12 Hours at Lodi, May 15, 2005

Arrival and the Pre-ride: I arrived at Lodi Saturday afternoon, a little late. I met my teammates, Franziska and Rob. Very nice people and are astronomy grad students at the University of Maryland. We set up tents at the far end of the field they mowed for us. On our pre-ride of the course, the loop seemed mighty long to me. Not super hard or anything, but there were a lot of ups and downs and a lot of roots. A few very challenging valley crossings, but overall not bad, just continuously heart pounding. I decided it had been a mistake to do the pre-ride. The race was clearly marked and you couldn't take a wrong turn. Riding ahead of time just wore me out.

Poison Ivy: I became alarmed to see a poison ivy plant sprouting up 6" from my tent stake and realized PI had been mowed over in the field. On our pre-ride, it was HOT. There was poison ivy everywhere. I wound up blistering by the time I got done with my first loop. That's the first time in my life that happened so quickly. I now keep Technu in my vehicle, and several times over the course of the weekend, I took a paper towel and rubbed Technu over my arms and a little on my legs. It did the trick and about the only PI I wound up with was a spot on my finger! I also used Zanfel liberally in the shower when I got home.

Before the Race Started: Shortly after we got back to our campsite, the skies lit up with lightening and it started to rain. Not too, too bad, but rainy enough. I took a sleeping pill and dozed away around 9pm. My teammates were faster so I suggested they start riding first. I set my alarm for 2 am. I got up got my stuff ready, and off I went when Rob returned. Off I went. The trail was wetter than it had been.

Stopping for Faster Racers: It turned out to be a bigger pain than I thought. I was *the* slowest* rider out there. What that meant was that I had to pull over at least 50 times to let riders go by. I'd have to guess how fast the rider from behind. Do I ride a little farther, or jump to the side? Do I wait for all those stacked up behind the guy right before me? Pulling over meant, "Is there poison ivy here (or does it matter since it overhangs the trail in places)" and "Man, that messed up my momentum and I can't get back on my bike and go up the the hill."

I did a loose survey. A third of the folks who passed me didn't say a word. Most of them were probably pounding so hard that they didn't have the energy. Another third, said, "Thanks. blah, blah." And the other third, "Are you all right?" "I'm pulling over to let YOU pass." Duh!? After about 20 people asking, I get to the point of thinking, "I'm old! I'm fat! You're better than me! Leave me alone!" Often I just squeeked my squirrel horn in response to the friendly comments. I wasn't in the mood to be bitchy. But nor was I mood to lie and say how much fun I was having. The squirrel was perfect. It took a lot less effort to squeeze than to speak. All those speedy MTB, lycra-wearing racers seems amused by the squirrel. More than one responded, "I needed that!" when I squeeked. Or "That's the spirit." One big hill near the end, David ZOOMED by me. I squeeked and he yelled, "ARGGGGGGGGG, I'm a pirate!" I was so impressed. On the lap at 3 in the morning where the route grazed past the campground I squeeked a dozen times. As I disappeared into the night I heard shouts of "SG! SG!" That was sweet!

The last lap: It took over 2 hours for each of my laps. Joe, Ricky, and Markie did their laps in about 49 minutes (and were leading when I left). I did my final lap around 7:15 am. Again, over 2 hours. I was wiped! My crotch was sore. My muscles hurt. It hurt to walk up the stairs in my house. I got chafed badly by my bra where the band goes around my chest.

Oh, another fun thing. I forgot one thing. The big bag of Luna bars I bought for the race. I had planned to eat dinner with my teammates Saturday evening. So on the drive down, I figured I'd pick up some food at the grocery store. Well, my car soon got trapped in the sea of tents and cars and I couldn't get out. The Bike Lane had some food, so I got a gigundo hamburger. Someone had gotten some out of date Luna Bars and shared them with me.

So that was all the food I had. After a light lunch (bowl of soup and pear at around 11 am) before I left home, I had a hamburger and about 4 Luna Bars. After the race DT handed me a bag of potato chips. I only ate 3, but they were SO good! Then I saw Joe P's wife and I ate a taquito that she brought. Oh, and a slice of banana bread from Rob. Whoopie! :-)

MORE casualties: Peter hurt his ribs and dislocated his shoulder. He's had trouble with his shoulder before, too. Bob Caverly busted the rear triangle of his Truth. And a pedal. DT had to quit after 2 laps with Strep Throat, or similar creepy crawly. After my two crashes last week, I went VERY carefully, so I didn't get hurt besides my PI and chafe.

Homeward Bound: So, home I headed. In the rain. I stopped in town and got a Mexican lunch. North I headed on I-95. I was SO tired. I pulled over 3-4 times for 20 minute naps. I stopped for ice cream in Manassas. I discovered I had a tire that was half flat (joy--the gravel road/camping field must have done it in). I filled it with air and continued home. By then I developed a miserable headache. I took 2 Aleve. I took 2 prescription Imitrex (for migraines), 2 antihistamines. A couple hours later, I started to feel better. But I was a slug and vegged in front of the TV, which I almost never do. Finally, just before bed, I started the laundry which will be a major job!

Conclusion: In the morning, shortly before leaving, Peter asked me, "But did you have fun?" My answer was "no." I'm not sorry I did the race. It was an experience. There were some good moments. I don't mind the misery of the course and the long, odd hours so much. It's just that I don't really have a reason to enjoy it and balance off the pain. Riding one more lap just didn't enthuse me. Like a squirrel in a cage :-)

Big Peter's Map of his laps through the race: