Day two was a 91 mile stretch from Valencia to Victorville, and it was not easy. We got an early start in the hopes of beating the looming afternoon heat. I pulled the line a good deal right off the bat as my legs were feeling fresh. But, as soon as we hit the real hills, I was slapped with a reminder of the repercussions of ordering extra desserts for a year since my last Ironman. Holy cow was I eating from a super-sized buffet of fatboy humility.
The continuous 2,500 feet of climbing showed absolutely no mercy. Once I did reach the other side of the peaks, I owed another 70 miles across the Mojave Desert, with the prevailing winds coming at me from the North. Lucky me. Nevertheless, I persevered, fueled by the beautifully desolate landscape, and an assortment of delicious candies. All was looking good and I was settling into a welcome rhythm.
Until... I ate shit. Yep, any of you who has played any sport with me know that I have a propensity for crashing in style. I rarely find myself a victim of minor mishaps. Rather, I always turn in spectacular wipeouts. Today was no exception.
Quite simply, while were all distracted by a small airplane graveyard we passed, I touched wheels with another rider in our paceline and as I swerved right to regain control, I found myself biking through 8-10 inches of sand. The rolling properties of skinny wheels in loose sediment are limited. Thus, I went down hard, leaving a divot that appeared to be the result of meteorite activity. The pros of ending up in that much sand? The actual impact on the ground wasn't bad at all. Cons? Well, apart from looking like I had just been beat up at the beach by Tony Atlas, my newborn bike was none too happy about the grit bath. In fact, for the next 20 miles, I had at my disposal only one gear (had to choose wisely and accordingly spent a lot of time out of the saddle).
From that point on, the ride was an exercise in keeping a positive attitude and re-telling myself the corniest jokes I know. (I can always use more, so please leave your least funny ones in the comments!) Obviously unimpressed by my attempts at humor, the heat was unrelenting, the sun refused to keep it hands off me, and the wind had different ideas about where I should end up. Nevertheless, thanks in large part to my buddy Joe from Team Six in Austin, I soon found myself rolling in to our illustrious flophouse for the evening and made a beeline straight for the pool. Ahhh, the restorative properties of floating in cold water.
Now, off to dinner, and then more sand removal from bike parts I didn't even know I had. Tomorrow's destination - 29 Palms, CA, another 90 miles from here. Thanks for all the good wishes. They put a smile on my face!