A lil’ diddy I wrote back in June 2011, following a particularly grueling, and exhilarating, Adventure Race. Way back when …
I could do a lil sumthin’ 🙂
Its almost a decade later, but I pulled it out, dusted it off, and “buffed it up” a bit.
I got some years on me now, and can’t quite go as “hard and fast” as I used to.. *SIGGGH**, but its always nice to reminisce.
And who knows, perhaps one day I’ll be up for one more round of …..
|So bummed to have missed out on last week’s Tsali Xterra battle with my triathlon colleagues.|
They each completed a 1/2 mile swim, 10 mile mountain bike and 5 mile trail run in under 2 hours,
and enjoyed podium finishes in there respective age groups.
Fuck yer pretty little Xterra…. 🙂
10 miles of trekking/bushwhacking, 30 miles of mountain biking, 6 miles of paddling…
and its only hour 10.
We have at least 2 more hours and 10 more miles of mountain biking to go.
Lightening cracks and thunder roars. This sends all the visitors to the state park where we are racing fleeing from the grounds, like patrons flying from a burning building.
We hop on our bikes and dodge the racing cars out of the parking lot to the trail head.
The thunder rolls closer, humongous pine trees swaying back and forth…leaves and large branches begin sprinkling the trail.
Storm clouds cover the sunlight and it begins to get dark….
and I forgot my lights…
Wind picks up…thunder rolls closer.
Is that noise the breeze in the trees or the beginnings of a downpour?
Who knows…who cares ….we’ve got checkpoints to find.
We roll on down into the single track.
Its getting darker,
the wind is whipping harder.
It begins to sprinkle, then heavy sprinkles…and then, I can hear it before I see it.
The rains come….heavier by the second..increasing in sound and intensity.
And then in sheets…and more sheets….drops the size of golf balls.
Wind blows it sideways, up ways, down ways…straight into my eyes.
I sit back on the saddle….and swish down the trail.
My hands are slipping off the shifters…
‘cuz i forgot my gloves.
eff’ me ….again!
Rain pours through my helmet ….down my back…and puddles into my shoes.
No need for lights by now since the lightening is illuminating the trail at regular intervals.
The storm is directly above us now.
Thunder cracking so loud it sounds like the roof of the earth is actually crumbling into pieces.
And those pieces are falling in the form of leaves and large tree limbs.
One particularly gigantor limb plummets to the ground about 5 feet in front of me.
But there’s no time to slow down or stop.
I careen towards it…
maintain my speed ..
but my rear tire gets snagged.
I fish tail…sliding down the trail almost sideways.
I nose it up..
straighten it out…
and shake it off.
And I press on.
The single track has now turned into a raging river. Pools of water at the crevice of ever low point.
Crackle crackle..snap pop POW..BOOOOOOM BANG!
I smile as water and mud splatter my face.
Thunder so loud it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Lightening so fierce it burns your corneas.
Almost brings you back to that childhood state of fear…..
I squint to make out the trail through the curtains of rain.
I sit back… and let the tires roll.
Rain, mud, dirt and grime spit up from every direction.
Splashing through the pools of mud…up, down and around.
Plowing through rock gardens that are now rock ponds..water so high you can barely see the rocks at all.
Screw it…push through it, hope for the best.
We continue on..racing the rushing waters down and around the next corner.
More and more rocks …but now..I’m face to face with a completely flat and slick rock face.
The rock face glistens back at me with the devilish grin of “The Joker”, with water pouring off the edge..provoking me.
Ah Fuck it…
Screw it push through it.
I sit back, roll on down and hope for the best.
I press on.
We stop to grab a check point and check the map for the next one.
By now we have brier lashings so fierce its as if we’ve been tied to the whipping post.
My teammate’s arm is a slashed bloody mess, blood drips onto our map, but washed away quickly by the rain, which pounding down so loud I can barely hear her talking next to me.
“Continue on this trail to the next check point, unless you wanna bail..?” she yells.
“FUCK NO!! ” I shout back.
She grins ear to ear as we hop back on our rides.
We press on.
And if its at all possible that the rain could get any heavier or louder..
I realize that storms this severe usually last only about 20-30 minutes in the south.
A fleeting thought I had over an hour ago.
We still have 3 check points to go.
I’m re-hydrated by the waters that pour down my face, collecting salty sweat along the way, as it drips into my mouth, which is actually better than the lukewarm water I’ve been chugging all day.
I’m fueled by every CRACK-BOOM-BANG of thunder, and re-energized by every HOT flash of lightening…
Because I’m not racing friends, competitors or even myself…
but the baddest mofo in town…
MUTHA FUCKIN’ NATURE.
And she definitely brought her A game today.
Racing against the lightening., I start to wonder what it actually feels like to get struck by lightening. Would my heart actually STOP, or would I just go into V.Fib??
Every crackle-boom-POW, brings the uncertainty if the next round of thunder, the next crackle of lightening, or the next gigantor tree limb to greet me with a blunt force trauma.
Fuck it…we press on.
We snag our last three check points as we slip, slide and role our way through the gnarly, muddle single track.
And then, AT LAST, we exit single track onto gravel roads, just as the rain begins to slow to a drizzle. Its as if Mother Nature is giving me a fair nod, saying”Well played”, as she rolls along to tear through the next town.
We make our way to the paved roads back to the the Start/Finish area, which is now littered with limbs and leaves, looking like a demolished town following…well…a really bad storm.
My triathlon pals enjoyed podium finishes and medals at their pretty lil’ Xterra.
And what do we get?
Mud in my teeth, tick bites in the unmentionables, and scratches and scrapes soaked in the lily-pad mud fest I waded through to grab Check Point #30, which were later washed off by the stinging pound of storm rain.
There are no other all-female teams, so race results are lumped in with all the other male and co-ed teams, thus, we didn’t have a chance.
We scored a single track ride so exhilarating, my heart races just thinking about it.
Who needs sunshine..
when you got SOUL-SHINE.
And even after all these years I still say….
Push through the pounding sheets of rain and..
Until next time my loves..
Stacy Lynn 🙂