There are a lot of lessons in 508 miles. No matter how many times I do this race, there’s always so much I don’t know and so much still to learn about myself. Case in point: hallucinating riding up Salsberry Pass. Some say the desert is empty, I say it is full of plenty of stuff, some real, some not. The rattle snake that sent Dave running? Real. I heard that rattler from 20 feet away! The Golden Retriever with floppy ears on the side of the road panting because of the heat? Not real. I saw it, smiled at it, but knew it wasn’t real. Does that make it less of a hallucination?
This climb last year, at about mile 300, came after the insane headwinds. I raced up it. This year it was earlier in the morning, but I was taxed at this point. Yes, it is possible to undertrain. This ride taught me that! Anyway, I was having so much trouble staying awake that the van pulled next to me off and on just to check on my level of awakeness (which ranged from able eyes open and not hallucinating to full-on eyes closed falling asleep while pedaling). A four-person team passed me and not long after I looked up and said to Dave, ‘Whoa, what are all of those lights up there?’ It was the support vehicle. Again, I knew this, but not until after I said that. Dave was concerned.
At the top of the climb they gave me some potatoes cause I hadn’t eaten much on the long climb (everything tasted super duper dry- had trouble swallowing. From all the black tea? Anyone ever experience this?). They also let me in the van to sit and eat, which I would learn later was some drama amongst the crew. On the ride home Monday I was told the conversation went something like this:
Lisa: Why’d you let him in the van? He’s not suppose to get in the van for any reason.
Sabrina: He needs to eat! And sit! It’s okay.
Lisa: It’s not okay! Morgan said to never let him in the van under any circumstances!
Sabrina: He’s a human, damnit, he needs some comforts!
Lisa: He’s not human, he’s a machine and he needs to keep going!!
Meanwhile I had fallen asleep while eating. I woke up with half chewed potatoes in the my mouth and had no idea what they were. At least Dave saw the face I made which can best be described as the face one would make upon waking up with an unidentified substance in his mouth.
Needless to say, they decided it was unsafe for me to ride the fast, long descent into Shoshone, in the dark, while I was unable to stay away on my own accord. I laid down to sleep for 30 minutes, which would be the longest sleep I had ever had on this race.
What could possibly cause that? Notice I’m running two different Mavic wheels. I’d been having weird noises with my rear and it turned out to be the Patented Mavic Death Squeal. So I was running my old rear wheel, but we never figured it out and it didn’t happen again. Lots of flex in my frame though. Getting it checked out this weekend…
Wild Burros 4-person team passed me here and I’d never see them again.
I bet the Swarm! 4-person team Wild Burros $80 that they couldn’t close the two hour gap between the solo and team starts. I lost, this is me paying them at the post-race breakfast. They did great! On a good day I could have fended them off, but not with the ride I had.
Thanks so so much to my crew: Dave, Sabrina and Lisa for being SO awesome and supportive. You took a whole weekend to help me ride my bike 500 miles, not many people would do that. You rule. And special thanks to Lisa for all the photos.
“ Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.”
- Polly Berends
I stole this quote from here, which is a blog I found after BikeSnob posted her VEGAN neck tattoo. I guess there’s some learning there. Or something.