The third annual Remember Marcy Vision Quest is in the bag; Bill Martin finished this morning, and the whole crew went and got pancakes to celebrate. The event isn’t a race, in two important senses. First, no one other than Bill has taken an especially serious crack at finishing it. Second, Bill doesn’t race it in the sense of going all out all the time.
Case in point: this morning Julie, Laurie and I drove up to the last aid station to meet, feed, and ride the last 11 miles with Bill. Lydia and Norm arrived shortly after Bill. Even with 140+ miles and a huge amount of climbing in his legs, Bill still dropped all of us on the climb up to University Beacon (which is a fairly steep, sustained, and loose logging road). He waited for us near the top, and on the descent, and we all rode into the finish together. Bill sprayed the cheap champagne and everyone was happy.
In short, the ride has evolved into a mix of individual time trial, group ride, and social event. Bill started at 900 yesterday. Some people started at the start before him, some with him. Ed, Aaron and I started at the end of leg 1, and rode leg 2 together, with Bill passing us at the top of the Griz lift at Snowbowl ski area. At the Rattlesnake parking lot I stopped and drank beers, while Ed and Aaron teamed up with Sheepy to ride the Sheep leg. They started at 630pm and finished around 1am, doing the best and one of the most technical rides in the area backwards and in the dark. Norm rode the first 70+ miles, starting early and finishing at 9pm, and still rode the sunrise finale. Some folks took on more challenge, some less, but everyone got to support each other and enjoy great riding and company.
I could repeat many of the words I wrote about the MESSS, to the effect that these events embody the best and might be the future of endurance racing. Rather than using the myopic rubric of numbers, the (lack of) structure tends to refocus on subjective experience. Bill has raised the bar on himself each successive year with a harder course, maintaining the challenge of uncertainty. Ed and Aaron seriously stepped up their games with the Sheep leg, and Norm may have beaten everyone insofar as pushing personal boundaries, riding half the course during his first real season of mountain biking.
I was a slacker, riding the two legs with the best fun to effort ratio, enjoying another excellent farewell ride. Maybe next year I’ll feel inspired to fully commit, but today I’m tired and content and using both as an excuse to avoid putting more things in boxes.
I leave you with a self-group-portrait, and a very silly look that I cannot explain.
There was a velociraptor holding the camera. I swear.