Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part I

Time for me to get started on my write-up...before I forget all the fun that was the training leading up to, and the actual race of Rockwell Relay 2016!

TWO TEAMS FROM THE SCV!

So, last year I took it off from the Rockwell Relay (RR, Rockwell, da Race...) as we just had our 4th child. However, with mounting pressure from a few people, I figured I'd get something organized, and we were able to gather enough guys to fill two teams from the Santa Clarita Valley.

THE PLAYERS

While we weren't sure exactly where guys would fit in (we didn't even all know each other), we had a pretty good idea. In fact, there was really only one leg change between two guys from what we originally guessed to when we rode, so most guys were able to plan out well in advance what their legs would be like. With that said, I'll give a quick bio for each rider...

Team Name - Alpine Apparel 1:

Rider 1 - Rich (36) - Rich is a fire fighter. Two things made this pretty apparent. First, the guy's all swoll up as he gets paid to work out. (Due to this fact alone, we knew he would have the most time to prepare. He is fast, has ridden mountain bikes and dirt bikes since childhood, and though kind of new to the road bike, is a beast. Rider 1 was an easy choice.) Second, the guy shows up to our first team meeting looking like the Assos guy, walking in only in his bib shorts. We all joked that he was ready for his fireman calendar shoot.

Rider 2 - Paul (mid 50's) - Paul is an engineer, and was the last guy to join to round out our two teams. To be honest, I was the most weary about Paul joining the group as I did not know him at all. I was told that he rode, but I didn't know how often or how much. I wasn't sure if he'd be ready for something like Rockwell. (I know that overall we were a bunch of weekend warriors trying to pretend we know how to ride, so it wasn't like we were going to be setting any records, but I really just didn't want to be a team that had to drop out because our riders weren't prepared to ride strong, or at least take on three legs of pain.)

All that said, after my first ride with Paul, I was able to conclude that with his riding pedigree he understood what he was getting into, and that he is about as nice of a guy as you can find. Seriously.

Rider 3 - me (36) - Nothing to report here on myself other than I just hoped to be in better riding shape than last time. And also, to not get sick like last time.

Rider 4 - Darin (low 40's) - Darin has one of those cush 'I work for the city' jobs (just kidding Darin), and is one of the guys that first got me into riding. While he worries his size slows him down on the climbs, he can really put it to me on the flats and the descents. My favorite line from Darin when we started riding together and he would be coasting while I was pedaling feverishly to keep up on a descent, "It's a blessing and a curse." Leading up to Rockwell Darin worried more about how he'd do than anyone of the rest of us that had done it did. He put in the time, and was ready to go.

(Me, Darin, Paul, Rich)
Team Name - Alpine Apparel 2:

Rider 1 - Matt (29) - Matt is a sales rep for a pharmaceutical sales company, I think. Pretty much he pushes drugs for a living. This is great. Matt is great. May being 29, the youngest, is also great. Matt also being able to train very little and still climb as good as just about all of us...yup, you guessed it, great. What was not so great was Matt informing us on the last real ride before we left for Rockwell that while he repped a drug for those with hemophilia, he also had hemophilia. This meant that his blood had issues clotting, and oh by the way we are just doing a race in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, and if anything happened (he slipped, tripped, fell, simply got a nose bleed, or possibly looked at a mosquito wrong), maybe would bleed out on us. No big deal. I am sure it wasn't that big of a deal, but when the guy starts with 'I should probably tell you this before we are actually racing at Rockwell...' it does make you pause for a minute and wonder, 'Should he be doing this?'

Rider 2 - Bob (61) - What to say about Bob? Bob was probably the best part of last year's ride. He filled in with a few days notice, he was so sure of his diet while riding only to completely change it 20 minutes into his first leg, he didn't know anything about the course, his legs, ANYTHING! He was the guy that half way through the race last time said, 'Oh, we finish in St. George?' And of everyone, he seemed to be enjoying himself during the race most. Bob is crazy!

That said, Bob entered the race this year very motivated. He trained harder than anyone trained. He bought three bikes in the past year leading up to the ride! (Bob does his research, apparently, with OJT. He would find out for himself what would work best for him.) Bob was amped to tackle the climbs he had in front of him, and improve on his previous times.

Rider 3 - Mike (33) - Mike was also one of the guys that did this race back in 2014 with Bob and myself. And like Bob, Mike would be tackling the same legs as before. Having done it before (and done very well) Mike felt more comfortable leading up to the race. This also showed in his preparation. Like last time Mike didn't spend much time on the bike, but built up his health and stamina with running. Had it been anyone else I might have been worried. That said, I knew in the first, and one of the few, rides we did leading up to Rockwell he would be fine as I had to fight to keep up with him.

Rider 4 - Kevin (56) - This year Kevin was the guinea pig to all things cycling/ cycling events related. Recently retired, Kevin just picked up cycling about 10 months before the race as something to do besides playing tennis. Apparently he was tired of beating everyone he played and wanted to conquer something else. It wasn't long after Kevin got his first road bike, and we could see how quick he was picking it up, that Bob, Mike, Rich, pretty much everyone else, started to peer pressure Kevin into joining us for Rockwell. And, being the overly trusting friend that he was as I'm sure he figured we wouldn't ask too much from him as a newbie to the sport, he was a kind enough to accept the challenge. Man, did he have us all wrong. We weren't looking out for him, we were looking out for us! We wanted to complete the teams and go have fun!

(Team 2 - Mike, Bob, Kevin, Matt)
ENOUGH ABOUT US...

With the teams sorted out, we headed to Moab, got checked in, and were as ready as we were going to be for the race!

OH WAIT, COUPLE OTHER NOTES

I couldn't end this write up and start into the race without talking about the trip itself. Part of doing anything like this, is the fact that this turns into a road trip with a bunch of guys. We drove the Wednesday night before up to Hurricane, stopping in Las Vegas for some incredible sushi. And on Thursday we were sure to stop in Richfield, UT at this amazing dairy for lunch. I hadn't spent much time with Kevin before our trip, but he was like a kid on his first day of summer break after school had just got out when we were traveling. He was laughing, and enjoying the food so much, as he stated, the trip was a success before we ever got into the race.

This was good. I was relieved that he was having a good time. I wasn't so sure he would be feeling the same way 24 hours later...

(At the Ideal Dairy in Richfield)

(Hanging out on a bridge over the Colorado River, just before we went to check in.)

(Prepping the cars before the race.)
(Both teams from the SCV!)
...to be continued...
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