Monday, October 15, 2007

God's Country Marathon

this was posted on the Guy's Racing list-serve yesterday when I finally got around to writing about it . .

So this was the last race of the season, and when I was mapping out directions the night before I realized that it was 5 hours away. Ouch. 10 hours driving in the car by myself, and I have not made any new CDs because my CD burner is on the fritz. So as a last resort I emailed the list-serve and lo and behold Bill Nagel and Timmy D were driving up and there was room in the Nagelmobile. I jumped at the chance. We had a fun time on the way up. The leaves were changing up there and the scenery was breathtaking on the ride. I asked to hear some of the ubiquitous country music but my compatriots were having none of it.

The race itself was, as Tim said, rather boring, but I did get some pics of him in his champion jersey, looking all buff. I made the requisite burritos and we ate them with gusto after the race. During the race I opted for an easy pace as this late in the season I have zero tolerance for pain . . . speaking of which the race had 7200 feet of climbing and it was all in the first half, then a screaming downhill where you did not need to touch the breaks at all. Freakin' awesome, I don't think I have ever gone that fast in a mountain bike race.

The best part for me: on the second lap of the race Loretta Torres was behind me and after gleefully finishing the climbs and scooting happily around the ridge I turned the corner, and there they were about 50 feet in front of me, two beautiful black bear cubs in all their glossy-furred majesty. I called to Loretta to dismount and she almost had a heart attack, before I could say much she was racing her bike in the opposite direction. I told her they were cubs and to hang tight because they were scared of us and unless we saw their mama there was no need to ride away. Besides, there were other racers on the course, were we just going to leave and let them deal with the problem? I advanced toward them. They uneasily looked at me and started to walk away slowly, looking back every few paces. I wanted to get closer; I got back on my bike and started riding gingerly towards them, speaking to them in that high sing-song voice that women like to use with small children and animals. They practically cocked their heads, stopping. One of them had enough and stood up on two legs. Suddenly I realized he was way taller than me: these were not baby bears and I was hoping they were hanging out sans mama. When he stood up like that and faced me square I stopped. The other one walked up to a tree and started to climb it, glaring at me uneasily. Loretta was basically having a meltdown and asked me to stay with her for the rest of the race. (yeah right) "They are scared of us", I whispered, and started riding towards them slowly. Now I was within striking distance, about 25 feet. Undaunted, I was hoping they were going to back down. They decide I was too close and lumbered off the trail into the woods. I got back on my bike and kept on going, calling to Loretta to stay with me. She ended up DNFing, and I completed my final lap for 4th place. What a rush.

Oh yeah, back to the race: I am hoping the promoter decides to add more single track next year and I would definitely head back. I really like the marathon format and will definitely race that series next year. Right now I am taking a little break and concentrating on enjoying myself and making some coin so I can buy a 29er. For no other reason than so Bill and Tim stop telling me how lame I am for still riding the Yeti 26er.

One final footnote to my season: I have really enjoyed reading all of the race reports this year and after many races and rides with the team I am really glad to have joined this great group of friends. I hope to see all of you at the party on November 3rd. Ciao. A
Several hours later there were a few responses:
Tim Dixon: Nice report....... Lame bike!
Ed Hein: It seems Bill Tim and Big Ben form Beans all agree - When it comes to MB wheels - size does matter.
Well see when the new 29ers arrive. (note: the 29'er pro deal was not offered in size small so I got screwed)
Big Joe: world cup wins on 29er 0
every world cup win rolling little wheels
Ed Hein: Andrea, I have to ask - Does Lorretta Torres shit in the woods when she sees a bear?
I can just hear you Andrea "Crigie take a look at this black bear - she's a beauty!
Janel: The only question is... do they make a PINK 29er? Andrea might have to get a custom paint job for that! Nice race report, well done!
Tim Dixon: On second thought, Andrea if your racing world cup next year, stick with the 26er.
I love being on a big team!

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