Phantom Finale

SoHum, April 3rd 2005


The sensation had been with me for days, like fire, a hot passion errupting from my flesh, a long unquenched thirst that burned in me incessantly.  A crucial sunburn which I gladly accepted while mowing Star's mountain cross course on Wednesday, in preperation for the weekends festivities.  I had heard rumors of unsavory forecasts, but with the pyschotic commitment I had formed to this event combined with the blazing flesh on my back, a storm was the furthest thing from my mind.  One cannot help but be optimistic till the bitter, cold, end when planning an event, and so I was as Sunday approached and word of rain inundated my radar.  Sadly my source for weather called for showers and he is never wrong, Rob Rhall has a sickening gift for predicting the weather to a T, and though I knew in my heart he was right, I resisted the notion.  Saturday night, eleven thirty, I leave the printing shop having just finished a massive run of Pirate gear.  Rob had told me that the storm would arrive at midnight, the clear sky of the day burst and down came the first sprinkles of the storm which would invade my dreams throughout the night.  I awoke the next morning to find the earth wrapped in a moist, but calm, blanket of precipitation.  With cool resolve we loaded the vehicle and blasted off, our hot anticipation keeping us dry for the time being.  Driving south we found no sun, rather we entered deeper into the malicious weather, feeling our lofty aspirations becoming less bouyant with every drop that hurtled onto out windshield.  Soon we were on the hill and the stage was set.  No cover, our course perched on an cruelly exposed hill side, the gal ripped its way up the mountain seeking to send the unwelcome intruders packing.  A slow, but steady, stream of riders answered the daunting challenge.  Soon troops had dug themselves in with two tents, bravely lashed together with a pickup truck to keep them from rocketing skyward with the unpredictable gusts.  Words of discomfort and apathy quickly spread, as I heard "I am not digging this at all...",  "So we're going to call the race right?",  "I should not have gotten out of my bed this morning."  Yet as more riders arrived, and began to accept the lay of things a new spirit claimed the crowd that could not be suffocated by any amount of water.  First to roll down the course was Jake Todd, he was far from graceful as he mashed his way through the sludge, but his example would set a selfless precident for all in attendace as, one after another, riders suited up and pushed to the top of the hill to subject themselves to what was simply utter madness.  With winds whipping up the hill, any who tried to become airborn would either find themselves floating sideways well off course, or simply lifted off their bicycles.  Visibility was nill, goggles could not remain fogless in the frigid air, and frozen eyes could not blink fast enough to clear the consistent assault of sendiment layden spray.  Time ticked away and soon all in attendance were swimming in whichever garments they had deemed appropiate for the day.  It was clear that the planned dualing format would be too tedious for the conditions so a conference, shouted over the shrieks of the storm, was held where riders decided to take timed solo runs down the course to decide who would be victorious.  All was quickly in readyness, as riders hunkered down at the top awaiting their runs.  Initially claiming the hot seat was Revolution rider Sean Tetrault, "I felt like a roady at the top with my lycra and Showers Pass Jacket." said Tetrault.  Yet it was this lightweight attire which enabled him to glide to the second fastest times of the day, against those who wore water logged leggings.  But Mr. T would be given cause to lament "Less than half a second, that kills me, that's like nothing, half a second...", in response to the fastest time of the day put down by Jed Olson, a smooth 43.92.  The weather would not relent, and the track only became more treacherous as the day progressed, sending many riders home worse for wear.  Exhibiting impressive power was Jake Todd who, despite several bobbles, was able to charge to third place.  He was followed closely by young Six Six One Rider Robbie Rhall, who consistently cleaned the track to claim fourth.  Truly incredible was the late arrival and enthusiasm of numerous fresh faces, who were all too eager to join in the fun.  I marveled at all of this as I struggled to record times in a strategically placed vehicle.  Timing accuracy was initially poor due to feelingless fingers which struggled to find the stopwatch buttons, as well as the delicate paper which threatened to dissentegrate beneathe my pen.  The event wrapped up rapidly, even before some frsh arrivals had a chance to compete.  Nevertheless they stalwartly charged up the course, not to be left out of the days excitement.  I too gave in to the intoxicating spirit, hijacking a bicycle, and subjecting myself to a run if only to sympathize with the riders I had dragged into the storm.  Immediately I had no choice but to come completely alive, as my body began rapid millisecond microconvulsions to stay warm.  The wind at the top of the hill was near paralyzing as it attempted to steal my hat as well as all of my faculties.  Soon I was rolling down, feeling like a leaf being tossed about in a sprinkler, hopping and dropping and popping the course, feeling rejuvinated and blessed to be part of the days events.  Then all gathered for a brief period under cover provided by our gracious host, Star Faraon.  The comradery built by sharing such an intence experience was apparent as everyone joined as one cohesive unit to review what they had just born witness to.  Remarkable was the teamwork which was exhibited as throngs of participants came to the aid of a spectator whose car had slipped into a ditch.  The car popped out moments later, no worse for wear.  Riders enjoyed cool brews that afternoon, as rippers were recognized with some welcome green motivation, cold cash.  Soon all had disembarked and the madness was left to memory.  As we drove toward home it became clear that we had been destined for this test of will, seeing blue sky make a timeless appearence before us.  Yet none would regret partaking of the days offerings, nor taking a bit of the replenishing spirit along for later.

Rider Run 1 Run 2
Jed Olson 43.92 44.06
Sean Tetrault 44.54 44.73
Jake Todd 44.98 46.82
Robbie Rhall 46.62 46.33
Seth 46.93 47.85
Evan Hobart No Time 47.32
Jared Delong DNF 47.70
Joel Graves 47.98 48.60
Jason Marciano 48.63 -
Jeremy Rollins 48.74 52.71
Chad 48.80 -
Hank Matheson 48.94 -
Dan 49.41 -
Andy G 49.83 -
DH Dave 50.13 -
Shady Shane 52.07 52.88
David 52.66 -
Otis 55.42 -