Sunday, 09 March 2014 00:10
(Photo - Four guys, a Yeti and Bonnie)
By Bonnie Coldtootsies
Last weekend I actually won my division. I know what you're thinking- What has this got to do with chocolate, and I'm thinking the same thing. But this was not your average win. I would have come in last as usual, had it not been for the Yeti....
Saturday was finally cold enough to go outside and race. With temps previously hovering at zero and above, I didn't want to risk heat stroke, or worse yet, getting a tan, so I waited until frost bite was an option and headed north. I drove up to Cuyuna, a place I've been meaning to go fishing for the past two years. The alluring surroundings in this beautiful part of Minnesota includes pristine mountain biking trails that offer adventure to riders of all levels, which, I'm blatantly assuming, is exactly why race director Aaron Hautala decided to plop the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout in the heart of it all. But it appears there was one thing Aaron overlooked. Legend has it the Great Yeti lives up in those woods. Very, very close to the trails.
According to twisted interpretations of Wikipedia, stories of the Yeti began to emerge in the 19th century about this monster in white. Also known as the Abominable Snowman, the Yeti is tall, surprisingly fluffy, and likes to chase down cyclists and eat them. Rumors of legends tell us that the Yeti once ate an entire group of bikers from China using only two branches held in his fiendish hand. The imagery sends chills down my spine. Even more disturbing is that just before he devours his prey, the Yeti tenderizes the heads of the cyclists with what appears to be a noogie. I know, right? Totally a drag if you have long hair. Out on the trail that fateful day, I came face to face with him. The Yeti of all yetis. Nearly in his bone crunching grip, I escaped and lived to tell this terrible fable.
Not being the only one to cherish frost bite, several riders showed up to test their skills against the Yeti. The weather prediction for race day was a slender -14F, wrapped in a -30 wind chill. Time to sweat hard and expose some skin. We lined up at the start and took off like we knew what we were doing. Not long after pic-axing our way up a few steep climbs we realized who would be sacrificed as a yeti snack and who might be spared. Unfortunately, it wasn't looking good for me. I was near the bottom of the lunch box with no easy way out. Suddenly, as we weaved through the single track, I heard stomping in the woods closing in on our serpentine pack of riders from behind. He caught our unmistakable scent of too hard, too early, too out of shape. I reeked to high heaven and had to act fast. Just then, two riders in front of me hit a patch of rough trail and went down. Sprinting like mad, I slipped past them and hoped for good traction. The heavy footfalls of a hungry monster suddenly stopped not far behind me and I knew those two riders were having their heads noogied by the beast. I blinked hard over my frozen eyeballs and pressed on.
Not too long after, I began getting the eerie feeling again. You know the one- like someone ate the cookies you've been hiding for months, but even worse. I could almost feel the beast behind me.
I love and respect my fellow riders. I really do. But I have four children, two cats, a husband and some Legos that need stepping on so I did what any stressed out, menopausal woman would do. I picked off riders and fed them to the Yeti. I passed a few on the climbs, another who was three feet deep in snow from not making a tight turn, and even one that had foolishly stopped for refueling. I rode hard, breathing like a locomotive. Thankfully the last half of the race was entirely up hill. I'm sure having two lungs was just slowing me down.
Flopping over the top of the last climb, I slid down through the last section of short single track and rounded the last bend towards the finish line. A few other desperate riders were up ahead of me and we each let out cries of perceived safety as we crossed the finish line, narrowly escaping death by noogie.
I hunched over my bike handle bars trying desperately to catch my breath. The arctic air quickly cooled my sweat down to a nice deep freeze and I left for home, unaware I had finally won a race. As I sped out of town trying to sort through how anyone could hate winter, I caught site of the Yeti in my rearview mirror. He had strategically positioned himself at the finish line, ready for easy prey, the sly beast.
Until next time, Yeti.
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