|So, here's the deal. I almost died. OK, maybe that's not quite true, but it sure felt like it was going that way for a minute there.|
I got to P&S & picked up Ashton and the other two guys who came up with us, Eric & Paul. We arrived at NCC around 8:30, signed in and got ready to ride. I was feeling fine at that point & had no concerns about how hot it was. It was cool to see Steve and Brent, Jon, and Rick (the other guys that knew would be there). We all lined up & got ready to roll.
I thought I was OK as we did the 5ish mile roll out to the start of the gravel, but in hindsight I realize I was already pushing it a bit considering the heat. I was riding with Ashton & Jon, but started to slow down. Ashton rode fixed gear (he runs dingle) and stopped to drop to the lower gear. I stuck with him and we were soon passed by all the folks we knew. At that point we settled in and pedaled while thinking we'd be OK even though the heat was insane.
We stopped to rest & eat three times before the first checkpoint. When we got there, we heard that several people had already dropped out. We were offered water, but didn't take any because we thought we were good. We almost rode in the wrong direction but were flagged by the checkpoint people and we got back on track. Sadly, we made another short error in reading the cue sheet & went a short way off the route. We doubled back & saw another guy doing the same thing. We hollered at him & he turned around and joined us. Turns out he was on a road bike with 23s & had already flatted four times. 23s on gravel roads = pinch flat city.
After a little more riding we stopped in the shade of a tree in a farmer's yard. Ashton realized than he had finished his entire 70oz pack of water & I had finished a third to half of my three liters. I was already starting to get the shakes so I ate some more and Ashton gave me some electrolyte powder to mix in a water bottle I drank down some of that & we were starting to plan our return to the shop. Right at that moment the Half Acre crew from the checkpoint drove up and asked if we were OK. I was dazed & said we were cool, but Ashton told them we needed water. The girls were happy to oblige. They saved us. They also told us that it was very likely that the folks at the third checkpoint might be gone by the time we got that far into the ride. They made sure we had our cuesheet & were off. Ashton and I rode further and finally decided to turn back. We got directions back to shop on our phones & headed back. At one point I was so hot that we found more shade, I got off the bike, took off my gloves, helmet, & shoes so I could rest. At this point I was dreaming of a gas station & a bottle of Gatorade.
We turned back toward the shop around the 25 mile mark & had a 13 mile ride back. We limped home & stopped at a BP station where I drank some Gatorade & ate some cookies. While sitting there Ashton texted with Paul & I shot texts to everyone else letting them know were alive, but had quit since I blew up. After getting back to the shop, we hosed off and changed clothes. It took a while, but I started recovering. We chilled there and I ate a McDonald's ice cream cone as we waited for everyone else to roll in. Jon was the first to get back, then Eric & Paul later on. Rick rolled in just as we were heading to the bar for grub, free beer, & swag. Steve & Brent came over to the bar & met with us. My head still ached, but I was getting in food and trying to recover.
The day was done. I drove back to Pedal & Spoke & dropped the guys off, then went home and chilled with the family. I slept well, but had to wake up early so Eli and I could walk in the Memorial Day parade with our Cub Scout pack. I actually forced him to wear his Camelbak & I also wore my hydration pack too. I wasn't about to let us both get dehydrated on that walk.
What a weekend.
May 31, 2012
Here's the ride report I posted after the 2012 NCC Gravel Grovel: