Friday, July 31, 2009

Language is the Liquid....

I've been paying attention this week, and noticed a slur of phrases used carelessly in a slew of situations. The comment "It's all downhill from here," is never actually used correctly, but in some cases (such as at the IMC), it's highly overused... incorrectly. In fact, in all the time I've ridden and raced a bike (not all that long, actually), I've never heard "it's all downhill from here" used accurately, but for some strange reason, people still seem to think it's a nice thing to say and throw it out at you right before you come upon some sweet section of hike-a-bike. Not that it matters.....not that my ride is influenced by what someone randomly says.....but I'm just saying I've noticed that no one ever gets that one right, and it's weirdly annoying.... like when people say "No, no, I'm fine," or "Yeah, yeah, that looks great on you," or "Your boyfriend won't mind." OK, you get the point.

I felt really bad today, during Stage 5 of Intermontane, when I heard a spectator tell me it was all downs and a minute later came upon a steep incline going up. Mostly I felt bad because the temperature was hovering around 101 degrees F and I was mentally over the whole experience, but it inspired me to start composing this blog in my mind. A couple of minutes later I came upon a fellow racer who was walking his bike and I asked if he needed anything. He informed me that he was fine, had a broken chain and whatnot, and so I offered him my tools and quick link. "Oh no," he replied, it's "all downhill from here...." Sorry dude, you were so wrong......

Other comments I've noticed this week that were also, so wrong:::

"The course is marked."

"Any turns will be painfully obvious."

"Tomorrow's stage will begin at _____."

"The start has been delayed by 30 minutes/an hour, but we'll get it going then."

"We've taken your feedback into consideration and tomorrow's stage will be different."

On the positive side, I have seen some of the most generous acts of human kindness at Intermontane while the madness has been raging all around. It's been an amazing 180 degree difference of the best and worst. Chris Sheppard (who took the win in the mens category) sat with Ben O#@%^ for thirty minutes during yesterday's stage when Ben wrecked and severely concussed himself on a fire road. Thirty whole minutes. Ten grand on the table, and CS told Tinker (who was riding with them) to call for help and then go on ahead, while CS waited for medics to come. Tonight he collected his check, hung out for a bit, and said he was headed out to go play a game of Scrabble with the family. I think I'm in love.
Jonathan Nutbrown broke his derailluer on the first day and walked the majority of the 87k stage, smiling and joking with other riders. Then at the end of that walk/ride, his right pedal broke, so that he couldn't even coast down techy sections. He helped countless people with mechanical issues on subsequent days and ended up being some sort of trail angel.
Amanda Carey and Sarah Kaufman (2nd and 3rd, respectively) decided to combine their prize money and split it evenly, to help compensate for the unjust nature of the race. Lyne Bessette gave her runner up prize to DFL.

Intermontane--- I've come away with enough stories to keep me writing for weeks, and while my faith in mountain bike racing may be slightly scarred, my faith in humanity has been somewhat boosted. For now, sleep is in order, and maybe a little food...plenty of time for writing tomorrow on the 14 hour drive to Missoula, Montana.
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dicky said...

I'm definitely in for next year's IM Challenge.

Lindsay said...

I was just talking to friends last night about the "all downhill from here" lie. A bunch of us did the Shenandoah Mountain 100 last year and were told that "it's all downhill after checkpoint 5." Right. After checkpoint 5 and the additional hour+ of climbing that follows.

Namrita O'Dea said...

That sounds like a blast. Where do I sign up?

Erika Tieszen said...

Isn't it amazing what we learn about humans in this sport??!! I am soo proud of you and I can't wait to see you in Durango. I think I am going to try and go do some riding with ya!!

The Squamish Dude said...

Nice to meet you at the finish of stage 5, although only briefly.....really sorry about how things all turned out.....I am still getting the feedback from people today and it's ugly.....just wanted to make you aware that the organizer of our local epic 1 day event the Test of Metal offered any of the '09 IC entrants a free entry to next years's awesome...check out the link on MTBR....

If you can make it that would be rad, you can crash at my place and I'd love to show you around....and give you some real BC hospitality....spread the word to the other participants...I don't have everyones e-mail address anymore...

Keep Rollin'!