Damn you Gilad. Today sucked. It was hot, I got super dehydrated even though I drank 10 bottles, and I could barely push 220 watts at the end.
Usually before a ride over 100 miles, I like to eat a big breakfast. Not today. I woke up, fried 1 (one) egg for breakfast, and started riding. I went for 2 hours before I was allowed to eat anything on the bike. I ate a banana. About half an hour later, after eating some more food and drinking some Gatorade, my watts started dropping drastically. I had averaged 245 for two and a half hours, but now I was having trouble keeping those watts up. Pretty soon my average had dropped to 235. The sun was baking me, and I realized that I should have picked a route with more shade…..wait. It’s a desert.
I got to the three hour mark and turned around, deciding to just go back the way I came instead of making a loop. About 3 minutes later, my crank fell off. The ironic thing (this is for you Erich and Tony) is that it was the same road that this exact thing happened to Erich last year in Arizona. Except I was way farther away from town. But that didn’t matter anyways, because I wanted to just fix it there and keep riding instead of hitching a ride.
After flagging down about 10 cars in a row that didn’t have any allen wrenches, I stuck the crank in my back pocket and rode six miles with one leg to the nearest gas station–the whole way imagining that I was riding the last few miles of the Paris-Roubaix and my crank had fallen off during my solo break away, and Fabian Cancellara was closing the gap.
After finding the right size allen wrench (my multi tool conveniently did not have the right size, by the way), I was back on my route.
I kept on grinding away, despite my legs cramping horribly. Actually, I’m just going to say it. My legs were “tired.” Cramping is just a way to say your legs are tired without actually admitting it.
At 4.5 hours in, I upped the watts to 300-320 and turned on my Bile Intervals playlist. But even Rob Zombie couldn’t usher those kind of watts from my torn up legs. I would grit my teeth and do 350 for a few minutes, then the watts would slowly creep down to 250. I would look down at my CPU and see the fleeing watts on the display, and grit my teeth again for as long as I could bare. I did this for half an hour. I was supposed to do it for a full hour. But my headache and legs were throbbing, so I soft pedaled for 20 minutes with my salt-stained head hung in defeat.
But, out of the rising mist of the desert air, up ahead of me a bright white light glowed around my saviour like the gates to heaven. It was like finding a drinking fountain in the middle of a Saharan sand dune, a buffet line in a jewish concentration camp, an answer sheet for a final you didn’t study for, a wad of one’s out in front of a strip club, a cruise ship full of bikini models ship-wrecking on your desert island after you’ve been stranded for 11 years, or a really really really good burrito…..there it was: A convenient store with a Slurpy machine. I indulged in blue frost blueberry, and had just enough energy to bust out another hard 20 minutes before getting to town and soft pedaling for the last 15 minutes home. And yes, I did get passed by a number of commuters in those last 15 minutes and I don’t care.