Friday night we went out to dinner in costume. It was one of the funniest nights I have ever spent. People often refer to me as funny, but I was nothing more than a key grip in this motion picture. I watched the Red Dragon/Darnell show but to my left, Silk was putting on a subtle comedic performance fueled by his re acquaintance with the demon rum. Frog Legs and Worm presided over table three. We held the restaurant hostage, and even a table of law enforcement, strategically placed beside us, didn't curtail the festivities. People openly mocked us, and never caught on that they were the joke, and their contempt was our goal.
The morning energy wasn't quite as spry as the night before, but we still managed to make reveille, suited up for the days events. We looked like an army in our Bike Chain kits and the sight of us drew many double takes from the rest of the Tour de Felasco Pilgrims. We had around seventeen guys in uniform, and I cricked my neck to get a look at the crew winding through the first sections of single track.
As always, the crew started to split after the first stop. Worm, Darnell, Mingo and I rolled out quickly. My drive train was skipping and getting worse by the minute. It reared its head on the climbs and the more I tried to handle it in a calm adult manner, the more my anger grew. On a rooty step up, the chain skipped, I cracked, and let the obvious obscenities fly. My brow went down and never came back up. By the second sag stop, Worm had had enough and decided to wait for the others behind us. I pressed on with Mingo and felt like an idiot.
We eased into a nice rhythm and oddly the drive train evened out on the flatter terrain. By lunch I had regained a little composure when events conspired against me again. Mingo and I agreed to roll out of lunch quickly together. I thought I was holding him up and I rushed to the meeting point. I didn't see him as I scanned the area. I looked down the trail and I thought I saw him rolling ahead slowly, so I headed out after him. Now my eyes are not what they once were and I wear glasses, but I can't ride with them. Long story short (ya right) I left Mingo. Karma paid my mistake by putting the Higher Ground guy (from the cyclocross race) right behind me. He was happy and delightful and chatty. He was genuinely interested in all the goings on in my life, and shared the details of his as well. I wanted him dead. Nothing personal mind you, but once I realised I had ditched Mingo, I had written the day off and wanted to be alone. I raised the pace and he rode my wheel like a champion, to the next sag stop. He pealed off, and I rode through.
Half way to the last stop Derwood caught me and rejuvenated my tortured soul. We found Cliffy there, and he and Derwood hammered off toward the finish. I filled my reservoir looked at my watch, it was just after one and I felt fine. I often wonder why bikes don't come with warning lights. If I have learned anything about bonking it is this: it is always preceded by an involuntary denial response. The route home was different than previous years, and it toyed with my mind. I doubted every turn and nothing looked familiar. Defying all logic, I emerged in the parking lot, five hours, twenty nine minutes and one second, after I left it. It was fastest I have ever ridden the tour.
San Felasco is not about going fast it's about enjoying every inch. It's about being there when your friend needs the Oreo's in your pocket. It's about riding with friends and looking at the forest we only get to ride once a year. Even though I finished quickly, I came in last.