Monday, September 25, 2006

Hood River CCX 9/24/6


So, I… I just don’t know... Oh, yeah. Here’s where I should start this story: Jess and Sophie. J and S, I’m sorry for what I’m sure was depressingly shameful behavior at your wedding reception. I was mingling and drinking shampagnya (like it was water); then I realized I was feeling maybe a bit more drunk than even, yes, I wanted to be. I stopped imbibing. Nevertheless, by a magical act of ancient French chemistry, I continued to get drunker and drunker and drunker and drunker as the sparkling poison crept from my GI tract into my bloodstream. I suddenly quantum leapt into the future and found myself laying in another person's puke on a Portland sidewalk. I hadn’t even eaten dinner. I knew my race would be just absolutely stellar.

I had been looking forward to this race. The course suits me and I figured some of the local talent wouldn’t care about or wouldn’t attend this race. I wasn’t going to miss it, so I had to try to prepare myself. Much Emergen-C, Aleve, and an hour on the trainer trying to sweat out the poison... that was my recipe.

I lined up early, sprinted hard and went through the bottleneck gate 4th wheel. I was pleased with myself. Then I was especially pleased with myself when what sounded like 6th wheel ploughed into the gate and all hell broke loose behind me. As it turned out, 4th would be my worst position on the day. One of the three in front of me immediately couldn’t handle the pace. Then Slaven pulled out of his pedal bunnyhopping the barriers at the end of the first lap and biffed it pretty hard. Second place. I pulled through and rode two laps on the front. The man I now know to be “Zach Winter” (good ride, you had me beat) pulled through and successfully attacked me on what he’d surely observed to be my weakest stretch of the course (which I, of course, won’t disclose publicly). Second wheel. Then there was Tonkin. He just suddenly decided to race us and became unstoppable. He came out of nowhere, rolled up on me, said “nice riding”, then rolled by me, and then rolled away from me (for those of you who haven’t experienced it yet… that’s what racing Tonkin is like). Third place. Zach flatted, pitted and got back in right behind me. I knew I had to defend to the death and I rode the last lap faster than any prior lap… and stayed ahead of him for second.

That’s what really happened. What happened in my head was: friends running beside me spouting water bottles on me. Other friends endlessly dumbfounded to see me still that close to the front of the race shouting seemingly heartfelt “Yeah Mark!”s and “Markwelder!!!”s into my ear. Friends’ children casually greeting me as I, flirting with a race-ruining crack, labored on by. And me hamming it up major as I cruised into my second place finish, pumping my fist Kirk-Gibson-World-Series-Homer style and being irrepressibly, audaciously ecstatic having smoothly finished my best cross race ever.

Go figure.


Anonymous AC said...

I am confident as to what your kryptonite is, the consumption of any beverage that is non-alcholic at least 12 hours prior to a race.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Little Package said...

Congratulations Mark! And... listen to Erik San, I'm sure you were showing mad skill.

8:12 PM  
Blogger briman888 said...

I was just about to quit drinking. Your tale of triumph has convinced me to push on. You're a true inspiration! Thank you!

8:20 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

You are my hero. Miller Lite rules.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

You are my hero! Miller Lite rules.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous jd said...

Kirk Gibson would be proud.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

October 15th, 2:00 PM, Hillsboro Stadium. You better bring your "A" game. Beards will be Back.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So tell us again what this pre race doping includes....

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Floyd Landis said...

Hey Mark,

Not sure if you heard or not, but a few months back I also had the ride of my life after a few beers.

Keep up the good work.


9:46 AM  

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