Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tour de Flatirons, Finale!

SpongeBob F-ing Rules! But he's got one sticky shadow!

Cordismo is Primo! In a fitting battle that mirrored the entire Tour, Cordis, resplendent in his authentic SpongeBob SquarePants jersey, and Kyle, shirtless of course, he is, afterall an Anton protege, traded the lead four or five times before Cordis finally stamped his name on the trophy! The pain endured by these two amazing athletes must have been intense. Kyle is finishing his first Tour and only ran one stage last year. And he nearly won it all. Cordis always had tremendous promise and he's learned a lot in his previous two Tours. And now he's the Champion. The champion of the great sporting event on earth! At least that's what's being said around my house...
Will has time to wave to the gallery enroute to fourth place.
Surprisingly, Will scooped everyone on the approach to Stairway to Heaven and arrived first. He hardly knew what to do. He'd never scrambled before without someone leading him. He wandered off to Satan's Slab or something and the young guns went by. As did Jason Killgore, a flat-out liar that says he isn't a runner but a skier. He took third place in his first Tour. That really shouldn't be allowed.

The battle for fourth place didn't disappoint. Darren was just one point ahead of Will and neither was giving an inch. Will's start was ridiculous though and Darren was in full-on chase mode. He wasn't able to claw Will back, but finishing just behind him left them in a tie for fourth! Greg, adorned in his signature, push-up bicep brassiere per the yuzh, was solidly in sixth at the start of the last stage, ran the entire stage in sixth, and finished the Tour in sixth. So, 666...appropriate for a Minion!
"Yeah, that's by bicep. God delivered it. I signed for it.'
Part-time Minion Eric Lee, who hand-picks stages that make him look good, chose wisely with stage five. He's about the size of Greg's arm yet he nearly pipped him at the line, finishing just two seconds back.

The battle for seventh was tremendous, with Danny, Ryan, and Derek tearing things up. Derek closed from behind, blazing the east slab descent from the summit and breaking logs on the descent. All three were within a few feet when they returned to Skunk Canyon. Danny turned the screws on the climb out of Skunk, broke Ryan, and safely distanced himself from Derek's wicked kick. Due to a snafu that prevented the publishing of a badly needed rule, Derek absolutely crushed his dad in this first Tour. An official, though anonymous, inquiry has been filed with the SMSC Tour management.
Danny makes Ryan cry "Uncle!"
Brendan was in sight of Derek at the top of Stairway, but Derek said sayonara there and Brendan time trialed it in. If he wasn't carrying around twenty extra pounds of muscle he might have kept up, but apparently it's swimsuit season somewhere...
"Is this the way to Venice Beach?"
The next group back included the competition for the highly coveted 12th position. Unique to the Tour, 12th is second in prestige only to the top position. Coincidently, I was current in that position. With all eyes upon me, I executed my game plan to perfection. I hung back, two minutes behind my son at the start of the scrambling. This was the ideal position in which to launch my attack. I was poised to leap ahead and join the fray for seventh place. But I surged with too much power and scrambled right out of my left shoe! Seriously. It almost fell down the rock. Stefan went by me and I had to stop and struggle to get it back on without untying it. I just got it on before Sonia went by me and she graciously let me stay in front. Sonia had been on me since the start, sticking so close I was afraid she was going to trip me.
Satan's Spawn trying to run down Danny and Ryan
I pushed myself to nearly puking in an effort to gap her and close on Stefan. I managed the former, but not the latter. Into the gap rushed Brad Bond. A couple of jump moves down off the penultimate section and I increased my lead, but he closed on the final slab as I was on the edge of blowing up. All the while I'm barely moving up the slab. The Tour is pretty humbling. I'm going absolutely as fast as I can, but I'm just crawling up the rock. I knew Brad was going to change shoes once he hit the ground and I didn't want to give him a target to chase. I nailed the north side descent and was soon stumbling down the steep, loose descent in pursuit of Stefan. Miraculously, I closed on him and he graciously stepped aside and I went by. Stefan is still nursing an injured heel and I knew descents were a problem for him. If I wanted to stay ahead I needed to put serious distance between us before the climb back to the finish.
What's this ultra-runner doing in a scramble evemt? Polishing rocks with his handy chamois, of course!
I did a controlled fall all the way down to Skunk Canyon. I had expected to fall and even wore cycling gloves to protect my hands in the inevitable slip and butt bounce. But I did not fall and made it to the bridge, still vertical. I bent to the task of climbing the steep hill back to the water tank. I wanted to walk with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, but with Stefan chasing and Sheri and John Black cheering me on, I just couldn't. And I use that term "running" very loosely. A geriatric with a walker could have passed me. I was glad Sheri didn't walk along beside me, taking photos, though I'm sure she could have.
"Thank goodness this dang Tour over and I can get back a real sport: skiing!"
With no sign of Stefan, I finally gave in to the pain and power hiked the last steep bit up to the NCAR mesa. I resumed running and tried to kick it in. I wasn't sure of my time, but Sheri told me I had a chance to break 40 minutes. I pushed to the line and crossed with a time of 38:13. Stefan finished forty seconds later. That just isn't right.

Sonia and Brad had quite the duel themselves. Sonia can flat out suffer and she finished with her face as red as a beet, but two seconds ahead of Brad. Well done, you two! Thanks for pushing me so hard on the ascent. Willie, Angela, and Colleen rounded out the field tonight. Four had already run the course and a few more will make it up before the results are final. The Top Ten are nearly set, but it is likely that Jason Wells will bump someone out of there when/if he runs the stage.
Two-time champion Matthias was on hand to dissect his opponents for next year. And to gleem some strategy tips, apparently.
Twenty-one scramblers have officially finished the Tour and it's likely at least a couple more will do so before the end of Tuesday, the last day to submit a time. It's been a tremendous Tour, despite the disappointing absence of the reigning champion Matthias. He came out to each stage to show his support and to stoke his engine of desire. The twenty-somethings who ruled the Tour this year will have an extremely motivated challenger next year...

Long Live the Tour! Fourteen years and counting...

Stage Five field

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