Whew. It has been a couple days of detox from SSAZ. Detox from the sic riding, Tequila–before the race, at the comfort station, at Tequila Tree 35 miles into the race, at night, cheeseballs and pickles at the comfort station, beers, short bus, live music, etc. That kind of sounds like the start of a bad joke ” so a guy goes into a race shooting Tequila and taking slugs off a beer during the neutral roll out…” I digress…I had been in
Los Angeles selling Injinji socks and CW-X sports bras all week and finally rolled into my driveway at 9pm Friday night. Ella, my 7 year old, greeted me by jumping into my arms. High fives for the 11 year old, Lucas, and kisses for the old lady, Jodi (I think after 14 years of marriage I can call her my old lady). After spending some well deserved and needed time with the family I went to the shop and put some finial touches on the Marin Team Ti 29er. Ooooh, I forgot to mention that I bent a rim and seized up all my bearings on my I9 race wheels in January on an epic ride http://www.vimeo.com/18347815which I picked up at Gary’s house (Owner of Swiss American Bikes in Glendale, AZ) on hour 7 driving back from LA. Sooo I put the Marin Team Ti together and got the car sorted with sleeping gear, food, etc and went to sleep with a pounding head ache. I set the alarm for 4am and would call an audible as to if I was going to drive down for SSAZ 3 hours away.
The alarm went off and I got up feeling refreshed
and ready to rock. Hit up the Circle K for come cheap black coffee and was rollin to Tucson. When I got there I immediately saw some Durango crew, Chad Cheney, Jon Bailey, Doom and Devon Balet, photographer extrordinair. After some much needed catching up with Devon, I checked in with Dejay. Ya, the one and only, DeJay Birch. The only guy I know that would hand out finisher patches with his likeness embroidered on it! Love that guy! Anyways, I went to check the start list and was told I had a penalty shot coming for not showing up at the Surly Wench the night before and checking in. I pointed out that my name was signed on the sheet, obviously by a friend of mine. I made no bones about it and proudly took my Tequila shot.
The race rolled out as it always has with the passing of a beer through the pack. Last year it was Dales Pale Ale since Chad brought down the Dales RV. This year it was a classic cycling brew, PBR. As I had a Tequila shot and a couple cookies, I only took one pull. Since this was exactly the first time I had ridden this bike, I had some seatpost adjustment issues. In the beginning of the climb up…I mean like 500 yards from the start…my seatpost slipped back jamming up my seat like a 14 year olds BMX park bike. As EVERYONE passed me by the time I got the saddle adjusted, I had some work to do. So with my 32 x 21, I climbed past most of the group reaching Tofer the guy from Philly wearing the golden lycra shorts, fishnet tanktop and a beard that wouldn’t quit. I rolled with these guys for a while till the comfort station…..that’s when things got interesting..
I stopped at the comfort station surrounded by cheeseballs, pickles, Tacate, cookies, and cheeseballs. After gorging on cheeseballs, licking my fingers clean then dipping back into the cheeseballs repeatedly, I realized that I was back in last place again. Devon said he was going to start heading back to the finish and take pictures along the way for Mountain Flyer so I decided to head back with him. We started back and stopped to set up the remote flash and get some test shots. I had a great idea to make an impromptu gilly suit like military snipers use. I started stuffing tall grasses in my jersey and helmet. When I realized that I could not recreate the vision of a sniper I had in my head I asked Devon why he let me do that. We got some good pictures of Tim Allen and Krista Park and a few others. Our idea with the gilly suit was to jump out and scare the crap out of these riders in the middle of nowhere. Be forewarned Colorado racers, Devon is purchasing a gilly suit and scare you on course this season.
The rest of our ride included riding with some great folks, 2 flat tires that needed boots, Milegrosa Falls and the Tequila Tree. When Devon got his flat tire on his Racing Ralphs we couldn’t seal it so we had to take it off and tube it. Simple huh? It took us 50 minutes. First, the tube DeJay gave him was a cyclocross tube. While I was
getting my tube I took my finger off the slice. Found the slice. Got distracted, lost the slice. Found the slice. We got set up just as a couple riders were coming so we rode with them. We got to Tequila Tree. Devon wanted to get some pictures so I volunteered to take a shot. Well he didn’t get the first few photos so I took a couple extra shots. This gave me some serious confidence rolling down Milegrosa Falls. I had sooo much fun on this tech section with the Marin Ti frame. It was so predictable. I think the combin
ation of Ti and the geometry they have on the 29er is money. The ride finished with me slicing my sidewall and using the Big Air to put air in increments till I rolled in on the rim. What a finish. The rest of the night is for another post. Just think a surly wench, live music and a pro mtn bike racer getting escorted out of the bar by his face and hassled by the cops….