2016 RAWROD Ride Report Part 2: Unwilling to Wait

05.17.2016 | 4:36 pm


A Note About The Sponsor from Fatty: As you know (and if you don’t know: shame on you), The Feed has graciously joined up as a FatCyclist.com sponsor. 

What you may not know, however, is that they pay me with product. And that’s by my choice, not theirs. They offered to give me regular ol’ money, but I said I’d rather have them hook me up with different things from their stock each month. 

I got my first shipment a week ago, and there are a couple of things that really stand out. In a very good way. 

The first of these is the Rip van Wafels Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Wafel. It is, without question, the best-tasting energy food waffle I’ve ever had. Chewy, moist, perfect. I highly recommend buying a whole bunch of them (20% off if you buy at least six). And if you promise yourself you will not eat them except when you are riding, I guarantee you will ride more often. 

Oh, and also: right now if you spend at least $20 at The Feed, you’ll get a free Bonk Breaker Endurance Pack. Which means you should go buy seventeen of these, stat, thereby getting a bunch of great waffles at a great price, and getting a bonus as part of the deal.

Unwilling to Wait

I think it’s safe to say that The Hammer and I are both pleasant people. Sure, I’m a little more sociable than she is, but she’s become accustomed to the fact that I like meeting and talking with people. 

But there’s such a thing as extenuating circumstances.

Toward the end of the previous episode of this ride report, I described how Ryan, The Hammer and I arrived at Musselman’s arch. There, we took photos, stood on the arch, ate, and hung around.

We were being patient. We were. 

Meanwhile, the wind blew. Harder, and worse. The wind stung. And it was going to be against us as we rode.

Both The Hammer and I were feeling very antsy. Anxious. Feeling like if we didn’t get moving, we could run out of water a long time before we ran out of trail. (It’s a common misconception that the water you’re carrying is to last you a certain distance. The reality, that water lasts you a certain amount of time. If you spend a lot of time on a self-supported ride not in motion, you are much more likely to run out before the end of the day than if you keep your breaks short.)

So The Hammer and I decided to go. Even though Kenny, Lucas, Heather, Joaooaooaooaa and Kathleen hadn’t arrived at Musselmans yet. 

As The Hammer and I shrugged our Camelbaks back on, strapped on our helmets, and…saw Joaaooao approaching. Good. Ryan didn’t seem interested in leaving Musselman’s yet, so having Joaoaooo would ensure the buddy system remained intact.

I kind of regretted leaving before we talked with Jaaooaoooeooeooeoo, but figured they’d all catch us when we stopped for lunch at Vertigo Void. (Where we would NOT be throwing rocks off the cliff edge.)

The Hammer and I rode on. Against the wind.

Ninety Percent of the Time

Together, we pushed on, the wind always at a cross-headwind, a crosswind, or a headwind. Always.

I pictured the route we were on:

Screenshot 2016 05 17 16 05 22

No, it’s not a perfect circle, but it does have me going in every possible direction at least a reasonable fraction of the time.

Hence, while this incredible wind would definitely be in our face for a good chunk of the time, it would also be at our backs a good chunk of the time. 

It stands to reason, right? Right?

But that’s not the way it worked out. Apart from the first eleven or so miles of the ride, I’d say about 90% of our day had us battling a harsh, stinging headwind.

And when the weather’s like that, you just don’t look up very often. You keep your eyes down. And you don’t take many pictures.

You just fight the wind. Ninety percent of the time.

Mostly, in fact, I kept wondering to myself whether the day would have been much, much easier if we’d ridden in the opposite direction. Occasionally, we’d see riders coming toward us, and I’d be tempted to ask: “So, is this day as easy for you as it is difficult for us?”

But I never got up the courage. And The Hammer tells me the day was almost certainly as difficult in the other direction as it was for us.

I personally think she’s just saying this because she feels bad about making me do this ride.

Quick Lunch

We got to White Crack, the mental halfway mark for the ride. At which point, the wind suddenly was at our backs, and we flew for five miles or so, all the way to Vertigo Void, the traditional lunch-eating spot for the group.

For me, that was a Blimpie’s sandwich (The Hammer and I always get Blimpie’s sandwiches in Green River the day before White Rim), a Coke, and a Red Bull.

IMG 4763

We watched up the trail, waiting. Hoping. Expecting.

We hadn’t been pushing especially hard, not with this wind. We had just been going at what I’d call a “let’s get this done” pace. Very few breaks, very few pictures.

Not dilly-dallying. But not racing, either.

So where was everyone else?

Normally, we’d have sat around and waited. Vertigo Void is a beautiful spot and a nice place to rest before a series of big climbs.

But then the gusts started. Sand-laden, stinging, miserable gusts of wind.

Riding, they’d at least be sort of pushing us along, when they weren’t sandblasting one side of our face or another. But just sitting there, it was awful

We ate fast, packed up.

“I don’t think we’re going to see anyone else from the group the rest of the day,” I said. The Hammer agreed. We weren’t trying to beat anyone; this is a social ride.

But a brutal wind had done a fine job of sandblasting away any social impulse we had. We just wanted to get this ride done.

Which is what I’ll talk about in the next installment of this story.

1 Comment

  1. Comment by Jimbo/Rumpled | 05.19.2016 | 4:41 pm

    Man, you guys really don’t stop. Looked at the Hammer’s Strava and over a 9 plus hour ride, you only have about 40 minutes not moving. That is efficiency.
    I try to minimize, but on my last near century (85 miles) we had an hour twenty stoppage versus six hours riding.
    Having to fix a flat (and boot it to boot) didn’t help.


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