Woke up on Sat less nervous than usual. I'll just ride my own ride and see how it goes...what a crock of shit! If it's a mountain bike race my old reflexes kick in and it's throw down and then damage control. Didn't work so well on Saturday. We saw a large crowd for this event, +/- 60 people, even a few super-sufferers on 1 speeds. A good showing of the ladies as well, including the dueling dynos Cathy and Sara. I knew this would be a memorable Grasshopper with much suffering; just hoped I would make up Bummer Peak. This loops always works me over once we head towards Liberty Glenn and Sat was no exception. Last years strategy worked well; get a good start on the single, climb in my granny to not blow too soon, and rip the rolling sections, so this was my game plan. Strangely I found myself attacking the group into the start of the trail when Glenn and Shane came by me. Okay, good company I thought, like the old days for me. Then I passed them on a rolling section and had hole shot, a romantic but short lived experience as they passed me again on the first climb. Soon to catch me was Roger who was apparently a little "pissed off"(pun intended) and ripping. Soon came Chris B. I settled in to cruise and it took about 10 minutes to get my heart rate under 1 million. George caught up for a while and gave me the traditional "I'm not feeling good today" disclaimer before passing me. Up and down and round and round...K.B. and later the Big Cheese came by as I fixed my stuck chain. I was carrying three bottles and a fourth in my jersey. Six GUs and two Luna Bars were my fuel source but I think I needed something special. With two short rides in my legs since the King Ridge Grasshopper I was at least well rested. I began feeling cold chills early on, not a good sign. I've always felt that the word "epic" should be saved for rides when you're not sure you going to make it home the same day you started, or have something happen like laying fetal position in a creek, desperately trying to lower the core temp. Sat was epic for me. I was alone all day, unless you count all the voices in my head. I knew everyone was suffering and I just hoped I could pull this off. The communication between the pilot and the engine room was full of static and every exposed section was a blow torch to my head, splothchy and blurred vision. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Middle ringing descents that I usually rip in my big ring was not a good sign. Finally Bummer Peak, only five riders ahead of me...Mount Everest without oxygen, food or water. 15 minutes of misery or 15 seconds to bliss? Sat down, drank, got passed by Cameron and Patrick. Into the lake it was! The crux was the boaters parked at the bottom, casually floating, looking relaxed. Man I must look stupid to them, not that I care. Took a soak but afraid to swim (drown by cramping) probably the most satisfying swim of my life. Cameron joined me, then Dan B, then Rick. Jason M tried to but was cramping too bad to walk down hill. Suited back up 2o minutes later to tackle the climb, a little rested, a 90 bottle of water to suckle. Climbed half way, cramped. Couldn't ride, couldn't walk. Luckily no one was chasing me, I would have been easy prey. Limped to the top to round out the top 20. One for the books.
Shane ripped up the men's field for the overall win over Chris B and Sara P. came from behind to beat Cathy. Great effort all and thanks to Kim for the water at the finish