When I think of the toughest endurance races, I think of that blistering 100+ degree Badwater ultramarathon, or the wallop of the Wasatch 100. Both are foot races meant to push man and woman to their absolute limit. Both are something I'll (most likely) never do. Mostly because of boredom. I cannot do (or watch) anything longer than four hours without losing complete interest (hence my distaste for football.) The Badwater and the Wasatch will take much (much!) longer than four hours. Therefore the Rabid, and her attention deficit, will decline entry to either.
That lofty Leadville mountain bike race is another such endurance event that I'll (most likely) never do. I've said this before, and here it is again. In addition to the boredom factor, there's also the skill factor. When it comes to mountain biking, I have none. (Okay, I have some, but this is a meager smidgin above none.)
This weekend, I added another I'll-never-do-that-race to my ever expanding list of endurance events that I'll (most likely) never do. This new addition is the Park City Point-2-Point; a 78ish mile mountain bike, single-tracked death roll with 14,000 feet of vertical.
Look at all those zigs! And all those zags!
My great friend Hillene was enlisted in this Park City Point-2-Point. Because I like Hillene, and I like to watch suffering, Spouse, Yahoos, and I decided to spectate. Figured we could make the day of it with some of Park City's summer activities.
The Point-2-Point is brutal! There is no other way to describe it. One finisher, who I'll call Dave, rolled across the finish, and in tears, said he'd spent 30 miles praying desperately for a mechanical. "Take a tire, a fork, my seat, the brakes, the whole dang bike... anything! Just make it so I don't have to finish!"
See, therein lies the difference between serious endurance athletes and the rest of us. They will not, can not, refuse to quit unless forced. Iron will is what keeps these people going. The only way to stop them is to take their equipment.
Case in Point-2-Point (har-har): Hillene, Bry, and Rad. Them three is crazy! Even crazier than me (and I'm pretty crazy.) First, let's tell Bry's story. Bry rolled into the Park City aid station, climbed off his bike and nearly tipped over. He stumbled about all dizzy-like, saying, "I'm done. I ain't finishing. I've been out of water for two hours. Where's some Carborocket. Somebody get me some Carborocket. I need some Carborocket." He collapsed into a random chair, jammed a sandwich into his mouth, and began a repeat, "Ahm done (chomp chomp) did suhmyone get me some (chomp chomp) Cahbohwocket? I can't finish (chomp chomp.)"
Bry couldn't even stand up. How was he going to ride another 22ish miles?
This is when being a popular guy helps. Out of nowhere, four people ran to his assistance. They told Bry that he was finishing, put him on his bike with two bottles of Carborocket, and pushed him on out. Perhaps I should mention that Bry was riding a rigid single-speed, which means no gears and no cushy suspension. Bry is either super tough or super dumb. Haven't decided which.
Bry ended up finishing in just over ten hours. And interestingly enough, he looked better after finishing than he did at the previous aid station. I told him he looked great and gave him a series of congratulatory hoo-rahs. "I'm telling you, Rabid," he said. "I couldn't have done it without those two naps."
"What?! You took naps?"
"Yeah. I stopped and curled up in the grass. But no one would leave me alone... everyone who went by kept asking if I was alright so I had hike a ways off so they'd leave me alone."
I suppose I'd take a nap too. 'Cept I would curl up and die. Which leads me to wonder if anyone has died on this Park City Point-2-Point. Wouldn't surprise me.
Hillene rolled into the Park City aid station twenty minutes after Bry. She looked great, but I had received word that she wasn't feeling great and was ready to quit at the previous aid station. She rode by the official P2P aid tent while someone yelled "Coke...?" She hollered "COKE!!!" jumped off her bike and began to guzzle. While guzzling, the volunteer looked her square in the eyes, and just a few decibels above a whisper, said, "You're killing it."
"I am? Serious? Give me some more Coke."
Hillene's husband John loaded her with soup a la chicken 'n stars, and more goodies. She climbed on the bike, we told her how awesome she is, and pushed her off. Just as she left, a lady next to us said, "Is that your sister?" I said, "I wish!" Then John said, "If you two were sisters, you'd fight."
Really? Would we really? Hmmm.
Hillene finished just shortly after Bry, in 10:19 (that's hours:minutes,) and placed second in female 36 and over. When she finished, she looked at me and said, "There is no point to that. I am never doing that again. Ever. It's all your fault! I wouldn't have finished if you hadn't been here!"
Looks like I have officially become part of her equipment.
Rad finished about an hour after Hillene. I wasn't able to see him finish (due to some starving Yahoos) but I did receive the following text: "That thing was AWFUL. Tree roots, rocks, trees, holes, and my suspension fork was locked out for the first 60 miles. And I had to notice it twice before I unlocked it. My neck hurts. Glad it's over, and somebody will have to do a lot of talking before I'll do that again."
Folks, there was some suffering at Park City Point -2-Point. That's why today's Tuesday Tune is:
Suffering In Park City – Davie Bowie
And all these years you thought Bowie was saying Suffragette City. Bah!
John at the Park City aid station.
Hanging with the talent at the finish.
Hey look, it's Rebecca Rusch!