The Shasta Lemurian Race derives its name from the concept of “Ancient Lemuria,” which was developed in the 19th century in an era where theories of phrenology and Newtonian physics were widely accepted. Many believed that Lemuria was a lost land, which connected Australia and India. Like Atlantis, this sunken continent embodied mythological tales of a human-like species, called the Lemurians.
According to new age folklore of the 1960s, the Lemurians (somehow) migrated to Mount Shasta 12,000 years ago and now live in tunnels and caves in the mountain itself, making themselves known to select individuals.
Lemurians supposedly possess both telekinetic and teleportation powers — which is why it is nigh impossible to find them. They wear white robes and are 7-feet tall. They do not appreciate being mocked.
Thus, when something goes wrong at the Shasta Lemurian race, blame The Lemurians. When something goes right, praise The Lemurians.
Knowing this maxim, I crawled into my tent early Friday night and opened up a tattered copy of The Prophet. I snuggled into my sleeping bag and re-read my favorite chapter (“On Pain”), embracing the difficult race profile.
My race strategy was simple: get in the front of the pack early, then dial it back a bit and conserve energy on the first climb. In the middle single track section, I planned to stay focused and keep a strong pace. On the last hill, go into crush mode, then survive the sketchy downhills in the last few miles.
Shasta Lemurian is one of the most efficiently run races. At exactly 9am, we started, and I managed to stay towards the front on the initial fire road climb.
As we approached the first pitch, my HR wasn’t going to hold out. I realized at this point that I hadn’t done a proper morning devotional to the Lemurians and the next thing I know, my chain jammed into the spokes. The Lemurians must have messed with my limit screws. Arggh!
I stop and fix it. 45 seconds later, I’m back on my bike and trying to make up the places I lost. I’m not properly warmed up and am hurting on the first climb. Uh-oh.
At the top, I drop into steep the Gas Can descent. I hear clicking in my rear derailleur and the chain is stuck. I pull to the side and inspect. The other limit screw is maladjusted (it was working fine the day before, really). Lemurians!!
I take a moment and perform the “kiss the earth” ritual three times, summoning the Lemurian spirits to turn this race around. The cantos of “Anders Holte” fill my head with forest magic. I clear the chain problem and ride on.
A steep rutty descent precedes the paved stretch that passes the dam. I catch up to mighty Tom Taylor, who reminded me of the Bigfoot legend, and began drafting behind him. My bike is suddenly working perfectly. I feel a surge of energy.
We hit the fun singletrack and I pass several riders over a kicker. I enter the rocky single-track, with Tom right behind me. My chakra channels open up and I glide over the rocks and through several creek crossings. I embrace the flow.
Tom and I trade off, leading each other through the woods. We cross the road and hit the false hill before the real climb. Soon enough, the tough ascent begins. I tap into my reserve and leave Tom behind, riding up for what feels like an infinite hill. I willingly enter the pain cave.
I live here for what feels like an eternity. I ride through several false summits and finally hit the top.
The rest is gravy with fast descents, dips and rocky bits. My arms are tired from maneuvering fast and braking hard. I manage to make it through the last 2 small climbs without cramping.
I cross the finish line at 2:48, 12 minutes faster than my goal of breaking 3 hours.
Thank you Lemurians.