Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

If you would like the featured recipe forwarded to you, click on the little email me ← here.
Comments are always welcome, if simply commenting on a post, feel free to use the comment box.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Finish Line – Rockwell Relay 2014 -Part 7


There is a lot that goes on in a race/ride that lasts for 30+ hours!  In case you are interested in reading or reviewing different parts of this epic tale; I have made it easy for you by creating the links right here. . .

     Part 1= packet pick up


                 Part 2= Moab to Mule Canyon (Legs 1 & 2)


                             Part 3 = mule canyon (leg 2 cont.)


                                          Part 4 = Devils Gate Bridge (legs 3-5)


                                                        Part 5 = Boulder Mtn (leg 6)


                                                                     Part 6 = Escalante to Cedar City (legs 7-12)


. . . Hey, it’s a LONG ride~~~

2013 797

It turned out that as Superman went over some railroad tracks on the road out of town and did something to his rear wheel throwing it out of true, and needed a swap.
 
We pulled ahead a several yards up to the closest, safest place that could be found, pulled over quickly removing the rear wheel from my bike ready for a switch as he pedaled up.  We swapped it out for his damaged one, and had him rolling down the road again.
This was a true definition of a pit stop . . .
 
We didn’t time it, and we don’t have any data to back it up,
but believe we had him up and on his way in less than 2 minutes


. . . we were lightning fast!
 
I’m grateful we didn’t wait any longer than we did leaving Cedar but I still silently chastised myself for delaying our departure as long as we did.


The day progressively warmed as we pedaled further into the desert toward our destination of St. George.

 
Superman was doing great and riding strong.
 
Once again we observed that this final leg had a strange sort of adrenalin behind it that seemed to propel us forward. As we left Cedar we reminisced about how many times we stopped on this route last year in comparison of how we were forging ahead without interruption today.

. . . it was all good, Very good indeed.
 
exhange 11 - 2013 Rockwell file photo

We arrived in Enterprise, a desert village in the middle of nowhere with a gas station.

The exchange was sponsored and were giving food out (it’s been long enough that I CANNOT remember what the food was) . . . but it was there, scouts honor!


Some dude was gulping down said food down and then 

 
puked it all up. . . 

 
                                      it was . . .

 
                             well. . . 

 
disgusting! 

but, when was puked up food anything less?


Perhaps this is why I don’t remember what it was that they were serving, my only memory of this stop in my mind is barfola.


. . . the visual is still stuck in my mind even now, six months later.


2013 802
I decided to see what they had inside the gas station store.

What a great decision.


                         They had popcorn. . .


                                                  for only .50 cents a bag. . .


                                                                    yup, I scored!

it was heavenly and I ate the whole little bag myself, then I felt sick; literally.  No more popcorn as a recovery food for me!  It quickly passed with some water and some watermelon.


. . . did you know that Watermelon is like nectar from the gods after a long ride?  well, now you do, it truly is!

It's the best ever. . . cool refreshing, watery, delicious. . . mmmmm . . . truly good stuff and I HIGHLY recommend it!



Superman rolled in in 8 minutes faster than last year!


And that is with riding with a wheel that was out of true for almost 10 miles and the time it took to change said wheel out. . .


in short he was amazing!


The best and most encouraging part is that it was only 3:20 pm! Last year we arrived in Enterprise at 6:58 pm so we were 3 hours and 40 minutes ahead of the clock. The reality was that had we started with our original time of 9:00 am it would have been 6:20 still better than last year but not better enough to justify beginning 3 hours later than we did. There were no doubts that we would get to the finish before dark.


. . . What a relief! 


I know I said I was over this obsession of starting earlier, and I was. . . as stated earlier, I am grateful we made the choice that we did and the reality of the time reconfirmed it for me.

 
Linda was off; being cautious not to take the wrong route as she did at this point last year. We concluded that her little detour easily cost us over an hour last year.


Just when life is great and you feel on top of a mountain some events can take it all away

 
. . .  without warning and instantly! 


DSC_3885 
Superman was sitting down recovering and stressing over his wheel when he decided to upload his data from his Garmin . . .
 
It was one of those moments that the pin pops the balloon 

. . . “do you want to save data” asked the GPS
. . . it always asks this question so no big deal there
 then the pin poked its pointy little head out ~ ~ ~

. . . the next message was “there is no data to save”
 
Superman’s Garmin lost the entire Rockwell history

 
the data is somewhere in a web of technology and is lost

 . . . forever 

 
Unless you are an athlete that is OBSESSED with data there is no way to comprehend how devastating this moment was.

So within a couple of hours he managed to fracture the rim of his back wheel, which would turn out to have a price tag of $650.00 to replace
 
. . . OUCH
 
. . . just in case you are wondering
. . . it’s IMPOSSIBLE to ride without BOTH wheels! 

 
Wheels are a BIG deal! 


Then his Garmin decided to randomly self-destruct 

. . . adding another $300.00 to the sting.
 
Somehow the success and elation of an amazing performance and weekend simply vanished into oblivion.
 
Fortunately we had been vigilant in keeping our own records and times on a spread sheet so we had all the general information which helped soothe the sting just a tiny bit:

but just a little. 

  DSC_3889

Linda was riding strong, and while it was warm, plenty warm, it wasn’t as hot as it was last year either. . . another bonus!
 
Initially we were all planning to ride in across the finish line together, but with Superman’s wheel in a total and complete state of unusable status that plan became a voided point. 
 
We were about 10 miles from St. George when Doug decided to get dressed back into spandex and ride the remainder of Linda's last leg with her.
 
DSC_3917

WE DID IT!!! 


Finishing 3 hours faster than last year . . . now that was a great feeling! 

 
However, we found our arrival at the finish line a little anticlimactic.

 
We were excited and happy, but there simply were not the crowds and cheering that is present at LOTOJA or the Ultimate Challenge, which I found somewhat deflating.


I missed having family and friends there.

 
We had also been looking forward to fresh grilled hamburgers
that we missed out on last year, because we did not get in until dark. 

 
They had turkey and veggie wraps instead 

 
                                                                                       Lame. . . 

 
In fact it was a HUGE Disappointment!
 
DSC_3921
 
In the end, the Rockwell Relay is still one our favorite rides and we are already planning for next year, but if a big finish with lots of anticipation from the crowds there to wish you congratulations is the reason you are riding, this finish will undoubtedly be a deflating moment in time.
 
2014-06-12 18.46.00

combining these two factors: ie: finishing before Dark AND 3 hours faster than last year made for an epic finish.


AND we had a room waiting for us in St. George so we didn’t have to drive to Cedar City for sleep this year like we did last year.  That drive is one that none have forgotten!


 
While we fully realize that our accomplishments are nothing close to historical importance, simply completing the Rockwell Relay is big and does hold historical importance to me


. . . We did something AMAZING!



Which is why I ride my bike in the first place. Smile



MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


The impressions in my mind will last forever and when I consider all that it takes to train, prepare, and successfully complete something of this magnitude is most definitely noteworthy.

 
. . . at least it is for me 

 
DSC_2862

Thanks for joining in our journey across the desert. . .

I would love to hear about your adventures, so please share

Have a great week

. . . and find the joy in your journey!

oh. . . and if you like to ride your bicycle. . . come join us next year. 
It’s a great ride, honestly it is!


.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014 (Part 6)


I’m afraid I mis-judged how long this would take

                                      oops! 

. . . Please forgive me 
Thank You :)
 
the plan that this would be the final post for this years race, but that is not quite accurate . . .

there will be one more next week. 


For anyone who is interested in reading the entire saga the links below will take you there.
                    
 I’ve made it super easy. . . 

part 1 is here – this is part 2 – and here is part 3 – here is part 4 and part 5 is here 


I slowly warmed up as I changed out of my sweaty smelly cycling clothes . . . putting on leggings, and a regular shirt. It was time to go and find Superman. He had already been gone for 30 minutes and we needed to find him somewhere along the route. 
 
It was still night and I was anxious to make sure he was doing okay.
 
2013 768

We caught up to him at least 45 minutes into his ride.  Fortunately because he was pretty much still descending and it was dark he wasn’t in much need of anything. We were planning to be there as he crossed over the Devil’s Backbone. . .

hell's backbone - internet
Photo from: Exploring Escalante, Utah and beyond . . . greatamericanadventure.net
 The Devil’s Backbone or Hells Bridge as it is also known, is a narrow 1 1/2 lane road that that has 30ft cliffs on both sides.  it is a descent that levels off where the rider is riding at break neck speeds. . .

I would HATE this leg for these two reasons. . . 

Heights make me squirm combined with fast speeds = a psycological disaster!

I would ride at grandma poke-poke right down the center of the road


Superman flies over this section like he had a parachute in his back pocket and LOVES the exhilaration. . . he lives for the thrill of this section. . . sick I know, but it's what it is.


. . . that's partly why he gets this leg.


The initial plan was to be just in front of him for this part so we could light the way, but that didn’t happen. . . It took me too long to be able to get going.

It wasn’t until he was beginning the climb out of Escalante when we caught up to him.  Like me, he too overdressed and handed over his jacket, leg warmers and gloves when we got to him. . .

It can be tricky to get the amount of clothing just right when standing and waiting for a ride to begin. . . getting cold isn't the best and you begin to doubt in your clothing choices.

 
He was doing amazing. 


DSC03113

Superman appeared to be drinking jet fuel and doing remarkably well passing a few and keeping up with others on the ascent to Escalante.
 
At the summit he declined taking his jacket, leg warmers or gloves
 
                                              . . . that decision was a BIG mistake.
 
DSC03114

Just as it's diffictult to sometimes determine how much to wear starting out, it's also easy to error in this decision too.  It doesn’t always clue into the brain and you don’t realize how much heat is generated from riding then when it comes time to descend at first it feels wonderful and refreshing to have the chill in the air cool you down. . .

then it hits. . . EEK, it gets COLD. . . Quick

. . . as in FREEZING COLD  


we arrived in Henrieville at Exchange #8 and prepped Linda for her 2nd leg.

One of the Rockwell Relay Sponsors was there making a hot breakfast of hash browns and eggs in a tortilla shell.  By this point in this race “real” food is a welcome sight . . . the aroma, the warmth, the very concept tantalizes every sense known to mankind . . . mmm, the aroma alone is a welcoming thing. . . and we didn’t waste any time in partaking. 

Hashbrowned potatoes, with egg neatly wrapped in a tortilla shell . . . YUMMY


DSC_3881

UGH. . . 

it was the blandest food I have had in a VERY LONG TIME. . . there was no salt or pepper, it was dry. . . and stuck in my mouth it became necessary to literally wash it down. . . it was, well stuck in the drain so to speak.

I ate the burrito thing anyway. . .  it was warm, it was real, it was nasty, I was grateful for their effort.


Then being very tired and feeling a little nauseous from the burrito, I went to lay down in the car and felt guilty because I wasn’t there to support Linda and I wasn’t going to be there when Superman came in, so I got up and waited. . .

dozing off here and there, 


                                                                    . . . well I sort of dozed, 


but not really

knowing that when Superman arrived it was my turn to rest and he would be driving. That knowledge gave me what I needed to keep a zombie state of consciousness
 
DSC_2831

When Superman arrived, he was frozen similar to what I was coming into Boulder
and we couldn’t find Linda. . . 


she was stuck in line waiting for the potty. . . ugh. . .


                              that is one thing I will say. . .


the Rockwell peeps need more potty solutions at exchanges!
Honestly, It’s problematic 

 
Superman was chilled to the bone and not doing well, he was in better shape than I was, but not much.


He too, tried to choke down a burrito and we both longed for something warm to drink. . .


Oh, I wish they would have had some cocoa, but there was none.

 
Conclusion:  Next year we will bring salt & pepper and our own hot cocoa in a thermos. . .

ahhh, problem solved

with that thought we are happy and content now Smile


Then he asked if I would drive. . .
 

that was NOT music to my ears, but I agreed so he needed to recover.
I would rest later, we were a team, we are a team and support one another when needed

 
It’s the way we are, it’s who we are. 

 
continuing in my zombie state of consciousness we continued on. . .



Linda was riding and would need support. 

 
At this point in the race I was sort of in auto pilot mode.
 
It was 5:34 am and the mind and body are in this paradigm of waking up on standard time but having been up all night something doesn't feel quite right.  But the adrenaline of the race stays with you for the entirety of the event


. . . Simply put it’s an odd place to be. 


It was no different with the RAGNAR Relay.


oh yes, we athletes call this fun

. . . may I remind you we pay a fee for this experience!


Yes, we fully recognize our distorted mindset, but we love it, and keep coming back for more. . . in the end, it’s awesome!

Honest, it is!

 
DSC_3901

With Linda off and riding her second leg, we were overall only 28 minutes ahead of last years time.

I finally accepted that it was indeed a good thing that we bumped our start time back to 6:00 am. While disappointed that we were not doing better than we were, I was grateful for the decision and didn’t look back.
 
2013 765

The sun finally came up, but it was still cool.  in fact the air stayed on the cool to cold side for most of the day until we came into Cedar City.  Which is sort of ironic.  The two riders that complain and dread the cold the most, that would be Doug and Myself,  we were the ones riding the high elevations in the coldest parts of the race. . .


go figure that one out will you?


. . . and let me know when you do, I will be interested to hear your logic! 

I’m not sure if it is fatigue or that there wasn’t much happening, perhaps a little bit of both, but mostly due to the zombie state of my brain, but the details of the rest of the ride become pretty blurred.
Linda rode, and did great!

She came into Panguitch at 8:20 am, 3 minutes ahead of her time last year.
 
So far everyone was doing better than last year on their times, as a group we were happy and excited about our performance.

DSC_3896

The wind was blowing and there was most definitely a nip in the air.

Panguitch is a nice place.
A small town with several places to stop for food with plenty of restrooms to accommodate everyone.


This is where the brilliance of staggered start times truly manifested itself.  the three hour split was close to perfect, we were liking the change.


Panguitch was a hopping place with renewed and refreshed energy that we fed on.  Seeing the well-seasoned teams mixed in with the good competitive teams and peeps like us was fun and we felt the energy levels surge within us.


Doug was on his way and riding about as expected as our strongest rider he was holding on well and being with all these riders made us perform with more energy.
 
2013 777

The psychology of riding your last leg also benefits us as we prepare mentally. 


There is light at the end of the tunnel and I felt the surge of excitement of knowing we were going to pull this off as I felt the energy and a surge in motivation in preparing for my 3rd and final leg of the 2014 Rockwell Relay.


Grateful that I wasn’t the last rider it’s simply a good feeling knowing you are almost done. . . seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and can begin to relax.


2013 786

We arrived at Exchange #9 in Cedar Breaks and were waiting for Doug when we found Dwaine and Nate!

I was excited to see them and we talked for just a minute. It’s kind of deflating to know that they started 6 hours AFTER we did and they would arrive at the finish line well before we would

. . . It’s only a little deflating to think about that reality
 
I was feeling good and was anxious to begin riding.


route 10 elevation profile

Leg 10, my final leg is a mountain that goes up at a fairly aggressive grade

. . . otherwise known as a hill,
that to the average person on a bike would seem pretty steep. . .
it goes up and over and down into Cedar City.


 going up over the top is beautiful and very scenic then drops down into Cedar City. 
The descent is fairly aggressive with several twists and turns and . . .

 
                                                                                                    increased traffic.
 
. . . not my favorite combination of elements.
making this my Least favorite leg of the entire ride.

 
This year it was a cold ride to the summit but I felt good and was enjoying myself. As I began the descent my team went ahead to get ready for Superman’s final leg.
 
DSC_2837

The winds were terrible coming into Cedar City and slowed me down considerably!


I was so very frustrated but kept moving forward picking up as much speed as I dared and when the wind subsided for moments here and there I took advantage of those breaks, picking up as much speed as I could, constantly cautious of when the wind would pick up and/or change at a moments notice, usually coming around bends as the terrain changed with the landscape.

I felt the warmth of summer return as I descended and pulled into Cedar City only 2 minutes faster than last year and overall even with last year’s total time.
I was frustrated but happy that at I at least conquered Boulder Mountain like I wanted to. I will accept that and work harder for next year.

Superman was off on his final leg. Cedar City is a small city, with people and traffic. I was hungry and made myself a sandwich and after taking too long getting my bike put away and changed into real clothes, part of that due to the realization that I was done and ready to relax just a bit, for me the urgency was over. . .

But alas, it was past time to find superman
so with renewed urgency, we were off and on our way.

It was most definitely warming up as we rode across the dessert, but the wind was the most difficult factor and I knew he would need water.  We caught up to him, and was happy to see us,



But, he was obviously distressed about something.





.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014– (Part 5)

 
In case you want to read the previous parts of this saga you will find them here:

Part 1  --  Part 2  --  Part 3  and Part 4

 
I rode off into the dark chilly night, a bit on the slow side because last year this is where I passed the turn for Boulder Mountain and had to retrace my route. I did not want to repeat that mistake this year.

I successfully navigated the turn on the first try and began my trek up the mountain side comforted by the sight of other team vehicles passing reassuring me that I was going the right direction.  I was pleased that there was no wind. . . actually there usually isn’t much wind at night, one reason I enjoy my night rides. . . I was feeling good, but the real climbing hadn’t started yet but felt the anticipation mounting as I kept an eye on my GPS showing the grade% as I proceeded upward and forward.

The terrain was slowly going up and I quickly discovered that I was over dressed and getting warm . . . VERY warm indeed and stopped to shed some clothing.

  entering Capitol Reef - 2013 Rockwell file photo

Over dressing causes a person to overheat, impacts performance on multiple levels.  One being if you get too warm on the ascent the descent is that much colder and I didn’t want to freeze which was inevitable with the chill already in the air.
 
So the wise thing to do was to take 1.5 minutes and shed a layer of clothing to hand off when my team came by.  With this done I instantly felt better and began riding stronger as I cooled down.

As my team came by I handed off the leggins and jacket that I had tied around my waist while waiting for them to arrive, and again instantly felt the freedom and cool air give me an added boost of energy.

becoming more confident that I was stronger than last year was a definite component, it was somewhat disillusioning as I was being passed by cyclists that went by like I was stopped. . . was disheartening and a little deflating which caused me to question myself and whether I would be able to pull this off, especially when I wasn’t passing ANYONE . . .  I WAS THE ONE BEING PASSED!  I rationalized that they were all men, until I was passed by a woman.  I Then reminded myself that last year I had to stop multiple times on this mountain because mentally I was freaking out, this year I was in perfect control. . . except for thoughts of Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. . . and . . . SUPERMAN


. . . other than that I was doing okay!


I reached the 14% grade and kept right on pedaling. This boosted my confidence and ultimately the success of this specific leg, I KNEW I was riding stronger, faster. . . more confident than I was last year. Still slower than I wanted, but I was getting it done and was VERY happy about that.

My team stopped periodically along the route and made sure my needs were met.

It’s always great to see people you care about on the route

DSC_2778

As I approached the tree line of the forest, for some obnoxious reason I couldn’t seem to get the prattling volunteer’s warnings going through my head and didn’t realize how wigged out she caused me to become and I expected at any moment sounds of “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. . . oh my!” to come jumping out on me. . .
 
Then I began to question whether or not I would be able to discern between the real McCoy and Superman, who had been plotting to hide in the forest and pretend to be some wild animal. --- Something you need to know about Superman, is he can mimic most any animal sound with realistic accuracy--- and I was fully aware of his uncanny ability


. . . Honestly, the whole idea was creeping me out! 

 
. . . now that I think about it, without the hazards of the Wizard of Oz taunting me, I think, just maybe, I would have been faster. . . for some reason when I become uncertain, or all my senses are in high awareness mode, I seem to loose pedaling focus and I slow down. . .


On the other hand it was Fear and trepidation
that told me DO NOT STOP! 
and it gave me the drive to get this leg over with!
 
Because it was cool and dark I didn’t need much in the form of nutrition or water, there was one point at one of the steeper sections I was only going about 4. something mph which was slow enough that to attempt a moving hand-off that I would have probably over that I did stop for a brief moment but only about 10 seconds worth.

  DSC_3903

to say I was greatly relieved when I arrived at the summit I made it without stopping! or without interference of wild beasts that may have been lurking in the forest is an understatement. . . even better I didn’t have to ban Superman to sleeping in the barn with the chickens for an indefinite determined amount of time either. . . he should be glad that he didn’t follow through with his plot Smile



what a thrill it was to have conquered this mountain. . .
it is my hope to do even better next year!
 
 
. . . yes, it seems I’m always looking forward to improving next year.   I wasn’t even done with this leg yet and I was already calculating what I needed to do for next year to make it even better.

I know, it’s pathetic, 
but it’s how my psyche works
 and I love it 
. . . it keeps me motivated
it’s what makes me, ME!

At the summit I chose to put on I put on gloves, leggins and a jacket. It was chilly but it didn't feel too cold. 
   elevation boulder mtn

 
Confident I was adequately dressed down the mountain I ventured.  As you can see from the elevation profile this was a short stint of only 12 miles and and it was ALL DOWNHILL so it would be fast and my team went on ahead to get Superman ready to go.

As it turns out I was 

severely UNDER DRESSED for the descent! 


I was FREEZEING!!! . . .
Literally.

I was so cold that I found it almost impossible to spin my pedals which didn’t keep the warm blood flowing into my limbs and appendages.  As I continued down the steep, fast descent it became increasingly difficult to move my fingers to apply the brakes as I watched for deer around or on the road, which the probability of  seeing one was a very real.

I was no longer fearing wild beasts. . . or some silly prank from Superman lurking in the bushes to come jumping out at me. . .

Deer are a natural hazard of riding at night, the same as in a car in mountainous terrain and deer as a species are not very bright, they spook easily and then they do stupid things like just stand there staring at you

(ever heard of the “deer in the headlights” cliché?)

  . . . then for no apparent reason, they seem to run the wrong direction

. . . as in straight for the on-coming object. 

This is rarely a good thing for cars
and especially true for cyclists!

The total descent should take less than 30 minutes.  Fortunately the full bright moon helped illuminate my surroundings. . . in fact, it helped considerably.

Becoming colder as the miles crawled by, I was continually doing the calculations in my head. . .

9 miles to go. . . 

seriously, I’d ONLY GONE A MEASLY 3 MILES? 

Which meant I had roughly 20 minutes of ride time to the bottom.  The problem was the colder I became the longer it was seeming to take and this section that should have been super fast. . . and fun. . . was not being either!

I kept waiting for the warm pockets of air that typically naturally occur as elevation is decreased

. . . it wasn’t happening.  

I attempted to put a hand under my arm to warm my fingers, but needed both hands to control my bike as I was cold enough that my shoulders were not fluid enough to steer in control. 

As I became more and more concerned about what if I DID NEED TO STOP for something. . . I honestly didn’t know If I would be able to make that happen and if I did would I be able to move my frozen limbs to un-clip and dismount my bike??? 

2013 791

As these questions and concerns presented themselves, I tried standing on the pedals to test the legs, both my hips and legs were definitely sluggish and certainly did not want to move.  My face was frozen and with all my heart I wished I had put on a few extra layers of clothing for this.  But there was nothing I could do except somehow get down off this mountain.  I thought of the pioneers stranded in Martins Cove and counted my blessings that I knew without doubt this ordeal would be over in a few minutes

. . . not several days 
as they had endured and the thought gave me courage to keep going.


As the time and miles ticked on and the more frozen I became the more hesitant and sluggish I rode.  As a natural result it took 40 minutes to get to the exchange


. . . about 10 minutes longer than I was expecting

As I arrived in Boulder at 1:58 am I didn’t see Superman


. . . and How I NEEDED him right at that moment!   


I was frozen to the point of barely being able to talk 
and moving was slow and cumbersome.


Doug and Linda were there and literally had to hold my bike so I could get off


Superman evidently just in front of me, was ready to go, and didn't realize what condition I was in.  I don’t recall Linda taking the "baton slap on bracelet thingy" off of my bike handing it off to Superman so he could be on his way, and there is a vague recollection of other people standing there concerned as my team helped me get out of the path of other cyclists. . . I was not in good shape.

Linda and Doug took good care of me as I wrapped up in a blanket and simply sat there in the front seat with the heater going full blast, as I slowly regained my senses and feeling to my appendages as the shivering cold slowly melted away to fatigue. . . But it was my turn to support, and the ride continued.



Next year:  I will take the time to dress more appropriately and have hot cocoa after the descent. . . even if I don’t use the cocoa it will be worth having it there


. . . . yup there is a LOT of stuff required to ride a bicycle!


It’s fascinating how the temperatures will vary so dramatically from day to night in the desert.
Granted we were in the mountains, but going from 100+°f down to somewhere in the mid 30’s is a pretty big spread.


In the end I trimmed 34 minutes off of last years time which is quite a lot considering this section is only 39 miles long and most of it is climbing over a mountain. . .  In the end I was a happy camper :)

but now, as the saga continues. . .  it’s time to see where Superman is!  He had been riding for over 30 minutes, which is quite a long time. . .




That's enough for today. . . I'll be back again next week with more of the story to tell!


I hope you are enjoying you own journey through life as I am :)


.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014 (Part 4)


if you are needing or wanting a refresher of this exciting tale you can read part 1 here,
part 2 here and then  part 3 here.

This is part 4 of what will probably be a 6 part report.

As we compared conditions from 2013 the wind definitely seemed more prevalent this year, but the temps while plenty warm were actually about 5° -10° cooler than last year and when the temps are somewhere between 95°f-105°f that 5°f-8°f seems to make a difference. but I was also becoming concerned about Boulder Mountain. . . that section had the potential of getting flat out cold. I brushed the thoughts aside knowing that. . .

first: there wasn’t much I could do about it anyway. . . what if it was windy or raining, or worse. . . snowing???


. . . so what if it was?


the ride would go on, and that was what I signed up for. . . to ride. Knowing that regardless of what the weather was going to be I would ride my bike. . . period.

second: if the weather was sour and awful, I had gear. I had leggings, gloves, headbands, booties, toe-warmers, weatherproof helmet cover, arm warmers . . . and an awesome team that would pull me through.  So in reality it wasn’t worth the energy to worry about what was to come. I was reminded of Elder Wirthlin’s conference talk (Oct 2011) . . . “Come What May, and Love it” . . .

Life is a journey, a wonderful adventure and this ride. . . without challenges, such as inclement weather, was just that; a journey, an adventure, an experience that will leave it’s participants with lasting impressions and memories that will be ours forever.

By focusing on what MIGHT happen in the future, I was missing out on the journey and adventure of what was happening in the present.

okay, that’s probably enough mushy sentimental thought processes for today, 
 I will get back to what was happening in the moment. . .


DSC_3881

With Superman on his first leg, it was time to get moving again.  
This leg, at least in my mind, is the most difficult leg. . .  it is a


   hot


                       dry


                                               long


                                                                        barren


                                                                                                  windy


                                                                                                            stretch of road.

and so it was important that we didn’t leave Superman and the bumblebee to get too far ahead. . .  Superman drinks LOTS of water and needs frequent replenishment with electrolytes so he can keep pedaling.

the set up we had in the car was great.

It allowed the “resting” person to actually lay down and stretch out a bit so tall peeps could actually fully stretch out. . .

last year, no one really fit in to lay flat. . . This was Superman attempting to rest.

this was a HUGE improvement over last year when we had the Jeep even the shorties couldn't do that!  Also new this year we were all taking turns driving, where last year Superman and Doug literally did ALL the driving for the entire two days. so this arrangement was MUCH, MUCH better.

However, even though it was better it still had it’s quirks. 


first off every time we pulled over it was necessary to get COMPLETELY off the road, which is fine, there was no shortage of being able to meet this guideline, but for a sleeping body meant that they were now slanted, making it difficult to sleep, as a body naturally tends to roll downhill.  Keep in mind we were stopping every 2 ½ to 5 miles so this was a consistent challenge for the “resting” rider . . .

Jokingly Doug requested that we level out the car just a tad

yeah, that might be one of those you just had to be there to fully understand :)


secondly we are in the desert in the middle of the day so it is plenty bright and warm . . . this presented the next problem . . . which was, when we turned the car off it became hot and stuffy back there almost instantly . . . which is an understatement, it was sweltering!  to off-set this condition we opened the windows and the back hatch which helped, but still, it wasn’t the greatest conditions for sleeping and resting, being that about every 15-20 minutes we were repeating this scenario. . .

it’s fair to say that there wasn’t a whole lot of resting going on.

but it was what we had, We signed up for this, paid for this, and yup, we were excited for this!   It was part of the adventure, part of the story, part of the memories we will cherish for a very long time!

Superman was doing well even with the hot wind. He truly is a perfect fit for this section he is so stinkin strong that he just plows right through these conditions and he was doing absolutely amazing.


Dirty Devil Bridge - 2013 Rockwell file photo

This is Devils Gate Bridge, and where Superman almost died of heat stroke last year.  This year he was doing amazing and shot up this section of road as though he was riding on a beautiful, cool spring morning and we didn’t need to worry about him much as he rolled into the exchange.

As he arrived in Capitol Reef the results were in . . . He managed to trim 42 minutes off his time on this same section from last year!

The training was paying off BIG TIME for Superman! 

DSC_3871

It was now 4:02 pm and we were 1 hour and 45 minutes ahead of the clock from last year. This was motivating and encouraging to us and the group was grateful that we bumped our start time to 6:00 am.

Linda took off and we loaded up Superman, gave him food and were off to check on Linda.

The arrangement and rotation was brilliant


While Superman Drove, Doug supported Linda, Linda supported Doug while I drove and Superman rested. Then Doug would be driver while Superman Supported me and Linda Took over Driver while I supported Superman. . .


This was great as we discovered that when our spouse was the one pedaling down the road, there wasn’t much R&R taking place, we found ourselves antsy and anxious of how they were doing. . . so the arrangement was brilliant in the end.

DSC_3896

Linda had a good solid leg shortening her time by 44 minutes, and I began to wonder if we did make the right decision to bump our start time. I know it sounds crazy but I was still being bugged by that detail and there was no real reason or rationalization for this obsession.

We were there, we were riding, we were having a great time. . . 

 
so what did it matter???
  It didn’t . . . 

 
but I was making it matter in my head, I had this vain quest to be competitive, which in the end, it was me who was the weak link in the team


. . . in short: I was not the one being competitive
so this silly notion I had going on in my head was making no sense at all.

DSC_3907

Doug was on the road again at 7:03 pm. . . roughly 2 ½ hours ahead of last year as the clock ticks. he was riding strong and I knew my turn was coming up.
 
I’m glad I was driving because I was getting pretty anxious about my ride coming up. . .

The leg I had been fretting about all spring, the section that owned me in 2012, the climb that provided motivation to train harder since November --

. . . Boulder Mountain

DSC_2843
 
The problem about this leg is that as night settled in with the darkness and a chill in the air I began to question whether I wanted to ride.
 
Seriously, it was a bit nippy out there AND I should be snuggling into my bed . . . at least that’s what normal peeps do, or should I say, that’s what I do!  For me, on any given day it’s lights out by 10:30.

We arrived in Torrey; and while Superman prepared my bike, I braved the dark chilly night and got myself ready.
 
7181947751_3316028824_z (1)
(Photo, compliments of Rockwell Relay archives)
 
Part of the challenge of this leg in particular is that I needed to be ready to go, but I didn’t want to stand around and get chilled, there isn’t much of a place to warm-up. 
 
. . . I know, I'm a wimp! 
I accept that fact about myself

Therefore, not knowing how long I had until Doug was to arrive, complicated this whole business of getting ready. It’s dark, as in 10:30 at night

. . . remember, it’s bedtime on any regular day 

but as the obvious would point out. . . 
 this certainly is not an ordinary night!
 
We had clear skies and a full moon, which meant it would likely be cold, but no rain or other moisture forms falling from the sky. . . I was relieved for that!


Once I wrap my mind around and accept the fact that I am riding at night, I like it. 
Especially in the dead quiet of the night, it’s a super awesome, cool experience. . one that I recommend trying out. . . In fact night rides are actually some of my favorite rides.  There is something surreal about riding at night, in the dark.  I find them relaxing and peaceful. . .
 
Unless you have a well intending volunteer that won’t put a cork in the pipe as she prattles on and on about how cyclists need to be cautious about deer and wild animals in the forest because you might hit them like a cyclist did two years earlier. . . I found her annoying and I desperately tried to not listen to her go on and on as I waited with a few other cyclists at the exchange with few options of relocation while the volunteer wouldn’t put a clamp on it, I intently watched the headlights as they approached the exchange station.

 
Finally it’s my turn. . . Doug had arrived 



.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rockwell Relay 2014–Part 3


Rather than write each part as I post I’ve decided to try writing the entire thing up so I don’t have to find the time to fit in a write up each week, hopefully this will help with timing and consistency.  This report is a little dry because so much time has lapsed some of the animation is lacking, and we are lacking in pictures, which takes away from the post.  As a result I am putting random pics that we DID take to help keep it interesting.

But because this blog is a journal of sorts for me I have decided to finish it out anyway, then LOTOJA is next. 

Thanks for stopping in and sharing my adventures with me. .

Life is good. . . VERY good, 

just busy and I think for real I’m getting somewhat of a routine settled.  My house has officially sold which has taken loads off my mind and out of my schedule!  What a relief it is to no longer have the stress of a double mortgage and the concerns of fixing repairing, appointments to show the home, the never ending  of hope and disappointments to tangle with.

Rockwell Relay Continued. . .  Finally

striped rock - 2013 Rockwell file photo

You can read Part 1 here

 . . . and review part 2 here


Now here is part 3. . .

The race was going well enough.  Battling the headwinds was getting old and it was plenty warm as we progressed through the Utah Dessert. 

I enjoyed the short descent down which I knew would go up again and continue up until the end of my leg.  Because I knew my team wouldn’t be too far up the road I didn’t reserve or hold back on drinking through the climb and as I approached the top the line of cars waiting for riders was there and there were tons of support but then as I approached the top it became increasingly evident that my team

WAS NOT THERE!  


DSC_3883 

why would they do that, 


at what point did we change the rules of our game plan??? 


my water was not only close to gone, but it was warm too. . . drinking warm to hot water is almost useless and I was not happy, not happy at all.  I reached the top of the hill anxiously wanting a fresh water bottle, and needing it I complained aloud. . . as it was obvious that they were not there

Where are my people ???

I still had 14 miles of hot windy dessert to go and honestly didn’t know if I would be able to do that. 

This is where the tactical part of me takes over in the midst of chewing my team out and rehearsing all kinds of conversations to that end. . .

slow down.  Yes it will take longer but if I don’t have water I don’t want nor could I afford full exertion it makes me need it even more.

Survival was my key objective. I knew that once I made it to the exchange there would be cold water and plenty of it, I would then be able to help myself, but of course, my team would feel bad they had deserted me and would be all over helping me, as they felt guilt and remorse for abandoning me in the middle of the dessert.

While still annoyed, I was going to make it work.

all the while watching the odometer slowly counting down the distance between where I was at and the exchange station . . . 15 miles

                            14.8 miles


                                                      14.3 miles


                                                                                13.9 miles . . .


this was going to take a while, and I was not in a happy place. . . not happy at all!


DSC_3842

Then to my absolute relief another team drove by, they must have heard my dismay of “Where are my People!!!, and offered to share one of their water bottles. . . my guardian angels were driving a beautiful cherry red car. . .

 it was like Santa Clause came to my urgent aid.  

at this point I didn’t think about who had been sucking on said water-bottle, only that it had cool refreshing water in it and it would keep me alive. . . . . . and I graciously accepted their offer and we traded one of my favorite bottles for one of unknown origin. 

 I remembered from last year we did a similar thing for someone else, and I fully understood his gratitude as he took our bottle. . .

A few seconds later a second support came to my rescue, offering my thanks I sent them on their way as my immediate needs were met and I continued to pedal down the road rehearsing several greetings, and feelings of appreciation in my mind as the odometer slowly crawled forward.

It is difficult to express my growing annoydness (is that a word? . . . ) that I had been abandoned by my team as I desperately clung to how the Lord was looking out after me despite what my so called friends were doing. . . mingled with the anger and frustration of what happened to the plan. . . it worked for Doug.  Mentally and emotionally I was not in a healthy place, and despite my "I am going to make this happen attitude, was taking it's toll.

Then as I came to the top of the next roller there they were!

All thoughts of abandonment and frustration instantly melted away as I was given a bottle of ice water and rattled off a description of the cherry red car with Santa's Elf who had my water bottle. . .

because we had determined not to stop while riding all bottles were exchanged in a toss and hand off method or a drive-by approach so time to communicate was limited and brief.

They then took off to get Superman ready for his leg. I was content and happy to pedal my way to the exchange point somewhere in Mule Canyon.

I'm quite certain Mule canyon was named what it is for a reason. . . this is a dry hot windy place on the globe, that is well, mostly uphill. . . which makes this 44 mile section kind of a grind.

the whole duration of this leg was windy and I found myself wondering what the conditions were going to be like for the 9:00 starters and then the 12:00 noon starts. . .

I was grateful for the wisdom of our team in changing our start time to 6:00 am.


2014-06-13 07.55.58

In the end I was VERY disappointed in my performance. 

yeah, sure I tried to tell myself that the wind slowed me down, which was true, but in the end it took me 37 minutes longer than last year.

That was the end of being competitive . . . yeah I was disappointed.

I knew I was fat and slow and slow was largely do to being fat. somehow I MUST fix this problem!

. . . why does ice-cream and hamburgers have to taste so good? 

When I arrived at the exchange station Superman was ready to ride. we exchanged the baton of sorts. . .

a flexible wrist band that you “slap” on to the next rider and off he went.

He too battled the wind.

For him it came in all directions.

literally 

it would be blowing as a tail wind then change to a head wind without reason or warning then to a cross wind. It was the strangest thing ever.



 I will look forward to being back next week :)


. . . but until then, I hope life is treating you well!



.
















Monday, June 23, 2014

Rockwell Relay–2014 Part 2


Attempting to stay true to my quest of shorter posts this is a continuation of my Rockwell Relay report the first part it here.

I apologize for not having more pictures to entertain you, my friends and readers, but I was
  1. having a pity party
  2. secondly, I just wasn’t thinking “blog” like I have in the past, I think mainly because I was having a pity party
  3. third, we were in race mode, we were doing this to improve and NOT come in last place like we did last year
  4. fourth, at least for me, I didn’t want to be passed by the noon group, which meant my focus was somewhere else other than pictures.
  5. I KNEW Superman was going to be awesome and I wanted to be awesome too, but with this first leg it wasn’t happening. . . stupid wind! 


Yeah, I was having a pity party

So the photographer in me. . . well, wasn’t

Continuing with my obsession with pizza! 


Our pizza from Paradox Pizza was on its way to our hotel we determined that we should probably head that direction and fortunately we did just that. . . as we were crossing the street to our destination, up came the pizza delivery car!


paradox pizza logo

We ordered a tomato basil with white sauce concoction, but after eating my bratwurst I wasn’t much into the hungry thing any longer, which created a unique problem. . .

Superman just ordered ME a pizza, that I ASKED for and WANTED and now I felt the NEED to consume at least one piece. . .  I didn’t want to be rude or appear unappreciative or something like that. . .  so I ate a piece and. . .

it was some of the MOST DELICIOUS pizza I have ever had. . .

Period

and all of a sudden, I could have eaten another slice! 



It was so tasty that I could have eaten TWO more slices . . .

so now I had an entirely new problem. . .

I didn’t want to appear as a glutinous pig. . .



so I restrained myself to one piece saving the remainder for the ride that would last over the next two days.




it was a good decision. . . and pizza is now on the list of “we are going to get pizza next year too"!




Fast forward to Friday morning. . .

we were in bed by about 11:00 and slept very peacefully then the alarms went off at 5:00 am time to get up and moving. . . the race was about to begin, with Doug being our first rider he was feeling the stress of the day first.



picture from 2013 Rockwell files - taken by Rockwell photographer

As a group we decided not to all ride the first mile together like we did last year.  As we reflected on last year it was decided that starting as a group was more of a distraction to the first rider, we ended up falling behind and had to regroup anyway, so we skipped that part.

We went to Swanny Park, got Doug on his way then back to the hotel for a waffle for breakfast. . . YUM!  a happy thing for beginning my day. . . I got breakfast, even with the early start!

Isn't it great how sometimes life just works out.

2014-06-13 07.58.08

Now it was time to get down to business.  Doug was 35 minutes down the road and we needed to get to him and make sure he had what he needed to keep going. . . it was early, not to hot and he was the first rider so we weren't too concerned but the wind, as predicted was going to be a problem. . . that was obvious.

Doug appeared to be doing well, exceptionally well.

It was obvious the wind was blowing as the weatherman said it would be, both Rod and Linda made note of that fact and was glad we changed our time slot. . .


I still wasn’t sure. . .
I silently agreed basically remaining quiet on the subject

Rockwell File Photo from 2013

As we arrived at the first exchange,

I was ready,

                                                                 ready to ride

and began to warm up just a bit.  Around the block I went,


                                                                      around the block again

. . . and again

. . . from my perspective, the wind didn’t seem too bad and I was still questioning whether or not 6:00 was a good idea, as I finished my 4th lap around the block, Doug still hadn't arrived and now it was after 9:00. . . I was getting grumpy within my mind. . . mix that with the anxiousness that sets in as your leg is coming up is not always a good thing.  I couldn't find Superman or Linda and decided it was just as well and so I waited at the top of the street for Doug.

He arrived with a slower time than we were hoping for on this first leg, it was evident the wind was taking it's toll. . .  he handed off the bracelet thingy (the baton of sorts)


                                                       it was my turn.

and I was off. . .

DSC_3853


Happy to be on my way I began my first leg of 44 miles, this was one of my favorite legs last year, so I was excited.

As I crested my first intsty wincy hill the wind started to hit me but all was good, I was riding and it felt good.  starting out riding alone. . . I was passed by a couple of guys, but I was not strong enough to hang on so I remained solo for the majority of the first half, this appeared to be a good sign, if people aren't passing then you aren't going too slow. . . it all figures into the equation.

One of the guys who passed me was wearing a black jersey with a big pink stripe down the middle. . . very identifiable. . . as we began the next climb I started to gain on him and my confidence was boosted. . .

. . . he became my carrot

and I spent the next hour trying to close the gap between us.  I soon realized it would be on the climbs because that is where I made progress in my quest.

The wind had begun to pick-up and was RELENTLESS and I wondered in my mind if it would be this way the whole way, ultimately deciding that this was the way it would be. . .

ALL DAY. . . 

I continually wondered if it would be like this for the 9:00 starters, would it be
worse?
better?
there was no way to know . . . what I did know is that they were only about 45 minutes into their ride and then I wondered how long it would take for the faster riders to catch us.

This question would plague me for the rest of the day

The question I thought about and haunted me the most was. . . 


Would I have to battle these winds up Boulder Mountain???
the possibility scared me just a little.

As I came to one of my favorite sections of the ride the wind was blowing so hard that even though I was going downhill on a 5% grade was still only able to muster up 19-20 mph. . .

not good


I was also watching the clock. . . it was my goal was to do this leg in 2:30 and at this rate it WAS NOT going to happen and I began to be frustrated and doubt myself.

STUPID WIND!!!

DSC_3877 DSC_3873

As I arrived at this amazingly cool part of the road where the road is literally carved between two cliffs of red rock.  I looked ahead and saw superman standing at the mouth waving his arms.  The wind had subsided slightly and I was picking up speed which I was finding enjoyable.

Then I noticed the motion he was using to wave me down. . .

SEVERE CROSSWINDS HERE!!!

as I came out from behind the wall of rock.  I slowed down to nearly a stop and was about blown off the road!

How grateful I was that they were there to warn me.  The wind hit with such gusting force that it would have blown me off the road.

Shortly after this the road dipped down into a ravine, then up again to a long steep 8% uphill pull.  My “carrot” was about half way up talking to his team.  They got him going again and shortly after they drove off he got off his bike and was walking up the hill.  I smiled to myself and gloated with one of those internal conversations about how I was actually out climbing him which made me AWESOME. . . .

Shame on me. . .

I later found out that the guy that I had deemed as my carrot WAS blown off the road into an oncoming car, which had to swerve into the opposite lane to avoid hitting him because he was in their lane at the mercy of the wind blowing him into a rock on the opposite side of the road due to that viscous, nasty crosswind. . .

which is what alerted my team to stop and warn me of, saving me from the same fate! 

Now you see why I felt bad!  Shame on me!!!

at the summit of this last big hill, I was stocked up with water and fizz tab bottle and my team was on their way to approx 5 miles up the road, still uphill but not sporting nearly the grades of steepness of the previous one.

That was the arrangement.   We would go 2 1/2 – 5 miles find a place to pull over and wait to see what the rider needed, and it was working perfectly until now. . .

Which is where I will pick up on my next post. . .
As this is already getting kind of long. . .




.