I had the pleasure of completing this 'fun run' with not only Hondo, but Big Buff as well. Big Buff is known as Dr. Buffington in another life, but for purposes here he will be known as Big Buff. This training ride met at the usual DBD starting point of the Billy Irvin in the canal of Duluth, MN. Big Buff is on the Trans Iowa roster and is a newly minted member of DBD and rightfully so as he's capable of ripping crank arms off bikes.
I pulled in fashionably late to notice my two comrades joking and milling about in the shadows of the dormant ship. Immediately something struck me as odd in Hondo's appearance. He seemed to be wearing some type of hand made square topped head gear. No, this was not a helmet, but rather an early version of an Icelandic reindeer herding cap. I paid it no mind as it seemed to flow in the spirit of all that is Hondo. However, it should be noted that the top of this "hat" was flat giving my partner a Herman Munster look that quite frankly was complimentary. Well, before rolling out I was issued a tongue lashing and severely made fun of for a myriad of things ranging from being 30 seconds late to my general being.
Finally, we were under way in what felt like sweltering temps as my clothing began to become laden with a warm moist substance that Big Buff later referred to as sweat. He said it happens sometimes in the summer, but Hondo and I had no recollection of such an event as we only know the cold.
This ride would focus on saddle time as well as working pace line with each other of course all under the tutelage of Hondo. He demanded that we perform 90 second pulls all the while shouting instructions on technique that flew in the face of what any one who has ever had the privilege of riding with him knows to be his normal riding style. Recently Hondo took down the winner (caused him to crash) of this year's Arrowhead 135 while he clumsily fumbled with his camel back hose. I've had Hondo bang into me at least 8 times on training rides in the past and each time he cut loose on me as if they were all my fault. This day was to be no different. Big Buff and I took our whippings from the deranged one as he called us out on skimping time on our pulls, claiming we were only out front for 60 seconds, not 90. It is not known if he had any type of time piece with him.
Believe it or not, moving through our rotations began to resemble something like cycling save the constant complaining and crying form Hondo and his ill prepared fluid situation. You see, we were scheduled for an 8 hour effort totalling some where north of 100 miles and Hondo brought two water bottles or maybe it was just one with him. Big Buff and I were constantly topped off on fluids and nutrition while our instructional guru spit dust and cried foul every time we took a sip from our hoses. Of course we took this opportunity to mock and ridicule him. After all, who would embark on such an adventure with no fluids - Good Show! As Hondo toiled in the back Big Buff and I discussed what his kidneys must have looked like, raisins? At one point Big Buff accused Hondo of slipping into renal failure - I laughed.
60 miles north of Duluth on a barren stretch of Brimson Rd. it happened, the inevitable, I got a flat. I was chastised, made fun of and nearly punched as Hondo took the opportunity in front of him. I worked on the maimed wheel knowing that if I hadn't had the emotional center of my brain sucked out the previous week I'd have been reduced to tears. In a rare moment of compassion Hondo asked me if I needed an extra tube. When I replied "no", he stated flatly, "good, cause I don't have one".
Back on the road I stayed clear of him as we were riding in sketchy ice like conditions. Hondo's dehydration began to get the best of him as he attempted to balance a water bottle (his only one) on top of his unbelievable flat head, while he begged me to take a picture of it. I gave Big Buff a look and pretended I didn't hear him as he went on to yell, "Look at my shadow, Look at my shadow!", in an attempt to get us to once again notice that the top of his head appeared flat.
The 45 mile return to Duluth was uneventful except for Hondo's poor choice of bike set up leaving him 'off the back', while Big Buff and I joked about better times. 8:05 hours, 105 miles
Ridin' with Hondo. volume 4 soon to come...