October 1, 2008


MonsterSquad handles the airport pickup while the eagerly anticipated Portland rendezvous weekend of friends bikes and home blazes into BLACK WEDNESDAY as the revelation of what is left behind and what is gone....the SuperflySS, the Trek, and enough carbon to fetch a hefty amount on the street, not to mention shred sticks and gear to really make someone's Winter smooth...all raped with nothing left but the dirt on the ground from the last mtb sprint.  Shock that can only be leveled by lining up for the first of two 45 minute mad dashes in the dustbowl Indian summer heat at the Veloshop's rampage and the Barlow Battle.

"thirty seconds single speeders..................."

With no prep for the dirt besides the left-justified Australian roads and three cocktails to lesson the blow of the 13 hour flight home,  a quick preride in denim on the dusted off Vanilla1SS had me scrambling for gear change again and again.  Flat fast start as the time off the bike tells me to settle in and relax about 10th wheel going over the first barricade bridge combo, the mistake that put me upside down in a mass pileup seconds later as the leaders disappear into the wisconsin-like singletrack.

The majority of the race spent relearning the technique and handling of the bike, the ‘MTB it ain't‘ and cockpitting from the hoods sent me into the rough time and time again.  With 5 to go, the sexiness of the Vanilla steel smoothed out my sloppiness and the form started to return, the chase closed the gap as the death magnetic blazed on inside.  Three to go and they were in sight, and within seconds the catch was made.  We rolled the 3 pack sharing the load and with half a lap just outta the ditch to go, the Signal went and he wasn't to be caught…Pete having the legs and the gear to hold off our frenzied spin-fested podium trio.

Another hauntingly hot hot heat day at Barlow High...confidence in the bike put me on the frontrow and the ultralight 34x16 kept me there as yesterday's effort turned to the pain.  A dry fast and incredibly fun course as everyone was out to enjoy the sun…the railroad tied run-up a crowd favorite as the cowbells echoed through the forest...the exact spot where the rooted NW tundra grabbed my ankle and took it sideways around twenty five minutes into the now strung out SS showdown.  Survival mode kicked in and as the power faded, the desire and knowledge that this was my only slice of PDX CX DIRT for the 2008 season carried me home in for a 5 spot.  

(snagged snaps:  oregonvelo and pdxcross.com)