Sunday, April 27, 2008
The entire trip can be summed up with "Everything took longer than I thought it would." Dan brought his already loaded car to my house in the morning and we journied into work. I had some things I needed to get done, and apparently so did he. We headed back promptly at 1:00 p.m. and things were looking good. I'd prepared most of the bike stuff already and had sent my lovely wife to the store to pick up the soft goods I'd need for the trip. I decided to prep the potatoes I was planning on cooking that evening and then we loaded the car. Add in a stop to pick up things at Racer's, picking up Jon and Delena, and a final stop at the gas station, and we were already getting behind. Then we took a wrong turn to the campsite. The constant wandering on the wrong road was too much for Delena, who became horribly carsick. When we rolled in, everyone had eaten and were headed to sleep. I made the potatoes anyway, and apart from Dan and I having a plate each before bed, the potatoes went uneaten. The next morning we got up early and managed to head out a little earlier than the main group. Hours 0-2 went fairly well. Mineral Bottom road between Horse Thief and the highway is long and straight. It also is a pretty constant climb tjhat ended up feeling like the road to nowhere. I was concerned that my legs were feeling tight the entire time we were on the road. Once we turned onto the highway, we climbed for a little bit and then the road turned down hill. The speed and some time actually spinning loosened up my legs and I started to feel pretty good. The descent down Shafer's was loose and nasty. Sandy rockfields are my least favorite type of terrain as I feel that at any second I'm likely to crash and break bones. After we picked our way down, we trudged on toward Mussleman. My primary goal for the ride was to have enough in the tank to climb out of Horse Thief, so I didn't push it on any of the climbs before lunch, finding the granny more than once. Hours 2-3.5 went pretty well, and Dan looked strong. Hours 3.5-5.5 were rough as we spent most of the time pedalling slightly uphill again, but this time the wind was blowing hard. The trail meanders, so its effects varied. The one thing it did do was cool me down, so I didn't drink as much as I should have. After lunch, we began the dreaded cycle of being near the rear. By the time we arrived, everyone else was rested and ready to leave. We could either rest and get further back, or move on without rest. We picked the middle line - rest for long enough to still get left, but not long enough to recover. After the walk of shame up Murphy's, my dehydration showed it's ugly face. At mile 65, I got really grumpy and my heart rate soared. I was ready to quit and climb in the truck. The good news was that I had underestimated my CFC and actually felt good until 6:15. The bad news was that suddenly I was completely out of mental reserves at the precise moment I needed to tap them. I realized I hadn't peed since we started and guessed that I was probably getting dehydrated. I slowed down and drank a liter and half or so of plain water. I continued cruising at an easy pace until mile 70, at which point I rebounded and felt good again. Unfortunately, this is were it all fell apart for Dan. He could barely pedal. The support vehicles caught us again, and Dan figured if I was going to soldier on, so would he. Which left us 15 miles to the next stop with absolutely no chance for aid. Dan continued to deteriorate until he could no longer swallow the peels from the apple he was trying to eat. I started to get really worried, but finally we limped into the last prearranged stop at mile 87. Chad and Margaret were rolling out as we rolled in. We refilled our bottles in earnest and made our way on. As we began the descent, Dan told me he had had enough and that I should try and bridge my way up to Chad and Margaret. Not wanting to try to finish alone, I pushed on and caught Margaret, who was by then riding alone. We pushed on together. My iPod and GPS both died before the bottom of the Horse Thief, which sucked a lot. We rode the last first 1/3 of the climb until Margaret's back told it was time to walk. We walked until the last switchback where Brad, Chad, DanN, Jon, and Delena were cheering us on. Or mocking us derisively. It felt like both at that point. I climbed back on to finish the last little stretch and Jon hooked me up with a Cock and Bull Ginger Beer hand-up for the finish. We packed up and headed into town for some pizza. Afterwards, Jon drove back as I drifted in and out of sleep. I finally arrived home at 2:45 a.m. and promptly collapsed. I woke up and had some breakfast, then slept until 1:00 p.m. The home teachers showed up and I tried to keep myself awake. After they left, I slept until 6:30, missing our rendevous with Jon and Dan to sort out our stuff. Sorry guys. I'm sore today. My legs hurt worse than I thought they would while my hands, feet, and back all hurt less than I thought they would. I sure hope we go the other way next time, as I suffered less going the other way despite having less fitness. My goal for next year is to get the same training time in and to not get dehydrated and see what that does for me. I also am hoping for no wind.