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.. . took me long enough to read and digest (burp!) this. Next up: Manny's cliff notes of "War and Peace" (I think I'm sufficiently warmed up now)

> > I'm sure you have all been eagerly awaiting this lastest report. Well, I would hate to disappoint anyone, so here it is, in easily synopsizable form.

Uuuh. . .

> > So there was this fresh mountain bike course. I raced as a Sport, for which I had to purchase a full-year (probably expires in December) NORBA license for $29. Since I have thereby now conceded that I am stuck in Idaho for the forseeable future, I might as well get a USCF license too, right? And a new bike. I may have mentioned this before.

I got reamed for a NORBA licence and might get reamed again for a USCF license.

> > Back to the story line, or what passes for one. I could have done the beginner course for only $3, the cost of a one-day license. But that would be sandbagging, or so I was told by Super Dave. I saw both Jim and Super Dave in the race; I guess I should sort of describe it in a chronological fashion.

Dave, the stud, told me not to sandbag. So, I got reamed. That Dave, he always knows what he's talking about.

> > According to the newspaper article from Sunday, over 180 riders showed up for the Challenge. But about 20 were non-racers, like 30 Experts, 50 Sports, and about a million Beginners (or maybe 80). Further subdivided into categories by age and sex, naturally, but I shall fully delineate those later in the narrative. There were a great many CamelBaks in evidence, and even a few Kleins. What a surprise.

There were a lot of people there - mostly beginners, of which I was not one.

> So the Experts started first, then after a minute we Sports were released, then the Beginners were unleashed after another minute. As I think I mentioned in the last biking-related message, the Experts did a lap and a half, Sports exactly one lap (of course) and Beginners took a short cut before the really nasty climb a little past midcourse. Or they were supposed to, but some vandals in the night stole the sign at the split point. And no this-way-that-way director was sent there because it was the most well marked critical point (I saw the big signs on Thursday) but nobody rode the course (even on, say, a motorcycle) before the race started a little after eleven. Well, it was the IF Ski Club's first bike race. Perhaps they will learn from the experience.

The promoters sucked.

> > The first two miles was a climb up a dirt road, and after staging in the second row (oooh) I sprinted a bit, ending up slightly behind the leaders when we sat down to grind up the hill. I passed a few more people, including maybe an Expert or two, and then near the end of the climb a few people started passing me. The course goes to singletrack, and I stepped out of my pedal on a uphill, letting a few more people by. But at this point I am more interested in finishing the race without ingesting rocks in any orifice than being really competitive. I am satisfied with my climbing performance, and take it pretty easy on the singletrack since I know there are plenty of rocks lurking in the bushes wating to grab wayward pedals. The course comes back to a dirt road, and several people stacked up behind me in the singletrack jump past and sit in front of me generating dust. Buttheads. Another singletrack section, and the field is stringing out enough that people aren't breathing down my neck on singletrack any more. I go across a bridge with a nasty drop and rack myself on the seat trying not to endo. I ride slowly for a while, and Jim goes by, saying something about I didn't have to wait for him. Perhaps I will get him on the next climb. Perhaps. Nearing the second bridge, a much newer and better bridge, Super Dave appears behind me. We exchange greetings, then his chain falls off again or something (it fell off four times) and I don't see him again until the race is over. I chase Jim up the next dirt road, gaining a little. We make a turn to the nasty logging road where the beginners are supposed to take the shortcut. I don't see the sign anywhere, and mention this to Jim as I go by him up the hill. I end up walking the steepest part of the climb because I can't maintain traction. Something about 24x24 not being a low enough granny, or too much loose dust, or tire pressure too high. It seems one needs bigger cogs in racing because one might be more tired than in a preliminary ride of the course. But hey, I walk up faster than I was grannying and nobody passes me. In fact, when I get back on the bike I huff up behind an Expert of the female persuasion. She offers to let me pass, but I tell her she will be faster than me on the next downhill anyway. Sure enough, the course levels off (or goes past level to a downslope) and she disappears. My downhill cautiousness continues, and I don't really see anyone until Dad and little cousin Trey appear by the trail on the ski slope just above the finish. Dad asks how I feel. I tell him I'm a little tired. I proceed down the ski slope to the finish, passing a long-haired wanker walking his bike. He was making snide comments at the pre-race meeting. Well, I was too (as usual) but mine were more amusing. At least Jim and Dave thought so. Jim and Dave are cool.

I'm hammering, then I rack myself on my seat (doohhhh!). Dave may be a stud, but his bike sucks. Some parts of the course were too steep to ride. Thus, I walked the bike. This happens sometimes in the sport they call "mountain-bike racing". I got behind this def female that I could've passed, but I stayed behind her to check her out some more. Jim and Dave laugh at my jokes. Repeat last sentence in original.

> So Dad said I finished in about 1:28, and I hadn't bothered to start my timer so I didn't really care. My goal had been met, i.e. finishing in one piece. I put my bike up on the orangemobile and went back to the lodge to partake of more cold fluid replacements, as this was about 1pm on a day when the temperature would hit upper 90s. No wind though, pretty much a great day. Jim needed a ride, so I consented to hang around until the last door prize was given away since he wanted to stay for that. I guess the ski patrol is pretty tight with the paramedics and fire department (Jim is Dave's ski patrol buddy, remember) because Jim was lounging on the shaded porch of the ski patrol building with the LifeFlight chopper crew. Together we lounged over to lunch at the lodge, which was a baked potato - hey, this is Idaho, remember. The chopper crew, having had their free lunch, took off to get cool since they were wearing Nomex jumpsuits. Jim and I lounged around in the non-air-conditioned lodge (well, why _would_ you put air-conditioning in a ski lodge?) until the results were posted. Then we went and perused them. The full subdivision of racers into all the categories was quite bewildering, but I eventually managed to find myself, listed 11th in a field of 30 or so Senior Sports. Four places ahead of Super Dave, who was long gone to a softball game by that point anyway. Jim was a minute behind me, but in a different age group (over 34, I think). He was happy that he beat Luke. Luke and Patty were off riding the top half of the course again (the part the Experts repeated), the fools.

We waited forever for results (as usual). I was 11th/30 in the Sr. Sport category. I beat Dave, who is a stud. Therefore, I'm more studly. Hey, wait a minute, Dave is saving face by wasting no time and looking for action at a softball game. Damn, he's good.

> While outside scoping babes (no Kim, darn it) and scouting new lounging opportunities, out attention was drawn to a small group of people watching somebody hurl an old ten-speed. Turned out it was a hurl-the-old-ten-speed contest. We got in line. The bike was a Rampar with no tires, really heavy but having lost only the rear derailleur at the time we started watching. The accepted technique seemed to be gripping the seat and handlebars in a discus-type twirl. We inquired as to the longest throw as yet, and were informed that it was 39'6" - greatly benefiting from a good bounce, it was said. So Jim took his throws, and his best was 37' something. I went out to get the bike, and like all the others before me grunted at how heavy it was. The fork was also starting to migrate to one side, and the top and down tubes were buckling behind the head tube. It was not a pretty sight. Anyway, after a familiarization throw I used my special discus-throwing technique from high-school track to fling it 38'9" and then 35' something. Funny, I just missed a prize in high school too. But this was for a $25 gift certificate at Solitude Sports, noted climbing store. What could I get there for 25 bucks anyway, one carabiner and six inches of rope?

I pretended I was Kurt Wey after getting pissed off in a race and threw a bike. They almost gave me a $25 gift cerificate for that. Kurt usually got a bent top tube.

> We eventually went back inside, where the cash (for Experts) and medals (for lesser mortals) were duly handed out. Then the door prizes started to go, even more slowly. They started tossing out water bottles and bundles of Powerbars, so that's when I got my new fluorescent orange water bottle with a bike shop name on it. Sure enough, Jim's name was called for the next-to-last prize. By that time all that was left were "Mountain Bike Rides of Teton County" booklets, just like he got last week when he was next-to-last at the previous race. So I got to keep that.

Door prizes are cool.

> At long last, around 5, we left and headed down the mountain for town. I dropped him off at his house, then went to the bike shop to purchase a couple of $5 tubes. No, just normal 700x20 Presta tubes, but they were five bucks. Just call me Mr. Retail; Wednesday I bought a SuperCompe HD for $33 (that was with tax). The dude said, "These are expensive, but they are good tires," and I was thinking, the $20 SuperCompes from Trashbar must not be as good then, right?

I bought some overpriced tubes. I'm tired of getting reamed.

> That pretty much ends the biking-related portion of today's story, but perhaps I will regale you with my adventures on Sunday. Sunday was spent playing with our new water tank. We needed a new tank because the old one was too small and had a leak in the pressure diaphragm, so the well pump cycled too much when we ran the sprinklers. That was a good excuse not to bother fixing the sprinklers, anyway. Turns out the dogs have chewed up all the wires at the solenoid valves anyway, so I have something to occupy my time after I get home tonight. So we took the old tank out, Dad pointing at iron pipe connections that hadn't moved in five years (since the last time we replaced the tank) or twenty years (since the house was built) and saying, "take that apart." And I took them apart, using nothing more than my hands, a couple pipe wrenches, the floor, my feet, and the occasional water tank pipes were still attached to. Then we reassembled some of the old parts with some new parts (because the new tank is twice as big) and Dad got to do some soldering of the copper pipe connections with a blowtorch. He has all the fun. We only had to take it all apart to fix leaks a couple of times, but we did just have to drain the tank once, thanks to a shutoff valve that we wisely decided to reinstall. Forty gallons or so takes a long time to run through a garden hose at low pressure.

I got to play refrigerator-repairman and quarter-mooned all the neighbors while we replaced our water tank. I wish Kim was there to see how *strong and manly* I was. Aw, Dad got to play with the fire, not me.

> Well, that's about all I can think of. Not really, but more than enough to generate a synopsis, right Manny?

Did I make it long enough for you to blow it off this time, Manny?

> > later, hah