Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Our home was flooded last night, and I'm having a hard time coming to grips with everything that has happened and still needs to happen.  Carrie and I are safe, and we're thankful for the support we've had from friends and family.

On a bike geeky note my Moots RSL and Custom roadie were semi-sumberged but escaped the flood.  My Redline is still submerged in the basement and is likely to be a total loss, as is Carrie's Bianchi Axis.  'Cross bikes are supposed to be tough, so maybe they're alright, but I'm not optimistic.

For the foreseeable future it will be one step at a time, and victory over the mind will be necessary for me to keep my sanity.

I'm reminded that friends and family are what truly matters.  Everything else is just stuff, and stuff can be replaced.  I have my wife, I have my health and I am grateful for that. 

Friday, August 26, 2011


During my recovery ride yesterday I realized I'd been missing the point.   

For most cyclists the recovery ride is a training staple, although spinning along without the need to achieve anything is uncomfortable for some people.  After a 4-7 hour race it's not like I have any matches to burn anyway.

Leading up to the Hampshire 100 the main point I focused on was getting my head in the game, or more accurately staying in the moment.  Right now these rides aren't because my legs that are tired, but the mental focus of staying on task for 6 hours and 44 minutes took quite a bit out of me. 

Now it's time to relax, rebuild.  Preparation for the next event starts as soon the previous one ends.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hampshire 100 Race Report

Last year, the Hampshire 100 was the focus of my season.  After successful campaigns in '09 and '10 I decided to make it my focus again this season, but you already knew that if you read The Moment post that I published last week.

Going into the event I established some goals for myself.  I wanted to improve on last year's time, but I know from other events that aiming to shave off too much just leads to disaster and disappointment.  With last year's finish time just under 7 hours I figured on a goal of 6:30, but that I'd be happy with 6:45.  Also I wanted to beat my H100 nemesis, the racer who'd won in 2009 and finished one ahead of me in 2010.  It wasn't anything personal, but I wanted to make up that 5 minute difference he had on me last year that kept me off the podium.  

This year is a little different because I've already done 2 decent endurance events, 6 Hours of Pat's Peak and the Dark Horse 40.  My preparation featured fewer long training rides and more racing action.  Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.  

Friday and Saturday were pretty laid back but productive days.  I was able to get my bike dialed and round up most of my gear with little incident.  In some ways it's a shame to have a summer Saturday assigned to packing the car, driving and basic pre-race tasks, but it's a necessary evil.  

I arrived at the venue Saturday afternoon and after some deliberation spotted an appropriate spot to pitch my tent.  After a brief debate I elected not to setup next to shirtless guys and instead found a quieter corner away from the commotion of the start line.  I'm sure those guys were decent people, but the fact that one of them was going to ride 63 miles on a Klein Mantra was enough to make me suspicious.  

The tent went up without a hitch, and at 8:30 I had nothing better to do than go to bed.  After thumbing through the pages of Cyclocross Magazine for a few minutes I shut off my lantern, set my alarm for 5:15 AM and attempted to get some sleep.

I'm usually pretty restless the night before a race, especially when I have to get up early.  After lying restlessly and fumbling around for what felt like half the night I decided to get up for a bathroom break.  When I made my way back into my tent I was certain it was around 2:30 or 3:00 AM, but it was only 10:30 PM.  

When my alarm finally went off I slowly started to get ready.  I've done enough races that I have a pretty decent idea of what needs to happen in what order, so I was on semi-autopilot as I got dressed, had breakfast and pulled my bike out of the car.  

The dew was pretty heavy, and everything that had been left out was soaking wet.  I'd learned that from years past and had put the bike and my folding chair back in the car to stay dry.  
I was able to sneak in a quick warmup before the mandatory 6:15 AM racer meeting, though I could have ridden longer.  The expert lineup was pretty big and by virtue of lining up late I missed out on getting my preferred starting spot, but I made do.  When the gun went off we rolled away and quickly zipped through the short singletrack that connected the cinder track to the dirt roads outside the park.

This is the point in the race when the fast guys light it up, and everyone else turns themselves inside out to keep pace.  Some groups form, guys work together in pacelines, and many racers bury their chances of a solid finish by burning too many matches within the first 10 easy miles.  

It's tough for me to sit back when I know I can keep up with those guys, but I know what I can and can't sustain, and I have no business wheel sucking when it's just going to bury me later.  This year I kept up a little better than in years past, but my legs felt awful tight, and I was regretting wearing arm warmers after about 15 minutes.  

The miles click by pretty quickly in this section, and it's easy to entertain thoughts that you can finish in under 6 hours.  Really until the 3 mile sand section that's pretty much true, but then reality sets in.  

The race follows a pretty similar pattern every year- flat, fast first half, then two big, steep climbs and then the second half is on broken class IV roads, jeep roads, vague doubletrack and singletrack in that order.  The second half doesn't have many big climbs, but there are many steep power climbs, many of them on loose rocks and with a water crossing at the bottom.  Not surprisingly the second half is where the real race really starts.  

The break point between those two halves is the first big climb- a very steep, long and gravely ascent that takes probably about 15 minutes to climb.  This climb is immediately after the extended soft sand section, so although you haven't been going uphill you have been building fatigue.  Last year I made up some time as I was able to ride most of the climb; this year I rode all of it. 

Photo courtesy of extremilys

This shot was taken near the top where it flattens out a bit but is still pretty loose.  The camera angle makes it look less steep than it is, but more than half of the riders bailed on it because they lost traction.

At the top of the climb is a smooth, fast rolling section that sets you up for the next big climb- the Powerlines.  Steep, grassy and wet, the Powerline climb makes its way up a long hillside just a few short minutes after you've crested the boulder field.  It's steep, and with my 2 x 10 29er I have 3 less gears for tackling extreme uphill grades.  Still, I kept it rolling and went into the red to keep pedaling and reel in some riders where most were walking.

Shortly after the climb is the first aid station, and I made quick work of filling my bottles, inhaling some salt tablets and getting back on my bike.  I don't do well with stopping, so I try to keep my breaks pretty short, but even still I felt like my legs were getting really bogged down as I made my way up first climb.

By this point, the race is fairly strung out and I've settled into a groove within a pretty small group of riders around me.  For me this is where the race really takes shape as I usually aim to have a fast second half.  I'd been feeling alright, but the technical sections weren't really smooth, and I felt like I was getting a little too tossed around on the trail.  After letting some air out of my tires at around mile 35 things started to change.  I felt good.  I was fast, smooth and able to ride both up and down.

At some point I started trading places with a particularly lanky fellow on a Pivot.  He was about my height, but his saddle was several inches higher than mine and his riding style was to pedal roadie style with a flat back and let his big wheeled suspension bike do all the work.  He was light on torque, but his wiry frame enabled him to keep pace on longer climbs.  From behind he looked like a praying mantis with his long legs and folded over posture.   

Last year I ended up racing a fair bit of the last few miles with a guy in a Racer X jersey.  This year I found myself trading places with him a little earlier, and he quickly became my rabbit.  X had rolled away from me a bit and was working with another rider.  I tried to make up some time in one of the steep rocky sections and went over the handlebars while over thinking a roll down.  As I picked myself up off of the dirt Mantis rolled by.  Mad at my momentary lapse of judgment I put in a concerted effort to catch up to X and his partner, and a few minutes later I did.  With some smart line choices I was able to save some matches and pick my way back up to him without burying myself.

For the next few wooded miles we traded places- sometime I'd lead, sometimes X would, and we'd intermittently catch and pass Mantis.  I was running low on water and stopped at the aid station before the second drop station to fill up.  Although it was only 9 miles to the next station I knew 1 bottle wasn't enough.  That gave X and Mantis a couple minute head start, so with full bottles I began to chase back on.

The next few miles after that section feature a fast descent, some climbing under the power lines and more wooded semi-smooth singletrack.  I got within a few bike lengths of Mantis, but X was much further ahead.  We worked our way past some low lying ponds that were right near the roadway, which meant that there were some enormous puddles.

In one spot I slowed down to pop a GU, and looked up to find Mantis riding out of the biggest puddle I've ever seen.  With a clean line in front of me, I rolled into it as the water parted around my front wheel.  At the deepest point my shoes, pedals and lower brake rotors were all submerged.  A few short seconds later I was out of the puddle and accelerating to catch back up to Mantis.  We rode together into the next aid station and readied ourselves for the push over the last 15 miles.

The distance after this last drop station is really where you can feel that it's a different race than the Vermont 50.  That extra 13 miles means you still have to race for at least another hour, and it's an hour at the end of the race when you are already pretty spent and really just want to get off your bike.  It's also where I usually pick off a few more riders who slipped by me earlier in the event.

Shortly after the aid station X stopped to walk up a hill and I never saw him again.  A few miles later Mantis did the same, and I found myself racing with some other riders who had started hard but were fading fast.  We rolled together for a few minutes before I let it all hang out on the fastest, roughest gravel descent I've even ridden. 

I'd promised myself I wouldn't check my watch to see my time until I'd finished, so I poured whatever energy I had left into riding as smooth and fast as I could.  Fortunately the last couple miles were on fairly smooth singletrack so I was able to conserve energy and let the bike do the work.  Without incident I rode most of the singletrack clean, although I walked over a couple of the bridges in the last section just to be on the safe side.

In the end I had good but not great race and finished in 6:44.  I did beat my rabbit, but because of a large number of sandbagging elite riders that was only good for 9th.  Still I'll take it, even though my finishes of 3rd, 4th and 9th seem to show backwards progress but in reality it's just the opposite.

What's probably the most interesting thing for me is that after I found the groove I not only rode better, but I could go faster than I though was possible.  As I packed up my tent I was amazed that although I was tired I wasn't nearly as beat up as I was after finishing last year.

So was it a victory of the body over the mind?  In some ways yes, I think so.  I also proved to myself that I'm stronger than I think I am, and that my training is paying off.  The effort put into big rides and doing other races has made me stronger and more resilient than years past.

There's one more race on my calendar, the 50 mile Landmine Marathon next month, but for now I'm going to be taking it easy for a few more days before I ramp it up again.


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Moment

This is it.  I've been thinking about this race since August 22, 2010 a few short minutes after I finished.  

And yet somehow I'm finding ways to undermine my own progress .  It's as if I'm uncomfortable with the idea of really rolling the dice to see what I can do.  To be clear, I've never won a bike race.  I don't think I've ever actually won any athletic competition now that I think about it. 

Winning isn't the point for me.  When I fixate on it, I get too nervous and self destruct, yet without the desire to win it's tough to succeed.  For me thinking about winning means I just auger myself into the ground.  The journey is the part I enjoy- the training, the improving fitness, the ability to see my improvement and just the simple act of being outdoors for extended periods of time.  The competition itself is almost secondary.

About a year ago I started taking yoga classes once a week.  My flexibility is pretty bad, and I'm not good about stretching on my own or doing any sort of "core work," so when I had the opportunity to take a class I jumped at it.  I was really looking to relax a little bit and spend some time focusing on recovery. 

There's an interesting concept in yoga that translates into victory over the mind, and it's essentially using your body to get your mind to chill the fuck out.  I've had a couple bad crashes this year, and one of the underlying commonalities is that I was not 100% focused on what I was doing at that moment, and it cost me.  It's easy for me to out think myself, and when riding in the woods it's about split second reactions, not conscious control of every movement. 

More than anything it's about relaxing and paying attention, or being in the moment.  Today as I clean my bike and pack my bags, tomorrow as I load the car and drive to the venue, and Sunday as I line up and put forth my best effort on the course I will try to stay in the moment.

That's my goal for Sunday, and if I do that I'll have my best race possible.  Really that's all I can ask for. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

World Cup Geekery (As a Distraction)

In 2009 I watched Geoff Kabush ride away from the rest of the elite men's field at the Bromont round of the Mountain Bike World Cup.  The race was held in an absolute downpour, and everyone was having mechanical trouble as a result.

Immediately after the event I snapped some shots of Geoff's setup- taking careful note of his drivetrain and tire choices.  

The course was punchy with short power climbs, and for that the single 32 tooth chainring (first used in the World Cup by Adam Craig and later Julien Absalon) was a great choice.

Larsen TT for the front tire on an XTR wheelset.

 And a mud-specific Medusa out back.

At the time XTR 970 was the current model, and as Shimano sponsored rider Kabush ran a full Shimano drivetrain.  In my mind the 970 vintage XTR was Shimano's most complete and durable offering, though I haven't spent much time on 980 yet.

So why does this matter now in the days immediately before my biggest event of the year?  One word- distraction.  I need to relax, and geeking out helps me do that. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tinker Juarez and a Last Minute Existential Crisis

So here I am, suffering from my usual pre-race neuroses.  It's less than a week away and I'm worrying about the things I shouldn't worry about and contemplating changing things that shouldn't be changed.  On top of all of that self-inflicted and unnecessary worry add in the fact that my childhood racing idol Tinker Juarez will be at the start line on Sunday.

EarlyTinker: before clipless pedals, before front suspension.

Fortunately there is a separate pro category so I will not be racing against the elites like I did at the VT 50 or at Dark Horse, but he'll still be there in all of his grizzly dreadlocked glory.

I first started paying attention to mountain biking in 1995, and became interested in pro racing in 1996.  At that time Tinker Juarez was the king of the domestic cross country scene and went on to represent the US at the Atlanta Olympics.

Tinker in 2000 wearing the National Champion's jersey from his victory at Mt Snow the year before.

At Mount Snow NORBA finals in '99 I got first glimpse of elite racing firsthand, and my first memory was watching Tinker ride away from the field on the steep course.  What surprised me most was how small he was at about 5'7" and weighing maybe 145 lbs, yet his legs were as thick as tree trunks.  Wearing the gray jersey of the NORBA National Series leader he rumbled through the uphill feed zone in the big ring over a minute ahead of his nearest chaser.

Tinker won't show up with an oversized Etto helmet, or ride a Klein with the Dolomite paint scheme and toe clips, but he will be there, and it will make me nervous.  Right now I don't need anything to make me nervous as I'm busy undermining myself with inconsequential details. 

I've decided on the tires I'm going to run.  I've gotten the new chain, chainring, brake pads and shift cable installed, and hopefully the ti prep treatment will quiet down the squealing PF 30 bottom bracket that I installed last week.  So the bike should be good.

Still this always the hardest part right before the race when the fitness is already accumulated and the only thing left to do is rest and prepare.  I have a copy of last year's packing list, so maybe I should start rounding up my tent, air mattress and other camping paraphernalia, though I doubt it will help. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weekend Rides

With Dark Horse in the rear view mirror I set about the task of recovery with the goal of getting ready for my season's objective, the Hampshire 100 on August 21.  After enjoying a week of general sloth and restlessness I made plans for some long-ish rides that would be fun but not too taxing.

Last year I made the mistake of rushing my recovery coming out of the Vermont 50, and I paid for it.  This season I'm in better shape, and I have been rebounding from hard efforts more quickly, but I still wanted to strike the right balance between recovering from my last race and training for the next. 

In previous posts I've mentioned how I'm planning on entering 4 ultra endurance events this season.  That doesn't sound like much, but it takes me about a week to recover from a 4 hour race and about an extra day for every hour on top of that.  With all of that in mind I knew I was going to be able to handle some riding, but determining how much is always a tough call.

Thursday's trail/skills ride with Ben went well, and in addition to riding smoothly I felt like I wanted to ride longer- and that's always a good sign.  I made plans to ride the Kingdom Trails with Ryan and the Mountain Bike Vermont crew. 

On Friday my new SID XX 29er arrived, and I promptly installed installed it.  While dithering with star nut setters and crown race pullers I discussed some ride recommendations with George.  Although the Kingdom Trails aren't far away I still have a hard time getting there and usually end up riding local terrain that is all too familiar.  He gave me some good advice on which trails to hit, and I dutifully typed them into my phone.

SID XX 29er in situ on the RSL.

In my usual motivated but late starting fashion I got to the Kingdom at around 3 and metup with Ryan.  After brief introductions I promptly forgot everyone's names and we collectively set about the task of ogling each other's bikes. 

Out on the trail we made our way up Darling Hill and the aerobic pecking order was quickly but considerately sorted out.  James, aka Slim, was pushing his 6" travel carbon Jekyll uphill at a solid clip.  I stayed on his wheel as we made cyclo-geek small talk.  From his innovative trail attire I could tell this guy was baller (green ECCC Leader's Jersey, orange and purple bib shorts and '97 Sidi DH boots), and played the name game as we soon discovered we're both UVM alumni.

We regrouped as the trail tilted downward and made our way into the woods on a fast, chattery downhill.  At this point the aforementioned pecking order reshuffled and I quickly made my way to the back as the long travel boys quickly showed their inspired downhill skills.  Ryan was battling with some drivetrain setup woes on his new Transition and had to head back to switch out his ailing 38 lb XC bike for his 32 lb "over-mountain" bike.   

James, Henry, Corbett and I kept riding and worked our way through a series of small loops before finally getting back to the main road.  Corbett's pedals had been malfunctioning so he peeled off and went back to the trailhead while the rest of us took the long way through the woods. 


After some regrouping at the parking lot the guys decided they wanted to hit some downhill runs at Burke Mountain, so I decided to pedal up with them to the lodge, then take Burham Down back to town.  I'd heard about this trail before as it is marked as a double black diamond, so I was eager to check it out.  As I turned onto the trail I reminded myself to be respectful of what their trail rating meant.  The trail ended up being a lot of fun, and while I had to pay attention to ride it clean I definitely enjoyed the quick rolling drops and numerous bridges that snake their way down the hillside. 

Back at the car I stuffed the bike in the trunk, changed into clean-ish street clothes and inhaled a large deli sandwich in that order.  The Bike and Brewfest was going on and I knew I'd need to have some food in my stomach to 1) recover from my effort and be able to ride again on Sunday and 2) spare myself the embarrassment of getting wasted off of 1 beer. 

In spite of the large number of sweaty dudes, the Bike and Brewfest was fun.  Many VT micro brews were on hand and a dirt jump expo was going on right in front of it all.  I didn't catch any of the riders names, but these guys were throwing down some serious tricks on the biggest dirt jump I've ever seen.  Ryan and I talked shop for a few minutes then I made my way back home.  

Sunday's plan was a mellow paced Stowe ride with George that was supposed to start at 9, then 10, and finally rolled out at 11.  We left from Weeks Hill Rd and made our way up towards some of the older trails in the Stowe area including Tamarack, Billings Rd, Peak-a-View and Laurens's Loop.

It was overcast with low hanging clouds and had rained the night before.  As we ascended the terrain got wetter and wetter, and we were soon riding in the high fog/low cloud cover that blanketed the town.  It was a beautiful backdrop that made for a dramatic setting and slick trails. 

At some point I got separated from George and Keller and spent the next 20-30 minutes riding by myself before reconnecting near the bottom of Lauren's Loop.  After several discussions I'm still not sure how we missed each other, but fortunately it didn't ruin the ride although it did mean that I did 2 more climbs than the other guys.

George and Keller were on their long travel bikes, and I wished for one as they were able to scale the slippery rock faces and wooden bridges.  Much like the day before I was able to push the pace when the trail pointed up, but a little bit more traction out back would have been welcome.  It should be just a few more weeks before the new YBB arrives...

Overall it was a great weekend, and I got to ride with friends on entirely new terrain.  I felt good and climbed reasonably well both days, so I hope that bodes well for the 100 in less than 2 weeks. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Super D Fascination

Recently I've become enamored of the idea of Super D.  I suppose that's ironic given my recent encounters with the terra firma, but I want to buff out my skills and this seems like a great way to do it.

Damn it looks like fun.  Maybe a long travel bike is in my future after all...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dark Horse 40 Race Report

There is a distinct pattern in my preparation for and recovery from an endurance race.  This past weekend's Dark Horse 40 featured all of usual fun, neuroses and caloric intake of my usual endurance activities. 

The week didn't get off to the best start as I had a nasty crash on Tuesday's ride.  I didn't get stitches but probably should have, and I broke a shoe as well. 

The Dark Horse Cycles guys put on a few events that are as well known for their antics as they are for their racing.  To some people antics are more important than racing, especially if you're a singlespeeder. 

The race format was fairly straightforward and consisted of two laps on a rolling 20 mile course.  In high school I did a few races at the same venue so I had some idea of what to expect- fast, rocky technical sections, some water crossings and short but very steep, punchy climbs.  That was mostly right, but since 1998 they’ve built out the trail network to include many more miles of sinewy singletrack under the thick forest canopy. 

When I arrived I was directed where to park and got the sense that there was some sort of regional bias for the assignments, though I couldn’t really gather any empirical evidence to support my theory.  I ran into local Grass Moots rider George and his partner in crime Mark.  We talked about my RSL and geeked out for a bit about Moots and bikes in general.  George is one of those unassuming guys who seems perfectly normal but can ride a singlespeed over anything and is hearty enough that he could probably survive on a diet of lug nuts and tree sap.  I unfortunately am not that diesel and will be sticking to my cottage cheese, chef salads and strong coffee. 

After a brief warm up and several Red Bulls I coordinated with Mom & Dad for the staging of my water bottles in the feed zone.  Dad was kind enough to get up at 5:00 AM that morning to make some of his famous pancakes.  Dad's pancakes are some of the best legal performance enhancers you can find- just ask World Cup racers Adam Craig and Kathryn Curi Mattis. 

I lined up towards the back of my field, which happened to be Men's Elite Open, but only because there wasn't a Cat 1 option.  This doesn't count as making the grade in elite partially because I am still a Cat 1 and also because I got smoked relative to the real pros in attendance.  The air horn went off and the field thundered down the long gravel road.  The dust was incredible, and I managed to be in the optimal position to catch 90% of the spray from the one mud puddle that was on course. 

40 miles is not a distance I've ever done before, so I was unsure how to pace it.  After some conversations with Spinney I came up with a strategy that sounded good based on what I thought I could sustain for the roughly 4 hours I planned on racing.  Together with the 90+ degree heat I was unsure how to meter my effort, so I went for a conservative strategy on the first lap. 

The combination of the heat, race nerves and too many Red Bulls (3) made it hard for me to find my rhythm on the first lap and I ended up bouncing off of most obstacles and letting riders pass me who I probably could have stayed with.  In most of my races that run 6 to 8 hours  the start is the least important part, and the race really doesn't take shape until the second half.  With that in mind I decided to start a little more conservatively and let the course and the heat soften up the field. 

That strategy mostly worked, but the aforementioned cocktail of heat and caffeine made it hard for me to determine my actual effort since I felt like my heart rate was artificially elevated.  The first lap went smoothly enough and I found myself relearning how to manual and using it all the time- the Small Block 8's make the coolest sound when you drop a rock face.  It’s like something out of Transformers. 

As I completed lap 1 I found Mom and Dad in the feed zone and pulled three full water bottles from the cooler that they had waiting for me.  I debated about whether I needed all three bottles, but given the heat I decided to play it safe and bring all if them anyway.  In less than a minute I got what I needed and rumbled back out onto the course for lap 2. 

At a certain point I stopped thinking about the terrain or my pace and just started riding.  Right at that moment things clicked into place.  With very little effort I was taking the right lines, maintaining my speed and pushing the gears I'd expected.  Also at that point the race became a hell of a lot of fun.    

Note the flapping band aids on my left arm from Tuesday's crash. 

The Dark Horse guys also provided a fair number of distractions like attractive young women standing by a keg.  Usually when I'm three hours into a race I'm pretty sick of seeing sweaty, muddy dudes, and Godzilla's sister would look good if she was wearing a tube top.  Fortunately I was able to resist the temptation (of the beer) and kept riding. 

In the last half of my second lap I started to really pass some people- some of them walking, some soft pedaling, and I was making up places that had slid by during my lap 1 freak out.  I was still feeling good and picking good lines as I pushed the pace as hard as I could in the home stretch. 

The last 5 miles for me are often the toughest, but if I'm in the pain cave then I know that I've given it a solid effort.  Right on the last short road section before the last piece of singletrack I got caught by two guys who were clearly in a battle with each other.  The lap was somewhat deceptive because the course went right past the parking area before heading back into the woods for another half mile or so.  Right in this paved faux finish one of them asked me where the finish was.  Great I thought- these guys are team racers who haven’t done a lap on the course but they're hell bent on killing each other right in front of me.  They took turns attacking each other on the trail as I tried to keep contact.  I got gapped on one of the short rock wall sections and they ended up finishing about 15-20 seconds ahead of me. 

After the race I fumbled around and collected my empty bottles then made my way over to the beer tent.  Although I was unable to formulate complete sentences the EMT manning the keg was able to interpret my needs and handed me a cold Harpoon.  It was the best thing I have ever tasted, even if it meant that I was half drunk before I had even taken off my helmet.

Back at the car I put on some clean-ish clothes and managed to sweat through my t-shirt before I stuffed my bike into the trunk.  With decreasing cognitive capacity I made my way back to the beer tent and caught up with George and Jay Pro for a while before sitting down with Mom and Dad in the shade and coming to my senses enough to drive home.  I had less than two beers in two hours, but in my weakened state I felt like a 14 year old that had raided his parents liquor cabinet.  Ironically enough I was in front of my parents. 

I said my goodbyes and sat in the car for a few minutes with the AC cranked to try to cool down.  As my body temperature started to come back to normal I thought about how I would replenish my caloric debt and reward myself.  The answer soon came to me: Doritos. 

After a quick stop for a sandwich and fuel I located a family sized bag of Cooler Ranch and proceeded to stuff them into my cake hole as quickly as possible.  At 10:45 I polished off the bag before I brushed my teeth and went to bed.

I consider that a successful weekend of racing.