Monday, October 22, 2007

2004 - A Dream in a Goodie Bag

Flying Horseshoe MTB Festival, Cle Elem, WA
NORBA Cross Country Race - 06/05/2004

I was pissed to find out that I'd have to buy a NORBA License to compete in the Men's Pro Division at the Flying Horseshoe MTB Festival in Cle Elem. For the past year or two, I had been crushing the guys that I ride with every Thursday night. As far as I was concerned, I was going to crush the field in my first bike race of any kind. I reluctantly registered as a single event Sport Class rider.

Goodie bag in hand, my huge ego and I went back to the parking lot to wait for the start of the "Men - Sport - Master - 40-49". I tossed the unopened bag in the back of my truck and turned to watch the start of the Men's Pro race. Immediately after the starting gun it was obvious that I had no business even considering that I belonged in the Pro group; the riders disappeared up the hill faster than I could ride down it.

I had no idea of the significance of that goodie bag now wrinkled in a heap. A piece of the crumpled contents would later change my life. A tiny little cache of minerals and a pouch of banana flavored carbohydrate sat unnoticed for weeks. Occasionally I'd look at the bag. But it was only a bitter reminder of the punishment that my ego had to absorb at the Flying Horseshoe MTB race.

When my goodie bag finally fell out of my truck, instead of just chucking the whole thing in the trash, I opened it and took a look at the funny white capsules and the weird looking silver pouch that said "Hammer Gel - Banana". I went to the web address on the packet and found the world of endurance fueling.

A strange number was mentioned again and again. I had never heard of Furnace Creek and what the hell did 508 mean? I quickly discovered what it meant: 508 miles with 35,000 feet of elevation that must be completed within a 48 hour time limit. I thought, "Impossible!...But I can do it".

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