Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The fourth installment of "One of my worst dayz out there." By Mike Conway....

The fourth installment of "One of my worst dayz out there" is bought to you by one of my dearest friends, Mike Conway. In our youth, Mr. Conway and I enjoyed many epics and misadventures in the mountains of the Western states, Canada, and Alaska. But rest assured as we gracefully age, we are not content to grow old and feeble reminiscing about "how back in the day I was really something." In fact we are currently planning for 2014 or 2015 a full-on winter/spring epic involving roll-your-own-cigarettes, cheap whiskey, two Surly Pugsleys, minimal gear, no carbon gear, and the Iditarod & Yukon Quest Trails; essentially the hope is to die with our boots on. Veteran of foreign wars, helicopter pilot, biathlete (even triathlete), climber, skier, cyclist, family man, and all around top notch leader of men, Mike Conway is simply the toughest all-around man I have ever known. (Editor's note; In my little world, Guy Evans is physically the toughest man I have ever spent time with "out there." But I stand by Conway as the toughest overall in all categories of manliness. Or in other words, while Conway may not be number one toughest in the mountains or on a bike or skiing, all-in-all… factoring in bar-room brawls, ability to survive car crashes, or ability to drive a truck for dayz on in, etc., he is the toughest all around man I have ever known…I am thinking that this could be another great theme; the toughest guy ever on a mountain bike, in a canoe, ice climbing, etc…). In any event, the following are two little vignettes; the first one is from his wild carefree dayz living in southern Wisconsin and the second is from an early cross-country ski race probably circa mid 1980s. [Note: Regarding that semi-dark cloud of rumors surrounding alleged circumstances surrounding Conway being linked to one or all of Mallory's groups. Mike refuses to confirm or deny any affiliation with Mallory, the Avenging Mallards Adventure Club (AMAC), the DBD or the Quixotic Rogues. He will only say, "I have knowledge of the AMAC and I have met Mallory on occasion and it is true that I share similar interests and convictions with that of the DBD. If you need more than that you will need to speak to my lawyer, Johnny Cochran." ]

Hey Charlie,
I'll try and compose a couple of my life's highlights. Naturally it won't have the flare and panache that a true master such as your self could conjure up. Here it goes: Story #1: My first major bonk comes during one of my early road rides. I had hooked up with some long distance guys from work. These fellows had been at this game for quite a while. Knocking out 70, 80, even hondos (editor’s note: one hundred miles) was common place for this group. Being a young whelp of cocky background, I thought nothing of signing on to a 70 miler one hot July afternoon. My steed was a steel fake Italian 10 speed that we called the Maserati. Nothing to help my cause of course. The group of ten lads started out with laughter and good humor competition. I chose to leave the home base without shirt and wearing only my spandex riding shorts with shoes. I'm not sure where exactly in the ride that I started to falter but not wanting to hold the group up I waved them ahead. The hot sun and lack of proper hydration would eventually take its toll. At one point I found myself laying in someone's yard somewhere in a southern Wisconsin back-road. A lady from the house came out with Oreo cookies and water which I devoured in seconds. This gave me enough energy to continue on. My next stop was at a typical WI crossroads with a church and a bar. I stumbled in sun burnt, sweaty, dirty, and looking next to death. I had no money so I had to explain to the bar tender that I needed a cheeseburger and would pay him back once I found my car. He took pity on this poor fool and obliged. The patrons just stared as I sat at the end of the bar wolfing down the greasy burger…This day finally ended with me getting back to home base, going directly to the car, leaving a wild party that the others were in the middle of and going home after a stop at the local Good Samaritan bar.
Story #2: This is one of my early cross country ski races. I must have just started getting into racing. I heard about this race in Marquette, Michigan; it was called The Red Earth Loppet. This race was the predecessor to the Noquemanon. It was a full 51K, 30 plus mile race. It must be a 9 or 10 hour drive from my house so I headed up after work on Fri. I got in late but in time to pick up my race packet. I go directly to the parking lot of the race start. Where I settle in for a night of truck camping. During the night a full on raging blizzard moved in. The temps plummeted and my quality of sleep went down with it. The morning finally rolled around with slightly better conditions but still bitter cold and blowing snow. I fire up the single burner camp stove and heat up some instant coffee and oatmeal. All is well, I think up to this point…The gun goes off and the race is on. Once again I don't remember when things started going bad. What I do remember is leaning on my poles with slow racers and old ladies going by asking if I was alright. I do remember skiing into a feed station, eating donuts, biting my lip and bleeding over my face. Most likely cause I couldn't feel my face. The trail was being drifted over as I trudged on; mostly by myself. When I finally came into the finish the race staff was taking down the banners, the hot food had been loaded into the trucks and the finish area was almost empty of people. I at once stumbled to my truck and curled up into my sleeping bag. Caught a short nap and fired up my truck and drove home the very night.
Hope you can use these 2 stories. They are for the most part true to the letter. Like I said before we could write several more of our trips into this little idea of yours but that was all just great times and to be expected.
Have a Merry Christmas. Say Hi to the little one and Crystal. Have Fun
Your Buddy,

Great stuff…starting off without a shirt!!!
Thatz a classic...oh the audacity of youth!!!

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