Monday, August 17, 2009
Diggin deep at Berryman
"...I am not sure the depth to which I can go but usually there is gas in the tank at the end, about enough to dance to the cooler..."
The amount of pain that I can handle before succumbing to "it", that "I quit" or the "damn, I am going to talk myself in to a mechanical" or some other underlying reason for quiting, when everyone else is trotting to the finish...that is what I am talking about. I am not sure anyone else knows how deep they can go either, unless pushed for what ever reason to the point of death or exhaustion. What we all need is the occasional circumstance that requires a need to survive, we need this basis, benchmark etc. That is why we have sport, us humans. Exhaustion being subjective of course.
That is why I like the O-sport thing, the mountain biking, trail running, hiking, climbing, adventure stuff. Not that I am all that remarkable, but I feel it necessary to push until I fully understand how far I can go. Just when you think you have maxed it out, there are reminders that I have barely scratched the surface. I have a lot of work to do and it is indeed seasonal, the fitness required to achieve good results. In the wild the only results is survival and I think I can hold my own on multiple dicipines, running, rafting, kayak, riding thing if need be. There are no limits to the pain, only that which is felt on any particular day and for whatever particular reason and with whatever overcoming factor that we choose to draw upon. Case in point, the Berryman last Saturday. This one is for you Paul. I did suck, but you knew this was going to happen. I guess I finally broke the seal.
Friggin Geezer went off rather quickly and I knew that I would suffer. He is pissed at me because I have not many road miles in my legs and he thinks I have been working too much and not staying focused. True that, but I stayed with him on the climbs for a mile and adapted the fast spin so fashioned by the old guy. He spins at a higher rpm than most and (at 60 years old) pretty well puts the hammer down on anyone. Skuck was behind me and and the roots were not his friend for a short time. This time of year Skuck gets a little more empowered to dance the roots and rocks and I have a harder time staying in front of him on the downhills because by late August he has been to Colorado or some other place where his skill building kicks in. On the climbs he usually overtakes me, first because he is about 45 pounds lighter, second because after he warms up he is pretty much a machine and I won't chase him. Skuk chased Paul for the entire day.
Skuck is having a good year and I suppose I have again fallen short of commitment to achieve his status. I linger around the tail end of my class, occasionally moving up at some obscure race or later in the season when everyone else is either burned out or injured. I peak in October for the most part. And that ain't no big deal. Due to the pain of Saturdays ride, I should be able to achieve a thing or too, however.
The twosome pulled away from me by the time we got to the campground about 10 miles in to Berryman. Instead of heading out on the 14 miles back to Brazil Creek, we decide to head down to Hazzle Creek, the opposite direction on the Ozark Trail on a point to point. What a wonderful system. The trail was clear, open and fast all the way to...where ever the hell we went. We never made it to the creek, we assumed was 10 more miles in. I think we went 5 or 7 miles and then came back to steal some water off of a house on the road with an old yellow dog. Then headed back to the Berryman. (begin whining)
This is where I started with the problems. I suppose we were just about 20 miles in and I was toast. WTF? The rest of the trail, as rocky and as rooted as it was, surely would offer up the normal amount of pain. Berryman always does this anyway. I didn't really see those guys until Paul flatted and I pulled around just to keep things going. By the time we got to the spring, I was a twisted sister of whining pudding. It was there that it hit me. I will not be beaten. I needed some fried chicken and the Hen House promised an all you can eat special for 9 bucks in Bourbon.
So digging deep was what I did. Out of food and bonking hard, I found myself alone on the Barryman with the occasional check in from Skuck. Paul had already gone skinny dipping in the creek when I came through cussing at the horses for trashing out the end of the trail, I wanted my 4 piece. I literally barely made it and hadn't felt that way before. I hadn't seen that side of pain in quite a while. I don't really know how many miles we went. We were out for 5 1/2 hours and, except for the flats (3) in our group. We pretty much rode the whole time. I didn't stop except to cramp up on the last climb and I could have walked on my hands faster than the slow grind--all I could do.
I will be returning soon to give it another go. Geezer didn't have to say much about it--he just took my chicken leg and ordered up a piece of blackberry pie to go.