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If you're the type that likes to boil everything down to its bare essence, then yesterday was a pretty darn good day for you.  After all, in a head-to-head match with death, you won 1 to 0.  Heck, you and I both have quite the streak going vs. that guy.  I believe I'm winning the battle, 14,277 to 0.  

Problem is, the game is over when death wins once.  Kind of unfair the way that works, but whaddyagonnado?

Death isn't the only one that works this way.  So does this guy.  

This guy.  

This guy.  

THIS GUY.

Another local crazy, Brooks, despite being a burden to society in every conceivable way, has done some pretty impressive things.  He sports a PR at the 100 mile distance of under 15 hours.  He has finished top 10 at Leadville.  He has done this despite dealing with a fun little malady called CF.  I would even go as far as to say he's kind of a big deal - that is, if it was guaranteed that those words never got back to him.  Simply put, Brooks gets it done at ultra distances.

So why would I bring up Brooks when I'm trying to demonize JT?  Simple.  Lets rewind a bit, shall we?

March 12, 2010.  The night before the Salida Run Through Time Marathon.  Brooks is ascendant - he has just come off of his best 100-mile performance yet, 17 hours and change down in Texas.  As is the norm, Brooks had time to go back to his hotel, shower, sleep for a few hours, get pretty, come back to the finish line and cheer JT in.  Rivalry?  There is no rivalry here.  Brooks is in another league.  Which is good for him, because once JT has a few beers in him, he'll trash talk Galen Rupp.

Here's the problem.  Brooks is battling a pretty nasty flu.  He's flat.  Tired.  Knows he maybe should not race the marathon.  Pride drives him on, though.  Hanging out with JT in Salida, he knows that if he doesn't run tomorrow, JT will never, ever, EVER let him forget.  So, after dinner, he does what any responsible runner would do - he goes to sleep to make sure he's well-rested for the next day's trials.  JT calls him a couple of flattering titles, and heads to all of Salida's finest establishments.  Rumor has it he is seen emptying liquor cabinets in more than one dive.  By 4:00 in the morning, he staggers back to the Simple Lodge, where he proceeds to wake up every other soul in the bunk room he's in, including Brooks.  Miraculously, JT finds enough coordination in himself to locate his race bib and even gets his fishing hat put on straight.

You know what happens next.  Brooks's CF flares up.  He can hardly breathe.  JT somehow senses the weakness through his haze and powers on like the alcohol-injected drag racer he is, and crosses the line nearly a full half hour before Brooks.

This happened over four years ago.  Brooks has defeated JT at least two dozen times since then.  The closest JT came was the one time he finished on the same day.  Yet, in their many hundreds of encounters over the past four years that I have witnessed, I cannot recall a single time where this fact was not brought up to Brooks.  JT has beaten him.  He broke him.  And he did it in the most remarkable, rub-your-face-in-it fashion one could possibly imagine.  Even had JT used a walker, the story couldn't get better for him and worse for Brooks.

Fast-forward to today.

I'm not so competitive that I hate all people who beat me.  That would suck.  If you beat me, good for you!  Unless you're JT.  I've made it this far without the life-long pockmark of that PBR-fueled slug holding that over me, and I don't plan to start tomorrow.  Problem is, the Garden Ten Miler is quite possibly the best possible scenario for this to happen.  

I'm low-hanging fruit.  A marked man.  The old, sick buffalo in the herd.  

I have to show up.  I have to race.  I can only hope that miracles happen and I can beat the living, drinking, trash-talking incarnation of death one more time.

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Comment by Jon Teisher on June 7, 2014 at 4:37pm

The only thing you'll be looking to win at the Garden is the clydesdale division.

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