|The perfect set up!|
Let's just get into it. Amy and I headed off to Nellisville, Wi. for a weekend of camping and racing. She'd run and ride while I just ... rode. Big Buff was going to be there racing his new Lynskey Ti while I'd bring two horses to this event, the proven Salsa El Mariachi Ti and my freshly built Salsa Spearfish. My plan was simple, ride the first 50 miles on the El M. T., then switch to the plush Spearfish for the second half.
The wild card was dealt and it wasn't pretty. As you know the entire Midwest is now in and at the time was expecting HEAT! Often times with heat comes storms. The pitter patter of rain drops began landing on the Salsa canopy around 5:30 a.m. race day. I snickered in my sleeping bag, because as you can see from the picture above, I'd pulled a fast one on ole Mother Nature and snuggled our tent under the canopy. I knew I'd be packing up a dry tent and not having to deal with the whole "set it back up" thing back home on the other side of this event, or at least that's what I thought. "Never fool with Mother Nature", remember that phrase? My snickering in the tent thoroughly PISSED HER OFF and she summoned rain that no human has seen since Noah. I mean it was "cat'n and doggin'" out there.
I checked in at race head quarters and radar reports said this was a "thin slow moving band". Yeah right! Hesitation reigned supreme as race directors baulked at delaying or possibly cancelling the race. The decision to delay seemed to go back and forth until it finally settled on a start time 1 hour later than originally scheduled. Even with the delayed start I wondered if I should even start the race, it was that wet. When I say it rained, I mean it really rained. There were huge puddles every where and it was a challenge to keep the Salsa canopy from collapsing as water gathered at the low points and began to weigh it down. I stood under it and pushed up on the roof every couple of minutes to keep it in tact.
|The babies hiding under the tarp (Amy's road bike pictured between it's protectors).|
My mind drifted back to my earlier fight with water collecting on top of the Salsa canopy. I was certain that it was a shredded mess by this point - I was bummed. Unless, just unless Amy was back there fighting the good fight. In fact, right before the race started I asked her politely, "Honey, if it starts raining again, will you try to push the water off the canopy? I don't want it to split the seams."
|Amy needs a DBD patch for what she did to save this canopy.|
|The floor of our tent. That's about 5 inches of water! Note the little mesh pocket at the back.|
The second lap was strange as we all tried to race each other again, but it just didn't feel right, not to mention we were riding in a flood. My bike began to sound terrible and it was only getting worse. Every time I shifted gears it groaned and popped like something really bad was going to happen soon.
I finished the lap a total mess, but decided I'd head out for #3. In the beginning of my third lap something happened to me that I'm sure will never happen again. I approached the huge lake, I mean puddle that I mentioned early on in the story. I decided to try a different line through it this time hoping for a successful crossing. It was not to be, my front wheel caught a rut and I was going down. You know when you pass over the point where you think it can be saved and you accept that it won't. Yeah, I was there. I threw out my left arm to soften the impact, but there was none. My arm just disappeared into the water. In a nano second I thought, "really is this going to happen?" and like a kid jumping into the swimming pool, I took a huge breath and went in. Silence encased me as I now lived in an under water world, a kind of peace if you will. "I can't live here", went through my mind, you need air. I surfaced with a gasp as mud water poured out of my helmet and down my face. I frolic'd around trying to unclip my left foot while the water lapped at my lips. I took note of how my gps was about 6 inches beneath the surface along with my left grip, shifters, break lever, and headset. "What the F***?!".
Some serious thinking started taking place. I thought about my beautiful El Mariachi Ti underneath me and all the pride I took while building it. I thought about my bank account and all the parts that would need to be replaced if I kept slogging through this, whatever it was I was doing. I soft pedaled the lap and gave the throat slashing symbol to the director when I came threw signalling that I was done.
|Both rider and bike - TRASHED!|
Big Buff on the other hand was not done. He powered his single speed to a second place overall finish and a SS win amidst a diminished field, but a win is still a win. I can't help but think that Big Buff wasn't doing it for the race, but more for the patch (DBD). As he pitted before his last lap I offered him support and in some sick way envied his filthy, destroyed being. I kicked at the dirt while some new Buff super fans went on and on about how good he was and how much they admired him. I couldn't take it anymore and I exclaimed, "YEAH, I KNOW HE'S GOOD, HE'S MY TRAINING PARTNER". They looked at me as if they were thinking, "sure he is buddy...right". I couldn't blame them.
|None of it dried.|
Good job Big Buff, I'm proud of you. And, good job to Chris Schotz who really went to battle on this one and came out on top.
|Buff "Got R Done"|