Monday, March 12, 2012

#Sub9DeathMarch BioTrain™ Derailment

Special Thanks to Hydrapak
You can’t cheat death, unless you ride with a friend who knows the Heimlich maneuver or carry a backpack defibrillator.  Judging from the size of some hydration packs Saturday, maybe some were prepared for anything.  Consequently, as team Grand Poobah of the BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing Death Squad, I’m beginning to rethink the BioTrain™ approach to the Sub-9 Deathmarch race in Hoosier Nat’l Forest.  Last year the BioTrain™ stoked fear in the leaders as we passed like an 8 man bobsled.  This year the BioTrain™ was as imposing as the matinee performance of “Thomas the Train” at US Bank Arena.  Three flats, a broken spoke, two wipe-outs, and a missed turn dashed our 2012 Deathmarch dreams.  For full 2012 Sub-9 Death March results click here.

Last year the BioTrain™ proved somewhat successful on both fronts.  Our 8 man gravel-singletrack-pavement eating paceline placed in the top 12 or so and gelled our team around a common goal.  This year we had fun, but only the duo of James Biliter and Nate Mirus who were driving the train at the time of the 2nd derailment, had any success.  Being strung out and regrouping after my flat on lower Combs road, a mile later the BioTrain™ came off the rails at the gate.  Dan flatted, our 2nd of the day less than four miles from the start.  Being driven by ADD, testosterone and adrenalin, Nate and Jimmy never heard the 2nd call of a flat.  The train of eight was now 2 and 6.  Despite soft pedaling on the front and hair raising riding from the rear it would never be recoupled.

A few loose rules guide the BioTrain™.  1) The train stays together until the last cemetery, Fleetwood, about eight-tenths of a mile from camp where the all-out death sprint between BioWheels/Reece-Campbell racing teams commences.  2) If one gets a flat or mechanical, we all stop.  The thinking is, the bunch will ride faster than a duo and it’s more fun to ride in a bunch.  3) The BioTrain™ is not perfect.  Rule #2 is subject to cases of the very contagious ailments of Multipleflattus, Gappingthegroupus and various hearing impairments.

Who's Got New Pearl Izumi Shoes?  This guy!
On the fun front however, the BioTrain™ is a Billboard Top 100 hit with a bullet.  Had we rode the race in pairs, the guys would’ve missed my teammate Dan Pike’s mesmerizing 40rpm cadence in a gear that would make Jens Voigt and Fabian Cancellera curl up in fetal positions rocking in the corner sucking each other's thumbs in fear.  Dan may appear to be 5’ 1” and 160lbs, but it’s all quads and hammies, baby got back.

Like a NASCAR Replay, right now all the guys are remembering the BioTrainWreck™.   Driving the train on the Nebo Trail between Elkinsville and Berry Road, still in attempt to close the gap to our two teammates a few minutes up the trail, Brian Colliers clipped a buried log right in front of me, sending him over the bars.  He didn’t stop tumbling through the briars till everyone and the caboose passed him.
Slim Jim Hand-Ups In Effect
If it weren’t for Jason Mott’s suggestion that we ask for a tin snips the next time we see the Sub-9 Scooby Doo van, I may have suffered a bit more than a severely out of true wheel and an inoperable rear brake for the last 30 miles of the race.  I broke a spoke after Robinson and had open wheel surgery just 2.5 miles later at the fire tower.  As he snipped the dangling rattling spoke, my vegan self discovered the next best thing to GU energy gels, Slim Jim’s.  Survival mode.

Had Dan and I been solo, I would’ve missed Steven Gers bedrock cracking wreck in my rearview.  On trail 14, enroute to Calahan Cemetery, like a 145 pound sandbag dropped from hot-air balloon, he hit a buried log and augured himself into the ground with a singular whomp, followed by a silence so profound you could hear the frogs croaking five miles away at Coronette Cemetery.

If you think you're fast changing a flat, imagine three guys changing a flat.  Like the “athletes” in a NASCAR pit crew, with brain surgeon precision, they danced around my bike.  While I, the flatter, dug out my spare tube, the wheel guy pulled out the old tube while the air-guy dug out a cartridge.  I handed the new tube to the air guy, who aired it up a bit and passed it to the wheel-guy.  As I stuffed the spent tube into a pocket, the wheel-guy held the tire while the air-guy finished it off.  It came together and we were riding again in three minutes.  Sometimes three heads are better than two.

If it wasn’t for Kris “Karwash’s” flat on Polk Patch which was perfectly timed with our entire bunch bombing downhill and overshooting Trail 14, we wouldn’t have had the 10 minutes for a few of us to turn around, take a natural break and..."Oh, look there it is!"...stumble upon the trail.

You know what?  On second thought, after looking at the pictures of two grown men who look like kids playing in the woods, maybe we did win.

No comments: