Welcome to the Jungle

And another weekend full of fun and bikes has just whizzed by me yet
again. Saturday I woke up bright and early to ride (in the car) many hours
to the faraway land of Baraboo, which is located deep within the
Amazon Jungle of course. There were many obstacles that sought out
to deter me, but to no avail, for I was bright eyed and motivated
that day because I had had my caffeine fix. There were spiders as
big as my head, anacondas leaping from every tree, and mosquitoes
attacking relentlessly, not to mention it was roughly 40 degrees out
and showering on and off.

The wind was fierce and the native cannibals were eyeing
Susan (my brave teammate) and I as we lined up at the roughly drawn
start line for the 2 lap, 30 mile race of our lives through the thick
and mighty Amazon. About 20 women were there as well staring us
down, and I knew they would be of no aid in this dangerous
adventure. There were several teams there as well, ready to risk
their own lives for the sake of their kin.

The race started and I was shivering uncontrollably from the
biting cold, my arms shaking so bad I almost ran into a tree (which
I'm sure was surrounded by masses of deadly poisen ivy vines and
other people-eating plants). I made sure to stay near Susan, who was
reliable and made sure we were in the safety of the front. At about
2 miles in, the first Monster hill loomed before us, and one
Dairyland lady took it as an opportunity and attacked. I
instinctively withdrew my machete in defensive mode and caught the
attack's rear end, and was soon off on my own horrifying expedition
with just two other women. I, being a shriveling coward (who did not
want to be abandoned to be eaten by God knows what in this hell-
hole), clung to the back of this break with all the pitiful humanly
strength I had. What seemed like many days later, I was still
traveling with the break, all of us working together to survive the
treacherous obstacles that seemed to leap from every root and tree.
By the end, my legs were exhausted and I was filthy with dirt
and fleas after two giant hills (faced twice each) and many grueling
hours battling with the forces of nature. But alas! The end is in
sight! I lurched from my saddle with glee and pounded with all the
puny strength I still possessed and still managed to get passed by
both women at the line. I had risked life and limb for many days for
that 3rd place, but not even that was more disheartening than
discovering you only earned $20 in doing so. I think we should get
the cannibals to sponsor us.

After scraping the thick layers of grime off with a spatula,
I showed up the next day to meet Susan at the flat, square, windy
course of Vernon Hills Grand Prix. Indeed it was quite a fancy title
for a race only eight women showed up to. And not only did they lie
in the "Grand" part, but also in the "Hills" part as well, for I only
saw one gradual incline (which was of course into a head wind as

Just several laps into the race I caught my big break
(figuratively and literally) as I bridged to two women in a breakaway
and we worked together to keep the field of all five riders at bay.
It wasn't long before the field was out of view, and I was now
officially subject to whatever evil tortures these women devised (or
whatever evil tortures I forced upon myself). It then came down to
the final bell: Lady one attacked on the back straight and Lady 2
and I caught on and held her wheel for dear life. Lady one turned
out to be more or less a very good lead out person (though she didn't
know this) and I sprinted past her to the line to achieve 1st,
beating Lady 2 by a healthy margin.

And now for the finale: At Baraboo congrats to Susan
Peithman, my trusty teammate who braved the fierce Amazon all by
herself for ten miles alone as she chased the leaders, fending off
beasts larger than trees with only a pocket knife and a waterbottle
to finish 8th, her boyfriend Joel who made some strong moves earlier
in his race and finished with the pack, and Conrad Witt who placed
very well in the jrs. At Vernon Hills congrats again to Susan who
soloed it to a 4th, Sue Semaszczuk for an awesome 3rd in the womens
4s, Marilyn Powell for a 2nd in the 40+ women, Alex Bowden for a 3rd
in the cat. 3s, and I think there was another ABD jr. there as well,
so we shall applaud him/her.

Till next time…

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