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I Pity the Fool

with 3 comments

 

A few weeks ago I talked to Dug about doing RAWROD (I believe it stands for riding around white rim in one day) and he said I should try to get out 3-4 times a week and I would be good to go.  The weather got in my way of getting out that many times.  I did my best, but I knew I was in no shape to get on a bike and ride for 100 miles. I had my doubts and was very close to bailing on the trip altogether. I probably could have found a million excuses but never came up with a really good one. The night before, when I was scrambling around trying to find a bike, Dug texted me and said “if not now, when?”

The night before the ride I realized a few things. I realized that the Honda Ridgeline is not a wimpy truck but in fact Elden’s machine is the ultimate biking vehicle. I realized that I was screwed and that I was surrounded by some excellent bikers. I realized that Kenny is one of the nicest guys in the world by putting on RAWROD voluntarily. I realized that I like beer brats. I learned that I am not the only one that snores and that if you need something, like a sleeping bag you wake somebody up. Sorry Botched. I realized that waking up at 6 am in cold temperatures before a big ride is a good excuse not to ride. It was cold.

Crazy things go through the mind when you are on your bike alone in the desert. Delirium sets in and interesting conversations begin. Within the first ten miles I started this conversation with the trail. It was the same conversation Clubber Lang had about Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.  “Do you hate Sleepy? I don’t hate him, I pity the fool. What is your prediction for this ride? My prediction? PAIN.” This conversation played through my mind for the next 90 miles! I could not shake it, so I accepted it. I was going to be in pain the rest of the day.

I remember that after the first stop I was feeling pretty good. I know it was only 27 miles to the first stop, but I had never been on a bike that long before and I was pretty proud of myself. In fact, I tried to run a marathon a few years ago and did not finish. I figured that getting through this ride makes up for it and I will never have to redeem myself and run another marathon. But after the first stop I started feeling my legs go. I could tell that I was going to cramp up because I could feel the twitch in my leg every time I put a little pressure on the pedals. So for the next 30 miles to lunch all I was thinking was “I should have ordered the foot long cold-cut combo, why did I only get the six-inch?” At that point I was completely cooked. I had plenty of opportunities to throw in the towel but honestly it never really crossed my mind that I would not finish. I was determined. Apparently I did not look determined. I know I sweat a lot but I must have looked quite salty.  I could actually feel the salt caked on my face.

So, to my surprise I made it to lunch. I was thinking “sweet, I’m done”. But as soon as I rolled up, Dug and Brad were waiting with supplies to keep me going. Within 10 minutes I ate two pickles, a can of chicken noodle and stars, Tums, beef jerky, my puny 6″ cold cut combo, trail mix, water, carborocket, and Diet Coke.

After lunch, I felt pretty good. I knew it was going to be a long day but the rest of the trail was two miles of gradual climbing followed by two miles rolling downhill. At the time it felt like I was always climbing. I had the iPod in and tried to find a rhythm that wouldn’t cause cramping.  After a few hours I noticed a huge climb ahead of me. I thought that there was no way I was going to make it up. I was already cramping but I figured I had to try every climb. I went up the first little section and felt pretty good, but then I turned the corner and it got very steep. I was in trouble. Before I could click out of my pedals both legs locked up straight. I fell over with both feet still clipped in. Luckily the sag wagon was right behind me. Someone jumped out of the truck and rushed over to me. I was pretty much out of it, blinded by the pain of all of my leg muscles cramping up. He handed me something and said “eat this”. I’m not sure what it was and at the time I probably would have accepted pooh sticks, but whatever it was, it seemed to help. He continued to try to get my legs to bend and finally he was able get them out of the locked position. He threw my bike in the back of the truck and said “get in”. I thought about it for a millisecond and quickly took him up on the offer.

It was hot, but because of exhaustion I still had my long sleeve jersey on after 85 miles. I got to the top of Hardscrabble and I heard Brad yell out, “Dug we need to pin Sleepy down and get that long sleeve jersey off.”  I figured I would waste needed energy fighting them off, so I dropped my bike and stripped down.

  I don’t remember very much after this point. It was a blur. I do remember the last ten miles were the longest miles of the ride. I kept thinking we were getting close to the last climb. I started to lose hope because I could feel my legs going again. We finally made it to the bottom of the switchbacks and I fell over again with cramps. This time it was right in the middle of the road and I scrambled a few times to get out of the way of some vehicles. Dug decided he was ready to go and he went. I watched him go up and it nearly made me puke. It looked steep. After I watched him for a few minutes, I decided it was now or never.So I slowly began my climb and learned it was much steeper than it looked. So about ¾ of the way up I decided I needed to walk.  I went around a switchback and heard Brad yelling and pointing out that there were only two more switchbacks to go. I had made the decision to walk the rest, but after seeing him at the top I decided to jump back on the bike. I slowly made my way to the top and quickly forgot about all the pain during the ride. I was happy.

As much as I hated the ride, I loved it. During the ride, I said I would never do it again, but when I got to the top I was ready to do it all over. So, when is the next big ride? I’m ready.

 

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Written by Sleepy

April 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Way to go. Seriously good effort. dug has such sage advice, “…get out 3-4 times a week and you’ll be good to go.” Turns out he was right.

    brkeyes7

    April 30, 2008 at 7:57 am

  2. so many good moments. i love the clubber lang thing. pain is always the prediction for an epic ride. but the pain is just the background for the rush. good times. see you next year.

    dug

    April 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

  3. I hereby predict you will register for the 2009 LT100 and that you will do just fine. You’ve got a spot in my packet if you want it. Riding with you was great.

    Elden

    April 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm


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