24 HOURS IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
STEPHANIE & THE STUDMUFFINS,
THE DUO KING AND MYSTERIOUS BLEATING AT DUSK
Well . . . what a difference six weeks and a home course make when it comes to Rez Dog racing fortunes. A report from 24HITEF:
- THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST - At any race, anywhere, anytime, have Rez Dogs staked out a good campsite. Ever? Seriously. What is up with that? While slurping down some out-of-this-world spaghetti and meatballs at Chuck and Jenny’s house Friday night with dusk approaching, the pack collectively realized that literally hundreds of out of town racers had rolled into our town, on to our course and picked out the best of the best campsites while not one of us had lifted a roll of tape to stake out our turf. The end result: another Rez Dog ghetto, this time – you guessed it - just downwind of the portable johns.
- PRE-RACE WHINING KICKS OFF CHAOS - Rez Dogs don’t know what to do without pre-race chaos. It’s in our DNA. This time the chaos wasn’t about last minute bike rebuilds, but team combinations. Bob started it off by sniveling that he had a cold and asking Peter if he would trade spots with him and ride duo with Chuck. This started a four hour nonstop conversation – including Andy and Nate who weren’t even registered - that considered about 25 team combinations (the same number of compartments in Chuck’s camelback and, yes, believe it or not Chuck’s camelback appears to actually be growing) that ended predictably with . . . nothing changing at all and everyone rolling out as registered.
- STEPHANIE AND THE STUDMUFFINS - Five days before the start of the race, Brian L. sent out an email saying that his friend, Stephanie Jones from Show Low is “pretty competitive” and looking for a spot on a duo or 4 person team. Yeah, no joke. Pretty competitive is right! Stephanie blasted out four sub 1:30 laps while Greg and Kevin were crushing lap after lap after lap. But beyond assuring victory by blowing away the other female riders in the four person co-ed class, Stephanie is a world class baker who brought a fantastic batch of muffins to the Rez Dog ghetto that transformed Paul B. (more on this guy later), Kevin and Greg – yeah, that’s right- into studmuffins. The end result: First place in Four Person Co-ed with 17 laps on the 16.25 mile course in a total time of 23.01.02. Joining Stephanie and the Studmuffins on the podium in third place with an excellent result were Brian C., Jon, Matt and Kiley riding under the team name, Three Blokes and a Babe, who put in 14 good laps in 22:34:39.
- THE DUO KING - It’s now official. Chuck is, hands down, the Duo King. I’m not sure what it is about duo racing that brings out the best in Chuck, but it is now not only official, but undeniable. When was the last time Chuck – who with Andy holds this year’s Gallup Cup from DtD - had a great individual race result? (Remember Chuck wandering around dazed and disoriented before the Socorro hill climb last year?) When has Chuck ever not smoked a race as part of a duo? And even though paired with a guy who hasn’t seen a podium in over 15 years, Chuck had the brashness - like Babe Ruth pointing toward the centerfield wall in Yankee stadium – to say a couple of days before the race to Bob, “I just want you to know, I’m planning on us winning this race.” End result: First place in Male Duo with 15 laps in 23:00:26 and 20:46 ahead of the second place team.
- A STAR IS (RE)BORN. There was a shift in the universe Saturday morning when Paul rolled up to the starting line. Although you have to drag information about his past racing exploits from this unassuming guy, everyone who has ridden with Paul realizes that he is like Brazil in soccer – he is magical. On Saturday, Paul rolled casually up to the front of the pack -where he belongs - chatted with Peter and then ripped off a top ten time against the best-of-the-best racers in the field. He then put in four more blistering laps. Yes, a star was reborn this weekend just downwind of the portable johns - in the midst of a ragged pack of guys wearing jerseys with hand drawn pictures of a rez dog (and soon to be a sheep).
- SOLO WARRIORS. There was a lot of good, hard work put in by Gallup area solo riders this weekend. Peter cranked out six laps in the first nine hours of the race before mysteriously rushing back to his tent just after sun set (more on that later). Thereafter he was seen darting in and out of his tent from time to time in a frenzied manner while putting in three more laps during the last fifteen hours of the race for a total of nine laps in a time in 20:54:11. Solo veterans, Doug (7 laps), Jack (6 laps) and Paul D. (6 laps) all did some good riding, but, beyond that, seemed to be enjoying the whole scene.
- AN EMPTY SPOT ON THE PODIUM. Within 90 seconds of finishing his last lap, Bob was in his truck blasting out of the campground. He said he had an important personal matter to attend to, but predictably there were some alternative theories floating around. One Rez Dog suggested Bob’s exit was an act of compassion toward the losing teams. This dog said that if the young, slim second and third place male duo teams saw all 230 pounds and 57 years of Bob step on to the podium above them it would crush their spirits and they would give up biking and take up golf or start watching Nascar racing. Another dog suggested a more self interested motive: He said Bob knew that both Night Guy and Morning Guy (a couple of Chuck’s multiple personalities for those of you new to this blog) were both going to be on the podium and that his presence as a third racer on a duo team would be sure to draw a protest and jeopardize their victory. We report; you decide.
- A CONCLUDING QUESTION. But first some background: Race organizers were concerned when returning riders started reporting loud, threatening, bleating sounds and a strange white, fluffy creature darting on and off the course at the far end of the course near the Lost Lake Rim Lookout at dusk. That’s the lookout to the west that takes in the vista including the big water tank on the top of the killer hill on the Bread Springs loop. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s just up the road from where Peter T-boned a sheep on a road bike. What? Who would T-bone a sheep on a road bike? Wait. We don’t have time to answer that now. Back to 24ITEF and, no, that is not the concluding question. Here is the concluding (and compound) question: Did Peter’s arch-nemesis hear about his participation in the race and work his way up the hill to the course looking to renew their battle and does this explain Peter’s mysterious behavior thereafter? Just asking.