Saturday, January 26, 2013

DDD The Ending


 “Hello gentlemen,” I said as the three cyclist rolled up next to me when  I was standing there holding my flatted bicycle tube in my hands. They wanted to know how far the town of Dyersville was from here. They were going to pull the plug there. Their goal was to reach Dyersville; it had been a hard ride. I said Dyersvilee was about 3 miles or so on down the road. I told them my glue wasn’t working and I would be pulling the plug on the race too, unwillingly. One of the cyclists asked me if I wanted a tube? He said he had three spare tubes on board. A smart man.   I said YES!!!!. He pulled a Surly Fat Tube out of his bike bag. I dug a 20 dollar bill out of my jacket pocket, my always there emergency stash cash pocket, and handed it to him.

After repairs, and all the inactivity I was feeling the frozen landscape settle into my bones I needed to get back on the bike and I needed to get going. It would be dark in a few hours, I was a long way from finishing. I had close to 20 miles of level travel mixed with slick ice and frozen gravel before the final section of ATV trails, steep climbs, creek crossings, and the finish, at the Best Western Hotel. I wanted to finish what I started at 10:00 this morning.  One by one cyclists crossed the frozen creek near the start and return finish of the race Each one of us hoped we would not break through.

The next stop would be the Durango Depot bar a mandatory check in. I was hitting patches of ice and trying to ride through them without crashing and trying to gain time on the gravel sections when I could.
I was following another rider that was in front of me while watching him maneuver over the multiple stretches of ice. I was impressed at how well he was finding a line riding without studded tires. I waiting for a safe opportunity to pass him watching his rear wheel and then I saw his rear wheel slide to side and down he went on the ice. Hard. As he was trying to stand back up his  feet slid out from under him on the glare ice and down again he went. I stayed with him and chatted a bit making sure he was ok and then moved on ahead.

Darkness and fatigue often seem to be partners. They were both now starting to visit me. I rolled into the Durango Depot to check in. Before entering into the bar I checked my water bottles for refill. I downed one, and drank what fluid I could get out of the other one.

Bikers and patrons were at the bar. Some of the cyclist were doing the poker run and would not continue on from here on their bikes. There were several other cyclists resting and preparing to launch again. Many cheered when I walked in, we all shared the love of this sport. 

Spinner who was racing and pulling a lead with the front riders when I last saw him at 10:00 this morning was doing the checking in. He had taco’d his bike when his BB bearings froze up. He told me when it happened he was hot on the tail of the 3rd place contestant. In spite of the unfortunate circumstances he was all smiles and an encouragement to me.

I leaned over the bar and ordered two cans of coca cola and downed both. Looking around I saw Adam and a few others leaving, wanting to get er done. I chatted with Traci and Karmen two cyclists in the Poker Run, briefly and out the door I too went. I thought I had about an hour and half left with hilly ATV trails and wooded sections.

I flung the ice out of my one water bottle thinking no sense packing extra weight and decided to finish without any more additional fluids.

It was now dark. Riding along I had some concern about my lighting. My battery being out in the cold all day was already indicating mid power range a few minutes after turning it on. I was seeing other cyclists’ lights at times. Some in front of me, some behind me. We all had one goal in the same, to finish and get off these bikes.

Now off the trail and riding ATV trails approaching the first steep climb my front tire broke through ice and into water, surprising me it wasn’t froze solid.
 I heard voices now, other riders close to me on this dark trail. I saw two other dark sillouttes and the three of started riding together. We hit the bottom of the first steep climb about the same time. A rutted rocky steep climb. I lost my line first and off the bike I went, and the shortly the same occurred for the other two riders. So now we pushed our bikes together up this hill.

I didn't notice right away but one of the riders was Nick, my friend and fellow cyclist. Nick runs the Cup-O-Dirt and we got together a couple of times last year living in different cities. Nick was riding with his friend Jared and now my friend too.
Nick says to me let's ride this out together. I said to the two of them I didn’t want to slow them down, that I felt like an empty gas tank that somebody punched a hole in. Jared replied we all are, let’s ride. We formed a bond without saying anymore and rode on, the three of us.
Our lights were going dim, I couldn’t see well and was riding without distinguishing clearly what was ice and what was not. We had finished a series of hills and now were catching our last breather on a mile or so section of pavement, which gave us a bit of a break and a bit of some chat time.
…and then we were lost. Yes LOST!!! We must have wandered off the grass trail and into a woods. We saw blinking lights to our left and hollered over asking if he was lost. It was Troy and Troy wasn’t lost, we were. So packing, dragging, pushing our bikes through a pathless woods to get back on the trail while Troy waited with his rear light blinking as our navigational guide.

Now the four of us were headed towards the finish line together. Troy had passed me twice while I was repairing flats, and I passed him up at each of the mandatory stops and check in locations.

Working our way together, on single path, mixed with some ATV double path we were not talking much.
We were now out of the woods figuratively and literally. It was just a few miles of pavement left. We all stopped together.  Jared pulled out PJB sandwiches with raisons and honey and offered me a hunk and passed some around to the others. It was like a celebratory meal we were breaking bread. It tasted so good, it was almost froze and but I was low on fuel and it was hitting the spot.

When we got back on our bikes and onto the pavement I noticed my front tire was going flat again. I didn’t care anymore, I would drag this bike to the finish if I had to.

With low tire pressure I pedaled on next to Troy, Jared and Nick were right behind us, we made small chat and pulled into the hotel parking lot. Our journey was finished. Bill S. a DDD volunteer every year came out and asked for the order of arrival for the race records, we said we all finished together.
At the finish, with my friend and 4th place finisher Joe S. His wife Tina was the only woman finisher in the 64 mile race.



 A bunch of hard rode horses at the awards ceremony.


dawn marie giegerich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dave always great to read your adventures great job on staying with it. bruce

mrbill said...

Really enjoyed reading about your ride, I knew someone would give the famous "DaveyGie" a tube.

T Metz said...

Great people, great fun in Dubuque!! Can't wait to do it again next year. Let's pray for some SNOW!! and all FATBIKES.

Trevor Woodford said...

Great report on your ride...An enjoyable read.Well done buddy..!!