Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ocotlllo Wells... such a lovely place

Ocotillo Wells is 90 minutes from where I live....straight out I8 toward Arizona....and it is an exit with a gas station, the Lazy Lizard Saloon and a County Park.

 But it is the start of a awesome bike ride...one I have done in 29 degrees and 120 degrees.    I have done the official century 3 times and unofficially 3 times.  All good memories with good friends.

My first Stagecoach was with Coach KP and another of his athlete's.  It was freezing cold and it was hard it was also my first Century  and I was really scared and excited.  I wanted to hang on and survive.  I wanted to show up and not stress like everyone else ...but I did not sleep well, was really nervous but had a ton of fun and learned first hand how effective drafting can be.

I don't have a lot of memories about the 2nd one.  The 3rd time was unofficial and it was in September as a really stupid  really genius idea for a Kona prep training day.  Ride 100 miles in the heat and then run 3 miles.  John, Tati and I left the house at 4:30 and were on out bikes at 6am/  It was close to 80 at 6am.   We rode out and was hot, Africa hot and we kept riding, stopped at all stops for ice, water, coke, salt and it was okay until the turn around. Head wind, 110 degrees and were were dying.. We stopped and refiled all liquids, poured ice down our clothes and hammered home.  Around the air strip I stopped a bit and as I skidded to a stop on the gravel and ate it.... slam, wham... dented helmet, torn hands and huge hemotoma on my thigh.  We rode back and it was not fun- we were hot and delirious and stopped at border patrol for electrolytes and they called us f'in crazy.    We made it back...and rolled into the gas station parking lot.  I took a car shower- ie dumped a huge bottle of water all over me and changed into fresh clothes.   By the time I got into the store I was feeling fresh and there was Tati splayed out on the floor - refrigerator door open enjoying the cold air with 2 bags of chips open shoveling them into her mouth and chugging a coke.  I roll in with a big hemotoma and bloody leg.  The guy behind the counter was laughing.... "geez I ain't never seen anything like this"   Needless to say we bagged the run... and swore we would never do that again.

ah beauty in Ocotillo

One year later...training for 70.3 Worlds in Vegas it suddenly seemed like a good idea.... John said NO, no, no..... But Beth was game and KP was game (or came along to make sure we did not die) On our bikes 6am and it was close to 90..... 1st stop mile 35 and KP was not well-  we bought ice, took salt and were ready to roll.  KP decided to turn back as he was not feeling great.  Beth and I rolled on to 50 and turned around, as we passed the RV store we decided not to stop big big mistake as we figured we would stop at the airport.  Ugh....the airport store is closed in August because it is to f'ing hot to land a plane.  We were nearly out of fluids, 115 degrees and not good.  We found a hose with tepid water and we knew we had to fill up.  It was tough.. We headed on and it was ugly.  To summarize.... I was sure I wanted to lay down and take a nap under the tree on the side of road turns out the tree was a dandelion.  It was scary.... I was pushing up my bike up the hill and not sure I would make it.  Beth was awesome and we plugged along, shivering and seeing things. The mirage we thought was a mirage was really KP in his truck ..... saved us with air conditioning and cold drinks!

2013 as we drove out to the start there was snow on the Cajon pass.  Temp at the start was 27 degrees with a high of 41.  Hardly recognized anyone as we were bundled head to toe.  Amy, KP, John and I "survived"  Lesson of the day.... check your electronic shifting battery power-  died at mile 80.

Later in 2013 we did a sort of Century and Liz and I rode from home to Ocotillo Wells to camp...wrong turn added 20 miles and made our 85 miles 115 with a head wind...but was good fun.

2014 was the best....60 degrees and sunny at the start and was soon in the 70's - yes Jan 18th my friends.  I did not have my buddies to ride with but it was great fun..... good music and I jumped on a few wheels and red lined for 20 + miles on the way out- gasp.... recovered a bit and the found another wheel for a bit.  Final 15 miles raced a roadie... good times.    My VI was HIGH, not an ideal Ironman ride but a lot of fun.  Power file was all over.... but a solid day of fun.

Thanks for all the good memories....and I want to get back out there in May - before it is TOO hot for another killer Ironman training day.