Friday, June 15, 2012

Swept Away

We woke up to leaden skies and by the time we had ridden our bikes to the start line to drop off our luggage, the skies had really opened up and the wind was blowing from the north.  Riders were already heading out - some having very creatively covered themselves in plastic garbage bags - others wearing decorative shower caps festooned with local hotel logos.

Although you're not supposed to, we decided to draft the cyclist ahead of us since we were riding into a tremendously strong 25 km/hr. wind that was pelting our cheeks with stinging rain.  When suddenly she pulled over, we felt obliged to see if she needed help and we discovered that she had a rear flat.  "Lucky for you, we are both bike mechanics!" I shouted to her as we pulled off the route.  While I took the replacement tube from its packaging, Jackie found a metal sliver in the tire itself which was the cause of the flat.  Once we got our draftee and ourselves on the way, we came across another 11 bikes pulled over with flats - thankfully the marshalls were helping all of them.
The cyclists on the left are giving up and waiting for a bus

One klick from lunch  and after five hours of saddle time, I happened to glance in my rearview mirror to discover three SAG wagons, yellow roofbars flashing, bearing down on me.  Over a loudspeaker I heard "You over there in the yellow jacket, please pull over.  You are going no further!". Once settled in the SAG wagon, it was explained to me that the organizers were planning to close the route because of a severe weather warning.
A bus full of sweepings

After a quick lunch of hearty roasted red pepper soup and a conference with Jackie who had been waiting 45 minutes for me, we helped load 300 bikes into two tractor trailers and then it was into the SAG bus.  Not far down the road everyone on the bus cheered when a passenger looking out the window exclaimed "Hey it's unicycle guy!"
Wind fatigue sets in

 I did the math and figured that I had done the whole second day.  Here's how I figure it:  last year it took me five hours to do the whole second day route.  This year, riding into a 25km/hr. wind, it took me five hours to get to the halfway point at lunch.  So if there was some way to measure the energy expended, I think I would have burned more than last year which means I would have more than made it to the finish line.  So riding in a SAG wagon made for 60...
Near unicycle guy
Using the above logic, at the finish line, I picked up a carnation emblem to stick on my helmet to join the six others already pasted there.

No comments:

Post a Comment