Beginning with a simple email: "Hey, you doin' the Bradbury 12?" Rick: "Of course- geared solo" - reply: "I'm thinking about it, but the VT 50 is the next weekend".... The next day - Rick: "Let's do a two-man and give Freye a run for his money"
Rick is really confident and good looking to begin with - how could I refuse? But just to be sure he wasn't having a man period - it seemed prudent to double check and make certain he was truly OK with himself. Yep, he seems intent on this team thing - after all (in his words) "there's a me in team".
After some childish back and forth, we (or maybe it was just me) settled on the name "The Freye Swatters" - so wicked clevah.
A few days before the event - there it was - the rebuttal team name "YOU GOT FREYE'D" - Andrew Freye of course and teammate (drum roll)... Chris Gagnon. Awe c'mon Andrew!! Were you that intimidated?? I sure hope he was worth the fee. You may as well have brought one of these to a paintball battle. Sheesh.
The day before the race I headed out of work a little early. I figured I'd have plenty of time to scope out a good spot to camp. Being a Friday, traffic was typically slow... After 4 hours of driving I passed Portland at 7 then headed into Freeport to find some pasta. I came across "Amato's" which fit the bill foodwise. Nothing extraordinary - but it was all about the carbs..
A quick trip over to Bradbury Mountain park and it was obvious on arrival: This place is full. Button popping full. Like, no way you're gonna be able to camp anywhere in here full. Crap.
After driving around I found the NEMBA gang - Carl mentioned he had settled in on Wednesday (??!) After a quick discussion - it seemed I'd have to head over to the lower lot parking across the street. Fair 'nuff. Pasta is pasta & sleep is sleep. I ate up - headed over to hang with the NEMBA crew and just as I was about to leave the Rickster mysteriously emerged from the darkness - a bit less nervous knowing I was on site. After all - our planning consisted of silly emails unrelated to planning. Maybe coordinating multi-million dollar projects during the day renders him helpless with the easy stuff or something. That's alright - cause I'm always calm and collected about everything.
Despite the crispy-bright moon - I slept pretty well. A 40º night will do that for you - as long as you have enough blankies.
I woke up sans alarm (the start was @ 8) made some coffee & oatmeal then headed over to the tent Bikeman had set up. That was a pretty sweet arrangement. Rick showed up and declared: "You're doing the first lap" - then we tried to figure out whether to do single or double laps. Some folks like doubles - but we opted to start out with singles. We'd change things up if it felt better.
So.. there I was. On the front line. Saddled right up next to Napolean Freyenomite himself. I chittered and chattered with folks - and seem to have not been paying attention to the instructions on who was supposed to go when. Somewhere along the line I deduced that I was in the second wave or something. After they yelled "GO" I hung out until a frantic Rick yelled out: "ARE YOU GONNA GO!!??" Listen up. ADD hadn't even been invented when I was a kid. Cut me some freaking slack.
I charged right outta there -ahh.. not one bit of traffic whatsoever to be concerned with. Around the bend - and within less than a minute - I caught up and passed a few trailing riders. I don't like leading anyways.
Having never ridden these trails and being a little soggy - I had to find the balance between catching the hell up and not crashing. I got through most of the field - only to be bested by Andrew and Greg Jancaitis with a time of 44:27 - which was improved on several times later in the game. Andrew was already almost 2 minutes ahead.
After ending that lap I high -fived Rick and off he went. He ripped a nice 43:29 and from there we kept at it. So much for doubles - which wasn't a problem. At one point Ricks dad came over and asked: "Ricky want's to keep doing single laps if that's OK with you".. Thank goodness. We finally found a way to communicate. So what if it required a mediator.
One thing for sure - this 2-man team business was way easier than a solo effort. When Rick was out, I'd down a bottle of Perpetuem (3 scoops worth) maybe a banana - and on my best lap (coincidence?) an Espresso Gel thing. There was time to relieve yourself, chat a little then soon enough - you were up and at it. Throughout each lap the good lines became more and more evident and the course was drying up.
The course itself was 100% fun-ness. Just a great sequence of single track. Not alot of climbing except two steep rocks that made you have to work a little. A bit rooty through the start and middle but overall a complete blast. The end of each lap was super sweet: Log lined flow with an almost pea-stone base.
I was lucky enough to have Rick come in at 6:30 towards the end (7:00pm cut-off)- which meant the last lap was all mine. Half-way through the lap - the lights came on. There was extra traffic, but at the same time - folks were extra quick to move aside. The ride itself was magic. I don't get much night riding in except for commuting. Scooting along between trees at night feels quite a bit faster and through the woods you caught either reflections or flickers from other riders' lights.
As I approached the finish the sound of the crowd kept growing and growing. Around the bend and up ahead you could see Tiki Torches and the finish line tent aglow. There had to be a few hundred people - yelling, screaming and making a helluva racket with cowbells. I cranked up the power to finish strong and flew into the tent. Kids were everywhere giving high-fives. It didn't matter who you were - you felt like a rock star.
In the end - we got "Freye'd" by a whole 11 minutes. Not much at all when you consider that was roughly 130 miles worth of riding between us. To see that I was actually gaining some time opposite Andrew later in the game was encouraging to say the least.
Casco Bay has tapped into a great formula: Supreme singletrack, festive atmosphere, fast timing results, BBQ & even some live music. Hell yeah.
And sorry - no real race pictures. I did catch the kids race during a 45 minute "Rick Stop" (note the little guy getting nearly squashed - I've been there dude)
Speaking of kids.. If you happen to have a kid with say... "Alot of nervous energy": Get'm a bike. They'll calm the eff down and who knows - might become the next big thing in cycle racing.
And finally - I'm calling it right now. We're gettin' em next year.