Saturday, August 23, 2008

SSWC08: A Taste of the Main Course...

Okay. First, an apology. No pix with this post. Brought the cameras, took some pix, left the USB cables at home. Have to beg, borrow, or steal one sometime next week, assuming I can find a ringer. In the meantime, "words are all I have to play with."1 Dust off your imagination and put it to use.

The course. Ran it today. Well, most of it. Word has it there's an extra loop added only to the first lap that's supposed to have some tricky rocky downhill section. I believe the words "high" and "carnage" were used most frequently in descriptions, and always together. We didn't know about the loop, so we didn't sample it. The loop we ran was challenging, no doubt. There are some uphills that are essentially mandatory hike-a-bikes—loose and steep and long enough. The first climb, the one at the beginning, is gravelly and long, but rideable, certainly for the first lap, possibly for the third (it's a three-lap race coming in somewhere around 27 miles in all, I believe), depending on how much energy you want to throw into it. The rocky sections—there are indeed rocks in Napa—are largely rideable, but require skill, experience, and, for me, a bit of luck here and there, and tug indelicately on the knobs when the trail turns downhill. Point and roll...commitment is the word. Switchbacks aplenty, tight and steep and back-to-back. Some exposure on narrow singletrack where control is king. A great course, from what I've seen, and Curtis and the boys deserve an early pat on the back for putting it all together.

The White Brothers Rock Solid carbon fork. Well, damn, some visible rearward flex when the brake pads bite, and the idea of this action occurring at the same time as the front wheel contacts an immovable object gives me a bit of pause. Still, the light weight is a welcome factor and the deadening properties of carbon fiber definitely help to take the edge off of the rough parts.

The back pain. Miracle of miracles, woke up this morning and it had pretty much faded to a mere echo. Still there, but nothing like what it was, and completely ignorable at this point. Half a tab of hyrdorcodone last night and a few beers2 were my pharmaceutical carbon-fiber, taking the edge off the pain long enough for the spasm to relax, forget its association with my lower right back, and allow me a good night's sleep. Better living through chemistry, indeed. Still a full tab left for post-race, ahem, therapy.

The celebrities. Frame design visionary Jeff Jones is on-hand and his (get ready, Anna) eponymous creations are everywhere, including under the asses of two Outlaws. I am, I confess, semi-paralyzed with envy at the beauty and performance of these flawless titanium toys. Jeff is a blast to talk with, and listening to his take on frame design is, well, fascinating, even for the lay(wo)man.

Jacquie Phelan has been out and about, socializing and plucking her trademark banjo. And, evidently, beating me to a blog post. Go read it.

Oh, and Tim is here, as well, taking a break from an uber concert in nearby Frisco to partake in the race.

That's it for now. Gotta finish my beer (Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve) and ready some things for the race. Less than 12 hours till start time, 8 of which are going to pass in the blink of an eye. Gonna be a wild ride...

Oh, and a spoiler of sorts...pretty sure SSWC09 will be held in Durango, Colorado. How that decision came about eludes me, but whatever forces conspired in its manifestation gathered themselves in a location no less proletarian than a local bowling alley. Nice!

1. Part of a back-handed plea for absolution by Humbert Humbert in Nabakov's Lolita. Check out the annotated edition and let it blow your mind.

2. From Wiki, and a PSA of sorts:

"It is not recommended to mix any amounts of hydrocodone and alcohol as doing so could cause health problems. APAP is metabolized solely by the liver. Therefore the risk of fatal overdose due to hepatotoxicity can occur with significantly lower levels of APAP when mixed with ethanol. Also the mixture causes serious damage to the liver, kidneys, and stomach wall. It also increases the potential for coma, respiratory problems, and can damage the CNS.[6] Due to the feeling of euphoria it provides, these potentially negative consequences are often ignored by physically and/or psychologically dependent users."


jon_baler said...

Enjoy, wish I was there.

gwadzilla said...

nice words

who needs digital photography when you have the written word

music is just fine without the music video

add images to future posts

let this one stand alone

Hjalti said...

So the real question is, does Jacquie Phelan play Scruggs or frailing style?