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The Beatdown Ends

October 13, 2008

I had to ditch Big Tex for the steel hardtail for my second lap. It was a rough ride, and felt sluggish, but got the job done. It was a decent 1:23 or so lap, but felt longer. I felt destroyed, demoralized, and like I had let the team down. I told Jay I maybe had one more lap in me, which I should not have done. I drank a beer and hopped in bed for some rest. I was expecting a teammate to come wake me up when it was time for me to get ready for my next lap, but it never happened. Instead, I wake up and find my team gone. The team captain decided to throw in the towel and save themselves so they could do some cool riding around Moab in the morning. They went back to the cabin in town they rented and hit the hay. I decided I wanted to do a night lap and keep pushing on. So I layered up the wool and set out. The first mile or so was cold (lower 30’s) but the wool kicked in and I warmed up just fine once I hit the climbing. It was nice riding out there at night. Very serene, and it was neat seeing trail lights an base camp from certain areas of the trail. About mile 10, I came across an older female rider whose light had died. She was much slower than I, but I wasn’t in a hurry to get back, so I agreed to ride with her and light the way back to camp. She kept telling me to go on and not worry about her, but I insisted I help. As far away from the finish as she was, it would have really sucked without a light. People had helped me out earlier in the day, it was my turn to return the karma. That’s mountain biking. We made it back and I had gotten cold again from the slow pace, so I hit the sleeping bag for some more sleep and warmth.

Sunrise comes and Colleen and I walk around and get some breakfast tacos and beer for breakfast. I decide that I will finish what I started, team or no team, and do one last lap. I got Big Tex setup with some more trustworthy parts and used it for the final lap. It was all good until my seatpost broke around mile 8 where it connects to the saddle. It would’ve been a major blow had I still been competing, but I just laughed it off. Strap it to the camelback and start riding standing up. 3 miles of that crap and I was wishing I had a saddle. Then it hit me, I had a beefy rubber band around my spare tube. Maybe I could use it to hold the saddle down on the seatpost. It actually worked, as long as I didn’t bump it too hard. It got me to the aid station where some zip ties and duck tape fixed it even better. Into the finish tent I rolled with a sigh of relief. The race wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, and I hadn’t achieved the outcome I’d been hoping for. Sure, there were mechanicals, but I should’ve had better equipment for the job. I was unprepared. Not only that, but I really felt like the course kicked my ass. Even with my best lap time of 1:20 or so, the guys I needed to hang with were running 1:10’s or lower. It was a big slap in the face for yet another disappointing national appearance. But you know what, I stayed out there and didn’t quit. A cozy cabin would’ve been nice, but I didn’t drive 1200 miles to throw in the towel, and for not quitting, I am grateful. Who knows what my next big race will bring. But I will for sure be better prepared, better trained, and more mentally tough for the challenge at hand.

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