We rose before dawn. There was already a line for the bathroom.

I ate everything. I snagged extra snacks. 102 miles with A LOT of climbing:
day 3

The Strava data: http://app.strava.com/activities/56012728

I was all business. No pictures. So I’ll share the videos of others:

We were instructed to hydrate and eat a lot, but when the first water and restroom are at mile 34, you conserve your water. And while waiting in that line for the only bathroom at mile 34, this conversation happened:

“You’re one of the LA riders, aren’t you?”
I was wearing one of my Firecracker jerseys, and standing with my team captain, who was in his full LACBC kit.
“I am.”
“I could tell. Everything on your outfit matches.”
Sure. The bright yellow Novara windbreaker picks up the yellow on my jersey. I have a while thermal on under the yellow and white jersey. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment. I’m shallow because I grew up with Garanimals and think it’s uncivilized to leave the house un-coordinated. Never mind that I barely meet acceptable grooming standards for LA.
I might be the Kate Moss of the Climate Ride.

The second third of the ride was largely uneventful. I had a weird cramp in my right side that I mentally diagnosed as 1) indigestion brought on by constantly stuffing food in my face 2) incipient appendicitis 3) oblique muscle soreness brought on by overcompensating on the upstroke to spare my left knew. I had a wonderful companion for this segment who distracted me by letting me jabber on about my plans.

and then…

If you read the route slip carefully, you saw that mile 65 was the last chance to bail out. I wasn’t going to bail out. I just needed to conserve my resources. My nutella-and-banana sandwich that I’d packed in camp. The extra Bonk Breakers I’d brought from home, just in case I didn’t like the snacks on the ride.

If you’ve ever driven on Highway 1 in Mendocino, you might have a sense of what went down. Cliffs. No guard rails. Gnarly climbs followed by what I believe they refer to in the trade as “technical descents”. I knew two huge climbs were lurking after Jenner, and my knees. I didn’t want to ruin my knees. I needed to keep them happy so they would deliver me to the finish.

Oh, and there was wind. A lot of wind. The “blow-Kate-Moss-on-a-bicycle-off-the-cliff-into-the-Pacific-Ocean” kind of gusts. Fortunately, my team captain was with me, and talked me through it. Talked me through the climbs into headwinds, talked me through the my-hands-are-still-sore-from-gripping-the-brakes descents. I just kept thinking about preserving my knees so I could handle those big climbs after Jenner.

Mile 89.8. Jenner. Rest stop. Check route slip.

Those were the big climbs. They’re over. They’re in the past. They were terrible, but not because of the climbing, because of the terror. Because of the “I am never doing this again” feeling. Because I could see the “Climate Rider blown off cliff in freak wind gust” headline on page 3 of the Local section, and maybe a brief mention in the biking in LA blog.

12 miles to camp, on flat roads, off the coast. Yeah, baby.


Even better, the nice folks from New Belgium showed up with FREE BEER, and three dogs! Dogs who wanted to lick my face! The caterer had two salads with NO ONIONS! After dinner, they showed a video about the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash. Alas, I had already crashed. Wearing my Marathon Crash t-shirt. Clutching my Marathon Crash water bottle. Like a baby. A very happy baby.