Friday, May 9, 2008

Reunion Race

During the past 2 weeks, I've been exchanging emails with my best friend from high school who I haven't seen in 13 years.  I'm not into using people's real names so let's call him Chad Ambrose (not his real name).  I had heard his name pop up in conversations every now and then from other local cyclists and knew he was a good rider and a hard core endurance trail runner (as in the Wasatch 100 kind of trail running).  
After a few email exchanges, we decided to finally meet for a ride and get caught up.  Our first ride together was going to be a night ride on Thursday from the EQ in Draper.  A few days prior to meeting, I found myself Googling his name and searching for any previous race results to find out of just how fast he was.  A few searches came up but I still didn't have a good gage on his fitness.
I tried to get a few of my fast friends- Jamie and Tony to join me.  If I wasn't able to hang at least one of my friends might be able to.  But they both bailed and left me all alone to fight my fight. 
Thursday night finally arrived and I drove down to the EQ in Draper and started getting my gear on.  I noticed another ride there with baggy shorts and a heavy downhill bike.  I thought for a minute this might be Chad and I got a little excited.  It wasn't.  And just then, another biker pulled up and for the first time in over 13 years, I saw my old friend.  He rode his bike to the EQ (already a bad sign), and the first thing I noticed were his legs.  Huge quads and huge calves....Oh crap, I thought.  This is going to be painful.
We made small talk as I finished getting my bike ready.  It's important to note that I was on my SS and Chad on a full suspension geared bike.  I decided to ride the SS because I thought it would give me an advantage on the climbs.  A chance to put the hammer down and set a fast pace.   
This being a reunion AND a ride between 2 people who haven't ridden together set the stage for an all out race to establish the alpha male.  I knew it.  And Chad knew it.  We didn't talk about it.  It's just what happens in these situations.  
As we began the ride, Chad set the pace on the lower, flatter section.  Within minutes, I was redlined and pretty much unable to carry on a good conversation.  Even simple questions like "what do you do for work" left me unable to give a complete answer.  "In.....Sales....." I would mumble.  I was having serious doubts about this ride and we were only 3 minutes into it.  As we got the the base of Clarks, I pulled in front and set a much lower pace.  I knew this would give me about 10-15 minutes of recovery as we climbed up Clarks.  The problem was, I was on a SS and you really need to climb and a pretty good speed or you tip over.  That section was short lived and as we got to the road, the climb to Jacob's began.  Chad, now back in front, was setting a brutal pace.  I managed to keep his wheel and was able to stay with him better on the steep parts.  But after a bit he started to gap me. 

The entire climb I kept wondering how fast he might be on the downhill.  Would the downhill be my chance to put some distance between us? 

It was a great night for a ride.  The temp was perfect.  It was a clear night.  I was finally riding with Chad and was suffering but happy to be out on my bike. 

We got to the top of Jacob's and I led the downhill.  Chad was right on my wheel and was talking to me the entire way down.  When we got to Ghost, Chad led and was letting it go through the tight turns.  Such a fun downhill.  Especially at night. 

At the bottom, we crossed the river and climbed back up to the top of Clarks but this time, we climbed on the jeep road.   Every now and then Chad would stomp on the pedals and ratchet up the pace but for the most part, we rode together.  

At the bottom of Clarks, we split up.  I went down to the EQ and Chad back over to the jeep road (probably for another 5 or 6 laps up Clarks).  I didn't want to know.  I had survived the race and came in 2nd but was happy to have finally hooked back up with Chad.  

Next time, I'm bringing the two Brads (Keyes and Pilling), Kenny, and Jamie and am going to unleash them on Chad.   



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to get beat by a Chad all the time (his real name) so I may not be any good. I named him "Last lap Chad" as he always passed me at the end of the race.

BP

dug said...

are brad and jamie and tony THEIR real names?

tibiker said...

Dude, if BP's not sure, I'm definitely not your man. I think I'll just remember the good old days when Chad and I rode the road and I could hang. (barely)

FWIW Rick, I bet you still had more fun riding than I did sanding & painting that bed Thursday night. It's all perspective.

tibiker
(my real name, cuz my mom could predict the future real good)

tp said...

All I remember about Chad is riding with him in LOTOJA years ago. He was apparently using this race as cross training at the advice of his doctor. After I had trained all year for this one race, I was miserable. To add insult to injury, I just hated the guy for how happy and talkative he was near mile 90 in a severe crosswind. Rick do you really think I was going to subject myself to that again?

mark said...

You should have shown up in baggy shorts and with a DH bike.

Jill said...

tibiker must be from Kentucky if his mom could predict the future real "good". Is that redneck for "really well"?

mark said...

Kentucky?

KENTUCKY LOVE POEM

SUSIE LEE DONE FELL IN LOVE;
SHE PLANNED TO MARRY JOE
SHE WAS SO HAPPY 'BOUT IT ALL
SHE TOLD HER PAPPY SO.

PAPPY TOLD HER, SUSIE GAL,
YOU'LL HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER.
I'D JUST AS SOON YO' MA DON'T KNOW,
BUT JOE IS YO' HALF BROTHER.

SO SUSIE PUT ASIDE HER JOE
AND PLANNED TO MARRY WILL,
BUT AFTER TELLING PAPPY THIS,
HE SAID, 'THERE'S TROUBLE STILL.

YOU CAN'T MARRY WILL, MY GAL,
AND PLEASE DON'T TELL YO' MOTHER,
BUT WILL AND JOE, AND SEVERAL MO'
I KNOW IS YO' HALF BROTHER.

BUT MAMA KNEW AND SAID, MY CHILD,
JUST DO WHAT MAKES YO' HAPPY.
MARRY WILL OR MARRY JOE.
YOU AIN'T NO KIN TO PAPPY.

tibiker said...

Jilly, I sure hope you know I used "cuz" and "real good" in a sentence as a joke. Please don't think I'm an illiterate redneck, just think of me as a redneck. Oh, and thanks a bunch for "outing me" as a Kentuckian now look what you done did, Mark's taken that info and composed a poem on my behalf. (I am aware that "done did" is also incorrect, BTW)

Here's my Chad story, while we're reliving how he one-upped us all.

LOTOJA 2004, Chad, Grant and I are climbing Salt River Pass when Chad takes off. Grant and I catch up on the downhill and we all ride in together and I'm feeling pretty good to have finished alongside these two guys.
I'm wiped out, sick at my stomach but recover pretty good by the next day. Then I hear that Chad had driven back to Salt Lake after LOTOJA and had paced a friend of his for 25 miles of the wasatch 100 running race. So basically he did a 200 mile bike race and then an off road marathon within 24 hours. Talk about feeling like a wimp, I couldn't believe anyone could have done that, I was barely moving for a couple of days afterwards.

So don't feel too bad Rick.

Rick Sunderlage said...

Thanks everyone I feel much better about myself now.