As usual I semi shot myself in the foot the weekend before by racing cross. I had the itch and it needed to be scratched. It didn't stop there. It was one week after Burnin' at the Bluff 12hr where I smashed myself into oblivion. On top of that I raced both SS and Cat 1/2/3. The course on the Sachs property was hella bumpy with thick grass to trail blaze through. Not a complaint, but thats just what happened. So the combo of everything left me questioning where I would land and how the body would hold out. It was times like BT Epic that everything ended coming up Aces!
I drove down Friday night, and got a pretty good sleep in the van. I was kinda late to the start cuz I was trying to get a decent warm up riding the gravel. I hustled over and pulled a real "show boater" 180 skid stop into the front of the start line, and then shuffled my self in right next to Turbo. For a second I thought to myself "Shit, that prolly looked pretty arrogant! Hope everybody knew that was a joke? Hope karma don't bite me in the ass for it..." Long story short... it didn't! I also looked across the start line of the sum 300 plus race field and saw a crazy amount of familiar fast friends, dudes, and recognizable "fast" team kits. I kinda was like "oh shit" again, and just hoping to scrape the top 10. Thats all my goal for this race has ever been was to scrape the top 10.
The race starts. For the first 4 miles I'm able to hang with the lead group until about a half mile from the single track. I count about 15 of us in the group. Then my C02's start coming loose, so I am forced to slow down just enough to fall of those dooods to finger tighten the C02's that are behind my seatpost. Which was ok because I was already going into mini 1st blowup mode. My cardio for that kinda start is better than some, but not as dynamite as others.
A little ways into the woods we hit a forced dismount for single speeders. During this run up, Brad Flachsbart from AZ comings running past me with his SS asking if I'm the only SSer up here. I respond with "Yup, are you from Arizona and friends with Mike Best?" His response was "Yup, are you Peat?" Then I was pretty much like "Yup" because that was pretty much all I could choke out, cuz a how blowd up I was. Brad then pretty much walked away from me at that point. My only condolence was that since he's not from here I may have the advantage of how the course flows and that maybe he will blow up and or have a mechanical? Maybe? Mike Best did tell me that he was bringing a "fast" SSer to town to ruffle my feathers.
|Ben and I. Mid race selfie at BT Campground.|
From this point on I fell back as far as 22nd. I was pretty much only falling back and or starting to make passes on doods moving my way back up, but never really riding with anybody. Occasionally getting the heads up that Brad was 5-10 mins up on me. All I could do is keep trucking and that I did. I was feeling like utter doodoo until about mile 20-25 when it seemed like a switch flipped. I guess I finally shook off the cobwebs, because I felt good!
I continued to pick off doods left n right. Some that were blowing up. Some that had crashed. Some that had flats. All things that could happen to me or has in past races. Don't, get me wrong I mosdef had some Oh Shit moments, but something was helping keep on the path to success.
The last I had remembered I had counted down to 9th place and where I actually was was a bit hazzy. I had made it to the gravel road just before re-entering into the single track to ride(or walk) the 3 Sisters when I saw Travis. His back was blown out and he was soft pedaling the rest of the race. Whats funny is that he offered for me to ride his wheel and then quickly realized I was on mission. With in a few rollers of the gravel I had dropped him. Sorry Travis.
So I work my way though the 3 Sisters with only one near header during a creak crossing. I exit the woods and ride next to the pasture and then as I'm entering onto the gravel to head back to Bass River Resort I almost damn near run into both Brad and Micah. Ends up instead of going left onto the gravel they went right. I agreed that yeah that sucks, but then I have done the same thing in multiple races this year on both courses that were marked extremely well and some that weren't marked at all. So even though it sucks for them to loose the time, I couldn't really feel sorry for 'em because there were several arrow signs directing the right way.
Micah stop for a Coke, but before he did I asked if we were sitting in 6th/7th/8th place? Micah was like "More like 4th/5th/6th, dude!" My mind was blown! Brad and I rode off and attacked the pavement climb beginning the last 7 miles of the race. I commented that there has never been 2 SSers in the top 5 of BT Epic and that if anything we have to just hold on for that alone. He agreed and recommended we ride smart. Yes, and yes!
The epic battle between Brad and I was so similar to Hunter and I last year during the last 7miles of BTE that it was scary. Both situations having one of us overshoot a turn or fumble a switchback or just something to make it hella interesting for two strong as hell riders to fight for position over. Brad, I can't say it enough, but that was one of the most fun ends of a race that I've ever had and thanks for being there! You tots had me up against the ropes, and anything coulda happened. After we had both fumbled a few turns I ended up in front of Brad. Before we had entered the woods he read his time to be about 25 min from the 4hr mark. This would be tough, but just maybe doable? So I just kept drilling it to try to make this potential sub 4hr time. Yeah winning is rad, but setting new records is radder. Brad kept yo-yoing off the back of me and finally dropped off just behind a few turns. I exited the woods and wheelied across the finish line in 4:08 and some change. Brad was just 10 sec off me. Didn't hit the sub 4hr, but Brad and I did get 1st n' 2nd SS and 4th n' 5th overall! We also were only about 10 min off of 1st places time.
The top 5 went as
1st Brian Fawley from TX
2nd Steve Tilford
3rd Garret Steinmtz
5th Brad Flachsbart
So after the race things kinda went into be social, take a crap ton of pics, and party it up! I have divided the photos up into BT Epic Days and BT Epic nights. Shit starts to get weird at night. I'm also thinking about making a drinking game out of the BTE pics. For every time you see: crazy eyes, a thumbs up, me hanging with pups, or somebody getting kissed then a half beer needs to be drunkity drunked. I hope to hear the outcome from this, haha.
Please enjoy Berryman Trail Epic Days...
|Mike Best, my BOCOMO sponsor.|
|JP and I rode bmx bikes when we were 12-14.|
|Jerkward and D-Rock|
|Brad from AZ|
|The infamous Garth Prosser|
|Rogo and I had a killer and long race season.|
|Whatchu doin Garret?|
|Jeffs on the back of my motorcycle.|
|Love you to dollface!|
|Hunters pup Mitty drinking my beer. Errg.|
|Fuck yeah dudes!|
|Fuck yeah Fawley way to destroy that shit!|
So I have about 10 moar photos that I didn't post and a 2 of 'em are semi incriminating. I'm not gonna post 'em, but they be funny as hell. Sorry.
Here's Patricks photos.