The Last Bike Race B.C.

Togwotee Winter Classic Reboot

Note: A week after the race the coronavirus struck our small Wyoming town and I found myself quarantined due to a low white blood cell count. I take the virus seriously and strived to strike the right tone with this post. Little did any of us know but the race was a last hurrah, and the best day ever.

Reboot or Re-booty? Read on! Or at least scroll to the end for the butt-grab photo.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, (B.C.), I’d been battling flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue for awhile. I felt more tired than I was during radiation treatment. I couldn’t shake it.

I attributed it to the adjunctive therapy that I take to prevent my breast cancer from coming back. I was also trying to do too much. I think my body is still recovering from the siege of breast cancer treatment.

To top it off, the week before the race I had a marathon travel stint to see my Dad in Colorado. It was a great visit with him and my brother and thankfully my Dad came through surgery fine. But I came home with my tank emptier than before, emotionally and physically, so I decided not to race.

BUT, things change….. the day before the race I took a short bike ride and felt “okay.” Okay was a pretty big improvement. I rode two miles. That’s it, that was my training ride!

My friend Susan, with whom I originally planned to ride, said she she was going to go slowly and that the weather report looked stellar for race day. It wasn’t really a decision but a gut feeling. I decided to do it. I couldn’t pass up a day of riding in the mountains with my friends.

I wasn’t in race shape but it didn’t matter. I’ll say yes to anything that puts me in over my head. I’m not competitive but I like the camaraderie and the personal challenge of racing. And as someone once said, you win if you make it to the start line.

Su and I at the start. Thanks to Jamye Chrisman Photography for the great images!

I started slow ‘n steady but in the first few minutes I was unexpectedly overwhelmed. In a good way. I mean, in a F’ck Yeah good way. I was flooded with a sense of joy and freedom that I probably haven’t felt since I was 6 years old and discovered slip-n-slides on a hot summer day in San Angelo, Texas.

I couldn’t hold back. After nine months of pain, fear, uncertainty, multiple setbacks, and clinical depression – I felt free. The trail was perfect, the sun was shining and the day stretched endless in front of me.

It’s like when I let my dog, Daisy, off her leash at the park. She bursts forth in total abandon with a big smile on her golden-doodle face.

 

I asked Su if she minded if I busted out. She said go.

Su, the newest member of Wyoming’s Back of the Packing (BPR) Racing Crew, on the road to Brooks Lake Lodge.

The race was a mix of groomed snowmobile trail and packed road. Su caught up with me soon after I rolled out. My body wouldn’t go as fast as my mind wanted it to, but who cares!? A true friend, she waited for me every time I stopped to gasp for air.

 

The rest of the BPR crew. Studd (my pardn’ner – in figure skating pose) and Dirthead. The race marshals were superb. They took photos and handed out beers from their snowmobile.


Dirthead and the Absarokas Mountains.

 

Riding

Studd said we won the race because we came in last. We took more time than any of the racers to enjoy the ride! He is wise.

Cramping up mid-race. Good thing I brought my intern’s intern to massage it out. (Studd is so good to me.) Su advised me to wiggle my toes frequently which seemed to help as well.

Clearly Dirthead is the fashionista of our crew. Surly should sponsor him.

Together

Studd’s Surly SS Pugsley on left and Dirthead’s ICT on right.

Jay to Silent Bob: “Was the 2020 Togwotee Classic a remake or a reboot?” Whatever you call it, the course was more scenic, had less snowmobile traffic, and there was a terrific and cozy vibe at Lava Mountain Lodge. We decided it was the best race we’ve done. To note: Neither of these guys is Silent Bob and who knows what they talk about on the beer breaks.

I looked back and saw all three riders in a pileup. I think Su tried to pass the dudes and they took her out. She’s a good sport.

Local chapter of Bike Pushers 307.

It doesn’t get any better.

Studd comes in at the back and takes first in the single-speed drop bar category.

When I watch races on TV I never see smiles like this.

Hey baby, what’s your psi?

Little did our bikes know this would be their last canoodle, social distancing a week away. My Salsa Mukluk in the front.

Dirthead donated one of his custom creations as a raffle prize.

More Custom Creation

Even more!

It was Rader’s birthday and he won the most coveted prize. His goal was to do his birthday in miles – he did the 35 and needed 12 more I think, can’t remember now so I made this up.

The Wyoming Chapter of BPR has a traditional butt-grab photo-op. This was Su’s (aka Just Peaches) initiation into the tribe. She’s in, way in. Welcome Just Peaches, you got the mojo!

I’m feeling more like myself lately and have dialed things back. I feel best when I’m moving so it’s hard not to push myself. My mistake was that I treated breast cancer like an endurance event and the harder things got, the harder I pushed forward – instead of listening to my body.

My goal is to stay off-leash; unattached to fear – even in the face of uncertainty. I wake up every day looking forward to what it will bring. Sunshine. Laughter. Riding my bike.

Big shout-out to Fitzgerald’s Cycles, The Bike Mill and Lava Mountain Lodge for making the race happen in style. Thanks to all the volunteers who sacrificed their own ride to help out! Thank you Jayme Chrisman Photography for the fabulous shots of a fab day!

The after-party was a lot of fun with first-class raffle prizes and the Lava Mountain Lodge has great food. Stop in for vittles when you are going over Togwotee Pass!!!

Calling all Fat Bikers! Make your plans for next year to be there!

See Togotwee Winter Classic’s Facebook page for more pics and info.

Happy Trails & Stay Unleashed.

P.S. It goes without saying — always say yes to whatever — even if you’re not ready. Don’t overthink it. Because if you don’t, the next thing you know you’ll be at home in quarantine due to a global pandemic waiting for someone to go to the store and buy you chocolate!

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