Sunday, June 19, 2011

Webb's Slough SON

I've been going on about the Webb's Slough SON for months now, and this weekend it was finally time.

It kicked off at 7:30 am on Saturday, at the FLT trailhead. Throwing down with me were Mike, Glen, Joe, Nate and Wade.  (As per usual, click any of the pics in this post for big.)

Glen's super into camping.  Which explains why he's so excited.

Wade's righteous setup

En route, on the FLT.  Nate is either super-efficient with his camping gear,
or he's not planning on going the distance.  Hmmm.

Waiting to cross
(Nate:  I saw you first)

Water stop on the FLT.  Joe is either super efficient with his camping
gear or he's got other plans.  Hmmm.  Glen's excitement hasn't yet worn
off.  Wade is speaking the truth, as usual.
The ride from Cheney out to St John was one tough, slow mother.  Plenty of hills applying gravity to all those pounds of gear, along with a head-on headwind all the way that ratcheded up a notch the last ten miles, along with threatening skies, spitting at us.  At least they didn't open up. Yet.

The five of us (it was always Nate's plan to accompany us to Cheney and then turn around and ride back through Turnbull, only dude with any sense) finally arrived in St John and provisioned at the killer grocery story there.

Once inside the gates of the slough, Joe (only one of the five of us with any grasp of the reality of the situation), met up with his wife, who had driven down, and bid us farewell and good luck, suckas.  By coincidence, it was time for those skies to open up.  The four of us are survivors, so we did the only logical thing and found our our way to the covered beer garden.  Apparently, it wasn't exactly an original idea.

Wade, speaking the truth

Making the best of a bad situation

We managed to find something to wash the beer down with

Wade managed to find a product he could get behind

As far as actual boat racing goes, Webb's Slough is a pretty interesting place . . .

This is the terraced hill overlooking the track.  People bring EZ-ups for
shelter from the sun, normally, and shelter from the rain, abnormally.

This picture doesn't do a good job of showing it, but that's a sea of RV's
out yonder.  Build it and they will effin' come.  Holy shite.

The actual craziness that is the track.

This is the start area, where boats are constantly being put in and taken out.
Sprint boat racing is about covering a timed course, one boat at a time.  In the top class, the boats have up to 900 horsepower.  They stop, start and turn on a dime - it's pretty damned spectacular shit, which I guess is why they can manage to get people to drive (and other idiots to ride their bikes) from all over hell to a field in the middle of nowhere.

Here's how they start . . .

And here's how they stop:

And here are a coupla runs . . .

Water is constanly flying every-the-hell-where.  Here's a burst sequence . . .

These boats have drivers and navigators. The navigators tell the drivers which way to turn. Many of the navigators are wives of the drivers. This is one possible consequence of listening to your wife. (And no, I cannot believe I just said that.)

Somewhere along the way, Glen and Wade phoned up some SAG support and called it good.  Can't say I blame them.  Mike and I, though, were not about to be deprived of the fun that lie ahead.  We pitched camp in the rain.

This picture pretty much says it all, so I'll just shut up.

No rule that says you can't have a little fun while you're being miserable. As
a side note, I need to mention that the water and Guinness were both part
of a carefully crafted re-hydration plan.  That worked brilliantly, I might add.

At about 7:30 or so, my tent started looking pretty sexy.  My hands and feet were cold as hell and life just totally sucked.  I've spent way too much money on my lightweight tent, bag, and pad over the last couple of years, but at that moment, it was the best coin I'd ever dropped.  A warm and dry refuge.  I hit the sack at 8:30, while it was still light out. Out before my head hit the pillow.  The slough was in post-race party mode literally until the sun came up.  Fortunately, the action was far enough away from where we were that it didn't keep us from sleeping for more than a few minutes at a time.  We were up at five and on the road before 6:30 and the ride home turned out to be as wonderful as the ride out was, uh "challenging".  It had stopped raining, and the sun was peeking through at times, and oh, yeah, we had a freakin' tailwind the whole damn way.  We kicked it like no one on 60 lb bikes ever has.

Your's truly

Mike, testing out the self-portrait capabilites of my new cam.
BTW, this one trip fully justified my purchase of a waterproof model.

The ride wasn't that tough, really.  I rolled into my driveway wondering if
maybe I should go do another lap, just so I could call it a workout.

We did our best to kill the beer at the slough, but there were two survivors.
Mike and I are both committed to the principle of leaving no beer behind, so
we split the weight and hauled them back to Spo.  To die.

All up, 106 miles round trip at an average speed of 13, which surprised me
(I thought it would be lower). I think it must have been 10 on the way
out and 16 on the way back to average out to the average.

Big thanks to Mike, Glen, Joe, Wade and Nate for coming out and riding, despite the lousy weather.  Friends are what make an event like this worthwhile.  Extra thanks, Mike, for hanging tough and overnighting.  If you had bailed, I probably would have too, which would have been a shame - the ride back this morning was sweet, and the adversity will make the memory of the trip extra special. And I mean that.


Anonymous said...

Great trip Pat. I have mixed feelings about bailing. I could've been made stronger by suffering, but I'm getting older...and I didn't have a proper tent and this morning my 'taint hurt. Suffering with you guys and beer is pretty good tho. I'm really glad I made it. I'm certain nobody has EVER referred to me as "speaking the truth". wade

Mike S said...

Yeah, great trip Pat S. Thanks for organizing. Standing in the pouring rain for eight hours and toughing it out was a trial by fire for my return to BON adventure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pat, I had a great time, and for the record we stuck it out until the end of the races. Shame the fastest boat had to scratch on the last run, I was hoping to see a sub 50 sec run... Joe

Glen said...

Jeezus when did I start looking like the late Gabby Hayes?

Pat S said...

Wade, don't even try to talk to me about getting older, youngsta. Glad you could make the trip, it was fun, 'specially hangin with ya in the beer garden.

Thanks for enduring, Mike. It wasn't that bad (I can say that now!) BON adventure forthcoming.

Joe, ditto that on hoping for a sub-50 run. We were at the start/finish when he came in and he shut his engine off right away - they had to pull him in, must have gotten a low oil pressure indicator.

Glen, not trying to date you, but who the hell is Gabby Hayes?

Map of Ancient Greece said...

Another Smart post from you Admin :)

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