Oh, hey, who is that guy? I'm told that I'm an unusual blogger because I don't include enough photos of myself in my posts. Perhaps these pictures — especially the one on the right — are a good reason for fewer pics of yours truly. So, check it out: What you're seeing on the left is Tr13ce, looking gooooood at perhaps 25 miles into the ride. That guy, well, that guy knows how to color coordinate. Dapper.
But-but-but, just a mere 25 more miles later, hard times had fallen upon me. Yep, the heat was brutal. The ride started at 8 a.m.; by 10 a.m. it was well into the 90s. Approximately 8 miles from the 50-mile rest stop, I wasn't 100-percent certain I would be able to finish the ride. I was on top of my hydration, popping two and then four Endurolytes every hour (those things work) but I still felt like crap. That devil dog Doubt is a mean em effer.
I reached the rest step, hydrated, ate an extra chunk of banana and hung out for a while and listened to riders who were dropping. Some said they were an hour into waiting for SAG. I was feeling better, and I got to see Frunners Ninja and Drum again at this stop. When I hopped back on the bike, I felt solid. Finishing the ride was no longer in doubt. Or so I thought.
BOOM! My 'xploidin' tire sounded like a friggin' gunshot around mile 72. I really didn't know what that sound was at first. I half expected to see blood. But no, my rear wheel was deflated and my rim rattled on the asphalt road, confirming that I was effed, not mortally wounded. Fortunately I was riding maybe 15 mph up a slight incline when it happened — no chance of wrecking. I calmly slowed and dismounted to assess the damage. Sure enough, as the blurry-ass photo shows (that's what ya get with the sun glarin'), the tire succumbed to the heat and split open about an inch.
At this point, I figured my ride was done. If it were a flat, I would have been fine; I had a couple of tubes and a pump, and even if I didn't, every cyclist who passed offered a tube, including Ninja and Drum, who were nice enough to hang out with me for a bit before I told them to keep on going. I was a lost cause out there; no need to delay them.
The next rest stop was less than 2 miles up the road; passing cyclists said they would tell the SAG wagon to come pick me up. Worked for me. I wandered along the side of the road, searching for a suitable tree (not many to choose from in between the towns of Frost and Italy, just so you know) that would provide some shade without making me difficult for SAG to find. A couple of nice locals stopped to make sure I was OK. One even asked to drive me to the rest stop. I considered taking him up on his offer. But I figured I needed to hang out; no need to send SAG on a wild me chase.
Long section of this story short — I got impatient waiting for SAG. A nice woman named Beth offered to drive me. Fifteen minutes had passed, and I didn't want to wait any longer, so I thanked her and accepted her offer (the mile-or-so she drove me is what cost me the total of 101 miles).
At the rest stop, Dana, the SAG wagon driver from Richardson Bike Mart, inquired where the heck I had been. He must have passed me when I was chatting with Beth. I told him, "Oh, no biggie, I was just riding with a nice, complete stranger in her Econoline van. Standard ish for me on a Saturday, y'know." I expected to see Dana load my bike in the van and offer to drive me to the finish. But oh no, faithful readers. Dana whipped out the San Jose Sharks-colored tire you see in the second panel of the picture. This is where your used tires go when you buy new ones and tell your LBS bike dude that you don't want to keep your old ones. Your old-ass tires save my tired ass (more on that shortly). I was back in business. And, even better, Drum and Ninja were at the rest stop, too. So, as soon as Dana finished his handiwork, we hit the road for the final stretch.
For the remainder of the ride, the above saddle was my least-favorite thing on the face of the Earth. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine saddle. I've ridden Selle Italia, Fizik and the stock garbage that came with my Cannondale, Trek and Giant bikes. But this Specialized saddle is, well, special. It fits great. However, until that day, I had never spent 5-plus hours on it, and Chamois Butt'r could only do so much. So, yeah, I spent the final segment of the ride trying to find the most comfy position — I alternated between a few, but discomfort ruled the day. I suppose that, in addition to new tires, a new saddle is in my future.
Anyway, I finished. The Frunners and I finished just seconds apart. It was pretty damn cool. Sure, I was exhausted and my kit was saltier than the Dead Sea, but it was worth it. And, despite my best efforts to wear sunblock and reapply, I still earned some ridiculous tan lines. And, I would/will totally do it again. Hotter 'N Hell 100 isn't too far down the road. See ya there!
Heyyyyyy, where's the fifth picture? Ah, yes. A random shot for ya from Irving. Have you ever seen an entire Jeep covered in spray-on truck bed liner? Well, now you have.
I dunno. I like the Jeep just fine. I'm kind of impressed with the idea of "painting" it with LINE-X. I'm not a fan of the King Crunch lights or the add-on winch (not shown). Would you drive this? If you said yes: Would you park this poorly?