Red Card Roberts
February 14, 2012
I now consider my online-auction addiction both a full-fledged syndrome and a verb: "eBaying" is my drug of choice. Quite honestly, most of the time I don’t need or really even want the stuff I end up with. I just want to win the auction. There’s an unmistakable rush of adrenaline I get when I’m online at just the right time, monitoring my bids and increasing them by mere pennies in my own attempt at strategically conquering the world of online offerings. I’m a ruthless, imperialist cyber dictator.
I might have a certifiable problem, but at least can take comfort in knowing there are those with a condition even worse than mine. When I win an online bid, at least I get something in return. There are those who win nothing but saddle sores, acute full-body pain and unrelenting fatigue.
These people are the 350 "lucky" ones who will grab slots in the Point-2-Point mountain-bike race over Labor Day Weekend. Registration for this race (that was called a "relentless death march" by one finisher last year) opens this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. And if you want to secure a spot, you’d better have fast fingers.
That’s because last year’s race sold out in less than six minutes. In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, 350 people committed to months of grueling training, painful crashes and screaming muscles. And hundreds more were bummed to miss out.
The Point-2-Point’s race director and co-founder, Jay Burke, attributes the event’s success to Park City’s surrounding trail system.
"When I created this event and the course, I started out with just one goal and that was to never use the same trail twice, he says. "With what we have available here, I have been able to create a course that’s just under 80 miles long. That’s a huge shout out to our trails here. Most of the events like this in the country are on a 25-mile course and the racers do laps. You get to a point where you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s that rock again.’ Boredom sets in and that just makes the suffering and the pain that much more obvious. With the Point-2-Point, it’s always something new. Adventure and endurance racers are explorers at heart and we want that."
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Explorers. Masochists. They seemed to be used somewhat interchangeably for this event.
At the finish line last year, I remember family members cheering on their loved ones with looks of grave concern. One woman even compared her husband to a Somali refugee. "He actually looks like a humanitarian crisis," she said.
After nearly 80 agonizing, mostly uphill miles, and 14,000 feet of elevation gain, it’s a wonder there aren’t clergy along the course ready to read participants their last rites.
And despite 2012 being only the fourth year of existence for the Point-2-Point, the race has already earned a reputation as one of the hardest mountain-bike courses in the country. Last year, someone from Poland even competed.
According to Jay, completing the race is a badge of honor among mountain-bike endurance racers.
"To be able to say you finished the Point-2-Point really earns you some bragging rights in the mountain-bike community. To finish this race, you have to be tough, mentally and physically."
Tough. Stupid. They seemed to be used somewhat interchangeably for this event.
Regardless of the adjectives you decide to use, if you want to be one of the elite 350 Point-2-Point participants come September, you’d best be online and ready to go on February 15 at 7 p.m. The website for registration is: http://www.thepcpp.com .
And, if you don’t get in, well, I’ve got some eBay auctions you can monitor for me.
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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.