Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moonshine




Yesterday I probably did one of the most exhilarating and hardest things I have ever done. It was called the Moonshine, and the Moonshine was a 40k mountain bike race through the "hills" of Gore (I would have called them mountains). Well the Moonshine actually consisted of a 30k, 35k, and 40k mountain bike race as well as a 10k, 15k, and 30k running race. This race was pretty much decided on a whim when a friend at school asked me if I was doing the race. I had never even hear of it but asked my host family if i could do it and they said yes. My host dad had heard of it and knew it was pretty hard and tried to discourage me from doing the 40k which had the Cone Peak climb and the end. I was dead set on doing this race and I wanted it to be as challenging as possible because I have never been pushed to my limits physically in a race solely based on the terrain. Even with my host parents telling me it was really hard I thought to myself that it really couldnt be that bad and that I would actually try and race really well. I was in for a huge shocker...

The night before I had the run through with my host dad and a family friend who is amazing with bikes on what to do if something goes wrong. I learned how to take off the tires, change tires, check for loose debris hidden in tires, and break and re-fix the chain. I also had a go through of my backpack which would save me in the race. I had a whistle, gu (energy jells), chocolate bars, jelly beans (seemed unnecessary), tools for bike, a camelback, spare tires, and a caffeine tablet. All of a sudden the 40k bike race was starting to seem a little intimidating, but seriously this is around 25 miles and I have done 70 miles on a bike before, how could it be that bad? I just assumed my host dad thought I was really unathletic. 

After the debrief was done I had one of the most random things I've done here. A water polo match! It was really really fun and I met a lot of cool guys through it. I was talking with a swimmer at school and I told him I swam for 6 weeks when I was injured with running. He then told me I was on the water polo team. They dont even have practices lol. We lost the game but I got to play for the majority of the game and I did not even make a fool of myself.... ok I did a little bit but I never even heard the whistle blow so it doesnt count. I then came home and went to sleep thinking about a race that I had no idea what it would be like.

I woke up early, put on my biking clothes, got my backpack, had breakfast (toast with a poached egg and beans on top, so good), my host dad set up the bike, and then he took me an hour away to a town called Gore. My race started first and as we took off on the gravel road we immediately hit hills. I thought "wow this must be the hardest part and must be down hill for most of the way." Well we did hit a long fast downhill (which i did no take fast because I am not use to mountain biking or hard terrain) and then turned onto a paddock that raised up onto a very large hill. The path was grass going up a steep hill and it hit me that this is probably the most physically demanding part of the course. After grinding to the top of that it was a downhill of steep grassy and rocky path to which I had numerous close calls with falling. The race progressed and only got hillier, steeper, grassier, and rockier. I could not even use the downhills as breaks because I had to hold the bike so steady so as I did not fall off the faces of cliffs (werent exactly cliff cliffs but they were a hell of a drop off). When I was certain i must be at least over half way (no kilometer markers) a man told me I was only 10k in! My legs were already becoming useless with so much effort being placed on them. sometimes as we would go up the hills we would be going slower then I could walk it carrying my bike. But to walk is to be weak. I then sucked it up and prepared myself mentally for what I thought would be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  

I crossed rivers carrying my bike over my head, speed down hills with mud pits at the bottom of them, but the most fun of all was just being able to look to the left or right of me and see the AMAZING scenery. It was incredibly beautiful. I could not see any houses, just mountains, hills, sheep, and fields. I was not racing for time anymore (even though my goal was to break 3:30 which my host dad said would be a really good time for me, and I wanted to prove that I could do really well) I was going just for the finish. As I reached around the 2/3 mark of the race I stuffed my face with the jelly beans and chocolate bars as I kept riding. They took my mind off the pain and became complete necessities for me. I seriously ravaged through my food. And as i furtherd myself into the race with the terrain getting harder and harder, I saw people beginning to walk more with their bike ahead of me. That was all i needed and I was off my bike pushing. Of course there were places earlier in the race where it was too steep and walking was necessary but these hills were just as steep as the hills that people were climbing at the beginning and now were walking here. Racers were starting to break down and I could feel myself starting to also. We made our way out on to a relatively flat gravel road where the bike races would split up. 30 and 35k riders striaght to the finish line, 40k riders do a u-turn up to Cone Peak. That was so gutting to see these riders go off to the finish line when I had to still do 5 more kilometers the hardest part of the race. Little did I know that I would not even be on my bike for the majority of it.

As I turned in the U-turn that took me out into a grassy field I looked up and saw a mountain and people just walking their bikes up to the top of it. Not one person was on their bike. My quads were completely done and I had to walk 2k up one of the steepest paths I have ever been on to the top of a mountain. It took 40 minutes to get to top with every single one of my muscles grinding to just get to the end get to the end get to the end. I passed many people going to the top, I think mostly because I am used to running and all of these people were cyclists. But now came the most exhilarating part. A straight down path to the bottom and finish line only 3ks away. I knew I was at the end and I knew what I had accomplished and to just be at the top of the peak and see the finish line so far away at the bottom was incredible. This down hill was not as steep and rocky as the previous ones and I could fly down going as fast as 60ks almost all the way to the finish. It was crazy and I was hooting and hollering all the way down. Maybe that sounds lame but I was on such an incredible high from the whole experience. I came across the finish line in 3 hours and 5 minutes with a huge smile on my face. 

 When I finished I was not even tired because I was so excited. My medal was a lanyard with a little Hokonui Whiskey bottle at the end of it (it is actually whiskey). It was completely amazing and now I find myself in love with mountain biking! 

5 comments:

  1. You're a friggin' beast. What a great race! Way to go Trendogger!

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  2. That's awesome Trenor! We're proud of you!

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  3. I felt like I was riding on the back of your bike! Great story. Loved the water polo tryout too!! Love Aunt Liz

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  4. Fantastic, Trenor! Wow! I feel for you man. What a cool experience though. The scenery sounds amazing. Keep the posts coming...I'm really enjoying them and wish I was there. Great job!

    Later,
    Jason

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  5. Maybe they'll put moonshine in the medal lanyard next year... :')

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