Bob was in and Mike was off and running for 56 miles of fun in the sun. His leg would start with a climb, and then be mostly a gradual descent until crossing over the Colorado River just before a quick climb at the end. With Mike's ride starting at 1:30 he took a good chunk of the heat of the day in this leg, though there was plenty of it to go around.
|(Mike tackling the heat)|
As mentioned before, Mike was probably the least experienced rider. Though he was the first person to jump on board with doing the race over a year ago, he was the last person to actually get a bike. Just three or four months (it felt like) before the race he was able to borrow his uncle's bike and could start getting some rides in. With that said, most of his training came from a spin class and running to just be in good overall shape. I'm pretty sure you could have counted the number of bike rides Mike had under his belt on his steed before the race on two hands. Again, knowing that Mike was a natural (it only took him flying past me up a good climb to keep up with Andrew for me to know he would be more able to do this race than I would) I coaxed him into taking the Rider 3 position and tackling 150 total miles. In my defense I left it up to him, but I'm sure he saw my riding and thought it best for the team as well.
To describe Mike's riding I would probably say this: it was quiet, consistent, and quick. I'm sure Mike was feeling the heat during the leg, but after his initial climb I think it helped having a slight downhill ride most of the way to help keep his speed (and at least some wind - though it was a hot wind) up. After a few miles of riding Mike was even gaining on the team in front of us. (Never mind that they were girls, most of the women out here could simply kill it on the bike. This point was clearly evident at the end of Leg 1 when all of the men stood in awe at the transition as they spoke of a woman rider that pulled a bigger group of men for the last 10+ miles including the vigorous climb in the wind at then end. Those that came to Rockwell came to play.)
|(Mike in pursuit...I'm not sure who, or why, the road sign is calling people names.)|
Before long Mike had caught and passed the one carrot he would have on this leg. Then it was back to more of the same.
|(Scenic shot during the ride.)|
With about 10 or so miles to go we left Mike and dropped me off at the transition point so I could get ready for my first ride and they could get back to get a few shots of Mike crossing the river. Bob was kind enough to stay back with me (he probably was afraid I might pass out being alone in the heat).
|(Mike tucked and flying down to the river.)|
|(Crossing the mighty Colorado.)|
After a nice climb to finish his leg Mike was to the transition point. It was now 4:30, and 104 degrees out. 10 and a half hours after starting the race (and being in and out of the van) I was finally able to become part of the race. If there ever was a time that I would need some adrenaline, it would be now. Cuz things got crazy, fast...TO BE CONTINUED...