There is a bigger picture that should be mentioned first. The Almanzo "thing" was awesome. So many people were out there having fun, racing, riding, doing whatever. Plus everything seemed to go smoothly and beautifully. Congrats to everyone who was out there or involved.
I walked all of Oriole road. Not just the steep part of the climb or the climb itself. I walked it all. I leaned on my bike with my right arm in the aero bar and my left on the hood. The bike was keeping me upright. I did eventually get back on. The final part of the route had changed but I had forgotten. There were shapes behind me and I hoped they weren't in my race. I put my head down into the wind. The stop sign was so far away. When I got to it, the shapes were gone and I realized that I'd gone the wrong way. The implications of getting lost within sight of Spring Valley flashed through my mind but I ignored that thought. I knew the way from there to the start/finish without backtracking but I had come through 20 miles of this crap and 151 total miles to get there and I knew I couldn't do that. I turned and coasted downwind, quickly covering that half mile I had just fought for.
When I returned to the course Spinner was just coming around the corner. Thank you for Spinner, I knew I would finish on my bike. As we rode I mumbled about the 'race' that I had been in earlier in the day. I told him about how I had cramped. The 400+ oz of water I had consumed. My history of shitty races in heat. How I had thought I had beaten that, but only for 9 hrs this time, not the 10 I had needed. How much this race means to me. That it had broken down all day in a way I could have only dreamed about. My competitors had been isolated alone or in small groups down the road behind me with just 20 miles to go. I had walked the false flat (or can we call it a climb) leaving the water crossing, oriole, the other places. The way I had felt when I last saw him- when I had put my arm around him as I passed near the top of the hill leaving Forestville, told him to ride faster... that he had seen me near the end, but still before I was alone at the front. I had felt so good and calm too, just 20 miles to go. My knee caps had disappeared behind the knots in my legs. The way I had swung my legs over the bike when I felt a first twinge of cramping but when I had hit the ground both of them locked perfectly straight. That after it started I had tried to drink all my water, but had solved nothing and left myself with no more water for 18 miles that wound up taking close to two hours. I had still thought I could win, that I could recover by drinking and resting some on the downwind section. How wrong I had been. That I was embarassed but wasn't sure why. That I had wanted to win for 9 hours and how that felt like it was weeks ago now. I don't know how much of that I actually got out, but he just sat there and pedaled.
I realized he looked pretty tired himself. I tried to ask him how his ride was going. I noticed that he was on a somewhat 'appropriate' bike and that he must be finishing in about 8.5 hours (I had dared to look at THAT screen on the GPS only when I had been considering cutting the course to the finish after the stop sign).
We turned onto pavement and into the wind. We took turns pulling. Spinner isn't he kind of guy who normally drafts anyone. I think he did it just to humor me. I needed it.
My parents were at the finish line. It probably hadn't been too much fun waiting. They hadn't been able to keep track of who was in the Royal and who was not which was too bad. I did not feel well and I had to lay down. My mom was concerned but I walked to the car with just a few stops to lay down. I didn't have shoes on and I kept sitting in plants that hurt. I was bit by an ant. I got home and watched the Tour of California and was eventually able to drink 20 oz without feeling sick. I weighed myself.. 157 lbs (down 9.5 from the morning) I showered, ate and drank. We talked about how screwed anyone is once they have lost that percentage of body weight. I had filled all 3 bottles and camelbak bladder at every available place, 420 total oz! It was suggested that I practice breathing with my mouth shut so that I don't lose so much water. I woke up a few times during the night and drank more. . Today I woke up today feeling pretty good. I did housework, yardwork, went for a bike ride.
Results - Thanks to all who came out to make the 2017 Dirt Bag another good day for the gravel community. The previous days rain made the course a little soft and put...
1 day ago