Mountain bikers take a perverse pride in the carnage that comes with a long ride. And let's face it: You stay out on the trail for six or seven hours at a time, somebody's goin' home in pain.
Fatigue sets in. Hunger gnaws at you. The brain slows down and you start choosing sloppy lines. Your fingers can go so numb that you have to look down to make sure you're squeezing the brake levers. Before you know it, you're sprawled across the ground and starting the usual physical inventory for open wounds and broken bones.
That was the case Saturday afternoon during our latest Soggy Bottom training ride. AKdeluxe was coming off two weeks of night shifts, and started getting the thousand-yard stare several hours into the ride as we were descending from Resurrection Pass. Before long he was cartwheeling over the rocks, and his Turner was tangled up in his legs while its sharp parts chewed on him like a meth-crazed ferret.
A few miles later, The Monkey rolled up to the stopped group and said in a tired voice, "I ate shit."
We all knew what he meant, but if we hadn't, all we would have needed to do was check out the dirty skid marks on his clothing.
Sometimes, I'm amazed that we pretty much always reach the trailhead with nothing more than cuts and bruises.
By Saturday night, I was wondering how soloists finish the Soggy Bottom 100 at all.