Wow, a lot to unpack from this one. It was a goodie but a toughy so let’s dive right in.
The announced route was out to Overton starting from the River Mountain Loop Trailhead located just outside Lake Mead NRA. Optionally, a group would be starting from the Henderson Crafthaus. So, being the glutton for punishment, or idiot, I am, I started from the house and rode over to Crafthaus with a goal of 160 miles and 10k of elevation. If you check the stats you’ll see that didn’t quite happen.
Ride over to Crafthaus was chill because I knew today would be a long day. Made it plenty early and was surprised at the large group that showed up early to tack on a few extra miles.
We grouped up and set out for Lake Mead. Everything was going great until just past River Mountain Bike Shop. I’m chatting it up with Dave Burns about my upcoming tour when suddenly his rear mech just exploded. Thankfully he was able to get stopped without dumping his bike. After talking it over, what I think happened is a rock got kicked up by one of my tires and slammed into either the mech hangar or mech itself. Absolutely awful way to start a group ride. Thankfully, we had a sag ready for us at the start just a few miles up the road. Even better Joseph had come out to see us off and he was able to scoop up David and shuttle him home.
Rolling into the trailhead we picked up a few more riders. Some would be going all the way to Overton. Others cutting short at either Callville Bay, Redstone, or Echo Bay. After visiting and snagging a group pic we all started off for Overton.
The ride going out went great. I got linked up with Jeff and Joy and we cruised together all the way to Overton. Overall we maintained a solid pace, nothing too crazy. Only time we got frisky is when Caleb and another rider came (I want to say Calene but I don’t believe that’s how it’s spelled) around us. The three of us had thought we were still trying to chase them down and were pleasantly surprised when they’d pulled off at the Northshore Summit Trailhead. Hearing Joy yelling/asking about us grabbing their wheel I led a charge and we were able to bridge over. Funny thing is that didn’t last long, for me at least, as we started some climbing and I just watched my power numbers climb with it. I knew I had no chance of keeping up with Caleb on those climbs so I gladly dialed it back and cruised into Redstone for a nice break.
After the Redstone break we pretty much picked up right where we left off. It didn’t take long for Jeff, Joy, and I to get up front and open a gap back to everyone else. This was helped with my additional weight, both bike and body, on the descents. Funny enough Caleb was able to chase us down, and cruised with us into Overton. Rolling into Overton, and their McDonald’s, we started recovering and enjoying the break while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. I took the opportunity to enjoy a couple cheeseburgers and Dr. Pepper while everyone else was eating similar. While we were all sitting around enjoying our lunches I had a MASSIVE cramp in my right hamstring, but was able to get it worked out.
After a 35 minute break we started head back. Not wanting to break up a good thing the three of us choose to stick together for the long slog up and out of Overton. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before things to start going sideways for me.
As we were climbing, I have a good feeling at which point I started to fall apart. I was on the tail end of our little group and HAD to get up out of the saddle to stretch my legs. It started well, but it didn’t take long before I could just feel the power drain out of my legs. I looked up and just saw the gap start opening up and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. Thing is something similar happened last time I did this ride back in January. I held out hope that I would be able to continue on, eventually catch up to everyone at the Northshore Summit Trailhead, and then roll with the group all the way back just like last time. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Having fallen off my group, and riding solo, a few miles down the road I looked up and saw I was catching up to Stan and Robert. It was nice to have someone else to roll and chat with. Sadly, about two miles out of Redstone we rolled up on our sag and Stan and Calene (not sure on that spelling as mentioned earlier) had to call it a day. Stan was having awful cramps, and Calene who, I suspect, was burned up from trying to keep up Caleb early on while not being fully accustomed to these types of longer rides, I’d call him a sprinter versus a tourer. I topped up my bottles leaving Robert and I to ride on and bring up the rear.
The last 29 miles are where I completely exploded. While the 2,400 feet of elevation loss was nice, the 2,000 feet of gain was done AT A CRAWL. I could not put down any power what so ever. Sure there was the occasional 200+ spike, but for the most part is was 200 watts or less. To add insult to injury, it was around this point I also started getting hit with cramps. Want to put some power down to get up that climb? Nope cramp. Need to get out of the saddle to stretch? Nope cramp. I was miserable. Around 13 miles out from the start/finish trailhead, I started texting the wife to dispatch the kiddo to come get me at Crafthaus. A few minutes later I was updating her to just meet at the trailhead knowing there was no way I was making it to Crafthaus. Thankfully, Robert fell back and helped ride me in. He’d pull out a bit and then fall back to pick me up. Shirley came back about 2.5 miles out from the end with an empty bike rack. I was SO tempted to just throw my hands up, load up, and sag the rest, but I was so damned stubborn knowing I was almost done. I also knew that if she sagged me I’d just be waiting that much longer for the wife to get me. After the final descent down to the Las Vegas Wash, I CRAWLED up Lakeshore at a whopping 5 MPH with a cadence of 50 RPM. I WAS TOAST.
Rolled into the start/finish and was happy to see some friendly faces still hanging around. I rolled up on Shirley’s SUV with it’s rear hatch open throwing some nice shade, and I just gently dumped my bike and laid down right there in the parking lot. IDGAF, I was DED. That is exactly where I stayed until my little darlingS(!) rolled up. My girlS(!) had taken the time to tag team my bike tray off the wall in the garage and wrestle into place on the back of the car! Swear to God it’s bringing a tear to my eye now writing about it this like it did then.
I laid there for another 10-15 minutes before finally attempting to get up. My legs were cramping AWFUL. With John’s assistance, I was able to get up on two feet and waddle my way over to my car where I promptly plopped right back down on the blacktop. Almost instantly I got hit with the WORST hamstring cramps that I’ve ever experienced. I was almost crying it hurt so much. I continued to nurse some water and pickle juice before finally being able to sit up. Few minutes later I was able to get back on my feet, thanks again John, and plop my sizeable butt into the backseat of my car. I proceeded to lay down to continue nursing water and pickle juice. I’d guess it took near another 20-30 minutes before I fell good enough ti sit up so we could start the drive home. Thank God, again, for John and Shirley helping my girls getting my whip loaded up onto the tray. My girls have ZERO experience with this stuff so John’s and Shirley’s help was instrumental. I honestly don’t think I would have had it in me to get it done myself.
One last cool thing. My girls wanted some Starbucks so we rolled over to the Smiths on Lake Mead and Warm Springs. After they picked up their order, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to show them where Crafthaus is so if we have a repeat performance of today they’re more familiar. Rolled up to find that Robert and Kant were hanging out enjoying a cold one! Rolled down the window and gave a “SAUCE!!” to big smiles. Fun way for Robert to know that I was all good. Hell last he’d seen me I was laying in a heap.
After all this I can’t help but ask myself, “What the hell went wrong? You’ve done this exact ride before!?”. I flipped back through my calendar, reviewed that ride, and I think there were a couple factors.
1) I went into today with more miles and less rest than in January. I have 122.88 this week and an additional 183.21 from last week (starting on Mondays). When I did this back in January. I was in for 68.89 the week of and 122.85 from the week before. I think, more importantly though, I had 5 days of rest before that 68.89 miles. So while I KNOW I have the fitness for this ride TODAY I didn’t have enough recovery. And Caleb I swear to heaven if you pipe in about all your trainer miles and how you were fine today I’m going to punch you in the throat
2) Lack of sleep. Th>Fr I had a whopping 4 hours of sleep. Then Fr>Sa I only got 6 hours despite going to bed early to make up for the night before. Unfortunately, I don’t have logs or remember how I slept before January’s ride, but I think it’s easy to say only 10 hours of two nights is NOT enough. With my commutes my legs didn’t have a chance to repair and recover adequately over the past two nights.
3) Weather. High today 80, high in January 58.
4) Trying a new nutrition product. Someone had brought out some Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier packets and I thought it’d be a good idea to give them a shot. Something nice to add to my water bottle to help me in between stops. I had a pair of Gatorade bottles in an ice chest in the sag vehicle and should have just stuck with those. I know that something in those packets didn’t get along with my stomach. Which leads me to…
5) Bluntly I didn’t eat enough. I rolled out with a bag FULL of fuel. Gels, Stroopwaffels, and chews. Guess what I came back with? A bag FULL of fuel! I think the Liquid I.V. messing with my stomach put me off eating, which is never a good thing and led to a monster bonk.
6) Lastly. Last time out at some point I fell off the back of the group to pickup another rider. They were struggling and I went back to lend a wheel. I’d guess that reduced effort lasted for maybe the 15 miles before stopping in Overton.
So that wraps up my novel of a story about today’s ride. When considering the original goal, this ride’s technically a DNF, but at this point I’m just happy to have ‘finished’ with 100+ miles. I could have easily quit and sagged back, but stuck it out anyway.
Can’t totally sign off without HUGE SHOUTOUTS and words of appreciation to the rock-star heroes from today’s ride. Joy Martino, Jeff Smith, and Caleb Sprayberry for being my partners in crime. We were rocked it pretty good until I fell apart. Shirley Mattox for being an awesome sag driver. She was especially great at the end! She was sweet enough to fill up my water bottles one last time while I was laying there on the blacktop doing my best not to die, and huge props for helping my girls load up my whip. Robert “Sauce” Samano for hanging back and making sure I made it back ok. It can suck to ride back solo so having someone to ride up on/with, ableit temporarily, is welcome. You didn’t have to, but you did and know it’s appreciated. Finally, John Grever for all your help while I was in a heap on the blacktop. Providing pickle juice, encouragement to live, offering a helping hand up, and also helping my girls get my whip loaded up.
T-Minus 41 days until PCBR.
Give your activities the names they deserve. – by Bandok.com
Clear-Sunny, 62°F-85°F, Feels like 63°F-80°F, Humidity 30%-13%, Wind WSW 2mph-SE 8mph – by Klimat.app
— myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: -0.6%
Headwind: 65% @ 3.2-15.9mph
Longest Headwind: 01h 52m 42s
Air Speed: 17.2mph
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —
Max elevation: 3041 ft
Min elevation: 1229 ft
Total climbing: 8846 ft
Total descent: -10064 ft
Average speed: 19.77 mi/h
Total time: 10:16:03