to the pain

September 6, 2010

Okay, let’s talk Park City Point to Point.

I registered for this bad boy way back in February because my brother in law, Sleepy, and I needed a reason not to get fat. And Sleepy texted me while I was travelling in Washington D.C. and told me the race was filling up fast.

So I was under a lot of pressure. You know. To not get fat and to not miss out. So I registered.

Speaking of getting fat (or not), I had the weirdest thought as I crossed the finish line–“Someone get me a scale! This might be my only chance to see the low side of 175 for the rest of my life! My kingdom for a scale!”

Nobody got me a scale.

All right, on to the race.

Lemme esplain. No, there is too much, lemme sum up.

I laughed. Then I cried. Then I finished (in just over 11:30—final times are unclear, since they used timing chips, and their website is not what you’d call 2.0). And I cried some more. Riding it with friends, and having Kim and Holden crewing for me saved me.

Seriously, this was the hardest race/event I have ever done. Bar none. In fact, the rerouted section of the mid mountain trail,which came about 60 miles into the race, was the nastiest, rockiest, worstest section of trail ever. I know of at least two people who cracked their frames on that section. (Both finished.)

Here’s  how it all finished, in case you’re on a schedule:

Let’s back up.

Kim’s dad used to have a condo up at Silver Lake Village, in upper Deer Valley, so me n Sleepy n Sunderlage used to ride that stuff a lot. It’s pretty sweet. But apart from one time on the mid mountain trail, I’ve never ridden the rest before. Which turned out to be a good thing, because if I had known what was coming, I never would have left the Park City aid station.

Here I am thinking about not leaving the Park City aid station:

me park city aid station p2p

It was a close call.

My bike waited patiently:


Anyway. The race event.

The race started in something called Round Valley.

We we did a parade lap on low, rolling singletrack that lasted just short of an  hour. Fun stuff. But lots of people there that had no idea how to self-sort. In retrospect, that might have been a good thing, and kept me from going out too hard. But still—I hate when people don’t know how to self-sort.

Here’s a tip: If in doubt about where you sort, always move farther back. Always.

The race from the start to about halfway,what they apparently call the first half, was simply awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in a race. It was pretty much all singletrack, all spectacular, and I felt great. Lower and Upper Deer Valley have awesome trail. I mean, really, really good trail. Trail that doesn’t suck. Which is a bit more than I can say for the trail a bit farther west/north.

I felt good, my arms and hands felt good, I was using Brad’s new CR333 for fuel, and apart from a couple twitches in my legs hinting of cramping danger, I was on top of the world.

Me n Jason White left Silver Lake Village for the second time together, and the climb up Big Bear gave no indication of the horror to come. Big Bear, TG, all good. But then we dropped over to Park City,where the trails went from buttery awesomeness to general shittiness. I slid out in a loose rooty bit of downhill whose name escapes me, and felt like I had split my kneecap.

But I’m telling you, the pain of my kneecap wasn’t near as bad as coming out above the Bonanza lift, seeing the aid station far below, being out of water, and realizing we had to turn back up and climb to Shadow Lake. Here’s a tip for the course marshals sitting there by their truck–have a cooler of water there. Please? It’s 30 hard, miserable miles between Silver Lake and PCMR. That’s one long, dark pain cave.

I hate Shadow Lake. With some venom. I walked the “Steps” in their entirety. But once around the lake, I dropped my bike, scrambled down to the shore, and laid my upper body completely in the water. That part of Shadow Lake I like. Oh, and I drank an entire bottle full of Shadow Lake water. Erik,who is a doctor, tells me the side effects won’t bother me for a couple of weeks. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

From there, the course could have gone down Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride from Lake Tahoe and I wouldn’t  have been happy with it. I just wanted to be done.

Except the Park City aid station is only two thirds of the way. The true pain cave lay ahead.

Kim and company were supportive, helpful, cheerful, kind, loving, all that, but I did not want to get back on my bike. And sitting under a little bridge at the aid station, the cramps started up. And then, Kim gave me some pills, and magically, the mystery cramps went away, leaving me with no excuse to not keep going.

Just to add insult to injury, the first quarter mile out of the Park City aid station was a walker, up a stupid dirt road until we caught the Spiro trail. The Spiro trail is normally very pleasant, but by this time, nothing would be pleasant.

When I finally gained the mid mountain trail, any steep grade would knock me off my bike for a short walk. I welcomed every one of those walks.

And then, like Dante, I got to visit all the the circles of @#!*% . Except Dante was a pansy, just passing through, observing, recording. I was living it. Oh my @#!*% . The re-routed section of the mid mountain trail should be closed. Blown up. Made into a prison camp. For war criminals. But only the worst ones.

In short, I didn’t like that section of the trail very much. But like the Persian king who wanted something that would cheer him up when he was too sad and even him out when he was too glad, I just kept telling myself This Too Shall Pass. And eventually, it did.

My brother, who lives in The Colony portion of the Canyons, got a VIP pass to the secret Red Pine-ish aid station, and I’ve never been so glad to see him. But I couldn’t stay there, mostly because it wasn’t the finish line. 13 miles to go.

After I passed Red Pine, everything got a bit cloudy, but there was a short uphill double track section where I realized I was completely out of fuel and energy, and as I walked up this section, another guy on a singlespeed came by me, kept on a bit longer, then stopped, knelt down, and threw up for a minute. I stopped short of him, and forced myself to eat 3 Shot Blocks.

And partly due to the proximity of someone vomiting, and partly because after about 10 hours of racing my stomach could only be charitably described as “touchy,” I promptly threw up too.

But I knew I would never make the finish line without something to help me, so I forced myself to swallow another 3 blocks, and just held my lips with my fingers to keep from throwing them up. I mostly succeeded. Enough, anyway, to keep going.

The race ends with an endless downhill, but I was long past the point of enjoying any downhill. And of course, there’s the sucker punch climb right as you come into sight of the finish area, where you turn right and climb two miles and another 1,000 feet before you’re finally allowed to drop into the Canyons base area, and come into the finishing area.

As I turned the last corner, heard some cowbells and saw Kim running toward me from the finish line, I grabbed my head with both hands (because I’m a highly skilled bike handler, I can do this, but don’t try it at home) and started bawling like a baby.

I managed to shut off the tears before anybody got close to me, but later, sitting on the grass with the guys and wives, I had to shut my eyes hard several times to keep from bursting into tears again.

“To the pain” is right.

“Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I’ll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish, every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out: “Dear God, what is that thing?” will echo in your perfect ears. That is what “to the pain” means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery, forever.”

Yeah, that about sums it up.

45 Responses to “to the pain”

  1. Brad Sneed Says:


    Good to see you finished a good 30 minutes in front of me, I’m the Guy who you seen on the road stopped trying to catch my breath, and I ask if you had a Blog…nice work, that’s one long day on the bike, see you next year, right???

  2. bob Says:

    Nice work out there, that was hard, what was your number, I bet you are on the unknown tab, was your number 245???

  3. SydneySS Says:

    You da man, Dug!

    Also in that first pic, you look like Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber.

  4. john Says:

    you took the words right out of my mouth about that race. That rocky crap was the biggest heap of $h!t. I would never ride that for fun. nice job on finishing

  5. Jason Says:

    Dug – thanks for tugging me along for a bit, helped a lot to have the good company – it was good while it lasted and I was sad each time I had to watch you ride off into the sunset. Annie got a few shots of you finishing, hands on helmet just as described. You are one tough bastard – seriously.

  6. nate k Says:

    One tough bastard indeed. It was great to catch up with you at the end. Oh btw, happy birthday ya tough bastard! Want to go ride mmt reroute? Ha, didn’t think so. You 40 yet?

  7. JB Says:

    Congrats! The race sounded horrible but you’ll probably do it again next year.

    • dug Says:

      if you had asked me that even yesterday, i’d have punched you in the face. but now i’m thinking, yes, next year under 11 hours.

  8. ryan Says:

    Glad to see you had as much fun as I did. Is is ski season yet?

    • dug Says:

      ryan, monday i hit the pre-season ski sales in park city. got me a nice new mountain hardware shell. i’m ready for ski season.

  9. KanyonKris Says:

    There are many fine places to sit and eat a nice meal or something cold and sweet. Knowing this fact would have had me bailing out at PCMR, or Deer Valley, or just after Round Valley.

    Way to gut it out.

    You know, I think I saw a chain-gang breaking rocks on the reroute.

  10. mark Says:

    Yeah, um, that mid-mountain re-route. Well, you remember the conversation. Puking? Wow. Way to HTFU and finish.

  11. Steve The BigRide Says:

    My first MS ride was 95 degrees, 95% humidity. My stomach made it’s rolling debut in the FL Keys. The fishermen on the bridge thanked me for chumming the water.

  12. Doug Not Dug. Says:

    That Mid mountain section is the level of hell littered with baby head’s. Great job.. BTW someone spelled my name Doge to day.

  13. chad Says:

    gunga galunga… gunga, gunga galunga.

  14. GrizzlyAdam Says:

    The MM reroute was horrible. Utterly horrible But, it was better than it was a few weeks ago, which was better than it was a few months ago. It may never be buttery smooth, but it will improve. Hopefully.

    But the best part is that for how terrible and rough it was, you still got through it. And without suspension.

    You deserve a winter of creamy powder now.

  15. Flying Ute Says:

    Nice job bro. I love hearing the details. Thanks for writing so well.

    However, this did not get me in the mood for LOTOJA this weekend. After Leadville I just haven’t got back in the mood to suffer.

    I am counting on getting swept up in the excitement of it all and hopefully having some big ol’ riders to draft behind.

  16. bikemike Says:

    i always feel better after i throw up 5 or 6 times in a row.

  17. rabidrunner Says:

    True love saved you! It always does.

  18. […] Meanwhile, however, allow me to recommend you read Dug’s excellent writeup of the race. […]

  19. Brandon Says:

    I don’t know how you rode that mid mountain re-route on a rigid fork. My full suspension allowed me to really take some speed on it and I would pass a guy on a rigid single speed, only to have him pass me on the uphills. Hard, hard race.

  20. Jake Says:

    Hi Dug. Great write up. I was the rider who threw up after passing you. Beyond that, it was great to go back and forth with you for a bit. Good job finishing. It feels great to have accomplished that race!

    • dug Says:

      jake, i was watching you and the guy you were riding with for hours. i figured, if you guys could keep going, i could keep going. thanks for being out there.

  21. Zach Says:

    I think you’re bluffing…

  22. Jonnie J Says:


    This is your best race report of all times. Tough day out there. Great report.

  23. evilbanks Says:

    Hey man——–great job finishing that beast. Like J-dub said, you are one tough bastard.

  24. Dave Says:

    I love the Princess Bride reference…thanks for making me laugh today. I honestly felt like I bruised my kidney on that MMT reroute, and I had front suspension. You suckers that did that rigid had to be suffering big time! Nice work on the finish Dug!

  25. GJ Jackie Says:


  26. Nick - Seattle Says:

    Bob and i rode yesterday, and were talking about how we were both thinking of this race instead of Leadville – sounds like a wise move staying up here. Nice write up.

  27. Ty Says:

    sounds like a good time to be out of town. Good job finishing.

  28. Daren Says:

    I feel your pain on that last climb. I did the E100 a few years ago and it was basically the same as PCP2P from Midmountain on. I hadn’t ridden the last section and I cried when the course turned up for that last climb. I seriously thought it was some kind of stupid joke. The memory of my 13 hours and 20 minutes of E100 fun is still too fresh for me to do the P2P. Let’s just ski instead.

  29. Love Princess Bride! That race looks brutal. Glad you survived.

  30. […] section between Deer Valley and Park City was long and hot. I ran out of water. But rather than dunk my head in and quaff a portion of Shadow Lake, I found the head of a little spring that was running down the trail and guzzled as much as my […]

  31. […] Meanwhile, however, allow me to recommend you read Dug’s excellent writeup of the race. […]

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