Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Four T's

To follow up the four H's post, now we have the four T's, or the TTTT, or the Tinton Trail Time Trial, put on by the same guy, Perry Jewett, that puts on the Dakota Five-O, which I planned on racing this past Sunday.  And I did, but with one exception, for which I have a new "hero" in cycling to look up to (or down to as it were).

Sunday morning came and I got up at my normal ass-crack-of-dawn time and started getting the Moots and my stuff ready for the TTTT.  As I was getting closer to time to leave, I went into the Boy's room to get him up so we could drive the hour to the race venue, just outside of Spearfish.

I whispered to him that it was time to get up so we could go to the race.  Earlier in the week I had mentioned the race and said if he felt like it, we could race it on Barney, our big, purple Cannondale off-road tandem, so I asked him if he wanted to race, expecting him to say no based on our previous conversations.  I got the typical kid response which was something along the lines of "well, duh Dad, of course I am going to race it with you!"  Wow.  Knock me over with a feather.  I really wasn't expecting that answer.

So, we got everything ready to roll, packed up and headed out to Spearfish.  It was a perfect morning here at NSSC headquarters, with the temps in the low 70's and barely partly cloudy.  As we traveled northwest getting closer to Spearfish, my wife says, "those clouds don't look so good."  No, no they didn't.  As we get into Spearfish, it is completely overcast, temps in the low 60's but no rain at least.  As we head out of town to the venue, we climb into the clouds which is now fog, getting more and more thick as we end up at the Big Hill trailhead parking lot.

We sign up for the race, saddle up and ride the 1/2 mile or whatever it was to the starting area to do a practice run.  We struggled up the climbs and it felt like I was doing the majority of the work.  Damn, I thought to myself, if the Boy rides like this, it's gonna be a long, LONG day.

We get to the starting area, wait for a couple of other guys to take off and then we follow.  We're rolling pretty well and it feels like the Boy is loosening up a bit and feeling the flow.  The course is divided into two sections, the upper section, which is rocky and not so tight and twisty, then after you cross Tinton road, the lower section which isn't as rocky, but much tighter and more twisty than the upper and making threading a 7' long tandem through it a bit sketchy.  About 1/2 way down the upper section, I hear the sshhhHHWWWeeew ...sshhhHHWWWeeeww ..sshhhHHWWWeeeww sound that only a flat can make.  Sonofabitch.  We're under a time constraint to get to the bottom and catch a shuttle back to the start of the race.  Flat fixed and we're back off down the trail.

We catch a ride back to the top by riding in the back of a pickup, holding Barney.  It was the first time the Boy got to ride in the back of a pickup and he thought that was the shit.  At the top, I find my fixed rear tire losing air.  DAMMIT!  I pull the tire off and find a small pinhole.  No more tubes.  My patch kit is an "emergency" one only, with those foamy, stick on patches that work good enough to get you home, but no better.  Thankfully, Chadwick bails me out with the primo Park Tools stick on patches that I am now thoroughly impressed with.

Race time comes with the Dash for Cash class (expert) taking off first then the Steer for Beer (sport), of which we're part of.  Jasper gives us the line up order and we're in line awaiting our turn.  The Boy is a bit nervous before we roll out, but once we hear the 3...2...1...GO he settles in and is pedaling REALLY well and hanging with me like a champ, leaning into turns, standing up and basically following my body english really well.

The top 1/2 went by like a blur.  We didn't get passed by anyone on the top part, which I fully expected.  We cross the road and drop into the second section and are rolling well.  We get passed about 1/2 way through the second section, which I expected as we can't turn through the corners as easily as a single bike.  Shortly after we get passed again to which I respond to the Boy "we will NOT get passed again!"  The Boy asks "how do you know?"  and just then another rider comes by.  SHIT.  We keep the on the gas and fly through the last couple stretches, into Cleaver's Corner which is a double switchback that was more than tricky on a tandem, but we make it.  A few more pedal strokes and we cross the line in 28:11.  Not shabby for a 7'ish mile Super D.  We later find out we have beaten a good number of singles and are not far behind people that think they are good downhillers.  We're STOKED.

Which brings me to my new cycling hero...The Boy.  That kid kicks some major ass on the back of a tandem.  He is mostly fearless, and whenever there is a hesitation, if I say we'll be OK, he goes with it.  He pedaled his little ass off and rode really, REALLY well.  I am super-stoked to be part of a tandem team with him and I can't wait to do it again!

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