where do I start?
ok........the day before
I call my LBS to see if my new wheels are complete. They tell me that are finished and I can come pick them up. I get to the LBS and they tell me the yellow stans tape is still setting that I have to leave the tubes in for 4 more hours and then seal them. I let 5 hours pass and take the tubes out - fill the tires with stan's fluid and then pump up the tires. The rear tire inflated without a hitch. The front tire fill up and the tires seated in the rims but fluid kept leaking out around the valve. Upon furthur inspection, the LBS had ripped the yellow tape where the hole is that the valve goes through and it was leaking around the valve...I now have to unseat the tire from rim, and try and get out as much fluid as I can. Put a tube back in...inflate and clean up a nightmarish mess from all the juice. At least the rear tire is holding air. I cube some melon and fix my bottles for the ride the next day. I then get a text message from my team mate (MKsandoz) saying "my rear shock is shooting grease and gunk out of it and is not operational....we have gone over the maps and prepaired for this ride...pre-road the course in 23 MPH winds and freezing conditions....statigized as much as we could for the unknown "game" and all these problems start happening.
I go to bed at 11pm - wake up to load the car at 5:15
get everything loaded....get ready to load the bike and....the rear tire is low on air. I am not that concerned because most of the time a stan's setup with do that a few times before it gets a good seal and all the small holes in sidewalls etc are sealed.
I go pick up MK who tells me he pumped his shock pull of air and locked it out and is hoping it holds up for the 10 hour event.
We go early to Ocala and go hide a cooler full of water and food so that we don't have to carry as much with us on this 50 plus mile race that we are still unsure of what holds for us.
we go to the campsite where we are going to start and have a riders meeting. we get handed a paper with our first task....it is a plus 20 mile time trial through single track - we are starting at 2 minute intervals and there is a bonus for being the fastest team.
I look down and there is Stan's fluid on my rim....I am thinking that the yellow tape didn't have time to set and I am worried...I tell Mike that I have to ride to my car and change the back wheel for my old wheel (with a heavier tire and tube and a less good rolling tire than I wanted for this race) we have time to do it as long as they don't draw our name out of the hat to start the time trial first.....they reach in and ...."jenkem express" Crap!!!! we have to start our time trial with a rear wheel change.
the countdown happens and we take off......race to my car...unlock it and change the wheel...the second team to go out passes us before we get out of the parking lot. we quickly pass them back and set in to a decent pace. mikey is excited and pedaling like a mad man...I am trying to keep up and have to tell him I can't ride 10 hours with a heart rate over 175 BMP...lol
he let's me lead and we ride out through the santos side...then to the vortex...then through spider kingdom....we are still out in front and haven't been passed yet. half way through spider kingdom, "ebony and ivory" (treadlight and rob roberts) caught us and then for some strange reason backed off....we come to a fork in the trail system and I see them jet the opposite way that we went. "haha - they took a wrong turn" so I thought...later I would find out just the oposite. Next to catch us was two SSers (BAMFers) right at the point where you cross the road to the land bridge and then another team passed us going into Nayle's Trail. MK said for me to let them go ahead a bit - he had a plan.....we then took the return route from the epic going out...this was shorter and stayed within the rules of having to ride single track...we then crossed another road that led to this long double track limestone road....MK and I put our roadie skills to use and put the hammer down....we see 2 riders ahead of us and it was the SS guys struggling to make decent time on the 2 track...we knew the other group that passed us was still in Nayles....we needed to pass the SSers to get back into the lead...we also had to gap them by 4 minutes because it was a time trial and we had a 4 minute head start...I am killing myself mentally for the tire fiasco now. That could cost us the first task of the day....the time trial. Just as we catch and start to blow by the SSers...the limestone turns to sandy...grassy 2 track and they pass us back...no big deal...we will settle for 2nd..so we thought we start to hear cowbells cheering the 4 of us in....I am feeling great we are in the first group to arrive -WRONG!!!! the wrong turn that ebony and ivory took was actually the best route and got them there FAST...we now check in and I am spent from a grueling time trial and we are only 2 hours in....8 hours to go.
we are given a choice....this is a points race after all. there is an empty beer can on a rock 20-30 feet away...you can take 5 throws with a rock to try and knock it off for a bonus point or you and your partner can ...drum roll...
chug 5 beers in 10 minutes...WHAT?
8 hours left in the ride...already tired...nobody would do that
ebony and Ivory missed on their 5 throws
the SSers miss on there five throws
I look for some good rocks and MK says..."hell no - we are chugging the beer!!"
like a complete fool I agree...on the condition that I do 2 and he does 3
we start...I get one can down easy....the second is not so easy.....I manage though...2 minutes left...MK has 1 unopened beer to go...he pops it open and is doing great...then gets a look on his face..um...I had to help finish it off....we did it though
WE ARE IN 1st place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
we then get handed a list of tasks...all sorts of things from getting piuctures with signs around the park to filing riding skills and gett strangers to film us
we load back up the bikes and head to our hidden stash off food...we need food in our beer filled stomachs....quick...lol
along the way there is a horse watering hole...one of the tasks is to film a member of the team bathing in a horse water thing...we get the photo and move on
we get to the cooler and get some food in the stomach...we are now both drunk and hot but the food is nice
we refill our waters and replace our empty sport drink bottles.
we head off to the next task...to get a pic sitting on the big concrete blocks...MK knows a short cut...so we pedal away to get to the destination....mikey gets in a daze and takes off and leaves me weaving back and forth across the trail....he realize this and waits for me...we grind it out for miles and then we get to the 49th Ave underpass.....oh no....we missed the turn to the shortcut...3 miles in the other direction....we stop and decide of those points are worth it...we have a time limit on the tasks (15 or more of them left) we are in the lead at this point and don't want to give it up....we ride back 3 miles - get the pics then get back on trail (6 mile mistake....) I am starting to feel better now...MK ...not so much. We get back to 49th Ave and there is a task that says take picture with the 49th street sign (we were told to follow the instrustions litterally and not to deviate from what is written) haha...they tried to fool us and write street instead of avenue..it is a trick. we record a video by the 49th ave sign explaining that we did what we were told and took the instructions litterally.
the next task was to film a rider riding up the landbridge hill in the big ring - we knocked that out - the next task....take a picture sitting on a toilet in spider kingdom...we looked all through spider kingdom for a toilet that had been removed...so nobody did that task.
next was the vortex...we had to take a video of a rider riding the jumps and there was an extra point for getting good air - pics of the cave in vortex - pics of sitting in the passanger car in vortex..and here is another important task...we were to ride a wall that gave specific instructions....this wall was closed off with a tree and nobody completed this task (this is important later as well.)
we also found a gentalman that was nice enough to film us doing another fun task...we both had to ride on the same bike at the same time....all that was left were some easy signs and a pic on top of magic mountain....we get all of our tasks done and head back to the finish
we are met with cowbells and cheers
we sit down and they tally up our points...we are in first place.
2 more teams come in after us and we still are in lead...they don't ahve as many points as us.
there is only 1 team left out....the SS team.
we beat them to the finish on time (this is the tie-breaker in case of a tie)
they sit down and start adding up the points
Brett got some sweet air on a jump and they got 2 points for that...this means they are tied with us because they were 1 point behind for not chugging the beers.
here comes the controversy.....part 1 49th ave/str
we were told to take the words on the instruction litterally that we didn't get points if we didn't follow directions to the "T"
the instructions said take a picture of 49th street...this task was completed by NO TEAMS...yet the SSers were given credit for taking a picture with a sign that was not the 49th ave pic in the directions or the 49th street that it said...in other words if you go by the picture...wrong sign...or the words...wrong road totally
so without these points, we are still tied for the lead
next was the riding of the wall....nobody did this....there was a specific wall that had instructions on where it was, however this wall was closed off by the trail bosses. The SSers (brett) road down a wooden ramp to the jump area which was completely sick and incredible...but was not a task that was on the points sheet...they were also given points for this...without these points, we are stil tied for 1st place with all teams done....what is the tie-breaker for a tie? we finished first so we are the winners....or not...it is a bitter pill to swallow knowing that we followed the guidelines exactly how we were supposed to just to have the rules change after the game was already over. I had a great time but I am feeling a bit of disappontment today from knowing that by the rules that were set...I should be holding a trophy right now.
There was much to do about following the rules and if they weren't follwed exactly that no credit was to be given....I guess that was all lip service
final thoughts...I didn't do this ride to win a trophy of get some kind of glory...the winning was in the adventure...in cometing...in working together with a partner
It was one of the best times I have ever had on a bike and I would gladly jump at the chance to do it again..I am just not going to take the game serious next time....that way I won't be disappointed if it isn't won....I do think that all that competed won from the experience. Karlos did a wonderful job giving us a great experience and want to completely thank him for the journey.
I want to thank MK for putting up with my slow pedaling...equiptment failures and poor drinking skills...it was a pleasure riding with you.
OH yea...MK did have a flat along the way somewhere in there that we had to deal with too...this is just the tip of the iceburg that we had to go through with this event....next time NI invites you to join one of his adventures...you better jump on the chance...they are great