I’ll summarize today with first, the box scores. 3 crashes, 5 flat tires and 116 miles in temps topping out at 104. No those aren’t the group stats, those are mine! Pretty much the single hardest day I’ve ever had on a bicycle. Another rider didn’t fare as well as we have our second ER visitor in 2 days. I escaped all 3 crashes fairly well considering 2 of the 3 were at 17 mph plus and hard ones.
Needless to say, my day didn’t play out as I had planned. As we left Blyth from the hotel I was planning on riding today in our top group, with the idea that a faster ride gets you more recovery time at night. So at mile #3 I flat and the group continues ahead as I’d catch them at the first sag stop. Well so much for that plan, I immediately flat again, and by the time I’m back in the saddle, I figure I’m 20 – 25 minutes behind the main group, a mix of some second group riders and hopefully the top group boys. So I start a straight 7 mile climb but keep telling myself to stay within myself and not try and burn too hard cuz today long. I have my strategy and I figure I have 3 aces in my hand and the group holds 1, a pace line. I tell myself if and when they do their first group potty stop and I don’t stop at all, I’ll pick up 8-12 minutes, easy peasy Plus I love to climb and I know some of them drag anchors up hill, so ace #2 in my favor. My last thought is, I’m riding with aero bars and they worked for Greg Lemond at the tour when he rope a dopped Laurent Finon. ( sp ) and left him crumbled in a sweating pile of despair and embarrassment. take that pony tailed Frenchie. So off I go and the support crew at the first rest stop tells me they all stopped in, took care of their business and I was 4 minutes behind. So I take the climb, telling myself not to go rector or anything. Ok then up the road as I pull into the first sag and figure if they aren’t there I’ll only top off water bottles and skidaddle. So as I pull in my leg gets a little hung up in the stupid flags we have to ride with and I put my shoe down and slip on the asphalt with my cleat. A slow fall, no harm. But now I’m getting into this fox and hound chase, so I take the next 10 mile climb fairly aggressive but knowing not to blow myself up. I pass about 10-12 of our snail riders ( 3rd group riders). As I go over the summit and hit a super long flat, ok its aero bar time, don’t fail me now. I’m riding a steady 17-23 mph and keeping my heart rate right at 126. All systems go, Im in the chase and start to smell myself reeling them in. Until, I plow head on into the temporary road construction sign placed right in the bike path, WHAM I’m going south in a nano second. I took a good fall and left a divot in the sandy gravel shoulder. I’m now cheese grated on my right side
After a quick gut check I head off again still knowing I’m going to catch these buggers. Then I see the first guy come into view, I tell myself, victory is eminent I see one of them up about 1/2 mile ahead. Then, you guessed it, rear tire flat #3 rears its ugly head. I’m changing the flat on the shoulder of Interstae 10 getting blown around from every 18 wheeler. In fact their winds start blowing my tire levers etc onto the cactus and scrub bushes ! I’m throwing F-bombs to the world and no one can hear me!
Fast forward to a reunion at sag stop # 2 as I arrive looking like a semi ran over me. But the bands faintly back together as I’m with the second group and figure at least now I’ll ride the remainder with then as the top boys are now about 1 hour ahead. So we start a glorious pace line of about 10 riders and we keep it at 17 mph so everyone is happy, we click along for mile after glorious mile and all is good. Until the gal in front of me ( Mary from Maryland ) overlaps Jim Quigleys tire and she goes down hard and fast. I roll right over her bike AND her leg and go down to finish the garage sale. Now we have all traffic stopped both ways on Az. 60 and people are pulling over getting us waters, ice and calling 911. Mary gets put in a lawn chair and she looks bad! We clear the carnage and now guess what, another flat from running into Mary and her bike. Flat #5 gets fixed and I’m a bloody mess now on both knees, elbows and hands. So I gather what’s left of my wits and pound some more Ibuprofen and finish the limp to Wickenburg.
I hope tomorrow is a lot easier. If none of this makes sense , I’m a little dingy form getting my bell rung a few times.