Ironman Danish and I were looking for a fun something to do for Labor Day weekend….well, more accurately, we were looking for races we wanted to do on the horizon and couldnt come up with any as we were not committed to racing the full FSC. We ended up really hmming and hawing and finally settling on racing the 8 Hours of Labor race on Labor Day weekend–but rather than our usual individual races, we would combine our power into “Team Danish” and race the two person team “coed” division. We scoped out the race results from years prior to see that this was a very popular option at this race and were excited to race against some great coed teams.
I was pretty convinced that the race would look a little something like this:
Ironman Danish takes first two laps, including the Lemans start to kick off the race, and would hand the race over to me with an already very comfortable lead. I would simply get to ride out the rest of the race at a nice little tempo.
However, this is how the race actually went down:
Ironman Danish and I set up a nice little camp/invited ourselves into a nice little camp with pro Bob McCarty and his long time go-to two person team partner Grant.
These guys are pretty much the bomb. When I first started riding the ol’ MTB a long, long, long–oh wait, no, about a year and half ago–I would see Bob riding the trails “running from ghosts” (aka fast) and would yell to him as he floated out of site that “someday I am going to ride like you Bob.” And, that is still my plan–someday I will, but with a slightly more pink flair. Anyway, we set up camp with these guys. Ironman Danish headed out and by the time I saw him he was already in the top three with a solid lead on the rest of the field. Peeerrrrfect. I rode back to the tent and was ready to hand up bottles in about 30 or so minutes after the first lap. Grant and I shot the breeze and all was mellow until riders started pouring in for the end of the first lap. I saw the leaders coming in, including Bob, and saw no signs of Ironman Danish which was strange. I clearly had a very bewildered look on my face as every racer that went by or handed off the baton came over to me and relayed a tale of what had happened to Ironman Danish. These are some of the things I heard:
“Hey Duffy–he got a flat”
“Hey D, he broke his chain”
“I think Mike crashed after he got a flat, I saw him on the side of the trail”
“I think that Danish’s deraileur fell off”
“Duffy–he got a flat after his chain broke”
“I dont know what happened to him, but I saw him running next to his bike at mile 5 or so–he was passing people though!”
Here is a vid of the race with evidence of Ironman Danish on the side of the road (for the second time) trying to repair his machine:
Oh boy, this was like a bad game of telephone. The only one person I could take one thing from was Bob who was on Ironman Danish’s wheel when his chain snapped–the first time. And, Bob, knowing our plan of two laps for the ol’ Ironman, said “I think you should probably be ready to head out for lap two, he broke it at mile 2 (of 9.6).” Dang it!!
So, since I was already suited up, I mentally prepared myself to work a miracle comeback since I sat and sat and waited and waited and no signs of him anywhere. In fact, the top solo riders, lead by Tinker Juarez, were now coming in for lap two of the race! Crap!! We were a lap down….this was going to suck. And then, Ironman Danish came running in–no chain, no rear derailuer, and pretty tired from running 6 unplanned miles (at least he is training for an Ironman I suppose).
I headed out like a bat outta hell–running from ghosts–and threw down a pretty solid lap time. In fact, I dont think that Ironman Danish expected me in so soon. Luckily, we had all the parts required to fix the multiple mechanicals on his bike so he could take the torch and continue on with our race. I had already passed multiple teams and we went from last to 8th team after my lap. Sweet! Maybe we could even claw back to the podium??….
And then it started to rain, and not a little rain, a major soaking torrents of rain. This actually turned out to favor us a bit. I didn’t loose as much time on the wet laps and, well, Ironman Danish didn’t loose anything in time. We were gaining and were now in 4th!
Unfortunately, 4th is where we would stay. If I had my thinking cap on instead of my helmet, I would have told Ironman Danish to double up and take my lap (which turned out to be the last lap for the Team) in an effort to make the cut off to get another lap. But, as luck had it, I left my thinking cap at home and we ended 4th and one lap down on the podium! We definitely fought hard and had a ton of fun doing it. Riding in the mud is always a good time cause it makes you feel like a kid (except when you realize that there isn’t a mom or dad to wash your bike for you or deal with your muddy laundry). We will definitely look to redeem ourselves soon!