The final exam of the year is over, and the C.B. Classic 100 is in the books. For the sixth year in a row, the masses descended upon our best trails, looking for a tough challenge, NO prizes, and the promise of a cold dark ale at the end. All this for free. Roughly 60 said yes to a day of pain, rewarded with beer, pizza and the gathering of the tribe.
So first….huge congrats to Kelly Magelky and Jeff Irwin fastest men, Ezther Horanyi (sp?), fastest woman, Dax Massey, who went to the Alpineer to get his brakes fixed after lap 1, then continued,and finished, and all who rolled down Kebler in the waning light of a fall evening. Dan Loftus….you are a bad ass, and you host a good party. My girlfriend Sarah, you are healthy, strong, and you will finish this race one year, you just keep on trying. That’s all we can do.
Second…..Dave O. This guy puts on a mean race, and is a helluva descender. I think the best part of this race is that Dave has let it be known that it’s all about YOU as the racer. 1 lap, that’s great, 2 laps, that’s fine as well, and 3 laps, well, you deserve a beer. I’ve said it before, the success of these races is all the people who don’t win. Again, another grass roots jewel.
7:00 a.m. and a temperature of 28 degrees greeted the riders at the four way. Most were clad for winter conditions, but would warm up quick as nary a cloud would appear for the rest of the day’s journey. This year’s version took a new route up the Teocalli Ridge trail, and this seemed to warm folks up as it was a long granny grind across the face of the mighty mountain. I’m not sure where I was in the group, I just knew there were plenty ahead to catch, and plenty behind chasing me. Just keep pedaling, or should I say grinding. We topped out on Teocalli, and Dave O. came blowing by me like my brakes were stuck. I tried to hang on the early parts of the downhill, but I was riding like my grandma after a couple of scotch and sodas. I thought that was the last of Ochs. Nearing the bottom, Huck starts breathing down my neck, and it’s obvious after dropping both of these guys on the climb, that I descend like a pussy. Note to self…buy a pair of balls.
Now we’re crossing Brush creek at about 8:30, feet are soaked, and I’m wondering if the adhesive heaters in my shoes will work when wet, or maybe I’ll just get a sweet chemical burn on the top of my foot. Either way, Huck and I pedal on, enjoying some sweet tacky singletrack early in the morn. I approached the fence at the top of the strand climb, and there was Ochs, looking like a deer stuck in a fence. He actually crawled THROUGH the fence, with his bike. I hopped over, and then proceeded to get worked again on the downhill. Oh well. A quick jaunt into town, pit change, get rid of warm clothes, and we’re off for 403-401. This is always the toughest section, but somehow it didn’t seem that intimidating this year. I spotted Ochs ahead, maybe one more guy, and I started to slowly get moving. Once we got to the 1st major swithchback, Ochs throttled back a little, and I never saw him again. Now it’s a solo time trial. Up, up, and some more up. The upper part of 403 was like pavement. The middle portion was a little greasy, and the bottom descent to Gothic road was tacky, technical, and fun. Now it was a quick spin up to 401. I felt a little queasy here, but who doesn’t in a race like this. Such a mixture of racing and hot dog eating skills doesn’t come easy, but I’ve done a fair number of these, and you have to shut your mind out, eat, and keep on keepin’ on. The climb up to 401 had me feeling like I was at the Indy 500. Needless to say…LOTS of cars and trucks today….leaf peepers I’m sure, but hikers, bike shuttlers, and hunters as well. Oh well we share these trails. The climb to the top was greasy, but rideable, oh so sweet on my tiring legs. The views were superlative…..no wind, a wispy high cloud, and the brilliance of our backyard mountains. This is God’s country, but it’s also our’s. Nearing the top I caught another rider, and he said we were in 6th place. I have finished every C.B. classic, finishing 6th three times. Irony I suppose to finish sixth, in my sixth try. How ever up ahead local phenom and young stud Travis Scheefdog was feeling a full season of pro x-country racing in his legs, and he pulled out after two laps. Now I’m in fifth, but I’m ready for beer and pizza and the Dyke trail is still ahead. A quick check at the Brick Oven and out for lap 3. Troy Hiatt, the guy I passed on 401 is now back with me, and proves again how slow I descend and take pits. Oh well, I’ll take the company up Kebler, and a partner to fight the 30 mph wind that is gusting down the pass. We grind, we eat, we drink, and we grind some more. Up through the Irwin townsite, shadowed by the red peaks of Owen, Purple, and Ruby, we approach the final section of singletrack. Troy rides away from me in the fast flowy aspens. I’m in awe of the day…the leaves, the weather, and my ability to ride a 30 foot front wheelie. Also known as a Polish wheelie. It happened so quick I couldn’t do anything, other than take a huge breath, and thank the higher ups I didn’t end up in a tree. That one scared the SHIT out of me. Believe it. So up ahead, Troy had stopped to pee, and now we’re together for the final grind out of Horseranch Park. We ride the first mile together, silently, and then we both comment on how blown we are. I tell Troy I’ve got nothing to attack, but want to continue to ride a good tempo so we don’t get caught from behind. We agree, and pedal up the pass, that dogged wind now at our back for the first time all day. As we approached the new paved? section of Kebler, I noticed Troy drink the final shot out of his two bottles. He was out of gas. I had brought a 100 oz. bladder, and 1 bottle on the bike for this lap, knowing how tough hours 8-9 can be. I got to the Wagon Trail first and just slowly churned out the circles. I never looked back for the next 40 minutes, but knew what was going on. After about 300 kidney shots from the newly cut primitive trail, I was ready to hit the road, and the smooth lower sections of the trail. It didn’t disappoint as the flat trail and tailwind has me descending to town at breakneck speed. A quick drop onto Elk Avenue, and this racer is ready for the beer and the bullshit!!! Let the keg flow. Personally, a real satisfying C.B. Classic. 9:00:57, and I didn’t feel too bad. I’ve had better, but I’ve had worse as well. In the end, I love to pedal a bike, watch others pedal, share the stories, the beer, the season, the whole F’ing thing. This is it for me. Gather the tribe, make the tribe push their limits, then regather and celebrate. This is our life. Want some? JPS.