Doing it all the hard way...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Volcanoes Day 5 Take me home country roads

The last day we needed something extra to make it through the stage.

In the Tour de France they drink champagne on the final stage. We weren't in France this year, we were in AMERICA !

Although day four had been easier, the toll of four days of epic riding had caught up with each of us. When it caught up with us it attacked and dropped most of us. Many of us had diminished appetites. That was either a sign that we hadn't burned as many calories on day four, or a sign that our bodies were just giving up and shutting down. I'm just sayin'.

Despite the fun we were anxious to get going and get done. We ate, put on our costumes and assembled out in front of the hotel as the mortals stared at us in wonder. For those who watched us diligently, they probably learned a thing or two about chamois cream application. One of our group remarked on day four that while you can't put on too much chamois cream, you can put it in the wrong place. If you want to know who said it, I am withholding his name to protect the guilt

MP's kit was voted "best asphalt camouflage." He pretty much disappeared when he got a hundred years away from other riders.

See ?

While this may look like a picture of Big John farting, it in fact is not. Someone had pointed out something out in nature and we thought we would all stop and look at nature. Some of us set our bikes down and some did not. We decided to call it a "natural break." After viewing nature many of us would stretch. My guess is I caught John beginning his stretch.

We had a lot of miles in thick forest. We were glad for the cool morning. The hot sun was coming.

I don't know if it was fatigue, or if I was losing my mojo in convincing myself that I should continue to push even as my legs said things that would make a sailor blush, or perhaps my fun to suffer ratio had finally reached its tipping point; but I just didn't want to dig very deep.

Upon reaching Old Man Pass I was my turn to drive and I was glad to take a shift. As the rest of our band departed I put the last of the food away, jumped in the drivers seat and paused.

It was quiet and still. It was really quiet. The closest I had experienced to quiet was riding solo on some of the climbs, but even then I was moving and the sound of my drivetrain (pretty quiet) and the wind passing over me were my companions. This silence was rejuvenating and I soaked it in for a minute or two.

Then it was time to chase the riders and prep for the next food stop. There was a long hot climb and I wanted to make sure everyone had enough water. I stopped a couple times and handed out some bottles

McWoodie wants some whiskey..

McWoodie reaching for the whiskey in the back pocket of Brad's jersey.

Hank and The MP hotting up
The VFW makes its way up the climb.
The climb was hot and I filled some bottles for my mates.
Note the "shine"
Finally a break and Michael disappears.
Cooked !
After giving some water to those who needed it most I zipped to the front and set up the final food stop. Out comes the table and then pretzels, bread, Nutella, peanut butter, cheeses, salt tablets, tomatoes and salt, mixed nuts, cold water, the list goes on. As the riders arrived I was impressed at the small size of the the time gaps. I put my riding shoes back on and someone else took their turn to drive.
We had twenty six miles left on our trip and I thought to myself, "we can be at the cars in less than an hour..." Off we went and contrary to our "take it easy" talk, it was a bit of a drag race. I was impressed with my max speed on the descent being in the upper forties until Dave E confessed he hit fifty seven mph.
In less than an hour we were done. We had become well drilled at packing and unpacking and in just a few minutes we were on the road.
There was time for one final indulgence...
They say that when all is said and done, a lot more is usually said than was ever done. In the case of this journey, we did more than I can say. We buoyed each other when needed and kidded each other when that was appropriate. I will, however, stop short of any band of brother comparisons.
Riding four hundred and fifty miles isn't easy, but it was the preparation where the hard work really took place. From McWoodie sending dozens and dozens of emails to set up hotels and coordinate us to El Jefe's "we need more pickles" pre-trip Costco run, all these made the trip easy for the rest of us. The Saturday morning rides that got longer and longer and the solitary miles each of us logged so we wouldn't die on this trip were a key to success. It was kind of cool that we could count on each other to be ready for the trip in every way. We only had three flat tires while covering more than five thousand miles (combined).
Maybe some of the other guys didn't miss a beat, but I took off five days before riding. This was a hard trip and my body is still either recovering, or trying to figure out what the heck I was trying to do.
Next up......
Cyclocross ! !


No comments: