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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.
 
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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. 


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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.
 
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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


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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
 
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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!

 
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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.

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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.
 
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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.





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