Men of the DBD,
As I sit here I have a deep ache coursing through my legs. I may have pushed my tired, aging body too far. I went into the Heck with a clear notion that I may slip back into the pack. But, I vowed to take a crack at glory for as long as I was able. I rode comfortably in the lead group of what seemed like half of the field to the first off road section. Once at this section the sharp end of the race nailed it with a fury that I could not match. I couldn't believe how hard they were crushing the section. Needless to say, I was spit out the back, left to watch them round the corner that was always just ahead of me.
I lost a bottle in the first off road and then spent hours worrying about how I would eventually run out of water. In the mean time, myself, Shawn Gort, and Dan Glisczinsk (both of Duluth) joined into a fast moving rotation in an effort to close down the minute and a half gap the lead group had put on us. We worked well together taking no more than what seemed to be 15 second pulls. I could see that we were reeling the lead group back in, but it was coming at a cost. Approximately 40 minutes of hard pull after hard pull and we had them. I launched a final surge on Pequam Lakes Rd. to make the final bridge to them. We had made it! The triumph of making it back to the men who rode comfortably and securely in each other's draft was short lived as we then entered the Brimson Trail with very little time to recover from the "bridge up". Again the pace went to the moon and I found myself slipping back as I just couldn't match the effort.
I hit the sharp U-turn on the gravel after the Brimson Trail section only to have my front wheel wash out. I quick stab of my right foot to the road sent my calf into a golf ball size cramp. I watched my only chance at a re-connect (Scott Hippen) ride away from me while I tried to get the muscle to release. I was now on my own.
In an effort to save some semblance of honor I attempted to ratchet up the pace in the hopes that maybe I would catch a straggler who had fallen of the lead pack. It was not to be. The light switch that operates power in my legs had been turned off. Maybe it was the 20,000 feet of climbing a few weeks back in Colorado. Maybe it was the long hard season of 10 plus endurance races. Maybe it was just that I couldn't keep up.
I proceeded to ride the next 50 miles alone. I kept a steady pace as I crushed internal organs over miles of wash board. I tried to reflect on my year and tell myself that I'd done well and that they all can't be GREAT.
The confusion I had with the down power pole and the re-route was disheartening. I chose to spin in easy from that point on telling myself that it was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. It was.
Thanks Jeremy, as always...spectacular!
Now I rest.