Monday, September 19, 2005

Jammin at 'Caves -- Are You Experienced?

Photo: Mike Madcharo (sorry if I spelled it wrong :-)

What a perfect weekend for mountain bike racing! We had a great time down at Indain Caves.

Saturday's XC race was a severe hammer fest. I couldn't believe how fast Darrin, JP, Tony and Cam took off on the first lap. It may have been one of the fastest starts ever. I was OTB so fast my head was spinning. I was sliding back through the top-10, and finally was starting to stabilize my breathing and heart rate, when Matt T. comes around me and says "hey Gersib, what's wrong?" What's wrong, I think to myself, chuckling. See ya' in about 1/2 lap...

James B. and I had an awesome back-and-forth battle for 6th place for the first two laps of the race. We must've gone back and forth five different times... He'd drop my butt on the climb, and I'd descend like a wildman to get back up to him. It ended when James got a back cramp on the second lap and I was able to make the final pass for 6th place stick -- the place I'd eventually finish in.

Saturday night it got a little rowdy down by the river... I took off to sleep in a warm bed, but apparently Jesse got to practice his PR skills with the park guys -- "Yeah, those guys that were drinking packed up and left sir..." Yeah they did... Sunday afternoon.

Another absolutely beautiful day greeted us Sunday morning. I made the drive back down to 'Caves to find life just beginning to rustle in the compound. Without even ten minutes of warmup, I subjected myself to the worst type of self inflicted pain -- uphill racing. Holy shit that hurt... JP just body slammed the course and pulled off a time of 5:43 -- less than 10 seconds off the course record. Insane. He was on fire all weekend, finishing third in the downhill, and fourth in the xc. Enjoy that sweet trophy buddy!

In downhill practice, I ended up following JP down the course on my second run, and he shocked me with how hard he was pedaling on the flat/uphill sections. I quickly realized that I needed to butch up my approach to the race runs if I was going to factor into the overall running. That thinking led to an unfortunate wipeout in a loose, dusty right hand turn on my first run. It was hard enough that I bent my bike up pretty good (or bad, actually). I switched to my actual DH bike, my Stinky D, which carried me to a 1:59 second run, good enough for fifth place on the day. Not bad, but honestly, I was expecting better.

Mod flashed the trials course, winning that (very fun) event. I totally bumbled the step-up, but otherwise flashed the course for second. After Mod laid down that perfect run, it was clear that nothing except a perfect run with a time faster than Mod's would win. My haste probably got the better of me -- isn't that always the case?!

Overall it was an awesome weekend. Thanks Ryan, Roxy, Rusty and everyone else who helped put on this awesome race. As always, it was one of the most fun events of the season.

... and now it's off to work.



RustyC said...

Great wrap up of the weekend. Just to let everyone in on the behind the scenes prep for the weekend. Roxz, Ryan, and I spent many hours getting ready for the weekend before ever setting foot on park land. I actually spent a conservative 40 hours building the Sunday trophies and was totally rewarded by everyones reaction. It was exactly what I had intended and folks were pumped to compete for one on Sunday. I spent the entire Wednesday before wrapping up lose ends getting ready to leave on Thursday AM. Come Thursday AM I planned to be heading to the Cave. Well by the time I finished packing the trailer, loading the gear and obstacle course it was 7pm Thursday night about 10 hours behind schedule and I never seemed to catch up all weekend. Not exactly the 10 AM start I thought I would get. I arrived at the park at 9:30 pm. Drop the trailer and started to unload. I laid it down at 11:30 after, getting the truck unloaded, so I could meet the Pepsi distributor to pick up the Gatorade on Friday AM in Humboldt, 25 minutes away. The fog was so heavy it took me 45 minutes each way. Now I am way behind schedule. I got back to the park and started to set up the start finish "parade" lap, then proceded to dig out the two knee buster telephone poles that were intended to keep MG from rally driving Dean's van across the small bridge by the finish. Roxz and Ryan arrived around 11AM and helped to finish the set up of the registration area. After that we headed out to mark the trails. We wrapped up the course marking around 6pm but still had to work on the road crossings. Also Roxz/Ryan come back with some news we didn't need to hear. There are 2 more trees down 1 mile back into the trails, plus a tree down at the lower road crossing. Big Dean arrived about 6pm and we started laying out the obstacle course and after dark we headed out on bikes with the chainsaw packed in the messenger bad and headlamps to do some trail work in the dark, stopping along the way to fill in the "nasty rut", caused by hoofs at the lower road crossing. It is now time for some dinner at about 9pm and back to work on the obstacle course, shower at 11:30pm then to bed. I got up at 6:15 Saturday morning to have some java, then Big D and I finished marking the road crossings, set up volunteers, ran to get ice for the drinks, get more volunteers, check on Ryan/Roxz. Fred and Steve arrived and saved my A$$ by helping finish putting together the obstacle course. It is now race time. Then a course switch, more volunteer recruiting, help with timing, the cycle never seemed to ended. Everyone seemed to have a great time including myself. Exhausted but happy. My only regret of the weekend was the confusion on MG's uphill time. Less than record beating run, but none the less a good run and the official and unofficial time didn't agree. MG was totally a class act and realized it was an event for fun, and put his pride aside and just went along with it. I don't think many people would have done that after suffering that bad. Thanks MG.
We had a lot of help this weekend but it still didn't seem to be enough. Kristine (sp?) and Martin, Larry and Alex Kintner, Dickey and Fred, Mark and Anne, Don (an unlucky bystander I grabbed to help), and Big Dean, Greg Mayer, Jesse, SA and Gage. It is hard to name everyone that personally helped Roxz, Ryan and myself this weekend. I finally got unloaded at 9:15pm on Sunday night with Dani's help, but still had to return Dean's "shuttle van" and pick up my hounds from Pelz's house. Wow, it's now 11:45 PM and I am thinking about bed. Ooops, I forgot I was off work on vacation last week so I could prep for the race, so I still had an hour's worth of work to finish up before Monday morning hits. Finally got to lay it down about 2AM. What a weekend! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

mg said...

MAN! That's quite a story. Thanks for giving us the "behind the scenes" of the race Rusty! You guys were amazing in how you made everything go off so well despite all of the hang-ups getting ready.

Once again, thanks to everyone who had a hand in putting the 'caves race on. It was a freaking fabulous weekend of riding.


RF said...

Thanks, MG. It was a tough, fun weekend, very rewarding. And yeah, Rusty's efforts into this are downright inspiring.

Thanks to you MG, I got something stuck in my head. Sunday night, Rox & I are unloading our cars about 8:30, and we're so tired we haven't said much to each other in hours, and I just start laughing out loud. Rox asks me whats up, and I find myself start singing "the chiggers go marching up my leg, harrah!, harrah!" and so forth. You crack me up.

redstone said...

Good write up mg. What was the downhill course? Any cliff jumping?

mg said...

rf... thanks buddy.

davey -- the dh is the same as its been in a few years... basically the hill climb course. no dh bike necessary, but mine actually worked pretty good (on my second run).