"Early morning April 4 a shot rings out in the Memphis sky, free at last they took your life but they could not take your Pride, for the Reverend Martin Luther King-sing, in the Name of Love"
Bono's lyrical interpretation of MLK's assassination.
After not very much sleep Thursday night(from 2230hrs'ish to 0215hrs) the alarm sounded my reveille for the first day Double Down to the ocean north of Charleston South Carolina. I sat up, put my kit on, walked into the kitchen, fired the water on the stove and commenced my mentally rehearsed 30 minute out the door morning routine. I was out the door into the pre-loaded Montero headed for Sport by 0245hrs, I know that is earlier than I needed to by like 30mins but after last year's debacle when my car died on the way there I could take no chances to be that guy. I pulled in behind the shop at 0311hrs and laid back in my seat listening to the BBC and sipping a light tea/honey/lemon brew in the darkness. At some time later I may have even drifted off to sleep when Dude rolled up with a grin and his big road bike. Within a few minutes there after was Jordy with the ever loving chauffeur support of Ron(he is not gay, Ron is his dad). At 0405hrs and 43F it was now time to roll out of town with the other 8(Ilan, Duncan, Matt, Doug, Paul, Lat(who told me he had voted for Team283 in last year's UXC), Chris and Ryan) riders and within a few miles we scooped up lucky 13 Dave who jumped right on. The rain, did I mention 43F rain started around then, the road was wet, it was coming down and we were not even really out of town yet. The nicest thing about the chill rain was that I was wearing regular short length bibs, a base sleeveless, a short sleeve jersey over and then a long sleeve poly. For some reason I knew that although it was a little chilly, the rain could not last long and the forecast had it being between 73-76F by the middle of the day. That must have been why I left my light weight packable gore jacket in my messenger bag at the house. I was however very happy that when I asked Dicky the other day if it were smart to strap on a fender knowing that rain was imminent he said , "Yes". Happy too was Duncan who may have found himself looking at my rear wheel for dry face support.
Still dark around 3 and a half stay alives(the distance between my house and the jar, roughly 10mi) we lost Ryan and Doug. I do not know Ryan but Doug was an original Double Downer and I have been fortunate enough to ride on three Spamerton out of the county loops with him in the last few years. Not Doug, hay sticks!! I'm cold, wet and I want to go with them but I could not bail knowing that my only excuse would be my own regret which came to me as an original thought a few days ago when I considered telling Ilan that I was out over nothing. Anyway, shivering I watched them turn around into darkness and find warmth to call their camels for extraction support. Within 3 miles of that or just over one third of a Stay Alive we as a group of now 11 stopped for the first assessment at a bumpkin store where someone found hunting gloves inside for 2.5 US dollars. As much as I wanted to drop the tiny coin I could not because I had some sweet soaking wet thin Fox Incline mountain bike gloves already on my numb hands.
Shortly there after, at Lancaster I think, we were passed by a car with a Purty Lemond on the roof just as the rain started to let off and stop. The driver was hard Corey who had over slept and decided that it would be smart to chase us down in his warm auto viper and join the ride to the Hotlantic ocean after all. Him on and in the front strong, clean and dry heading south we now made total 12 riders. Finally the sun came up behind a cloudy and drizzly sky which gave me positive thoughts of the oncoming warmth and how happy I would be when it arrived. It seemed as if the temp came up 12 or so degrees Fahrenheit within an hour of the grey sun rise.
Yea, happiness again but with affect. Just as I was warming up something happened to me that I can say I had never experienced exactly. It was light out and Jordy was on my right in the column of 2 when I stood up for power my left wrist completely gave out causing me to shiver the bars in an uncontrollable twitch at around just under 2 Stay Alives an hour. I thought I was going down and possibly taking someone else with me in a one thousand of a second but my survival instinct very much in tact took over and I gained control of my cockpit. Rolling south in the country through the green hills and pastoral farm lands of the past holding on to the present. At one point I realized we were in the same corridor that Cornwallis used to march his troops from Charleston to meet the Revolutionaries holding the hill in the center of present day Trade and Tyrone, Charlotte NC. The history here is amazing.
The peleton was just past the century mark when we, in other words Ilan made a GPS navigation check thanks to hard Corey's machine who let us know we were going in the right direction and a dirt track, that's right dirt track would be coming up on our right. Ilan and I have only ridden a few times in the trail and it has been an over due long time ago but in the middle of this, how F'n cool is 1 and a half tenths of a Stay Alive in the dirt to connect us to the next hard ball road! It was semi hard and soft sand. I think at least two riders went down in the time it took us to get through the curvy track earning themselves top crash points for the podium and the dirty jersey of the day. Back onto hardball with dirt thoughts on my mind when I felt my first Hammer stomach inconvenience that once again I had never had happen to me. Thanks to Boots' Love I had a big jug of something I had never tried but thought with love may work for me. NEVER EXPERIMENT BEFORE RACE DAY~whew, this was not a race but my stomach felt bizarre coated with my 6th bottle of 1.5 scoops of some sort of grayish brown powder. I was so used to using a very, very light Gatorade water combo on big physical efforts just like Bill Nye told me about when we climbed El Pico de Orizaba better known to the people that were there before the Spanish conquest as Citlaltepetl in 2004. It works so well that at that minute before the old I-95 bridge I wished I had never told Boots what I was doing even though he is the coolest courier to ever hit the Jar and more importantly he was just trying to help. Hammer is crap to me but then again I'm not a professional racer or any racer at all for that matter. I'm just an adventure clown who already knew what worked for himself in a physical challenge and instead of going with that norm I had trusted some plaster of Paris fabrication powder in a 55 gallon drum that came from Denver by plane with my friend Boots who ironically enough was in town this weekend with an amazing 283. Oh well, we were over the bridge and sitting in Wendy's eating transported meat and fries. I felt guilty for the waste I created which I have been conscious of for some time now back in the Jar and normally avoid as much as I can which is nothing against the problem. Plastic cup. Dammit, I wanted the tall coke and felt like I needed it, why could they have not let me have it in a wool sock or something else. I am now back on the thoughtful program even though I showed no morals over the weekend during the Toon to Toon to Toon Transfer. Next year I will do better.
Lunch is consumed. 8.5 or so Stay Alives left to go and Dude basically took control of the ride for awhile with huge pull of over 20mph while I found myself somewhere in the middle with a gut bomb of mutated flesh and 6 bottles of powder from hell churning in my gut wondering if anyone else realized what I was feeling, especially Dude. The problem with being in a long haul pace line of people is that as Ilan would later point out, "It's not about you, anymore Bill". It never really is, if you cannot keep up on this type of thing you are out, it's over and they keep going. It is better to swallow your own vomit just like I did in a 21mph nasty post lunch vurp than it is falling off the back and leaving yourself stranded. I washed the bile taste down with light Gatorade and mostly water which I switched to for bottle 7 and 8 at the lunch break. Even though the bad feeling was starting to go away these guys kept hammering and I was complaining twice verbally and once with a tacit message to Ilan. He said out loud when I first expressed my own lack of wellness that in his whole life he had never heard me complain. Hmmm, he is so smart. I need to be quiet and all will wind up alright, this shit will be out of my system hopefully by tonight and the Gatorade water combo tastes like orange tang, way better than that powder nightmare. Do not complain in front of this ride again, how could I for Life is Good.
Doubled up on the Double Down
Dirt track! First crash points?