March 30, 2015 § 35 Comments
How do you know it’s a shit day? When the Belgian Hardman winner from 2012 swings over to the side of the road and swipes Uber.
But there were so many little hints that Saturday’s 2015 Belgian Waffle Ride unofficial practice ride was going to be bad, little hints that, when added up, reached a disturbing conclusion: Failure is more than an option. It is a likely outcome.
Eric, Dan, and I had had done all the pre-ride preparation perfectly. We had woken up on time. We had eaten a hearty yet healthy breakfast. We had washed and oiled our bicycles. Most importantly, we had pretended not to have any cash so that Eric would have to pay for the gas to drive us down to North County San Diego.
We had opted to forego the local 50-mile Donut Ride and the 3-day San Dimas Stage Race because experience and common sense told us that knowledge of the BWR course would be vital to our survival on April 26. It would also give us some much-needed practice riding on dirt roads. The only part of our otherwise perfect preparation that we had left out was actual fitness.
This became apparent on the first dirt section. Unlike in years past, the 2015 BWR gives you a brief warm-up on paved roads and then plunges you down a 200-yard steep sand ravine that does a vicious 90-degree turn onto a lovely dirt track in a scenic valley. Several people chose walking the first section over certain death.
The pretty valley crosses a pretty stream and then rears itself up a long, endless, nasty climb that is a couple of miles long. Whichever rear cog you brought, by the last quarter-mile it won’t be enough. We regrouped and offered various excuses, each rider’s more innovative the the one before.
“Wrong wheels today.”
“These are totally the wrong tires.”
“My rear cog is the wrong one for this.”
“My cranks are too long.”
“I should have brought a compact.”
“Wrong chain rings.”
No one mentioned the obvious, i.e. having left the right set of lungs, heart, and legs at home and showing up with perfect conditioning for a 40-minute crit.
The ambitious 102-mile jaunt was scaled back after the first couple of dirt sections because we kept stopping for, um, me. Then my front tire fell into a paving crack and came within inches of sending me onto my face, and then MMX did the same thing just to show that he could almost kill himself more violently and recover better than I could, and then there were more flats, and then we had used all our CO2, and then Canyon Bob took out his mini floor pump and got us going again, and then Surfer Dan’s derailleur spring shot out into the bush and the rest of the assembly lodged into his rear wheel, and then Eric flatted, and then out came the mini floor pump again, and then I was THAT GUY at the end of Lake Hodges with everyone pissed off at having to wait, and then Baby Seal flatted, and by now Canyon Bob’s forearms had swollen to the size of huge pencils, which is big for a roadie, and then the group shrugged and said “Fuck you guys” and rode off, including that girl who we’d helped fix her brakes several times, and then Paul B. said he could take us up to Cougar Pass where the group was going, but we thought he was talking about a geriatric whorehose and declined, and then I told Eric he could do whatever he wanted but I was going back to the truck even though we’d given the keys to Surfer as he swiped for his Uber ride back, and then Eric TT-ed all the way back and we had a great hamburger but not before we scooped out the peanut butter sandwich mush from our jerseys and ate it like it was both tasty and food.
Next, we sat in three hours of traffic and got home at 6:30 PM, and Eric checked his Garmin and said we’d ridden 55 miles, five more than if we’d stayed and done the Donut Ride, and when it was all factored in we figured that we paid a total of $175.23 for those extra five miles.
Glad I didn’t have any cash.
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Until right this second, I was sad that I had missed it.
You’re the first person I’ve made un-sad today. Probably the last.
What a great way to describe a ride I am glad as hell I was not on! Assuming of course, that it is all true, which I am at loss for any reason.
All true. Except the parts I made up.
Sounds like you’re almost ready. Good luck!
Ready to quit!
Dirts sure are fun when you’re young and crazy. That assurance-of-immortality thing is a big help, no doubt about it.
Inversely correlated with age and leaky prostates.
And I thought the traffic sucked on the way home.
The dirt was fun. The downhill to the tight turn was fun. The climb to the park was fun, and I PR’d it. I also had time crunches that made me do an alternate ride of my own, so I had already done Cougar Pass (beautiful sunrise) and Double Peak (another PR).
However, I did discover that riding in a group on dirt roads means for concentration required. I overshot several corners because I believed the person in front of me was picking a good line.
That said, I am sad for all your mishaps. Less fun, to be certain.
No mishaps, no story!
“I believed the person in front of me was picking a good line”. LOL. I’ve picked myself up out of the dirt a couple of times from thinking that.
Trust no one except your closest friends, who you should distrust most of all.
Rumour has it that BWR 2016 will include rattlesnake pits and base jumping.
For some reason Eric thinks this would be a good ride to join???? Dirt, flats, broken bikes, can’t wait.
Eric’s thinker is broken.
I think all ya’alls thinkers are broken
What do expect when our brains get rattled from endless exposure to rocky trails on road bikes?
Not like they were 100% to start with, either.
So sorry I missed this fun ride and rode the Dirty Devil instead; 127mi/30mi dirt/12,500′. At least I got the privilege of eating Neil Shirley’s dirt after he blew by me (I started early in hopes of surviving the day). Be glad BWR won’t be doing black canyon ??? ’cause it’s just about all sand right now, thanks to the graders. Lots of amusing sand angels created by crashed riders …
“Sand angels created by crashed riders.” Awesome!!
So close…just another 20 miles & you would have completed the first lap. What in the hell did I sign up for?
Hell. You signed up for hell. Not in the hell. Hell.
So excited to hear about the flats! A fun part of the BWR is pedaling through an early dirt section and in my peripheral vision guys are lining the road, hunched over wheels, like heads on pikes.
Soon to be passed by people whose heads actually are on pikes. Mile 125 or thereabouts.
Wankers must HTFU to make the most of cougar pass.
Or … find detour!!
This shit day is nothin’ compared to the ultra shittiest day coming our way on April 26. 10 laps? 20K feet of climbing. A 30 mile crit? Can we get our money back???
OK, I get it. Never mind.
You might want to check the calendar and see if there is any chance that such a surprising missive coincides with a certain day of the year when surprising things are not necessarily factual.
Amateur jokers normally admit it was a joke right away. He’s no amateur, I hope.