The race could not have been any better. The weather was great, the trails were phenomenal. My legs stayed strong the whole day. Some of the many highlights included, running real slow to my bike and still being in fine position, riding a lap with Aaron Elwell before he had to leave for other engagements, eating a ton of Pina Colada shot blocks, the drinking contingent that always offered their support in the form of beating a cooler like bongos and smashing cans, Amber, feeling good enough to really enjoy the night laps, my parents showing up towards the end of the race, and winning.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I spend more time these days thinking, "why do I like these long events." Long races can be unbelievably hard, and on the surface are rather pointless. Sure I love riding my bike, yes riding on great singletrack is the best place to ride a bike, but all of that could well be accomplished without the undertaking of whatever Ultra Endurance race that so many of us sign up for so many times. I had these thoughts mulling over in my head somewhere 5-6 hours into the race Saturday, when I came up on a singlespeeder approaching the base of the hill. I watched him fluidly stand on the pedals, lean forward swinging the bike beautifully with his cadence through the rock strewn climb. It made an impact on me immediately. Outside the Nelson Atkins museum, etched into the stone is a quote something to the effect of, "The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real." Stuck somewhere in the poise of that rider attacking the climb I saw the ideal man, defying the laws of nature aboard his mindfully crafted machine armed with determination and skill. I don't think I will ever completely understand what it is about bike racing that I value so much. Yet when I catch glimpses of it it helps me rationalize all of this crazy behavior.