Hugh’s Report from Pajarito Punishment XC

Experpt from an email from Hugh Selby:

Speaking of crushed, I had an interesting return to MTB racing this
weekend.  As some of you know, I started racing mountain bikes back
in about 1993-4.  I was pretty terrible at it but being a competitive
fellow, I kept at it until ’96 or so.  My last race was the obscenely
grueling Pajarito Punishment. It was there that I realized that I
hated getting pounded by guys I could routinely put the stick to on
the road – I left the knobbies behind and took up skinny tire racing
exclusively.  Somehow, the scarring from my MTB past had gone away
and by some weird twist of early onset senility, I decided to try my
hand (leg?) at dirt racing once again.  In a final irony, I started
back up in what is now my hometown race, the Pajarito Punishment.  I
suppose you can all tell me that you would have seen this as a bad
omen and tried something else; I also questioned my decision but
decided that the best way to deal with my issues was to face them
directly.  To paraphrase the Knight Templar from the third Indiana
Jones movie, I chose poorly.

The race itself was exceptionally well done and the course really
could not have been better.  Unfortunately, as I rolled up to the
start with my fork locked out (it’s what the pros do), I was only
aware of the vague sensation that I might soil myself whilst vomiting
as well.  This sensation did not ease as the start was
called.  Indeed, by the time we had returned to the ski hill proper,
I had the distinct sensation that I was carrying a basketball in my
midsection.  I had a reasonable start and so tried to ignore this
discomfort.  Alas, by the first bit of fire road climbing, my normal
climbing rhythm became syncopated by a third clenching muscle in my
nether regions.  Let’s just say that staying seated was the name of
the game.  I proceeded to, er, “gut it out” the remaining first lap,
stopping only once to howl in agony as I let more riders by,
clenching my lower half in a fierce battle to retain my innards.  By
the time I got to the descent, I had a bit of a let-up so I figured I
might as well get the miles in by finishing the race.  Again, I chose
poorly.  Needless to say, the second hike to the top was a
reintroduction to fantasies of Imodium and clean bathrooms, although
my legs did seem to be working reasonably well.  I have to admit that
part of the reason I kept going was that I didn’t want to disappoint
the Colavita cheering section (thanks Susan Oldham!).  How do you
explain stopping mid-race and charging into the lodge in front of the
cheering throng?  At long last, my deliverance was at hand as I
approached the final section of open road in front of the
lodge.  Susan cheered me across the line and I thanked her for
waiting for me to drag across the line, my reintroduction to mountain
bike racing complete.  That was about all the time I had before the
sweet vision of the lodge door invited me to its welcoming
porcelain.  I spent the next twenty minutes appreciating a completely
graffiti free stall (where’s the reading material when you need
it?)  and wondering whether or not El Parasol was a sound caloric
selection after all.

That was so much fun, I think I’ll do it again.”

Hugh Selby

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