THEY DON'T CALL IT THE HARDMAN FOR NOTHING!  86 miles and 6000' of vert into the "ride", I get the hardest leg cramp I've ever had... mind you I've had both legs lock up with me falling over at Vision Quest and the Tahoe 100.  I know something about cramps.  I also have a new trick for eliminating cramps.

Normally, I'd be prepared with pickle juice during the ride and lots of celery the week of the event.

But, today wasn't normal.

Rather than following my cranium and cruising the short route - what I signed up for - I followed my heart and my pals onto the full Hardman 93 mile course.  I couldn't resist.  I was feeling good and we were working well in the "second group" on the road.

I should have stuck to the plan, I knew I wasn't prepared from a dietary standpoint.  Where's the fun in that?  It's a "gravel" event and I'm on a damn adventurous bike.  With my pals.

We were all feeling good until we hit Blackstar.  We got a little spread out on the big climb, but we regrouped at the aid station at the bottom.  Seven of us.

Seven, became 6.
6 turned into 5.
5 down to 4.
4 to 2.

Here is where the cramps hit.  I was out of food and had only a splash of water.  We came in off the dirt through San Juan Capistrano and right then I remembered someone telling me - who was it?, I owe you - that mustard packets will knock out cramps.

Sounds terrible, but I was desperate.

Dan and I pulled into Bravo's.  I grabbed a handful of packets.  Mike rode on by.

We got going.  One packet.  Nothing, still cramping.  Two packets.  Not much better.  Two more, plus the splash of water.

Dan had left me.  I could see him and Mike way ahead on the last dirt climb.

Suddenly, cramps were gone.

Cutting to the chase... Dan made a wrong turn, and we both caught Mike  before the terrible final press up La Pata... which blew us apart and we tricked in - Dan, me and Mike.


I've never seen Strava rate a ride as Historic,
nor have I had my Garmin suggest 63 hours to recover.
It was hard, man.
A proper start with the National Anthem.
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