2016 Cedar Cross by Scott Shaw. Hopefully add pics later.
The Cedar Cross…hot; and the best gravel ride I’ve done so far. Well I’ve only done 3 official events, so I am a nube, but it had lots o’ single track and I am a mountain biker so it is the best! I drove down the morning of and had plenty of time to get ready. Some home-wrecker chick named SuperKate made me stand in line and sign a waiver or something that stole my identity because I didn’t read it as usual. I probably should have because it probably had cool verbiage hidden throughout that other races don’t have, like you can’t sue if your “vag” cries. Then there was an awesome shortened version of the National Anthem followed by a more awesome full version. Hell, next year, just play it twice, it will be a Cedar Cross thing! I have been down the last few years about the future of America, the younger generation is a bunch of sissys, but this is “Merica” damn it, so play it loud and proud and make ‘em sing! The liberals, socialists, and communists, need that! I want to see some red blooded American up there standing by Old Glory with his helmet off, hand over his heart, maybe a fried opossum leg in the other, or an AR-15, or both, singing as loud as he can! I’m too amped now, so I will come back to this after I go shoot something and drive over some foreign car with my Jeep. Maybe you get the picture that the guitarist playing the anthem got me pretty pumped up! You had this ol’ fashioned conservative about to wet himself. Good thing I wasn’t “packing” or we would have had a false start.
The race starts and I am still debating on racing or riding with friends, but we are following Chuck’s awesome Wrangler, and I’m all pumped up as mentioned so I take off and think I’m racing this, Ogre legs be damned! I am making a great pace and then hit a water crossing at around 5 miles and blow out the front tire with about 8 other riders. I get a couple nice slaps on the ass as riders pass and they probably don’t realize how much I appreciated it. I take an eternity to fix the flat cause my adrenaline is rushing and my hands are shaky. I get mine fixed and ride off as hard as I can to catch the rest of the pack. I am so far behind now that I realize the race is over for me, but maybe I can catch Larry. I really didn’t want to ride the whole thing alone after riding Ogre alone, so I am really giving it hell trying to catch up. I pass a ton of people that I passed at the beginning and see a large herd going into a gas station at like 12 miles or something. I think that’s way too early and keep cruising. I then think I saw Dave Beattie in that pack, but all I can see is one Noah jersey in a sea of black momentum jerseys and other black jerseys. The Noah jersey has a back pack on and I don’t see a second Noah jersey so I conclude it’s not Dave and Amanda and I charge on. I hit the streets in town and get all confused and miss my turn and someone with a Garmin tells me I am correct and then fails to tell me I am not correct. I don’t realize until I ride all the way to the end of double zero. I turn around and curse him, thinking he may have done that on purpose. I then think, “dang it Amanda is wearing a black Maplewood jersey so that could have been them.”
I get back on course and pass everyone I passed before and I get heckled by Renee and Derrick for it. I tell them flats and bonus miles suck! I ride on, pass Momentum slowly, and lead them past the turn, which we pretty quickly figure out. I pass Renee and Derrick again and again get heckled. So now my AR navigation skill is lacking and failing me. I catch Steve Fuller at the bridge, which I almost die on by getting my front wheel stuck in the wood slats. He tells me, that he just saw Dave and Amanda. I feel like I am really pushing hard and decide that catching Larry just isn’t going to happen unless he has bad luck, which I don’t want him to have, so I decide that if I can catch Dave and Amanda I will finish the ride with them, so I don’t have to finish on my own again. I see the two climbing a hill and reel them in and as I get on Amanda’s side, I say, “Do you know how FN long it took me to catch you guys?”
We ride some knarly single track together and have to walk some to avoid flats, but I start feeling all peaceful inside. I actually ask myself, “What is happening? I feel warm and happy. I think my heart has grown 3 sizes. I feel like I am at home. I then think, “oh yeah, I am a mountain biker!” A roadie keeps complaining about the single track and how she is holding everyone up, but I tell her she is doing fine, stay calm, and watch your line. I think, “Bob Jenkins you marvelous bastard, you figured out how to trick roadies into riding singletrack!” We come across an apparent roadie discarding his rear derailleur and bits of chain into the trail system from a single speed conversion. I am about to blast him Captain Ahab style for littering on God’s and America’s and my single track and then Amanda very politely asks if she can pack it out for him. I pick it up and shove it into her pack and he says he had nowhere to put it. Good thing Amanda was there and she has more patience…well more everything than me, except anger, I’ve got plenty of anger. Amanda says to remind her to kick Bob Jenkins in the balls when she sees him next and I think, “That is so going in the blog!” I turn the corner and find Alice of the Lo and Alice tandem team down on the ground. She tells me she thinks she broken her shoulder against a tree and is going to pass out. She tells me, Dave, and Amanda to leave her there. I tell her there is no way I am leaving her there, that I will help her out of the woods, or I will camp right there with her. I get her on her feet and tell her that I am a big fan of the Lo and Alice tandem team and it is an honor to help her. I had just been joking with Lo that since she was injured and I had just finished the Ogre that I was looking forward to riding tandem with Alice, so she could do all the pedaling and I could drink and heckle other riders, so I got a picture of us walking in tandem. We drop Alice off in a good spot with one of her teammates for pick up and head on. We finish the single track with a nasty rocky descent, and I actually decide not to ride it in fear of flatting and then some ol’ boy just smashes down it and gets to the road, throws his bike to the ground, throws his arms up, screams, “hell yes!” I am extremely jealous. I wait for what seems like an eternity, not knowing that Amanda is helping another rider with a flat and that dang ol’ Renee passes me again.
We are now back on gravel and ride for an eternity in the heat. I am doing great consuming plenty of liquids, but I can tell I need much more than usual. I feel my lips drying and blow my breath from my mouth to my nostrils and can tell my core body heat is disgustingly hot. I drink more. I am not doing a great job of eating. I am eating only enough to ride with Dave and Amanda, but am worried that at any moment they will sprint and I will bonk, so I try to force myself to eat more. I also try to ride just a little faster than them to make them ride faster. I let them catch up and then ride a little faster, just to see what they have in the tank. Amanda is really flushed and I can tell she is hurting. I try to be helpful and give her suggestions. She drinks more, and I try to get a laugh out of her, but I start fearing for my life, so I give it a break after I get a little smile. After a long time we catch Mickey and Kate at a gas station. Now Bob had told us there would be $100 bucks if we beat them, but I know that Amanda needs a break and if I go for it, it will be a sprint to the end with just me and Mickey and the odds are greatly against me unless I go back to the Jeep and get my machete and hack one or both of his legs off. Plus I really wanted to watch Amanda and Dave fight their demons and make sure they finish. Dave and Amanda eat a real meal and I think I should do the same, but I want to finish on my packed food so I just drink more liquids and drink another beer. OMG I forgot to mention the awesome beer stops before in the single track! What an awesome idea! Plus TeamBOR got special whiskey shots at Chuck’s Whiskey Tango spot! How could I leave that out? I am an idiot!
Amanda, Dave, and I ride off in search of the nuclear reactor. Amanda is coming back from her trip inside her pain cave. I enjoy watching her misery and her beating it back. It is the whole point of TeamBOR. Push yourself past your physical, mental, and spiritual level and Amanda is doing it right before my eyes. I am not worried about “Ninja” at all; that’s Dave Beattie. He seems fine. If you would have told me last year that I would finish the Ogre and then the very next weekend finish the Cedar Cross I would have called you a damn liar and slapped your mouth. I have been in the pain cave before. Last time I remember being there Dave and Kevin helped me get out of it on New Year’s Day on Berryman. We ride on and take the mandatory nuclear reactor selfie blinded by the sun and my ears are ringing from the nearby power lines. We hit 101 miles and realize Amanda just rode her first century. I tell her I have to take a picture and then neglect to tell her that my first century was so, so, so much easier. We ride on and I start hearing grumblings from “Scrappy Lappe” ™ of this is boring, stupid, and Dave starts singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall.” I think, “Oh shit here comes the mutiny.” Amanda, says the soldiers, “just go on without me” line and Ninja smacks her back with authority “NO, WE ARE FINISHING THIS TOGETHER!” I stay out of that quarrel and ride on. The last miles seem to have been deviously laid out to be all uphill after riding a good portion of flat Katy. I start loving Bob even more because that’s something sick I would do to people. I tell them we are all crossing the line together and that they are finishing, but don’t crash into each other because that would suck. We cross the finish together and then the icing on the cake is that I find out that’s Ninja’s first Cedar Cross actual finish. I had no idea. – Captain Ahab Shaw