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Date: 1999-10-02
By: Rob

Ha, Ha, Ha...

We load the car (rental), Derr's Truck, and Lou's Explorer. We're set to travel for the highlands of Plattekill. As if this name is not a foreshadowing... We leave at 6:00pm. Pre-fed, and looking for gas. We manage to make it to the wonderful NJ Turnpike, and like that the trip has begun. Before you know it, 4.5 hours later, Gas and urine breaks, we arrive in the little (very) town of Fleischmanns, NY. We pull up to this fine establishment, after much reluctance by seeing the sites of the town. (I think we passed the worlds largest Kaleidoscope on the way there; an actual landmark). We walk up the steps of this 3 story country house, and we are greeted by this old lady (Iris), her husband, and her little terrier name Jacques. After we signed in her guest book (all of us), she repeatedly offers us something to eat. Before we know it she disappears in to the kitchen, only after Derr mentions something about cookies. She emerges from the den/dinning room and offers us cookies and milk. Now we feel like we're at grandmothers house! What hospitality! This old house is awesome, and we're all feeling right at home too! We proceed to select our rooms and settle in, while Zeph starts up with some nervous anxiety, obviously he had something to eat that we need to know about... good thing he roomed with Derr. We all were talking to Iris and Derr starts calling her "Mom", and then Iris mentions that we can't have girls over, and Derr retorts with, "what am I going to do with the girls I just met at the bar..." Iris say, "Oh, you don't want the dancing girls around here," as she sticks her arms out around her sides, "they are like this." We all laugh. I retire early, but can't seem to stay asleep. Most everyone stays up and shoots the breeze for a little. We wake up between 7:30 and 8:00pm to be served a full breakfast (included with each room!). Zeph and Derr are the last to join us. Apparently they had the best shower in the house. It reminded Zeph of an "Herbal Essence" commercial. We had Fresh baked scones and blueberry muffins, coffee, tea, juice (fresh cider or OJ), cereal or eggs (any style), English muffin or toast. This was soooo damn wholesome! (Dude, we were stoked!) We proceeded to gather our things, pay the bill, and head for the races! We get there running on Drexel time... Running short on time, we register, and get our race numbers. As I get my gear ready, the guys fiddle around with Jon's bike (we just took it, but Jon wasn't able to make it up with us). I take Jon's full suspension out and ride over to the duel-slalom course. I push it up to the start of the course. Looking down the hill, it all looks way different. "What the hell did I get myself into I thought..." I get ready to go and tell the guy next to me to give me a little room, "it's my first run." I start off with little pedal strokes, make it over the first set of whoop-tee-doos, take the turn, cruise the downhill, roll over the big jumps (I'm not psycho), bank the next turn a little high, slow it down, hit the next set of whoop-tee-doos (throwing me a little off canter), roll down this large "S" turn with really high embankments, and towards the 6 foot high duelly. The jump comes at me like a brick wall, and knowing that I would never clear the 10 feet of airspace between the two jumps, I tap the breaks, and slow it up so I can roll over it (a nice clean run I thought). I roll up the first jump, drop the front end over the jump, while my speed sent me flying over, the back end is kicked up and I go ass over head. Like a missile, aiming directly for the trough of these two jumps, I land with such elegance that only the "Hollywood-Air-Show" can provide. The front end of Jon's bike crumples up on bottom of the trough, while my head and right arm break the fall. The rest of my body soon follows. That wonderful CNCed stem that Jon got a great deal on at Mainly Bikes (1-610-668-2453), nailed me right below the belt, any lower and my family tree would wither. I lay there in a lump, starring directly into the earth. I blinked a few times and realized that I might want to move. The possibility of another rider landing their back wheel in my ass became vivid. I drag my wreck off the jump and fell against a bail of hay. The medics were cool and asked me a bunch of stuff I don't really remember, but I really lucked out because I could have broken my neck, jaw, teeth, or collarbone. Plus I had a stone stuck in my helmet, which had completely broke (my helmet). I got up and told Jake (I think) that I owe Jon a new wheel, but he had informed me that it wasn't Jon's wheel, it was Zeph's (the damn thing looked like a soft pretzel you buy at one of the trucks on campus, and at that point it too was only worth 35 cents). Carrying the bike back to the cars (trucks), I get a few good looks and comments from the other bikers at the race, I get to the cars and put down the bike. I was a little upset, and the hit below the belt was really pulsating. Dan and Zeph are there, they must have known not to say much. I greet them without the excitement I had left with. I don't really remember what was said, but I told Zeph that he really needs to true his wheels when he gets a chance. I change, dismantle the bike, and we go over to watch the rest of the duel-slalom. After a while Derr comes up to me and asks to use my number for the duel-slalom. So "Robert" (Derr in actuality) does the rest of the slalom for me, and we get a picture of him on the turn, he is about to hit the duellys but hesitates, and pulls out of them better than I. The announcer calls out my name, "Number 2001, Robert Schultez." And like that, I'm now a Mexican from Freemansburg, PA (Derr's Home). Derr makes out pretty good. Then, Mike (a.k.a. Frank JR.) starts down the mountain and is hanging tough until he hits the second set of whoop-tee-doos. He nails the first bump a little fast and gets thrown off by his back wheel. Breaking his fall with his right arm, he stops. "Medic!" We get to him and the medics, and they suggest that Drexel just goes home. No just kidding. They suggest that I take him to the Hospital and get some x-rays just to be sure. JR's bike is fine and Zeph asks if he can borrow it for the Cross-Country course, since he no longer has a front wheel. I get in the car, put on 'Beastie Boys - Check Your Head' (how appropriate), and go to the hospital. We're there for an hour, and talked with some downhillers from NYC who had been to nationals, this one guy was in the hospital because he crashed and a piece of shale had sliced right through his glove and through his hand!! I got him a soda, cause he didn't have change for the machine. After a while, I had to get back for the Cross-Country race, and agree to pick up JR. after the race. While I was gone, Derr pulls off an 8th place finish, and we all start to get ready for the Cross-Country race. I ran into the downhillers I saw at the hospital and they paid me back for the soda. We were all ready for the race, Lined up, and waited for the start at 2:00pm. We are informed that a downhiller crashed and that an ambulance had to come back down the mountain before the race starts. After the wind had been blowing up our asses for about an hour, they start us off from a dead, cold start (no warm up). The course starts out as a long 2.5 mile climb with wonderful switch-backs, the send you into the woods. The woods are like soft dirt, shale, and roots. The backside of the mountain is all wet and sloppy, very slow, and cold, like eating left over soup. My friend Bill (from Bloomsburg), appears from the bushes and keeps yelling at me that his grandmother is catching up to me. After a few 2-3 foot drop-offs, and log crossings, the trail takes you down the side with switch-backs about a half mile long, with plenty of mud (Ave speed 35 mph). On this downhill I come up fast on this kid pushing his Cannondale Super-V, Raven looking thing. He jumps out of the way after I call out "on your left!" With plenty of time to have notice to move, he finally does, but manages to drop his bike right in my path. Too late to stop, I run the damn thing over right on the seat post, mid frame, and front wheel. I try to hold it, but I crash into the bushes on the cliff side of the mountain. I pull myself out, jump back on my bike, and as I ride away I here this kid cursing, several times. He needs to learn to hold onto his bike. Finally I see the finish. That whole lap I was bitching and moaning about the course, my achin' head, and other things. I managed to stay with it for all 3 laps, only for my rear wheel to go flat on the final downhill of the third lap. Pissed, I road through to the finish. I think I DFLed (meaning Dead Freaking Last), and apparently the guys got a picture of me flipping off my bike. The rest of the guys did well, among the points to remember was Dan's seat post broke off... (I mean the entire seat post), Andrew "Palms" De Fino (fell twice on his hands, ouch!), Zeph "I-like-sliding-to-a-stop-on-my-butt" Riendeau (Jean, you might want to check for damages, however the club is not liable, he signed a waiver), Lou "I-was-drafting-off-this-girl..." Lanzilotta, and Derr. In addition, the other racers provided us with some entertainment. Some downhillers were screwing off on the set of duellys where I wrecked, and this one guy apparently caught way too much air (clearing both jumps completely!), possibly 15+ feet of air!, lost control and landed on his arm... Compound fracture at the wrist! Some other dude was going to do the same jump, but hesitated, and crashed his bike head on into the jump. This guys bike completely shattered into 3 or 4 pieces (the whole front end broke off, the downtube separated, and the seat, tube, etc. broke off of the bottom bracket). It was a high adventure! It was late and cold, and we were all hungry. We get to the hospital very late, we go to pick up JR., but we stop to ask a nurse for a picture of the team, she tells us that she really doesn't have any time for that. We find what looks like a doctor, and he humors us for a picture. We leave the ER for this small diner that Derr had noticed on the way up on Friday. We get to this place, and it looks like one of those country diners that you would expect to see hunters in camouflage and fresh kill on their truck hoods. While being the center of attention for the entire diner, we all hobble in, and grab a set of tables in the back. We order drinks, cheese sticks and dinner. We get our salads, and my dressing falls off the plate and lands right in front of me so that I'm wearing it (because "I love Italian!"). We reminisce about the race etc. until our meals get there and we scarf them down. We settle the tab, and hit the road. Every state trooper and their trainee were out that night. We don't hesitate to cruise home at a semi-reasonable rate. After about the "Freehold" exit on the Garden State Expressway I get lost from Derr and Lou (maybe one too many bumps in the head). We manage to find our way to the NJ Turnpike via 195. And get home safely by about 12:45pm.

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Page last modified on February 28, 2009, at 07:40 AM