Sunday, May 18, 2008

I fought the bear and the bear won

hey kids:

sunday night has arrived... finally. it feels like i have been riding my bike constantly since clocking outta work on Friday night. and that's a good thing. but now it's time to give the hands a workout (by typing this blog...)

Saturday midday: Time to battle the bear. For those of you uninitiated with this non-technical, flat, fast mountain bike race... it's non-technical, flat, and fast. Saturday was the first warm day of spring, but i just couldn't believe it as i packed my race-bag on friday night. I packed arm warmers, wool socks, and knee-warmers. Then i threw in the felpe, just in case some freak snowstorm happened.

Marty and I got to the venue, and sure enough, it was 80 and sunny. nice. I pull on the chip timer and Marty does the final fitting on my new hardtail short-tracker. Soon enough, it's time to toe the line, and all my rowdy friends are there. Meaning, Dan Farrel is hollering at the top of his lungs from across a field at me as i get clipped in.

An oddly softspoken official counts us down and we're off in a cloud of dust. take that, lungs. i settle into a fast pace on the wheels of Tom and Tony Torrance, the crime fighting duo from pearl izumi. We quickly put the kenworths in overdrive and we are gone. A couple miles into the lap there was an option to roost through a ditch--down into a gully and wheelie through a mud-puddle and eject out the other side. The ride-around line was a sweeping left and across a wooden bridge. 1st, and 2nd take the left hander, Tom and Tony shoot off into the ditch. Did I mention that i have no idea this is coming, as i didn't pre-ride? Anyway, i shoot into the ditch 3rd wheel and get the first taste of mud for the season. sick. We take the first 3 wheels outta the ditch, and feel like rockstars.

Rob Love attempting low-earth orbit

Soon enough, like 6 minutes later, i feel the pain of riding 20 miles an hour on singletrack, and let a gap open. That's all it takes for some punx to fill it, and i slip back a couple minutes. Work, legs, work! I reach onto my top tube, stuff my lung back in my chest, and put the hammer down again. I am holding my own for a lap... and at the feed zone i am only 30 seconds back. The hardtail feels good as i flog it like a rented mule (thanks Dave Towle). lap two is a mental struggle, as my rear brake starts dragging and sounding like some sort of deranged canary. I stop a couple of times to fix it, and a couple of my friends ride by and ask me if i am ok. I tell them yeah, no worries, just gonna go home and fire my mechanic.

Lap 3 arrives and the canary is out of my brake, because i have it so loose it doesn't work at all. Conditions are perfect. I take a bottle from the best looking soigneur in the business, and put the the head back down. Glancing at my watch, i realize that i am on a 2 hour pace, which i calculate as being pretty damn fast... how are those punks still up the trail?

I turn the dial to 11 and it's go time. I am picking off those buddies that passed me earlier and i know that my 3rd lap will be the fastest. Maybe not having a rear brake is a good thing? I cross the line at 2h5min, a little off the 2 hour mark, but still fast enough to take 5th. Turns out i was only 45 seconds behind the Torrance automaton, so i feel pretty good about that.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! The time is 5:35am. i wake up. dammit. Scott Kornfeld and his Coalminers decide that the cat4's draw a short straw and get a 7:30AM start time. Marty and i load all the belongings that matter into the lancer and we are ripping through the sleeping backroads of boulder county. We get to the race course as it is being set up--Chris Grealish, Joe Depalmaere and Dave Towle don't dissapoint. They are erecting a start/finish scaffold above the road with a digital race-clock. pro.

As i warm up, all the fellas show up--Dave, Ross, and Ryan from FtC, Dancel from the Springs, and Lee, R.Volk, and Jason from BoCo. We discuss tactics as Lewandowski chugs a red bull for breakfast. Dancel looks smashing in the long-sleeve skinsuit. We head up to the line, and as the gun goes off, Mike takes that LS-skinsuit and puts it off the front. First lap heroics at dawn, nice! The race settles in, and all the big guns are there. i don't really know what that means, but there sure are some sketchy mooks amongst us.

Mike Dancel showing us how it's done, 1st lap style

I take a flyer after not being able to handle the come-to-a-complete-stop cornering antics of my fellow racers. However, those fellow racers do have some legs bolted to their straight-line-only bicycles, so my glory is short lived--about 47 seconds to be exact. So, i sit in the pack, enjoy the morning sunshine, and heckle some fools. Lee is looking strong, and 35 minutes in, Jason is sitting in the front where he needs to be. In fact, all the boys were rocking and getting a glimpse of the front.
Time to do work

Looking for a corner, any corner will do

The second-to-last corner on the course is a faster right hander...totally do-able at full tilt. However, due to a paving job performed by Beirut Construction, the asphalt is shredded right on the racing line. We make it through without incident for the first 40 minutes of the 45 minute race, and one would think we all have it figured out.

Someone didn't get the memo, though, and stacks it hard with 2 to go. The crash takes out my friend Roger, and another ColoBikeLaw dude. It all goes down right behind me, which is good, but right in front of all the other BlueSky'ers, which is bad. I think Lee is up with me, and we punch it up the finish straight with one-to-go. Dave Towle is on the mic, shouting out something about a runway model. The group gets around the crash and we are mostly back together for the last half of the last lap. Lee heads to the front and pulls like a John Deere, and i come around him into that 2nd to last corner. I stand up and call on the legs to sprint. The phone rings, but the legs have the call forwarded straight to voicemail. I watch about 16 people fly up toward the finish and start thinking about breakfast. Official call is Rob Love, 17th. Ryan finished strong in 19th, and we covered 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

Lee Gerakos. The man, the machine.

Hello?? Anybody home?? Bueller??

All in all, a good showing for the team--we were all there forming up at the end... now we just have to bring a sprint out of the bag of tricks.

So, the time is now 8:45am, the race is over, and i am heading with the girl to breakfast. We chow on some moderately overpriced grub in Louisville and rally down to Buffalo Creek to preview the Burn MTB TT course. For those of you not familiar with Buffalo Creek, it is the best riding you have not done yet. Go there. Now. Quit reading this. Get your bike out of the garage and put it on your car. Skip work tomorrow. It's that cool.

Bikes are cool

Girls that ride bikes are cool

Marty and I pull off a few hours in the dirt, and it feels great to have her back with me on the trail. The dirt is perfect, and we brap some things and get brapped by others. Overall, we are left with the need to ride more, but also the need to eat copious amounts of junk-food. The buzz is stoked, though, and don't be suprised if we hit the road with nothing but mtn bikes and suntan lotion and don't come back until our credit cards don't work anymore.

All photos by the illustrious Marty Caivano. Except the photo of Marty Caivano, taken by Chupacabra

Rob & Marty, over&out.


Jose said...

I didn't know you guys knew the bloodsucker! And how much riding did you end up doing? Very impressive weekend!

Turkey Dave said...

Rob! Nice job, you're a baaaad man!
You had me at "deranged canary".
Great job at 'the bear'. You cranked out 3 fast laps!

I too experienced that 'sight un-seen creek crossing' by flying solo too closely to some dudes wheel - good times - and good thing there was no suck-hole in there he he he.

Your writeups make me laugh bro!
(this made me spit up coffee this morning):
"Dave Towle is on the mic, shouting out something about a runway model"

So are you giving thumbs up to that carbon hard-tail slayer machine then?? :)

- dave k

bizalich said...

yeah, i think i reeled in about 45 to 50 miles over the weekend. Not too many, but they were hard. And yes, Dave, i think i can give the hardtail 2 thumbs up.