Sunday, October 18, 2009

DEATH VALLEY REPORT, DAYS 2 & 3. TAKE TWO!

So - not sure what happened to the hilarious and touching report I a-l-m-o-s-t got posted last night. Trust me when I say that you would've laughed, cried and mebbe even peed your pants. No way to re-create it though so you'll hafta settle for this. It's all I got.

Friday - Breakfast, pre-ride meeting and then tune-up ride. Since we're too cool to follow the crowd these days we decided as a team to take a pass on the lame lil' ride out to Golden Canyon and headed straight for Zabriskie Point. That climb is always a pisser - it's 5 miles up from here if you've not done it - and when we got to the lookout we were once again sharing it w/ approx 123, 584, 594 euro tourists. Still - always a sweet way to wake up travel-heavy legs. While we were all grouped for a photo op some dude grabbed my bike and started posing w/ it like we was a rider. That was weird enough, but harmless, so I was cool w/ it but then he freakin' climbed on and started weaving through all the other euro tourists! I was still tryin' to decide just what to do about it when he decided that his buds had enough shots of him bein' big bad bike guy and put it back. No harm no foul - I guess - but I was wonderin' how he'd feel if some dude climbing behind the wheel of his Ferrari and started pretending to drive it while folks took pics, And then fired it up for a few hot laps' 'round the parking lot.

Too weird.

After that we split up w/ J2, Pablo, dude from Indy and I heading up for a few more miles of climbing before enjoying a full 10 miles of descent back to the Ranch. After lunch we scattered a bit - Nick for the hike, a group for a drive through Artist's Canyon and a buncha us for the pool. After I did the bike seminar w/ TSC and Mike Malekoff 'twas dinner time. The "program" was short and sweet, they awarded the green and yellow jerseys and then we had our obigatory helmet desicrat...er....decorating session. Thanks to good ol' John "I hate helmet crap" Jasker for steppin' up after our stuff was lost w/ Rob's golf clubs on the way out. After a bit of that...and some sweet-n-serious "why & how we're here & what it means to us" chat most of us called it a night w/ JD, J2 and Maggie taking advantage of the free star gazing session over by the airstrip.

That brings us to Saturday. Ride day. We rolled out in perfect conditions, 170 strong. The ride to Badwater was the best ever as I rode w/ Lin, JD and Pablo. We grouped up again there and the bit to Mormon Point went smoothly as well. After that things got tougher - we had a really pissy headwind for all those l-o-n-g climbs leading up to the Ashford Mills breakpoint and that made things tough. From there we headed up the pass - I was w/ Lin, Katie, Steve & JD @ that point w/ everyone else up the road and Chris behind us. The climb was tough - by then you're in the full-on sun and heat and...well.....7 miles of climbing is just that - 7 frickin' miles of climbing! We all got there and after some recovery and pix we turned back for the return trip. Our group bid farewell to JD @ Ashford Mills and the 5 of us (Lin, Katie, Steve, Danny-from-Indy and I) made our way back to Mormon Point in decent time. We'd lost Lin to a sag wagon at that point, and would soon lose Danny as well, but the 3 other Clarks were kinda on a mission and that mission was to see Katie cross the line w/ not only her first-ever century but having completed this ride.

And I'm completely happy to say "Mission Accomplished". She was a rockstar all day - riding strong, hydrating, keeping cool. It was a great thing to see. Steve was his strong-n-steady self and we rolled in w/ 20 minutes to spare. The scene @ the line - w/ all of our team mates there in keeping w/ the West Michigan tradition - is something that'll give me goose bumps for a long time! (Oops - there they are now! See 'em?)

At dinner that night we enjoyed a slide show of the weekend and the twin highlights of Maggie and Becky's breakpoint winning the best rest stop award and then Katie receiving the polka dot "Spirit" jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatta great way to wrap up a great day! Then it was on to the hallparty where everyone but me enjoyed the now-traditional "watch MC roll around on the floor w/ cramps" show and talked about everything from yesterday to next year.

Congrats to everyone on the Team - everyone rode so well - JD got to the top of Jubilee, Lin rode 70 + miles in the brutal heat, Chris rode out to Ashford Mills and back (90 some miles!), Nick and Rob rode up to the top of the Pass and then all the way back to Badwater, J2 was his usual strong self, so was Pete and they rode the whole ride. Pablo rode his longest ride ever by over 40 miles and finished the whole course strong and...........well................I already toldja 'bout Steve and Katie.


I'm outta words to describe how I feel about everyone on this team...........you are ALL rockstars in my book - DV riders, VT riders, past riders.........you've done so much and, well, I can't wait for 2010!

Talk to you all soon, hopefully.

Coach Mike

3 comments:

Tom and Mary Scheidel said...

Tears of joy.

Katie said...

Mary - I said a few swear words myself.

MC said...

I think I heard one or two of 'em...can't be certain sure though.