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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. . . 


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! 

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. 


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.


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!
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


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 


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!


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