When we told Tim about the specifics involved in a marathon race his highly appropriate response was something along the lines of, “that sounds like something you should get paid to do, not the other way around.” I’m also pretty sure he prefaced the entire thing with an emphatic and heartfelt “you stupid hippy, why the hell would you do that?”
I can safely say that at mile 10 of the Mas y Menos this weekend in Terlingua, I couldn’t agree more. At mile 12 I was praying for any kind of mechanical failure that would necessitate as short break, and at mile 15 I actually considered selling my bike to a random Mexican dude who was watching the race and walking away forever. Nothing compared though, to mile 20 as we neared the tres cuevas climb. On the approach it went something like this –
me: Dude this is going pretty good.
germ: Yeah, not to shabby.
me: Is that the big climb (motioning to sheer, 13,000,000 ft cliff to our right)?
germ: Nah, I’m sure we’ll go back around that….
me: Oh ok, cool.
germ: Well actually…yeah, I see tiny people up there…
…and by tiny people, it was like the way 18-wheelers look like ants when your on an airplane.
This thing just went on and on. Not having the benefit of a pre-ride I tried to assault it assuming the end was a reasonable distance away. The sunofabitch just kept going up and up. One switchback after the other until, right before I started knocking my head on the International Space Stations’ solar array, there was a bunch of hippies sitting in rocking chairs and wearing oxygen tanks, welcoming us to the top, like some kind of weird patchouli-scented version of Into Thin Air with bikes. Clearly, I exaggerate a bit, but this was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever ridden a bike up.
Big bend is, well, big. It’s aptly named. Medium Bend would not do it justice. And the race fits, nothing about it is tiny, from the course, to the climb to the kickass food and free beer. There was a pancake breakfast at 5a.m. the morning of the race – you know those people had been up since 3 a.m. cooking in the freezing cold desert. The people who put this thing together are incredible – the only thing that’s been close rivaling it was the livestrong ride and that has the freakish, Lance Armstrong cult of personality to back it. This is just a bunch of people, in a tiny hippy town in west Texas putting on a big race. That’s a pretty neat thing to be a part of.