Monday, July 25, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part IV


The thing I remembered about Leg 3 from last time we did Rockwell was that it seemed like a fairly flat, and even slightly downhill for 56 miles, ending with a little kicker just after crossing the Colorado River to get the rider into the transition point. Mike killed it last time, and I knew he would be just as ready to do the same this time around. The problem was I trying to stay in front of the guy that did so well last time on this leg, and I was starting out on my own.

That said, I was out of the gates trying to hold off Mike for as long as I could.

(When you have no idea where you stand, or anyone else in the race for that matter, you just have to put your head down and push on. You become the only motivation for yourself. Just keep pushing!!!)
It would be some time before I would see my support team, or anyone in fact. Finally when the team showed up, I had one main request.

"Hey, I want time splits. Pull ahead and see how much time passes between me crossing the car, and then for Mike to do it. Then catch up to me and let me know."
(Mike in pursuit!)
Luckily, I don't recall seeing Team 2's support car for about the first half of the leg. This gave me hope that I would at least make Mike work for it. What's more, I saw another team's support vehicle time and again. I figured they were doing time splits on me, and figured they were between Mike and myself. I thought maybe I would have some help so long as they didn't blow by me when they caught up.

But the weirdest thing happened, I never saw their riders. In fact, when I got the time reports from my team, Mike was staying about 10 minutes or so back. They did tell me he had a bike problem. His bike was having issues shifting gears, so Team 2 rushed ahead and got Bob's 2nd bike ready. (Yes Bob is so high maintenance he brought a back up, j/k Bob.) Here, it was perfect, especially as he and Mike used the same clip ins. While I knew this would give me a couple minutes for them to transition, I wasn't sure it was enough.

(Mike switching bikes.)
But it was! The good and bad of it was I did the entire leg as a solo time trial. I didn't get the chance to work with anyone, but I did hold off Team 2 to give Darin a little head start.

(Crossing the Colorado River!)
I finished Leg 2 in 2:42, and we ended twelve minutes ahead of Team 2. Mike had actually passed four riders during his ride, and had put Team 2 into the 8th spot 3 legs in! (And we were now just in front in 7th!) I had added five more minutes on our lead, which I know half of was due to the bike change. Still, I will take joy in my small victory as Mike usually kills me on rides, so I was happy him and I finished realistically within a minute or two of each other.

Shortly after Darin left for our team (and I was still trying to be able to walk upright as my sides were killing me) Mike came in and Kevin was starting the fun climb that starts Leg 4.
(Mike coming in, and Bob probably yelling something along the lines of, "How's my bike!?")

By now, it's just about 4:00 pm, and into the 90's temperature wise. Darin and Kevin are welcomed into Rockwell's race with a short but steep climb. Having been warned, they both seem to not push it too hard out the gates and appear to tackle the early wall with much more ease than I remember it from when I did it last.
(Darin showing the climb who's boss!)

(Welcome to your first cycling event Kevin!)
Darin and Kevin were over the first climb and quick descent, and were on to the 20 mile slight but steady climb that ended about 26 miles or so into their 45 mile leg. Both were doing great, and in good spirits as the temperature got up to triple digits.

Bob, in the meantime, was making use of some of the cooling off supplies to provide entertainment as we sagged for our guys.

(Oh this...this is just the tip of the iceberg that is Bob Crockett. "Ugh hey, take my picture.")
Just before the top of the climb Kevin caught up to Darin. And, as it goes, the fun began. Not only did they have a slight to moderate downhill ride into Hanksville. This year they were treated with a tailwind!

(Just another chance to enjoy the scenery.)
(That close to the rock, but no shade to hide behind.)
Maybe the most amazing part of the race as we reached Hanksville was that while our teams had done very little actual riding together, Darin and Kevin were only separated by just over two minutes as they each came in. Both had smiles probably bigger than when they started.

Now, for us the question was how Rich and Matt would do on Leg 5. This leg would put it to our best rider in our previous race. Would these guys have any better luck? Would the winds pick up and fight as much as the mountains as they pushed to Torrey? be continued...
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