Things were not looking good for me. Not good at all.
I had the longest mountain bike race of my life — by more than double of any distance I had ever raced before — ahead of me the upcoming weekend, and I just didn’t feel ready. I hadn’t really trained for it. Hadn’t really studied the course or thought about what I would eat.
By itself, that would be OK. I could go to the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow — known as “The Longest 1-Day Race” because it always takes place over the time change — and just sorta kinda put a half effort into it.
Except I couldn’t.
I couldn’t because I know myself: when I get to the line I know that I am going to have the madness of racing take me.
I couldn’t because my volunteer crew — Zach Terry and his family — were giving up a weekend to take care of me.
And I couldn’t because I didn’t want to disappoint The Hammer, who was very excited about the race.
But I could worry out loud to her. I could tell her how unprepared I was, how my heart wasn’t in it, how I could already feel my pants and t-shirts getting tight as I begin to put on the first of many layers of winter blubber.
Until finally The Hammer told me to cut it out. I was sucking all the excitement for this race out of her.
I thought about it. She was right. I was being a complete and utter Eeyore about the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow. Not because of the race, but because of my own burned-out-ed-ness. I needed to pull myself together.
So I did. I cheerfully participated in IM conversations with The Hammer throughout the day as she speculated on how many laps she needed to set as a goal:
So now you know what conversations between The Hammer and me are like. We speculate and speculate and speculate about race distances and time and effort and what reasonable objectives are.
Big Problem, Quickly Solved
Then, last Wednesday, I suddenly had a problem. Racer — of Racer’s Cycle Service — sent me a message: my beloved Specialized Stumpjumper Singlespeed (The SSSS) was in no condition to do a big race: the BB cup was loose in the frame — it looked like the carbon inside the shell had been damaged.
Needless to say — with fewer than two days ’til we headed out toward the race venue in Hurricane, Utah — I was a little bit freaked out. By which I mean I was a lot freaked out.
So I called Specialized, and they said, “Hey, you know that our shipping facility is in Salt Lake City, right?”
And I said, “Yeah.”
And they said, “Well, why don’t you come get a replacement frame right now?”
So I found the Specialized Warehouse / Shipping facility:
Where I picked up a brand-new Specialized Stumpjumper HT Singlespeed Frameset.
Yes, that’s right. From discovery of problem to having a new bike frame in hand: under two hours.
Yeah, I know that’s not typical (for one thing, I live remarkably close to the right place to pick up the frame; for another I happened to be in SLC that day anyway, so was even closer).
But I’m still going to give major props, kudos, and huzzahs in general for taking care of me like that.
So I took my new frame over to Art Dye Park, where — very conveniently for me, since this park is about three miles from my house — Racer was entered in a cyclocross race. I gave him the frame and he promised he’d build the bike up for me on Thursday, so I could pick it up on Friday on the way out of town.
And sure enough, the next day I got photos from Racer as he built up my bike:
I was back in business. In fact, I’d say it’s safe to say that bike-wise, I was even better off than I had been before.
Incomprehensibly huge thanks go out to Racer, for — once again — staying late at the shop and taking care of me. Racer’s been a great friend and mechanic for me for — I’m guessing here — about fifteen years. There’s a reason I happily travel more than twenty miles to go to his shop.
What to Eat?
You would think that, having recently done the Salt to Saint race, The Hammer and I would have the “What should we eat when we’re riding continuously for more than a full day?” question answered.
But you would be wrong.
In the absence of any food strategy whatsoever, we went to Costco, hungry, and asked ourselves the same question, over and over: “What would be really good to eat when we’re really tired and have been riding for, like, fifteen hours?”
Our answer was, pretty much, everything. Including, but not limited to:
- Barbecued Chicken
- Chicken soup
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Rice pudding
- A vast multitude and variety of pastry
- An inexhaustible supply of Red Bull
- Even more Coke than Red Bull
- Tortilla chips
- Two tubs full of Nutella, each of which is large enough to drown either a collie or your sorrows
- Bananas, basically acting as Nutella-delivery devices
- Dried mangos
- About a gallon of trail mix
Many, many of these things would be scorned during the race, which even now is unfathomable to me; how is it possible that I don’t want to eat when I’m racing? I love eating, and I love all these foods.
By Friday afternoon, we had purchased enough food to feed a family of four through the end of the decade, and we had four singlespeeds ready to go: Specialized Stumpy SS as our primary bikes, Superfly SS as our secondary bikes.
It was time to head to Frog Hollow and ride.
And ride and ride and ride and ride.