Training Camp – Day Six

Mar 23rd

Today was Mount Charleston. 25 miles of climbing up to about 8500ft elevation. Despite the fact that I suck at climbing I was excited about the challenge since back in New York the only place you’re gonna find 25 miles of climbing is on a Computrainer. Mind you despite the fact that I was excited for the ride I was a little fearful. My legs were aching from the Tabata workout that we did yesterday. To add insult to injury it was extremely windy. 30+ mph wind gusts nonstop. The wind was tossing around the vans on the drive out to the mountain. When we parked and opened up the doors, shit was blowing out everywhere and it was pretty cold. If I could read minds I’d bet that a few guys were just waiting for someone to say they weren’t going to do the ride so that they wouldn’t feel so bad opting out as well. After a good 5 minutes of bitching from some of us, Aaron snapped,”you know, you dont have to do this.”…translation – stop whining and get on your bike, you pussies.

We began our ride in a valley fighting the winds on our way up. You are on a consistent uphill grade from the very beginning. We rolled along in a rotating paceline. The group started to fall apart within the first few miles of the ride. There was no hiding from the wind. Once we reached higher elevation the road cut through tall rock formations and we were shielded from the wind. By this point I was dropped from the group. Fatigue had definitely set in. I averaged 240 watts for the 1st hour of the ride. This is definitely wattage that I would have had no problem of maintaining on a typical day. I soldiered on to approx 6000ft of elevation. Then I called it quits. After finding out what lied ahead in the hours to come I was happy that I did. I was feeling cold. It was nearly 50 degrees different from the bottom of the climb to the top. Las Vegas desert at the bottom and snow capped ski slopes at the top. The trip down was really cold. The descent was sick. It seemed like nearly an hour of bombing down hill spinning out a 53×12 at 100+ rpm. The descent just went on and on and on. The crosswinds were so hard that I feel that I was leaning my body against the wind just to keep from swerving off the road. Man was I happy once I saw the car.

Once I changed clothes, I drove up the mountain to support the others. I gave out warm clothing and refilled bottles. I stopped to help David. Further up the road I gave some gloves to Brian. I picked up Sean. He had enough. He was probably the best dressed in the group and he was shivering like a homeless man in a New York winter. A minute later I picked up Gino. He called me and said,”hurry up and come and get me, I’m fuckin hypothermic over here.” Apparently everyone passed the turn that we were supposed to make so some made this correct turn after turning around a half mile up the road.

Once we saw this road, we were delighted to have been in the car. The road was a double digit grade for miles. Danny, Brian, and Aaron were riding together. Aaron was deteriorating and was dropped from that group soon after. I jumped out of the van and ran along side him like a crazed Tour fan in the Pyrennes. I think that I ran for about 100m. Goddamn that hurt. Note to self, my body had adapted to low elevation. A sprint at 8000ft elevation sucks. I was gasping for air for a good minute after I stopped running.

We rode about a mile up the road until we found Stoffel. Stoffel is a machine. I believe that Stoffel may have some physiological defect. His body does not realize that it weighs almost 200lbs. It climbs like it weighs like 155lbs. He was up there just tapping away a solid cadence up the mountain. After checking on Stoffel we drove ahead to find Bill. After driving a few miles we didnt see Bill. We assumed that he may have turned back to the car and we just didnt see him.

I was doing 90mph down the mountain once I remember that I moved the key for the other van. I envisioned David and Bill frozen and pissed off as they were locked out of the other van. Fortunately once we got to the parking lot David had only been there for a couple of minutes. After an hour or so, most of the guys were back to the van. Nearly 2 hours passed and still no Bill.

We all theorized at what may have happened. All of us were wrong. Apparently Bill, with his navigational wisdom, was the only one who did the full ride. Brian was carrying extra clothing for everyone but didnt go as far a Bill. Bill was up at the ski slope totally underdressed, freezing cold, and waiting for his clothing to come. Well since Brian was back at the car with his clothes, Bill never made it down the mountain on his bike. He ended up getting driving back down by some drunken snowboarders. Bill was a little pissed but I’m pretty sure that he was happy to be back.

That was some good excitement for our last day of riding. Now back to the house for cleaning, packing and preparing for tomorrows flight back home.

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