside out to pace some of my teammates up to the front Bio-riders. When we made contact I pulled to the left for a break and for the first time ever I physically vomited from the effort! I think Bjet's homemade blueberry wheat muffin that I ate 10 MINUTES before the start may have been a bad idea!

We were together for only a few minutes when the Karwash/Collier BioTeam South duo got a flat! We chose not to wait as the first cemetery was just ahead and they might be able to catch up there. But we didn't see them and perhaps the flat was worse than expected. After about an hour of hard riding Ole Gersy was starting to look fatiqued — an illness had plagued for the previous week and he wasn't his speedy typical self. The Mott/Gers duo had to bail. Then there were only 4! And only a short time later Joe got a flat as well! The gravel roads were taking their toll on our bikes and our bodies.

One of my favorite things about competition is that I believe it reveals the unlimited potential of humankind. Racing has transformed me as a person and has helped me overcome my fears and inhibitions. I am pretty scared of heights, being near a railing or the thought of falling can actually paralyze me! I have been to Paris twice and have not yet been on top of the Eiffel Tower and I DNF'd a climb to the top of Gaudi's Sograda Familia in Barcelona. So it was required that both team members climb a fire tower and have their pictures taken. I sucked it up and got through it! The old structure swayed and creaked but the view from the top was worth it! Here I come Eiffel!

Mott rejoined at the the Fire Tower — he would be along for a fun ride, just tagging along and not taking pulls. And speaking of unlimited potential: Karwash and Collier caught back up to us looking fresh and fast. As a team we hit the lovely trails to hit Callahan cemetary. Man, the trails were really beautiful! I can't wait to ride there again.

I just drank my last drop of water with 15 miles to go. I was low on calories and hydration and worried I wouldn't make it to the end. Suddenly Sub 9's Ron Burgundy van pulls up filled with beer, water and Clif Bars! Thanks to them I didn't wither away out there!

So we were probably only a few miles from the finish. Jaden got a cramp and had to slow up for a sec. THERE WAS BLOOD IN THE WATER. We mentioned when does it become uncivil, when do we race for the best sub-team times. But part of me wanted to roll in as a united front with Jaden & Joe getting the best placing as a thanks for the organizational brilliance. On a hill just before the end Nate and Karwash were going for King of the Hill bragging rights. As a lark I gunned it to come from behind — and suddenly this was perceived as an attack. Nate and I were suddenly pitted against Karwash/Collier. We chugged up the hills and it appeared that we had dropped them. But the day's efforts had taken their toll and as we crawled up the final hill Karwash and Collier rejoined and we took it into the camp with a sprint finish! Karwash and Collier took it at the line! Perhaps it was a bit unclassy to attack the homies that we owe a debt of gratitude — I see some untimely mechanicals in my future!

Thanks again to Jaden and Joe for orchestra the BioTeam's diabolical plot. It was so fun to race as a team and I really think with a few tweaks and streamlining we're gonna tear up next year's race. The results aren't posted yet but I think all of us are in the top 15, not bad out of 98 teams!

Great job Sub 9, brilliant race with a beautiful course! Thanks to the Ron Burgundy van I made it to the end.

10th Place:
Total Time: 04:29:00; with Time Bonuses: 01:14:00

11th Place:
Total Time: 04:29:02; with Time Bonuses: 01:14:02

12th Place:
Total Time: 04:30:00; with Time Bonuses: 01:15:00

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