I like two things in cycling
beer and my chamois long endurance rides and short speedy stuff. As you know, for long endurance stuff I’m training for the TourDivide June 2013, but for short stuff I rather enjoy Cyclocross or Bump N Grind‘s short track known as Turn n Burn. Last year I was a photographer at Turn-N-Burn. I had never seen it before; it’s a 1-mile loop that goes over road, trails and a nasty climb.
It all happens in Oak Mountain’s south trail head, and it’s honestly some unbelievably painful fun. All I did last year while people were making laps was sit and salivate wishing I’d participated. Even though I knew I’d get my ass handed to me, I still wanted to do it. So I knew that this year was my year.
Bruce Dickman of ProGold was the announcer for the race. His rather large and booming voice coupled with speakers amplifying his vocal chords makes for a fun ride as he heckles you as you lap by. Because I did all the t-shirt stuff this year, I got a comp’d registration into the race. When I went to Cahaba Cycles to pick up my registration packet I noticed they’d put me in Category (Cat) 2. At most, I’m Cat4…and if there was a Cat15, I’d probably slide into there. Hey, I like to GO FAST;
that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily Speedy Gonzales.
We interrupt this blog to inform you that Scott’s Hispanic Sponsor: Patrónleum has threaten to pull funding from Driven2Divide.com if any more pictures depict mice as a fleet-footed Hispanic. They have also requested that there be a fleet-footed caucasian put there instead that does not offend people who can’t take a joke.
We’re off! Turn-N-Burn began and all you could hear was the clicks of gears, Bruce’s booming voice and people cheering
me us on. As we powered down the parking lot onto the first hill, the bottleneck started, and everything gummed up. I, of course, made the mistake of being a jackrabbit and getting out in front with the big boys, but hey for a moment, I was racing with the experts.
So recognize, bitches. I am important.
That lasted about .5 seconds as the nasty climb came up on us and the fast pack pulled away and everyone sort of settled in for the 30 minute 4-lap race. I made it up the hill and noted my heart rate was already spiked. I’m used to intervals now due to my coach having me do them all the time, so I was fine while blowing up.
Where I wasn’t fine was in the single track.
When it comes to cornering on dusty trails at lightning speed with a potential of cracking my skull open - that’s not me. I’m pretty adverse to taking corners quickly, so I’d lose a position or two every time we’d hit the single track. As the pack finished weaving around we hit the paved road again. I figured that I’d just give it my all and front-load my energy as much as possible – I gunned it in the parking lot and pushed as hard as I could to put some distance between me and this person:
Since most of my readers are local, you already know who Maaike is. For those of you who stumbled upon this blog and don’t live in the great city of Birmingham, let me give some backstory. Wales, 920 A.D.: the Fitzpenny tribe ran a small fishing community. The men were strong, the women were hardworking and the male children were handsome. They built up the community bringing families everywhere food and electricity.
It was a good time for these hardworking folks, but evil lurked just over the Netherland mountains in a town called Meppel.
The evil king of Meppel, Yao Everts hated the good (looking) Fitzpenny people and issued a war with them to steal all their fish and Internet. It was a very hard war, the Fitzpennys had to go into hiding by changing their name to Thigpen and moving to America, but they slipped through Yao’s fingers.
Yao vowed to never rest until every last Thigpen was squashed out, and until this day, we’re hunted. So you can now see why I wanted to put some distance between me and Maaike Everts. She’ll stab you in the back and take your soul!
I knew my get up and go was getting ready to get up and be gone. I held strong in lap 2, but by lap 3 I was really starting to tire out. I was trying to conserve enough to make it through the last lap and not completely give out. Even then, I was happy with what I’d done. A year ago I couldn’t have dreamed of making it one lap without passing out. As lap three ended I was pretty spent and focused on keeping a cadence and my position…which was proving to be difficult especially when I had Maaike on my tail.
As lap four came around I was hurting really bad and had slowed down a bunch. I’d lost a lot of my position; however, I’d done well by narrowly avoiding slashed tires by Maaike. The leaders had lapped me which was always a bitter pill to swallow, but I wasn’t there to be out at front, I was there to work on pain threshold and manage an anaerobic state, which I was happily doing.
But it still sucked to get lapped. It sucked a lot. It was nearing the end of the single track and I had someone right on my tail. As we hit the paved road I heard him shift a few times and ramp up. I could see his tire out of the corner of eye, and I thought to myself “GW BUSH DAMMIT…I’M NOT LETTING ANOTHER PERSON PASS ME!”
I threw my bike in the big ring and went as heavy as possible. I could hear the rubber of my tires ramping up on the road and Bruce Dickman yelling “We’ve got a sprint!” Click here for video of the sprint. I held my position and the result sheet said I held 9th in Men’s Cat 2. I was happy.
The Full Video:
In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that big of a deal. It was a race around the parking lot on a bicycle, and I beat a guy who had a bike mechanical and could otherwise dust me from one end of the trailhead to the other. But to me? It was everything. I was able to sprint and go anaerobic while completely fatigued, and I never gave up. It was also an amazing amount of fun to redline and go as fast as possible on a bike.
It’s a very amazing thing what the human mind and body can do. The times your legs want to give out, but you command them to go on with your brain. The ability to condition yourself to sustain such painful times and get through it. It’s like life, right? Pushing through a hard time, and when your body or emotional level is spent – you command yourself to go on and push through. These hard times never last, and pain is temporary. The reward for pushing through and not giving up is amazing.
My wife took pictures of both Turn-N-Burn and Super-D. Check out the gallery, and feel free to use it as your facebook avatar! [nggallery id=4]