WHEN YOU WAKE UP WITH CHRISTINA AGUILERA BELTING LADY MARMELADA IN YOUR HEAD, you know it’s gonna be a great day. Those lungs, that bass, you know Joe come what may you’re gonna give it a go!
Ride your bike long enough, stuff’s gonna happen.
Prepare well enough, and enough will go right that it don’t matta what goes…
… flat, in my case …
So… here I am, rolling along with a great group of bike racers. Really good skills, excellent fitness. We’re out of Utah, into Idaho with a group of about 15 guys… down from 50, I think.
Strawberry pass is harder than I expect. Definitely some steep pitches. My lungs feel really good, my legs are only wincing.
We decided to go with transition #6 based on some very solid logic. Lots of religious folk in these parts + 3 feed zones… so I figure no one will want to run with the Devil, 666.
My pal Jeff is in his bright green RockNRoad shirt, as planned. He hands up the sweet musette bag we made out of a Walmart shopping bag, and I’m rolling. 1st out of the transition. Just like we planned it.
The next climb wasn’t too bad and our group stayed together.
But… before Salt River things start to go off plan.
Bountiful Mazda guy rides up to the front and yells Neutral Pee, Everybody stop.
Yeah, except… 1 of the 3 horseman (there were 3 guys in black kits, all strong and pulling hard) and little green spindly guy and one other don’t stop. Party foul. Oh, and there’s one big guy that rolled off the front earlier.
The chase is on.
5 of us go over the top together, everybody else is gone.
The Old Diesel goes to the front Superman style, drops everybody, sits up, tucks again… you could say I’m slightly peeved at this cheap move.
Important side note: This year I’m rolling on an inexpensive, aero, aluminum Specialized Allez so I could put the money into the 50cm Rovals with ceramic bearings. I coasted while others pedaled – true story. My Kask helmet is also super aero. My Speed kit is super aero. Aero matters, especially over 200 miles.
Of course, we catch those turds. It’s all good, part of racing.
I’m well into the farthest I’ve ever ridden in my life.
Awesomely, a support car stops. Unawesomely, the guys are well meaning but a little green on the tire changing.
I get it all set for air,
they start pumping,
I start peeing.
Fellas, is it ready?
Lemme see it… it feels like steel.
Thanks fellas, your’e awesome.
Now you can do one of two things here, cry in your water bottle or be the fire breathing beast God put you on earth to be.
I’m at mile 150, 54 to go.
Red kit guy, who the race ref told us was 5 minutes back, comes by.
He’s cooked, gone after 1 pull.
5 miles later I Nascar into the third #6. Trophy wife is there with my bag. I grab it going about 110 mph. Of course, I drop one of my bottles don’t grab the pickle juice… but,
… she’s packed a Twinkie, hot damn …
A mile later race ref rolls up.
How far behind am I?
Behind? You’re leading.
They all stopped for food and to pee.
Well screw ’em, they didn’t wait for me. I go full gas. Kinda wish I had the bottle now, but when it dropped I was thinking I had one shot to catch ’em.
The tailwind is powerful. Nothing worse than chasing a guy with a tailwind. Sayanora suckers!
There’s one of the 3 horsemen, flatted.
Crud. They must be ahead.
I’m just gonna go my pace. Top 7 would be amazing.
Oh, look at that bee… with it’s stinger deep into my arm!
Whatever, everything hurts any way.
Kind people hand me water and “Gatorade” at the last neutral stop. I don’t know what that red, fizzy stuff in the bottle is… but, it’s delicious.
Through the roundabout at Holbart (sp?) the traffic is heavy. I’m going almost as fast as the cars.
And I start thinking… what’s causing this traffic? I love it, but what is it? Heehee… it’s gotta be a group of riders and cars can’t get around. Maybe it’s mine!
About 3 miles later I see a group chugging up the last hill. Might as well burn the final match, it’s my group or it’s not.
It’s them: 2 horsemen, green spindly, the reigning champ, America First, and the big guy who snuck away before.
I sit in the back for a while, then do my rotations.
I’m bonking, but ya know…
… there’s nothing like a Twinkie… all sugar and fat…
We’re cruising, and I’m feeling better.
No matter what, this has been an amazing ride for me. Perfect weather, fun trip with good friends, the best support ever from Jeff and TW, I’m happy… but, I’m also a fire breathing beast, right? : ) in my dreams anyway.
So, it’s gonna be a sprint.
We are shells of ourselves.
It’ll be slow motion. The few times I’ve stood on the pedals weren’t inspiring. I figure I can go all out with 100 meters to go. Pathetic, but that’s it.
I’m in the perfect spot.
5th guy, right behind the champ. What could be better?
Well, not letting the big guy roll up the road, doh!
I can’t believe it.
Two horsemen let him go.
They don’t want to chase, because the champ is right behind. I figure he doesn’t want to chase because The Old Diesel is chugging.
Finally, we speed up. He has about 75 meters on us with 200 to go.
I almost catch him.
2nd place, and thrilled.
(best support, ever)
(by all means, get in that stream!)
(Orthodontist by day, musette maker by night)