Breathless Agony is a hard ride. Today it was baking hot. As I sit writing this report, I’m glazing over from being totally wiped today. Starts in Redlands, CA.
Summary: 113 miles, 11,030 feet climbing, 9:34:04 moving time
Rest Stop #4 at the Top of Onyx Summit, with Grim Reaper: GT, Gregg, Jonathan, Lynda and me.
Due to the forecast of heat, 90+F, race director allowed us to start at 5:45am. It was an old school start. People writing your start time on paper with a pen one at a time.
We started with GT, Lynda, Luis and Me. A bunch of other PTC folks started later and caught up to us. I’ll show their pics as they met us.
We rolled through the nice parts of Redlands. Old stately homes, then up and out through the orange tree orchards, and yes, there is a nice part to Redlands.
We rolled across the valley through Moreno Valley. Kinda desolate, if you’re into that.
We turned onto Jack Rabbit Trail. Closed to traffic, because it is torn up. Completely. It like mountain biking. Flats all over the place. Just not us. The HEAT was starting already. Warm at this time. Still early morning.
We turned onto Hwy 10. That was crazy. Huge Trailer truck zooming by full speed. Life flashing before my eyes. And people were still passing us, while on the highway. They’re just plain nuts. Rolled off the highway and into Beaumont. If you don’t have anything nice to say…. There was the 1st rest stop. Wow. it was awesome. Racks for the bike, fully loaded porta potties. And Food. Tons of Food. I took Water, oranges, bananas, PB&J with Nutella.
We rolled up UP AND UP.
Apple Orchards is the steepest climb. It was crazy. 8% to 14%, for miles and MILES.
It was pretty, but very hard.
I met Grim Reaper here.
Somewhere during the climb by sunglasses fell out of my pocket. This is bad. More later. Did I mention it was blinding hot all day. And somehow we were always going INTO the sun, from the morning until night.
Incidentally, both my kids have been on field trips to Riley Farms. That’s why the name rung a bell when I passed it.
There was a beautiful and fun descent. Michel caught up with us at that time. Luis had an issue at this point.
Rest Stop #2. We met a bunch of friends at that point.
It was UP UP UP UP and HOT HOT HOT. Next section is called DAMNATION ALLEY. Gawd, really? And it actually was terrible. It was boiling hot at this point. No shade. 10 straight up. I mean straight you could see it forever.
Half way up I had a hallunication that a car pulled over with Ice and Water. I was not the same after this section of the ride. The heat sucked the life out of my body. While I pedaled in slow motion, my friends caught up with me. Dino. Peter. ‘Bob’. Michael.
The Angels of Ice and Water in Damnation Alley.
So there really was Ice Man. It saved my life. I really don’t know what I would have done at that point. This was only mile 45.
At the top of the climb there was Rest Stop #3. Each rest stop they literally write on paper your time. Store. bought $10 sunglasses. whew. thanks, Lynda!!!
At this point, I was wiped. It was going to be a long day. From RS#3 to #4 is 20 miles of climbing UP UP UP to mile 75, which is Onyx Summit. I was running behind on my food intake, because I was drinking so much. At the end of the day, I added it up. I went through 9 (NINE) bottles of liquid. The Gatorade Blueberry Powder is aweful, btw. I ran out of my Hammer Perpetuem by Mile 45. Climb just killed me. 6%-10% for 20 miles. I lost Lynda and GT along the way. I stopped at a shady tree about every mile. The Ice Man showed up again and saved me. Wow. Amazing.
Gregg caught up to me. And Jonathan, who took a spill earlier, and just got up and carried on. Macho man. Head full of dirt, rips, scraped. Bike was ok.
At the summit, we met Grim Reaper again. We sat for a bit. We ate. I recovered my sanity and returned from my very dark place.
They handed out the medal, which was a small dog tag.
The park for the start/finish is next to the University of Redlands.
I have a couple more anecdotal stories that are hilarious, but I’m too tired to add them tonight. Ask me about the puking dude and my inappropriate yelling at an old lady.
UPDATE (5/5/14): Looking back at this ride, I learned a few things.
- (1) Friends are great source of encouragement. I certainly would not have made it through without their support. They expected to see me at the top of each climb. There was no turning around.
- (2) No one gets you up the mountain, except yourself. It’s up to you. My friends are not pushing my bike, I am. Yeah, there’s sitting on people’s wheel, but on the solo hard parts, it’s all up to you.
- (3) Preparation and expectation. I was prepared for this ride. Mentally, I knew it would be hard. Physically, I hadn’t been on any of these roads before. I didn’t know how far each climb was going. I saw the mileage on the cue sheet, but it doesn’t tell you what it will look or feel like. Expectations were high. I remembered to enjoy the moment. Even if it’s hard. Enjoy the view. Every time I took a break, I let the dark moments pass, by feeding myself nutrition & supplements, and hydrating my body. I went through 9 big bottles of water and 4 -5 rice cakes and a flask of goo.
- (4) Appreciate the accomplishments. Hanging out with friends afterwards and chatting online with them helps to relive the moments. These are the truly best parts of the day. Laughing about the hard parts. It goes past the survival parts and high lights the bright parts.
Turn by Turn Cue Sheet