After getting super excited about using an open weekend during cross season to try out an endurance race, Eric and I had abandoned or plan to do drag our children and significant others along for the six hour race on the Wednesday before due to forecasts of bad weather. Eric had sounded pretty dejected on the phone after the decision was made, mumbling something about taking a shower and going to bed, and promptly hanging up. I called Eric the day before the race, and convinced him that we should race the 12 hr. duo, bring the kids along, and trade off riding and watching the tikes. One watches Nina and Elliot, one races, and so on. I tried to sell it as an "epic day of parenting and bike racing", with the slim possibility of it turning into a logistical nightmare.
Got out of town around 6:00 am for the two hour drive up to Unicoi. Kids were asleep in the back, had the bikes geared super easy for the hills and long hours of riding. Eric started, put in two super fast laps at cross country pace, and was third across the line after the 1st and 2nd laps out of the entire field. I thought to myself 'awesome, maybe he will just kill it, and my role is to just pedal steady laps'. Went out for my first two laps, felt great, tried to go out for a third, but Nico wanted to ride. Went back to the tent, hung out with the kids for a bit, of course right as I was about to head down to meet Eric as he came through the checkpoint, Elliot tells me he has to go to the bathroom. Ok, no problem, we can run up there and make it back down in time. Except that little dude can chill in the bathroom, porta john and all! I kept urging him to get moving, but he was just lounging in there! When I opened the door to see if he was ok I was expecting to see him reading the front page or something. I hear Eric yell my name, tell the kids to stay put at the bathrooms, haul ass down to the check-in, and head out for laps five and six. Felt pretty bad for these, and was pretty worried because we were only halfway through race. Lap four was particularly brutal, both due to the mud that was sticking to my tires and the fact that as I rolled through the start, I was informed that Elliot and Nina had locked the keys in the car. Came in, spent the next half hour pissed and trying to break into my car with a coat hanger before I give up and hand it over to some other folks who want to try, telling them they can help themselves to all the beer in the cooler if they get it open. Meanwhile, Nina and Elliot find the 5 lb. bag of apples, climb onto the back of the car, take one bite out of each apple and throw them into the field. I head down to meet Eric and start another two laps. Felt much stronger on these and knew we were up by a good bit, so that was motivation. It was getting dark, so I stopped before my second lap to pick up a light. In the distance, I see Nina hanging upside down on the bike rack like it is a set of monkey bars, and Elliot sitting on top of the car with a foam sword in the grey light, ridiculous.
Eric went out rode two more fast laps, and I did not have to go out for my last turn, as we were far enough ahead. Came in opened some beer, and waited to be presented with our 1st place lamp. Yes, a lamp. Awesome.