Back to Archive

In which Henry bitches about some little thing. But what else is new?

So Saturday was the (5th annual) Ashton Hill Hop. Which I entered in the "fun" class - as opposed to the "pro" class because I'm sure I'm not a pro - because Kim tricked into it and then took off for Boise, but I've probably bitched about that enough.

Super Dave called me Thursday night wanting to arrange a carpool up to Ashton, but I bitched about how I don't like my new racks and he said, "Whatever you are into, man," and hung up. So I didn't carpool with Super Dave. But I did see him first thing when I got there. We sauntered over to the registration table together in that relaxed athletic way we have, and picked up our nice maroon t-shirts. Woo-hoo.

Then two tandem crews from work showed up. Don & Dalene and Dave & Kaylyne. Ok, so Dave doesn't work at Argonne. Strangely enough, both pairs had matching bikes: Don & Dalene had Yetis, and Dave & Kaylyne had Kleins (Kaylyne has a road Klein too, Dave a Kestrel). The wives had to make do with non-suspension bikes, though.

We are all hanging out at the start. It is announced that the pros will go first, including the three women, and then two groups of fun riders, fun-racing and fun-just-really-for-fun, separated by one minute apiece. I correctly stage with the fun-racing crowd, in the front row even. Between Don and Dave, with Super Dave on the other side of Don. What cameraderie.

The start occurs. Don motors away, dropping me just as I am dropping everyone else. Well, almost everyone else. It's flat for a bit, then the climbing begins. By the way, this course is entirely jeep trail and gravel roads, no twisty singletrack at all. There is a patch of six-inch-deep dust, which I become squirrely in and do a one-legged dismount. Dave (not Super Dave) chuckles by. I pass the most attractive of the female pros, after about a mile. Should have stopped to talk with her. Yeah, I could have said, "Excuse me, but I thought you were a pro? How come I am kicking your ass up this hill?" She would have been overcome with lust. The course changes from the gravel road (with occasional dust pits) to a very seldom-used jeep track, if the bumps are any indication. It is much like riding over furrows in a plowed field, and it continues for the next, oh, ninety million miles. There is a slight climb as well, and since I luckily pumped up my tires so as not to flat I am only able to maintain any sort of speed by standing. I stand a bit. A couple total freds on zero-suspension bikes (but they are lighter and have lower tire pressures, I will bet money) pedal calmly by. Super Dave catches up and we moan about the bumps together, then I drop him again.

Eventually the bump torture ends, giving way to a downhill sandy road. Not my specialty, and again somebody goes by. But I managed to drop the freds on the last part of the climb. Don appears, on the side of the road bent over his chain. He snapped a link, and waits for somebody to come along with a chain tool. Alas, all I have is my pump. The downhill comes to an end, emptying onto an honest-to-goodness gravel Forest Service road. I sing a merry song as I blast along in time-trial mode, passing people for a half mile or so until the next hill rears up. After the hill come more forest service roads, ups and downs, lots of sharp turns. Somewhere in here I realize that I am not really racing, just sort of keeping pace with some guys a few yards in front of me. So I start racing again, and of course drop them.

There is a long, not terribly steep downhill section through a forest with a little detour around a fallen tree in the middle, which Super Dave had warned me about as well as the race director in the pre-race meeting. One more bozo goes flying by me on the downhill. Kind of like running. The forest ends, and I glance back going across some hay fields. Rather close behind me is Don. Got his chain fixed, I guess. He is pretty strong. I proceed with slightly less caution across the rolling fields on a dirt road (one more dust pocket successfully negotiated) and find myself on an actual paved road. Time-trial mode once more, which goes to full Beer-Bike mode when I see the finish ahead. I go by a couple guys. Don does not go flying by me.

I am not able to catch in time, and end up finishing ten seconds behind, the bozo who passed me on the forest downhill (I think it's him, anyway). He sits up as he crosses the finish and starts looking for a place to park his bike. Meanwhile I am still closing fast, having sprinted right to the finish. He sees a good parking spot and hits his brakes, turning right into my path. Not looking behind him, though I could swear he looked back right before the finish. Instead of slamming into him like I should have (serve him right) I lock up and swerve into the narrowing gap between him and a pickup. It's too narrow, especially for me sideways on a bike. I do some sort of cartwheeling gymnastic dismount, bouncing off the side of the pickup, in the process spraining my thumb, dirtying my right shoulder, getting a small cut on my finger, scraping my saddle (sob), punching myself in the calf with something like an axle end, and apparently stepping on my rear wheel.

The bozo says, "sorry dude, didn't see you," and luckily I refrain from any choice remarks at high volume because then my mom and little sister come over and start fussing over me, along with an emt who wants to give me lots of water and a bandaid.

There I am, dusty and sweating with a bandaid on my finger and a tweaked rear rim. And only two hours until the award/prize drawing, which I learn will have no food available this year because of last year's lackluster sales. I wander over to the finish, and observe that I have been written down in eighth place, once they figure out that I am the finisher whose number they are currently missing.

Mom and Laura are long gone, so I stand around for an hour, bitching and sucking kool-aid (or powerade, or some punch-type-drink) before availing myself of the free complimentary shuttle back to the start area, six miles away. Which shuttle turns out to be a short-box Chevy pickup, with six bikes and four people in the back. So that's fun.

I get back to my car, curse that bozo some more as I put up my bike, and wander down to the riverside to wash some dust off. Don & Dalene, Dave & Kaylyne arrive on their bikes, and invite me to share their food at the park (site of the award/prize drawing). They really have to twist my arm, since I didn't even bring any Newtons. Which would have gotten hot and squishy in the car, anyway.

This is rapidly getting off the biking topic, but I might as well continue, since I have gone this far. I find Super Dave at the park, and everyone else joins us there under a tree (Don & Dalene bring along their four kids). I munch a couple of PB&H sandwiches, and finally they start handing out stuff and announcing winners. I win another water bottle, with blurry Pocatello bike shop logo. Super Dave wins a bottle, to replace the one he lost when his cage broke in the race. Don wins a cookie jar. Dalene wins some gloves. Kaylyne wins dinner for two in Island Park. Dave wins something. Then results are announced: Dave wins overall fun class; Don wins age group; Super Dave gets second in age group; Kaylyne wins age group; Dalene second in age group. Looks like I am in the wrong age group, same as everybody who finished ahead of me except Dave.

The fun at the park finally ends. I decide to drive to Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, since they are only 20 miles away and I haven't been there in a while. I do so. Oooh, waterfalls. I go home. I find a new _Car and Driver_ on my bed and waste enough time reading about the new GTI VR6 before playing with my rim that it is too late to take it in to the shop, which is closed on Sunday, of course. Sucks to be me, and I stomp around the house the rest of the weekend, not helped one bit by the heat of the day or the Sunday thunderstorm which required closing windows to retain the heat of the day and also knocked out our power for over an hour.

I still haven't seen _True Lies_, and am really in a mood to see things blow up now. Dad wants to see it too, but I don't want to go with him. I want a girl. Now.

So today after work I will take my wheel to the friendly bike store and see how much they are going to overcharge me for a rim & rebuild. The rim is already $54 from Colorado Cyclist, so I'm guessing like 80 bucks if they have a rim. If not, maybe I will overnight one from CC which would make it over $60, but I could also get a Silca track pump then to replace my piece-of-junk Zefal with the screw-on presta adapter. Why not. And of course the wheel has to be ready for a Friday pre-ride of the White Knob Challenge in Mackay. This one Kim has promised to enter.

Was that enough bitching? Oh, more than enough, I'm sure.

And now to comments: Alan, did you get the Merlin after all? I will have to ask Kim about her Oklahoma travel plans, but she does like the glitter of bright lights such as Boise's. Which reminds me, I must go whine to her and repeat all the above bitching. Maybe I could just forward this to her. She would be liking that.

later, hah