A Note from Fatty: I’m in a real time crunch for the next two weeks, day job-wise. I’m starting early and working late. But I don’t want the blog to go dark for that long so I’m going to try something a little different: short posts that take me no longer than 30 minutes to write. Today, I’m kicking off a multi-part story with short installments; I’m interested in knowing what you think: when work demands get huge for me, would you rather have longer installments less often, or do you like this frequent-but-short post format?
My alarm went off at 5:30am: the “Ascending” ring tone, as always.
I’ll never be able to hear that sound again without getting the unpleasant Pavlovian “time to wake up” jolt. But this time it was worse. I hadn’t been able to go to sleep until around 3:00am: job stress keeping me awake.
“Please,” I said to The Hammer. “I can’t get up yet. I need another hour of sleep.”
In the three-ish years we’ve been married, this was the first time I’d ever asked for more sleep — and hence a delay in our ride start time — so she knew it wasn’t a casual request.
“OK,” The Hammer said. I set the alarm for 6:30 and went back to sleep instantly.
That was the first thing that happened last Saturday that affected the craziness of last Saturday’s ride. And I’m still not sure if that’s what saved us…or if it’s what put us in jeopardy in the first place.
The Next Delay
6:30 came around in approximately one hour. (I just thought I’d point that out for those of you who are unclear on the way time works.) But it seemed like less. Still, I didn’t really feel like I could beg another hour of sleep time, and I wanted to get going.
After all, we had 200 miles to ride.
Why so far? Well, we’re getting ready for the Salt to Saint race, which is now fewer than two weeks away. This is, for most people, a relay-style race (similar to the Rockwell Relay, but with a different route and slightly different rules). 420-ish miles, on the back roads from small town to small town, from Salt Lake City to Saint George.
And here’s the thing: We’ll both be riding it solo. Oh, and have I mentioned that The Hammer, should she succeed, will be the first woman to do this race solo?
So that’s kind of cool.
And this was our final big ride, more to give us the confidence that we could just ride our Specialized Shivs all day than for any other reason.
We got up and I got our bikes ready while The Hammer made us breakfast: scrambled egg burritos, our traditional pre-big-ride food. We stuffed our jerseys with Honey Stinger Chews (the new Cherry Cola flavor is my new favorite) and two-bite pies The Hammer’s made from recipes in Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes. (We’re figuring that we need to stick with as much real food as possible if we’re going to be riding and eating for thirty hours, straight.)
Oh, and I brought a debit card so I could buy Coke whenever we passed a gas station. “There shall be no gas station we pass from which I do not buy a Coke!” I decreed, with great valor and emotion, at the beginning of the ride.
We got going.
And then, less than half a mile from home, I remembered something.
“Hey,” I said to The Hammer. “The last time we went out on the Shivs, your saddle was kind of loose — it started tilting back. Did I fix that?”
It was a bogus question. I knew I hadn’t fixed it.
“No, I don’t think you fixed it,” The Hammer answered.
“Let’s turn around and get that saddle tightened down, and then I’m going to bring a hex wrench to tweak it during the day in case we don’t get it just right,” I said.
So we turned around and headed home, tightened down the saddle, and were off again, adding another fifteen minutes — and an extra mile — to the beginning of our ride.
Much later in the day, we’d spend hours talking about what would have happened if I hadn’t slept in. If we hadn’t turned around and made a minor fix to her bike.
And that’s where we’ll pick up tomorrow.