Monday, June 30, 2014

Rockwell Relay, Part II


It's 4:00 am, we're up and getting ready to go. Not knowing what we were up against weather wise (wind, heat, cold, you name it) we elected the 6:00 am start time. Andrew rides over to the park to help warm up, and the rest of us load up and make it over. 

Now, as read about in previous years' rides, both of our teams suit up to ride the first mile or so with the starters, but it felt like the only team to do it. Needless to say, it still felt good to have eight guys all suited up with our Cyclng Nation team kits on, looking like we were going to take care of business. (If you can't be the part, at least look the part.) Speaking of not being the part. Let me do a quick introduction to the team...

Rider 1 - Andrew: 30ish, he is our strongest rider. Longest ride just over 80 miles. While he's never done a century ride before, he actually did compete in a road race held by a local cycling club, Cat 5 category. From what one guy said, it was a pretty grueling race to have your first time out.

Rider 2 - Bob: 58ish, he is our wisest, most experienced rider. Really though, the guy has run farther than any of us had ridden before. He even rode the 113 miles that is the Tour de Tucson, so he even had that under his belt. "When?" you might ask. 1994. As discussed in the last entry, he was our last minute fill-in.

Rider 3 - Mike: 30ish, he was probably the least experienced rider. Having spent the least time riding, his longest ride being about 60 miles. Of course we would have him riding the farthest distance (150 miles), it just made sense. Actually Mike is pretty athletic and was much more prepared than at least our last rider.

Rider 4 - Me: 34, ridden in a couple small local events, but yet to even complete a century. I actually wanted to take the Rider 2 position, but thought I would take one for the team and ride when we anticipated would be the hottest/windiest parts of the day and what could be the coldest parts of the night.

'Nuff of that, let's talk ridin!

(Puttin' out the vibe, staring down anyone that would dare look our way!)

Andrew, Duncan (from our Team 2), and the rest of us were off with the group. The air was cool, and our legs were fresh. The pace was quick, but not fast, as to be expected at the start of the race and our escort out of town. After what seemed longer than a mile it didn't feel like anyone had peeled off so I took the lead for our team, grabbing Mike and Bob and headed back to the van. Jared, Mark, and Tyler followed suit shortly thereafter. Things were underway, and everyone's spirits were high. And they stayed high, even though Bob took a wrong turn and we all followed giving us an extended tour of the outskirts of Moab. A few minutes later we made our way back to the van, grabbed some breakfast in town, and were off to find our guy.
(Amazing arch along the route)
And there he was...

(Flying out the gates!)
According to Andrew the group stayed together pretty well coming out of Moab, but after hitting the towns limits things started to break apart. Realizing that he would likely blow up if he kept at the packs pace Andrew (and the rest of those not wanting to try and ride with the lead group) began to peal off and form smaller groups of riders. When we caught up to Andrew the dispersion was in effect. He and another rider from the team 848 or Bust were working together to fight the wind, the constant traffic, and rolling hills as they climbs from Moab to Monticello.

Andrew was making good time, and from what we saw through the middle of the leg was this he and this new companion would ride together taking turns pulling. On the hills Andrew would seem to create a little distance (many times, climbs have to be done at your own speed - slowing down or trying to take it easy doesn't always work the same as when descending or even on the flats), and then Andrew would easy up as the other guy linked back up so they could work together.

I must point out, because it became hilarious almost to the point of absurdity, that Bob (who usually drinks very little when he does his big runs) had apparently way too much liquid in preparing for his upcoming leg. At every stop we would make supporting Andrew he would have to pee. Every stop. And we made several stops. I am sure one or two of those (or probably more) were the result of the anxiety he must have been feeling now that we were actually into the race and he would be up next. It was, I believe, at the stop pictured below where Bob would in fact use the restroom not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES while we waited for Andrew to ride past and change out bottles.

(Great scenery - site of the triple pee)
After a few stops and check-ins with Andrew we headed up the hill (a good sized hill mind you) into Monticello and got Bob ready for the exchange.

Not too long after getting to Monticello Duncan came riding in with a couple guys for our Team 2. He was able to stay in a bigger group and rode strong on Leg 1.
(Caleb on the left coming in, half of Jared on the right putting on the band before heading out)
After a few minutes the guy Andrew had been riding with came in and said Andrew was just a couple minutes behind him. This extra time also gave Bob a couple more opportunities to use the restroom and be ready for when Andrew came in.

(Andrew coming into the Leg 1-2 transition) 
(Just after the hand-off, Bob taking off)
Andrew had ridden hard and was exhausted. The wind (and probably elevation change) had taken its toll. I forget whether he said that he was mad at me for getting him to come do this, or if he was almost mad at me. Either way, he was happy to be off the bike and was ready to relax.

For Bob, the fun was just starting...TO BE CONTINUED
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