You’d think, after 43+ years, I’d know myself pretty well. But there’s something new about me that I’ve been exploring for the past couple weeks.
A giant goiter.
No, wait, that’s not it. Actually, this new thing about myself is intensity. I honestly never knew I had any in me. I considered myself 100% relaxed.
But lately, I have found I love to ride climbing intervals. And I love to time trial. And I love to drive a knitting needle up my nose using a ball peen hammer.
Hold on, strike that last one. I’m not sure how it got in there. My point is that I have found that for some reason, lately I don’t just put up with the physical pain and mental blackness that come with a maximum effort. I’ve been seeking it out.
Does this all seem a little creepy? OK, can we pretend it doesn’t for a bit, then?
For example, a week or so ago, I decided to Time Trial the American Fork side of the Alpine Loop. 10.5 miles, around 3000 feet of climbing. I did it in 53:11. Earlier this year, Mark, Sam and I killed ourselves doing this ride in about 58 minutes.
And then yesterday, I — for the first time ever — Time Trialed the Clark’s MTB climb in Corner Canyon. Now, this is a popular local TT course, with honor-system-based annual standings posted and everything.
I gave it my all. Really just emptied myself into the climb, with my usual mental narrative / inventory / inquisition looping through my skull: “Is this pace sustainable? Or am I about to blow? Is it my legs or lungs limiting my speed right now? Lungs? OK, then I can breathe harder. Can I push just a little harder and still not blow? OK, I’m going harder. No, better back off a little, just touched the edge of my breaking point. Five easy seconds to pull myself together. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go hard again. My peripheral vision has stopped working, is that OK? Yes, I think it is. I’ll hold this pace for twenty seconds. 20, 19, 18 . . . .”
Meanwhile, my mouth isn’t just hanging open. It’s stretched open. But my eyes are squinting and my ears are back, so I picture myself as grinning madly. My mouth is nothing but a giant oxygen intake device, and it is staying open. If drool needs to leak out, fine. If sweat and snot need to drip in, well, it all started in the same place anyway, right?
Fortunately for everyone in the whole world, I did not encounter a single person going up or down the trail during my TT.
I reached the top, punched the red button on my Garmin, felt the first wave of nausea hit, and then looked at the time.
I finished in 9:50, which triggers an overlay of elation on the nausea. Peculiar.
That 9:50 is good for the #3 spot (out of 55 recorded) in the 2009 results, and the #6 spot in the all-time results.
Which means the weird has happened: I have gotten lean (154 pounds today) and fast.
I believe it’s time to put this to the test.
Team Fatty: Going to 24 Hours of Moab
When you consider that Kenny and Brad owned the singlespeed division of the Park City Point 2 Point and when you further consider that whenever Rick Sunderlage and I go riding he just spins away from me, and when you finally consider that I seem to have crossed some sort of threshold, you might reasonably assume that our prospects for this division in this race are pretty good.
More important than that, though, is what I consider genuinely cool about my team: we’re all part of the Core Team. I’ll be racing with three of the best friends I’ve ever had.
And that is extra motivation, right there. Motivation to kick their butts, that is.
You know what? It just occurred to me that not everyone in the world knows what a 24-Hour race is. Well, it’s pretty simple. The course is set up to be a circuit — in this case, around twelve miles long. One person from the team races at a time, handing the team baton (a small wooden dowel) to the next teammate after completing a lap.
So you ride hard for an hour and change, hand off to the next guy, and then have a few hours to eat and relax until it’s your turn again.
And you, as a team, try to rack up as many laps during a 24-hour period as you can.
It’s a very stupid idea, and I’m excited to do it.
Help, I’m Afraid of the Dark
Here’s my problem: I do not have any good bike lights for racing. And I am going to need really, really good bike lights so that I can see and avoid all the stuff that I will otherwise crash into.
It is my fervent hope that someone out there is a honcho or knows a honcho at one of the bike light manufacturers or PR firms and has the insanely good idea that it would really be a great idea to outfit Team Fatty — one of the top two cycling blogs in America! (and I’m pretty sure Bike Snob NYC isn’t fielding a team) — with lights. If you are, you should email me. I daresay you’ll get a quick response.
UPDATE: Big thanks to Princeton Tec, which has stepped forward and outfitted Team Fatty with a full complement of their most powerful light setup: The SwitchBack 3. With a 6-hour burn time at high-beam, we won’t even have to worry about recharging. Count on our impressions of these lights after — and probably during — the race.
Also, if you’re a bratwurst maker, you might want to get ahold of us. Or if you’re Gulden’s Mustard. I would love to be sponsored by a reputable Bratwurst maker and Gulden’s Mustard. “Team Fatty, Presented by Twin Six, Powered by [your name here] Bratwurst” has a very nice ring to it.
OK, all done whoring now.
I’ve heard that there’s WiFi access at the 24 Hours of Moab. If that’s the case, then I will — when not racing or eating or doing something else — post updates on the race.
I suspect that these updates will become increasingly incoherent and angry as the race progresses.