Ride, eat, sleep, repeat (I stole the saying from Carmichael Training Systems, so don’t think I’m witty.).That’s what we’ve been doing the past five day and, to be honest, I think I could get used to this riding routine. Speaking of routines, both my body and my mind have followed a very similar pattern this past week as I’ve prepared to perform each day. My internal clock is so programmed to wake up at 6:00a.m. that I don’t need an alarm any more to rouse me out of what has been pretty fitful sleep the past five nights. A routine visit to the loo, followed by coffee, breakfast, another cup of coffee, um, err, another porcelain performance, and then, finally, the hardest part of all: the primpin’,the picking, and the putting on of my cycling uniform. Primpin’ refers to the number of skin lubricants and blocks that must be applied in a very specific order: sunscreen, shammy butter, and warming lubricants. As far as my outfit goes, I am one of those cyclists who likes to wear totally matching gear, all of which, for the most part, comes from the same manufacturer which, in my case, happens to be Capo Cycling Apparel. I usually put my socks on first, followed by my bib shorts, heart rate strap, cooling base layer, and jersey.
I really liked the look of today’s ride profile for a number of reasons. The first being that the route, which took us out of Cedar City on UT-56, was mostly downhill….really. The route had 7,900 ft of descent, with only 3,766 ft of ascent, so the pain to gain ratio was in our favor for sure. Lots of descending also meant speeds would be that much higher, and it was a foregone conclusion that there would be multiple county line and city limit sprints, as well as leg shredding ascents up the few punchy climbs. At 118 miles it could,in all seriousness, be called the “Princess” stage of our pilgrimage. Although there was 3,766 ft of vert, it didn’t feel bad because we rode the first 8o miles of the day in a double pace line, everyone content to let our tired bodies warm up gradually. A brisk 48 degree morning greeted us, but it didn’t fool us into thinking that heat wouldn’t play a factor during the day’s long ride to Mesquite, Nevada.
Part of performing is preparing for the conditions, which I did by bringing some of our yet to be released Electrolyte Capsules in a re-useable GU Electrolyte Brew Tab canister. The furnace like heat really didn’t become a factor until we dipped into Arizona, and then the eastern edge of Nevada and the town of Mesquite. Known for it’s growing retiree population, as well as its casinos and golf courses, Mesquite was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1880, who called it Mesquite Flat. It was destroyed by multiple floods before it was firmly settled.
My legs were destroyed by the furious pace our group of five, then four, rode the last four miles of rollers chasing the front group of three. I was popped multiple times and lost copious amounts of fluids during this hammer fest to be the first horse back to the stable- Western Spirit’s outdoor dinning accommodations. 561 miles and 34,000 ft of climbing left me wrung out in more ways than one. And you know what, I’m choosing to do it again tomorrow, to complete the pilgrimage to Interbike by riding a final 120 miles through the Nevada desert. Did I mention that the weatherman is calling for 97 degree heat ? This session of self-induced flaggelation by bike riding will be the final cleansing before we enter our cycling holy land, Interbike. I just hope I don’t get left for dead tomorrow. Thanks for following my journey. Be sure to check back to see if we make it to Mecca.