So apparently, "The Killer Gravel Road Race" didn't quite scare my dad off from bicycle racing. Earlier this summer he expressed interest in maybe doing a mountain bike race too. When he found out about 12 hours of Potluck, and the informal "Best Dish" award, he announced- without hesitation that he was in it. To win. He might even ride a bike too.
After digging around, I managed to convince Tim and Christina Smigowski to join our team riding under the name "Otter River Pneumatic Yachting Society". Tim and Christina's initiation in the ORPYS is a whole other story, and even if I could remember it- probably not suitable for even my blog. All I know was that the next morning I woke up with way shorter hair and a blistering "Maker's Mark" hangover.
Anyway, the plan was to take it easy and just enjoy the event. Dad had about 25 lbs of pulled pork BBQ ready to go, and we had no expectations of winning or even really doing well. I expected we'd maybe drop in the standings as the 12 hours wore on and packed a cooler full of beer for midrace handups and other back-of-the-pack antics.
Well, Tim asked to be first one out. I was OK with that as I don't really start too well anyway. The race featured a "LeMans" style start with racers running ~25 yards to their bikes before hitting the trail. Tim apparently had other ideas than "taking it easy" and went out and got the holeshot, being the first one on the trail. Then went out to set a pretty blistering lap speed.
Well, I guess we're racing now....
I managed to turn some respectable lap times as my turn came around. Racing this event as a team make it a totally different race than solo. Dad managed to break his chain on his first lap, but was still turning some great times for somebody who's cumulative mountain bike experience was growing by several percentage points each time he went out.
I sat back and waited for the inevitable point in the race when the leaders would start to walk away, but it wasn't happening. There was one team with a solid lead, but it was neck and neck for everybody else. Looks like we're in for the long haul...
Tim, Christina and I set to work churning out the laps while Mom and Dad turned to dishing up the barbecue. Dad didn't have a whole lot of competition on the food front, but the bike race was coming down to the wire. We'd need every last minute to try to eek out an extra lap.
With just over an hour left to go, I set out for my 6th and final lap with the simple goal of burning it down to the end in hopes of buying enough time for Tim to complete a final 7th lap in the dark. It was kind of like one big solitary cyclocross lap... and probably my fastest of the day. But I managed to get Tim enough time to complete his final lap getting us third place in the co-ed team division.
But dad's BBQ kind of stole the show... a week or so later at a group ride, some guy commented that he heard my father had fed half of Houghton county that week. I wouldn't be surprised if the bluegrass band that performed that night is composing a ballad on the subject. Generations from now, children will be singing songs about it.