Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rouge 8

The Rouge is in the books and that makes me happy.

It was another great turnout, when i registered i was #71 for the A race, a combination of 1,2,3's and Masters riders. The weather was really perfect, probably around 46 at start time with an ending temp in the 70's and very dry. Foremost in my mind was the talk that the parish, only a few days prior, had dumped new loads of dirt and sand on all the gravel roads that we would be racing on. The word was that the one mile gravel Pond Store climb, usually the launching pad for decisive moves in the race, was largely unrideable. Rumors at the start line were that we would skip the entire first section of mostly flat gravel due to it's condition and have a straight out road race to the Pond Store.

The race began smoothly, i was expecting a flying start with most of Herring and over a dozen Memphis MW guys there, but instead it was steady. When we hit Sligo, Will who was in his first 1,2,3 race asked me if this was fast or slow. It didn't seem that fast at the time, just mad-cap wild heading down the curvy road 5 across from one side of the road to the other. I overheard some out-of-towners remarking how nice it was to have a rolling enclosure. I don't think this is the case, but that's the way we rode it. Irondale was also gutter-to-gutter pot-hole filled and brisk. On to Pinckneyville and Norm came over and asked me about the first gravel section rumor, from what he heard it was on and all that he had talked to expected to hit it. Sure enough, it was just a rumor.

I came in around the middle but immediately got sucked in by a sandy section on the left side. I got sideways and nearly had to stop completely. The pack rolled away and i overheard a lot of "Come on Dave", "Dave!", "Get back on Dave" whirring by at 25 or so as i probably dropped 20 spots. I got righted and started passing people back, but couldn't get back on with the group. Instead i started picking up teammates, Josh, Shawn, Jerry. By the time we got back to Pickneyville, we were a group of about 6-8 and we started to chase. Luckily for us, the pack wasn't at warp speed, in fact they were sort of chilled and after 4-5 miles of chase we were back on.

From this point on, there were regular attacks. Usually each with a Herring and an MMW in them and so it was all the way down to Fort Adams. Kyle and Norm were super active trying to get across to one of the larger breaks that went, but it all came back together. I pretty much spent my tokens in the gravel and chasing back. It seemed like we dropped about 20 riders between the gravel and the Woodvillle route. We hit the 180 that leads to the gravel climb and i stood up to move up some places and cramped. This wasn't good considering what was ahead. I had a bad position on the rickety bridge and ended up just settling in at the back, waiting for the climb drama.

What happened next was wild, all 50 or so riders in the field dismounted and the race became a hike. As far as the eye could see there were guys walking their bikes in the thick sand. Kenny B. drove by in the back of the Schuler jeep and told me that i should walk faster. It was comical. I shouldered my bike and semi-jogged cross-style to Keith but he still managed to drop me walking. It was surreal. The descent and climb after the big one weren't any better and i still saw lots of walkers. Out of the gravel finally i rode on by myself. Eventuallly i'd catch a few stragglers. Who knows what happened at the front, Scott told me that an MMW went on alone at Pond store and eventually won solo. From what i can gather it was Master's National Champ Michael Olheiser due to the Captain America jersey.

The Tunica section was steep as all get out as usual, but the surface was fast. The part that really hurt was the ending section in Solitude which was really rough and in bad condition. The post-race jambalaya tasted like manna from heaven. Thanks to the Cappo family for putting on another dramatic one-of-a-kind type event.

As of this morning, serious serious soreness continues...

10 comments:

Taylor said...

epic

Mister T said...

Can't ever remember cramping while pushing a bike???
Think I had dust in every orifice?

David said...

Man i had finger cramps!

Anonymous said...

My prostate does not hurt as bad when I message it with my index finger.
Norman

David said...

Norm, i'm filing that one under TMI
:D

Jeff said...

OK..All this RR8 talk is making the Sunday accomplishments of the G-town group seem small and insignificant...
Didn't I mention the fact that the bridge was GONE on Hwy 421?
RR8...Gravel, Smavel...

LPM said...

That sounds infinitely more dramatic than any footrace I've seen. I need to switch sports.

David said...

Lance come on down and ride it next year, i'll drive your support vehicle :D

David said...

and jeff, bike-swim-bike does sound pretty tough to me

Jeff said...

Truth be told, the water was only ankle deep...but I do appreciate the sentiment! :)