||11-30-13 08:53 AM
About 2-weeks out, weather forecast called for rain but highs in 70s, so my son & I decided to go. Figured if we dressed with some excellent anti-rain stuff, we should be fine. Out of defiance, I tried not to look at forecasts as it approached. Day of, temps were mid-40s to low-50s. Combined with the thorough soaking we got, it was pretty nasty.
Started near the front of Gold section, with goal of getting Platinum by end and riding with lead pack throughout. Got to start area by 4:15, left bikes on ground to secure our spots, then retreated to warm, dry car just around corner. During dry editions, not my favorite tactic, but I hoped everyone would understand given the cold/wet. We weren't the only ones, so apparently, everyone understood. :)
Announced that first crossing had been scrapped and we'd stay on the roads. This was good as the accordion effect coming out of the wash is where I always fall OTB of the leaders. Ride started, and my son & I chased. Within first mile, my rear wheel slid out a bit, and I wasn't even turning. :eek: A mile later, I hit some cracks hidden under water and I felt my front wheel slide a bit. :eek: Fortunately, I didn't go down either time.
Well we chased & chased, picking up a few groups ahead here & there. With fewer riders, the wet, and the cool temps, gaps between riders had grown. This was one of the harder chases I've done in 6 editions. We finally managed to grab ahold of the lead pack. I noticed the lead motorcycles were ahead of us by a minute or two, but a Mavic support moto told my son that it was a break of 4 riders. I wasn't in a hurry to "win" the event, so I didn't try to chase.
We hit a few low-spots where the water had accumulated into a stream. That made life interesting. My bike (and almost everyone around us) had zero-braking. I could slow, but stopping took a big chunk o' time. :D So we rode on, praying that nobody ahead did anything stupid. And, for the most part, we were okay. My last edition, 2 years ago, there were about 4-5 crashes in the first 90-mins. This year: none.
After about almost 30-miles, we crossed an intersection. Under some standing water was a crack in the pavement I couldn't see. I hit it at full speed, quickly trying to lift my weight off the saddle, but it was too late: I pinch flatted. :( Prior to the start, my son & I had decided to stay with eachother, helping out if we knew the other was in trouble. So as I pulled off to the side, I noticed him slowing as well. We happened to be right in front of a convenience store so my son went in & used the bathroom. A guy outside & I changed my flat. I was very thankful for his help as my cold fingers couldn't really do too much at all. As we finished, my son came out, rung out his gloves of all the water, and we re-started as a big group approached. He & I rode on, leading the way for the next 5-miles, when my tire blew out. Apparently, the tube must have been peeking out from under the tire. I thought I had checked it, but not good enough. :(
At this point, at the corner of Houghton & Irvington, I was cold, my calves were cramping, my legs had never warmed up (why it was so hard to chase the leaders), and I was soaked to the bone. Prior to the start, I had gone out of my way to purchase a Castelli Gabba WS jersey & arm-warmers, some pro-tested anti-rain gear. I thought it would work well keeping out cold & wet. After 90-mins: nope! Not so good. But then, my son's anti-rain wonder jersey also didn't do well. I told the kid I would call the wife for pickup while waiting inside another convenience store & trying to get warm. He was feeling miserable, too, so he decided to do the same.
We were both disappointed at not being able to do what we had wanted. Me especially so as I had some of my best training for this year's ride, and my failures were what caused my son to drop out as well. I dunno if we'll try next year or not. We're not talking about it at this point. :D