A Note from Fatty: This is the third part in this story. If you haven’t read the first couple parts before reading this part, you probably should. But hey, it’s your life; make your own decisions. Maybe this story would be better if you read the parts out of order. What do I know? Just in case you decide you do want to read the parts of this story in order, though, Part 1 is here. And Part 2 is here.
The Hammer and I were fifty miles into our two-hundred mile ride. Next up was Goshen Canyon. The first few miles of this road roll and twist; it isn’t really the best for getting low on the aero bars. We decided to sit up, ride side-by-side, and talk.
It was all about Salt to Saint, the 420-mile race (relay format, but we’re each soloing it, with the intent to ride together the whole way) we’ve got coming up on September 20. How we’d take turns pulling. How we’re going to be careful to never to go into the red zone…or anywhere near it. Which sections we’d ride our road bikes on, and which sections we’d ride our TT bikes on. What we’d eat, and how often. How far ahead we’d send our crew each time we see them. What we’d wear to keep the adding and removing layers process easy. How we’d manage lights.
We can both obsess over stuff like this for hours. And, in fact, we did.
A Century, Measured in Convenience Stores
We got to Nephi, stopped at a gas station to refill with water, and took off again. We were seventy miles into our ride and maintaining — even with our stops — an 18mph average. Things were going awesome.
The next section was a climb, and the elevation profile for the race makes it look like it’s pretty steep — a section we’ll want to do on our road bikes, not our TT bikes.
But really, it was no big deal. A little climbing, a little descending. In fifteen miles we were in Fountain Green, then Moroni, where we stopped at a gas station so I could get myself a sugar cookie with pink frosting to eat while riding, along a frozen yogurt cone.
Let me just say: It was not the best frozen yogurt cone I have ever had. I’ll leave it at that.
Now we had just ten miles of riding out toward Manti to get to our 100-mile turnaround point, then we could head home.
With nothing but one hand and my teeth (no-handed riding on a Shiv is terrifying; trust me on this) I had some trouble getting the wrapper off the sugar cookie. Finally, I managed, then got into the aero bars and started riding and eating.
Riding with aero bars and eating is a wonderful experience. It’s like they’re made for each other.
But then the wind grabbed the wrapper out of my hand, blowing it onto the road. “Go on, just kinda slowly for a minute,” I called to The Hammer. “I’ll catch up in a minute.”
I slowed, turned around, and rode back the couple hundred yards to go get the wrapper.
No, I’m not saying this to make myself look good. It factors into the story. Maybe.
The Turnaround Point…No, Make that Turnaround Points
I caught up and we rode along, our eyes fixed on our Garmins. “Aaaaaaaannnnnd, that’s a hundred miles,” I called, as my GPS clicked over.
“Mine hasn’t yet,” said The Hammer, which made sense, since I had just added a quarter mile to my ride that she hadn’t. “Plus, we should go a little farther, since our first hundred miles included the double-back to fix my saddle at the beginning of the day. We won’t repeat that distance.”
Yes, she is really that meticulous about her distance.
So we continued on ’til, at — according to my GPS — we were at 101.5 miles — a few miles away from the town of Ephraim — at which point The Hammer announced, finally, that we could turn around.
Yes, I am fully aware that this little anecdote makes it pretty clear who wears the pants in our marriage.
I Did Not Jinx This
As we started our long ride back toward Alpine, The Hammer said to me, “Isn’t it funny how much of a head game endurance cycling is? When the objective is to ride 100 miles, by the time I get to 100, I’m beat. Since I knew 100 was just the turnaround point today, though, I’m fine.”
And she was right. Because I had made up my mind about it, reaching 100 miles on this ride felt about the way reaching 50 usually feels on a 100-mile ride. Or the way 25 feels on a 50-mile ride.
I looked up to my right. Big dark clouds were all along the mountainous skyline. The wind had picked up a little — a cross-headwind, of course. The worst kind of wind there is — especially if you’re on a bike that has a profile the size of a barn.
Without saying a word, I lifted my hand and pointed at the clouds.
“Don’t jinx us!” The Hammer yelled.
“I didn’t say any…” I began, but never finished the sentence.
Because right then The Hammer’s front tire exploded.
Which is where we’ll pick up tomorrow.