One eighth of RAAM: Part 4, Arizona, Utah, poop issues

At the end of my first shift of RAAM I was exhilarated and ready to keep going.  Most of this was due to the caffeine high and breaking through the lows of the night in to the highs of the morning. I also rode a killer last pull up the hill. At the top of Yarnell Grade, where our team had decided to changed to Alpha Team, was this greasy spoon diner, the Ranch House Restaurant.  For me there is nothing like Sunday brunch, it was Sunday, and after a long night of riding all I wanted was a bacon-egg-cheese sandwich. The lady working the counter was so patient with my specifics and she produced an amazing protein rich sandwich to add a cherry to my Sunday night of biking.

Ranch House Restaurant, Yarnell, Arizona

SO GOOD! And a great porcelain throne.

Taking a nap after my first shift was nearly impossible, since it was early morning. Thus I spent a good bit of time prepping my gear for the next shift. I felt like I was back in the Marines, making sure my gear was ready for battle so when I woke up I could grab my rifle (bike) and go straight into the fight (race). The comfy bus was also having issues, because the toilet was clogged.  Having re-hydrated after the night of dry heat, I was full and needed to drain. Since someone (pBro?) from Alpha squad had killed the toilet, I was forced to dig up empty water bottles and proceeded to fill four of them.  Once empty I got a short nap before a truck stop in Flagstaff. The truck stop, Little America Travel Center, was amazing, with a suspiciously hygienic marble floored shower suite that cost me and a couple others $10 to rotate through.

The goodDoc recovers in heat outside bus.

We did our third team exchange just outside of Flagstaff, late in the afternoon.  It was HOT! After being posted on the side of the road for an hour, knowing time would be soon I decided the best way to be ready to ride was to get out of the A/C bus, drink hot coffee, and sit in a lawn chair in the 100+ heat. I was nervous, because Kyle had told me that this would be the scariest stretch of road.  The roads were rough, the traffic was great and not friendly, and the terrain would allow speed, but chances for crazy cross winds. I had specifically gone out in the Boulder spring during wind storms to prepare me for this section of the road.  I despised Kyle for having me very nervous about this stretch through Arizona.  Tuba City and Mexican Hat were names of towns I did not want to ride through based on Kyle’s stories.

One of my few pulls on the TT bike that day.

However, it was not bad.  I started out riding very well with my first pull over 30 mph.  On my second pull, the poor roads and high heat took a toll on my TT bike and the base bars slipped and started to drop.  Between pulls, our team wrench tried to tighten them up.  On my third pull I was forced to pull over after only three miles and do a rider exchange due to the bars dropping again.  It was frustrating; however, my road bike was set up with a great set of aero bars and I knew I could maintain great speed in a great aero position even on my road/climbing rig. On my fourth pull, I was getting a rhythm and the fears of this section were starting to dissipate. I did hit one short steep decent (keep in mind I don’t like tricky descents) and I was flying.  Good ol’ Amanda was in my ear and she decided to announce my speed,”Wow, 50, gettin’ it!” She announced this just as we approached a little bridge over a gap. I readied for the small cross wind that of gave me a little shimmy in my last half-mile riding into the exchange.  I was thankful to be on my road rig.

Kyle getting it done as alpenglow approaches in Utah.

After being forced to the road rig, the shift was rather uneventful.  The scenery as we approached Mexican Hat, UT was amazing, the best on the trip for Bravo Team.  Since we were heading east, the sun was setting behind us and lighting up the rock formations changing them from red to purple. The setting sun also gave us a reprieve from the heat, as well. I was very happy with the power numbers on this second shift, as we were between 4000 and 6000 ft.

Racing back into the dark, over 700 miles done.

Keeping in mind this was a race, at this point, Team4Mil was in the middle of a trio of teams riding away from the others.  Within our trio small gaps were being established with us in second and our buddies Strategic Lions in third.  Our team had covered about 765 miles and it was only going into our second evening of racing.

175 and pBro celebrating a clogged can!

This was also a point where we started to lighten up and begin to really enjoy the trip.  Kyle and I were in the gas station, me desperate to find ice cream and a porcelain throne.  Kyle had similar intentions, but both us were forced to wait for a rather boisterous throne sitter.  Kyle and I could not get out of the room of thrones fast enough, as we giggled.  Kyle tried to remain very professional, but we were the ones being laughed at as AirForceCrewdChris of our crew walked out laughing at us for running around in bike shoes to escape his boisterous throne sitting.  Yup, this was going be a long trip and loud poopy noises, real or not, were just a part of the deal.  Giggle away; it was going to be a long trip.

The goodDoc, gets ready to put Alpha on the road and PimpIan supervises.


Shift 2 Pull Information:

1. 6.6 mi/12:12/32.7mph/ no data

2. 7.8 mi/14:16/34.1 mph/277/280 watts (handle bars dropped!)

3. 3.2 mi/6:41/28.3 mph/ 299/303 watts (bars droppd again!)

4. 5.0 mi/10:23/29.1 mph/ 290/293 watts

5. 5.8 mi/15:00/23.3 mph/ 306/306 watts

6. 5.9 mi/12:09/29.3 mph/292/299 watts

7. 7.3 mi/14:48/29.5 mph/ 306/308 watts

8. 4.4 mi/9:22/ 28.5 mph/317/323 watts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *