2015 Burning at the Bluff by Captain Ahab.
TeamBOR headed to the 2015 Burnin at the Bluff as two 12 hour teams and a solo 12 hour racer; Dave Cortivo (Beastmode) and Scott Shaw (Capt. Ahab) as the alpha male team, Amanda Lappe (SheRa), Dave Beattie (Ninja), and Neil Dickhaus (Compass) as the coed team, and Kevin Minton (Keith, Grannyless, or Sasquatch) as the solo “I got this sht” racer. I don’t know all the team categories we entered but Dave and I were Burnin Virgins, yet all of us were Burnin Virgins, so I was greatly confused. I estimated the course to be 12 miles, but then read online it would be 13ish. I then estimated that Kevin could manage a 10.5+ average mph (1Hr14m/lap) if he was doing one lap, but since he was all alone I knew he would drop it down between 9.5 (1Hr22m/lap) and 8.5 (1Hr32m/lap) mph averages. I was betting if I could ride hard I could pull a 9.5 mph average or “balls out” a 10.5, but I knew I got to rest in between laps. I figured I would then slow to 6.5 avg mph and have an overall 8.5 average mph. I based that off my BT Epic experience. I thought Amanda would be behind me, followed equally by Dave B, Neil D, and Dave C. I thought all of them would be around 7.5 average mph (1Hr44m/lap) on their first laps and then would drop to 6.5 (2Hr/lap). I know that since I am an Adventure Racer all that technical jargon should have been metric, but since I am an American the metric system doesn’t register in my mind as of yet.
So the race starts out with an awesome run and straw jump through thick smoke grenade action. Beastmode, Sasquatch, and Ninja are in the lineup, while the rest of us jealously watch. They take off and I am still confused on the route. Me, SheRa, and Compass talk estimates and I exaggerate to them like normal so their times will seem slower so they ride harder. I also do this in AR so they think they have less time and speed up. It is mean, but it works as long as I keep the time right in my head. We get ready and wait. Around 1HR26m Kevin emerges from the woods and I help him get food and drink and he is back on the course in a hurry. Then at about 1HR40min (Sorry if I get the times wrong, we will append this when the results are posted.) Ninja pops out of the woods and SheRa takes off, I yell at her to hurry because I was gunning for her. It seems like an eternity before Beastmode pops out and Neil tells me I can catch Amanda. I thought it had been about a 2-5 min gap and knew I would have to work hard to catch her. I told Neil that I may not be able to. So I decide I am going to go “balls out” since everyone else is killing it. I fly down the street, almost miss the trail, nearly hit the camera man, and on the second switch back barely hold onto trail and have to unclip. I ride hard and can hear my breathing over everything else. I keep a watch on my bike computer. No Dropping below 8.5 mph. I keep seeing 12.5-14. I am happy. I hit a big double track hill and start doubting if I am on course. I slow and start to think about turning around. Then I just go for broke up that hill hoping for the best. I come around a corner and slide out and boom I am down. I hit my lower abdomen on the bars and thank God it wasn’t my boys. I see a water hole ahead and know I am gonna crush it and see SheRa in front of it. I pass her at about 7.5 miles in. I start hauling again and it gets rocky and I start bombing the rocks. Some badass goes to pass me and I lose my line and get my front wheel stuck between two rocks and go over the bars. I get a little cut on my shin and press on, but my rear tire is rubbing the frame. I stop, re-set the wheel and ride on, but with no such luck; the wheel is bent! I get off and start stomping and kicking it. Amanda catches me and asks what’s going on, I tell her and take off. I ride 3-4 miles with the tire rubbing. Another camera man asks if I have another wheel. I told him I would fix it at camp. I make it back to the transition at 1Hr23min. Cortivo takes off and I go into repair mode. True wheel, break nipples, think about stomping it again, true wheel, bump air, get food, water, electrolytes.
Beastmode is back in a hurry, I don’t even catch his time and I take off again. That stinking switch back gets me again and I go off the trail. I can feel my rear wheel bottoming out and think I need to add air, I will stop over there, crap it’s flat at only 2 miles in. Ok, fix flat fast, ride, crap need more air, add another CO2, feels squishy still, crap lift ass off seat over every bump, rock, root, insect. I pick it back up and go walking over the rock garden. Somewhere within the reach of the end my back tire washes out and I scream like a two year old girl skinning her knees. I figure everyone heard that. I re-injure my cut up knee. I get back at 1Hr40ish.
Beastmode surprises me with a third lap. I thank him in my mind, so I can add air to rear tire, get food, drink, and clean out my wounds. I am now a little jealous of SuperKate’s 10-stitch shin, because I can see it requires no stitches and just needs to be cleaned. I am thankful I don’t have a Mickey Collarbone and get ready for the next lap. I figure this time I am going all the way to the finish so I better ride better. Kevin gives me the ride smart, have fun speech which really helps. I take a caffeine infused Stinger and ask him if that is considered doping since I don’t drink caffeine anymore. Neil tells me that Dave will not complete another lap. I told him I was already happy with what he put forward. I wait and wait. I am now getting nervous. Neil told me Dave would be back at 5pm. It is now 5:30ish and Dave comes running out of the woods pushing his bike with his chain around his neck! He runs all the way around the transition area as the announcer and everyone else is cheering him on. I think, “that was bad ass!” “I wonder how long he ran?” I take off with Kevin’s speech in my head. I think that I will slow down just some, take care of Samantha and stop raping her and maybe she will take care of me and keep me vertical. We make sweet love and ride on. I seriously doubt I can take another fall. I now have my AR pack on, and although it is heavy and is making my back hot, it gives me comfort that I have my tools, tube, pump (no CO2 left), water, Gatorade, electrolytes, and food with me. Plus my pack is usually with me and I feel naked without it. I pass Kevin as he is doing yoga on the side of the trail. I keep my speed up until that rock garden and walk it. I keep reminding myself, me and Samantha, ride strong, ride smart, have a good lap, no mechanicals, have fun! I get back in the dark around 1Hr30m or 7pm, and my teammates are cheering me on. I race to the TA, where Amanda fills my pocket with CHeeze-its, hands me two Snicker’s bars and kindly opens one. I get a Gatorade in my cage and take off.
I hit that trail hard and remember the switch backs. The second one nearly gets me again. I tell myself again ride smart, and I go into BT Epic mode, which is eat and drink early and often while walking up-hill if you can’t ride uphill and eat and drink and ride like a beast on the flats and downhills and no matter what keep moving. I am pretty sure that the water hole is about half way so I know if I make it there in good time, then I can take it easy to recover some. I have until 9:30pm to finish. I know I have it as long as I don’t bonk, crash, flat, or break something. I ride with Samantha and tell her I will get her wheel fixed, she says no she wants a new one. I agree to buy a new wheel and then she demands a wheel set. I give in and even make the stupid promise that we would try out tubeless if she just holds on. Jesus rides above us on a cloud and star painted full suspension 29er and instead of making fun of me like at the Epic, he is kind and cheers me on but keeps telling me to ride safe. I tell Him thanks for everything, but I kind of like it when He is mean to me. He laughs and shows off and rides across the lake. I make it to through the rock garden by walking and come out on the field. I take a quick break to pee and think of walking and peeing, but remember in the Epic that didn’t work out so well for my shoes. I look up at the stars for just a moment and capture a mental image and carry on. I now am getting passed a lot and am wondering if Kevin rode another lap and would pass me. Everyone is responsible and asks if I am ok, but I don’t think anyone is sincere until Jeff Sona (I am pretty sure it was Jeff, but it was dark) asks and tells me we were almost finished. I walk up the big hill and ride hard to the TA and finish and request beer.
SheRa and Capt. Ahab take a partial epic running victory lap. We all had a fun evening and morning of telling each other our stories and get yelled at by other campers that they were trying to sleep. Back at the TA the music and party roll on way after we go to bed and I lay there rushing with caffeine and think I should have went back to the party.
I rode the 2014 BT Epic in 6Hr43m and if I remember correctly it was 56 miles. I guess I could re-read the blog. I rode Burnin at 6Hr16min at 56.3 miles. I am still hoping for a sub-6 at Epic this year. I was really amazed and proud of how well everyone did. SheRa and Ninja had fast clean laps with no mechanicals or crashes. Kevin to my knowledge had no mechanicals, although he may have broken some ribs while soloing 5 laps or 70 miles! Neil had two flats and then navigated back via bushwhacking…AR Style Points! Beastmode ran a freaking 5K carrying a bike and still came in around 2hr30min! Like Amanda said, “No one is going to quit!” – Ahab.