Since this was only my third time EVER on gravel (and the other two times were on a CX bike that no longer exists), I bitched out and did the "beginner" route-- 24 miles instead of 40. From here on out I will refer to this as the "bitch" route. I have no fucking clue how they could call this course "beginner" or even "sport" class. The gravel had been graded two days ago (translation: loose, thick gravel) and us bitches started right in with the hardcores: the Eppens on a tandem, T. Gillihan, J. Kerkove, etc., etc. Actually, our course stayed with the hardcores until 18 miles in, where we turned left to do a mile-long climb on pavement while they turned right for more loose-rock torture. I say this as if I witnessed the hardcores making this turn; that is not the case. I fell off the back like dropping anchor the second we hit gravel at mile two.
This retarded course had climbs that would turn your butthole inside out followed by gum-flapping downhills-- all through quicksand made of ping-pong-ball-sized rocks. Now I may exaggerate a bit here, but there were two climbs in particular that had NO good lines and lasted for WAY TOO LONG. There were countless downhills where I could not lay off my brakes. Even Brian Eppen called the downhills "scary". I have no idea who thought of this race, but I need to go back and avenge myself. I do not recall any flat sections along the bitch route. The bitch route also followed the hardcores through a water crossing that was deep enough to wet my chain. Oh, and also my feet, after I had to stop because I was in too large of a gear.
I caught a couple of people along the way, including Todd from Iowa City (unattached) and a father and son from Free Flight. Sadly, because I am guilty of pride, I felt the need to outsprint the boy-- who was maybe twelve years old. His dad beat me, though. Whatever... he started it!
Time: 02:13:00 (one minute slower than it took the Eppens to finish the 40-mile course)
After cleaning up a bit, I came back to the cars to find Wm, Uncle Tom, and $5 Phil already at the vehicles. Phil had gone down pretty hard, and couldn't really talk, bend over, or sit. He had a lot of bloody gravel chunks on him. I gloved up and wiped down his wounds. Tom went and found his bike in the ditch (after an hour of searching) while Andy drove him to the Manchester hospital. Phil is always good-natured and ready to laugh, no matter how sucky the situation, but today he was stone-faced and obviously in serious pain. It was pretty scary. $5 Phil came away with four broken ribs.
After seeing Phil to the hospital, we were going to head to the Team Skin potluck in rounds. T. Gillihan's parents live in Manchester so it was nearby, and we were all famished. Those of us that went first weren't there for 30 minutes when we got the call that Phil was sprung from the asylum. He showed up at the potluck ten minutes later, still in pain but hungry. Such a trooper! Skin had an awesome spread, but we couldn't stay long.
Anyway, no puking this time! I think it is because I went into this with no expectations.
you keep it down, too--