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Old 10-29-09, 07:17 AM
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Biker395 
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SoCal
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Bikes: 2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 1996 Colnago Decor Super C96; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport

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Stage I - Canyon Country to California City (cont.)

Mojave is a strange town, but I’ve always had a fondness for it. When you approach on Highway 14, all ... and I mean ALL ... of the businesses are on the east side of the road. There are railroad tracks just to the west of the highway, and nothing at all on the other side of those tracks. It’s as if no one dared build there for fear of being on “the other side of the tracks.”

We would not enter Mojave itself ... just skirt along the periphery of it.

Pity. I could use a SuperStar with cheese right about now.

I dunno what it was in this section, but somehow, all those delicious tailwinds turned into headwinds. I got on the aerobars and tried to hustle over to the California City turnoff, where I would again head East and with the wind.

In the 2006 508, I broke a cable somewhere along here, and lost a lot of time. The support van had headed off to wait for me at California City, and I was on my own. That meant I could only ride in my smallest chainring. Since I use a triple chainring (and have no shame in doing so), that meant that although I could have done 25 MPH easily though this section, I had to pedal furiously to make 18 MPH. I tried stopping to fix it by adjusting the stop on the front derailleur, but all I did was waste 5 minutes. It was frustrating to get passed like that because of a mechanical problem.

I had no such problems this year. By and by, I closed rapidly on another rider. I wondered aloud why they were going so slow, but the reason was apparent as I passed him. He was riding a fixie.

Fixies are bikes that have only one gear. You think it’s nuts to ride a bike 500 miles in 48 hours? Try doing it with only one gear. That means that you’ll be in too tall of a gear for almost any ascent. Nice, huh? And that’s not the half of it. There is no coasting on a fixie. So while us ordinary crazies are cruising downhill and with the wind at 30 MPH or more, these guys are trying to get down the hill, pushing *against* their pedals to slow down.

This year, there were two solos in the fixie category. One male, and one female. They were assured of a first place finish ... if they finished. And as it turns out, that would be no easy feat.

Passing him seemed unfair ... like I was cheating. But pass him I did.

His bike looked like a mirage. White, with beautiful pink spokes. I wondered aloud what that was all about.



I soon found out. His crew consisted of three attractive women, dressed in identical T-shirts. Each time they stopped to hand him water and what-not, they’d scramble about like good little crewmembers, but appeared to be having a grand old time doing it. They were a welcome relief from the drab desert landscape.



California City is even more interesting than Mojave. The city limits extend a crazy long distance into the sagebrush and creosote of the Mojave ... including a portion of Highway 14 itself, 15 miles distant. It was promoted as a model development for retirees, with big plans for a lake and all kind of amenities. Along the way, something went wrong, and it never achieved it’s full promise. There are houses all right, but there are also a lot of empty,. weed infested streets. Still, I like it here.

At this point, I was hoping to beat my previous time into California City. Last time, I managed to get there in a little over 5 hours. Would I make it? Passing quickly though town, I made the obilgatory stop, a left turn, and I checked in with a time of just under 5 hours.



My plan was to eat and drink as much as possible *on the bike* and not in the rest stops. I knew that the weather or exhaustion may slow my pace dramatically, but I also knew that the key to finishing was to keep going and waste as little time in the time stations as possible.

My plan was also to change shorts about every 100 miles. We were not yet to 100 miles but since the next time station was a good number miles away in Trona, I decided to change there.

Kinda tough to have a semblance of modesty during endurance races. You have to change, and do it fast. I jumped into the front seat and without taking off my shoes, pulled the shorts off. Saralie had opened the side door and was looking for one thing or another.

“Don’t worry. I’m not looking.”

“That’s OK ... there’s nothing to see, anyway.”

I think she was still sore about hitting her in the face with my water bottle:

“Yea, that’s about what I would have expected.”
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Last edited by Biker395; 10-29-09 at 08:43 AM.
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