Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Tonic

You know those stories the old timers tell about some form of a spring tonic?  This past weekend I went over to Richland with John and Ian to ride the Desert River 200K. I’ve ridden a couple 200’s this winter, and we’ve been lucky with the weather. My friends at NWS were promising sunny skies and warm temps for this event.

As we were on our way toward White Pass I was going through my mental check list when it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I should have had that spring tonic earlier in the day. “Pull over for a minute John, I may have forgotten something”. Five minutes later it was decision time: Apparently Serge, my soigneur had forgotten to pack my bike shoes. After a brief evaluation of all alternatives we turned around and headed back to Rocky Acres, grabbed the shoes (right were I’d left them!) and then once again headed for the sunny side of the mountains. I know better. That mental check list? I have a perfectly good hard copy paper checklist that I used to use as a matter of course anytime I was driving as opposed to riding to the start of an event. I won’t make that mistake again.

Once in Richland we settled in at the Motel Six for a brief respite and then were up before daylight and on the trail of sustenance.  After a warm breakfast at Sharis we headed to the start. I was grateful that we were early, plenty of time to get the bikes unloaded and ready to go, and to watch the sun come up.

After brief pre-ride instructions from Paul, the ride organizer we were off. It was a little chilly at the start but the day warmed up nicely, and what followed was a great day on the bike. Of course nothing is perfect, I had two flats (thorns both) and the rando bane reared its ugly head early and followed true to form: What started as a mild headwind on the outward bound leg evolved into a spiteful and decidedly stiffer headwind on the leg home. How does that happen? An out and back route with headwinds both ways? Only on a bicycle.

So I made some old mistakes (including adding a few bonus miles on a very simple route) and I also learned what may be a new trick: Doubtless you know about those neat little single serve packets of instant coffee available from Starbux, right? I used those to help out riders at a control on last year’s 600K brevet. Well, I stuck a couple in my H-bar bag thinking that they didn’t take up much space and weighed less than one carbon fiber coated titanium plated water bottle bolt shim. Well, on that upwind tack on the run in, I ran out of steam. Remembering that little packet of caffeinated goodness I and decided that it was time to try something new: iced coffee in a bottle. It worked well, no mess, no fuss, and for those of us who love our caffeine with a coffee flavor and no need for sugar, artificial flavor or color, this could be the ticket.

On a serious note, one of the riders was seriously injured in a car/bicycle alteration. I came upon the scene a few minutes after the accident, the woman was sprawled in the intersection and there were law enforcement and emergency services personnel on the scene. She was transported and when I got to the finish the report was that she had a fractured pelvis, kneecap and possible fractured arm. No assignment of liability but it seemed that she rode through a stop sign and broad sided a van. Sorry for her and hope she heals well and soon.

I had a good ride, and now look ahead to the SIR 200K next weekend. Good to have the official 12010 brevet season officially under way.

You never know what you'll find out in the desert.

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