From about TS#11 Mexican Hat, UT to just short of TS#13 Cortez, CO (I think). Somewhere around 108 miles, 21.5 mph.
I ate something shortly after getting back in the truck, and passed out for a few hours. I woke up near Flagstaff, AZ to what didn't look like AZ - lots of pine trees:
I also noticed I had a pretty consistent cough. Every few minutes, I started hacking every few minutes. Larry thought it was breathing in all the dry air. I thought it was breathing in all the dry air at such a damn fast rate! Woof! We got to our hotel around 9am, grabbed some Denny's, and crashed for about 5 hours. We woke up, I got interviewed:
and we made our way to start the next leg in Mexican Hat, UT. This is the mexican hat:
It was absolutely beautiful driving through Monument Valley in AZ:
I also couldn't help but think that the course for IM St. George (which I would know nothing about!) would look somewhat similar to some of the scenery I was seeing too, which was absolutely gorgeous.
Below is a pic of what was to come: Andrew is just past the far vehicle (right lights), with Andrew waiting to do an exchange up the road (left lights).
This is the exchange with Larry starting it off for us:
Larry and I barreled through the UT desert in 85 degree heat, and finally made our way to some way-out-in-the-middle-of-effin-nowhere-back-country-road and at some point ended up in Colorado. Shortly after getting into CO, things started to chill out a bit, and I am not talking intensity unfortunately. It seemed like every time I was getting out of the truck to do an exchange, it was getting colder. In hindsight, this falls in the "duh" category since we were riding later into the night, and also getting up in elevation. But, in the heat of it all, I was kinda confused. So, every time I was getting out of the car, I was putting another layer of clothing on: first it was knee warmers, then it was arm warmers, then it was stretching the knee warmers down to be leg warmers, then it was gloves, then it was the vest, then I was just screwed! It was getting cold. Really cold. I finally checked the temp, and it was in the 50's. Growing up in MA, I shouldn't have been bothered by this, but being at elevation, and being wet with sweat made for chills everytime I got out of the car.
Further, it was completely dark out at this point, and all peripheral vision was completely gone. Flats seemed liked downhills, and uphills seemed liked flats. This was very frustrating. Not to mention the headwind! Climbing the rockies into a headwind sucked! BUT, climbing the rockies was something I was always wanted a piece of, so here I had it.
But then, things started going downhill for me, while going uphill of course. I started feeling light headed. I started seeing spots, and stars. I was BONKING (for the second time in my life), and it was not cool. I saw the follow vehicle about half a mile ahead, and let me tell you - IT WAS TOUGH to try and get there. I tried to motion for the follow vehicle to come up and give me some sugar, but they had no liquid sugar, which was useless. I finally got to the exchange on fumes, and handed my bike to Matt to rack onto the truck. In the time it took him to rack my bike, which is about 90 seconds, I slammed 5 gels, a banana, and literally, crushed a red bull. He came in the truck, and was like "WTF is going on?!" This is the aftermath:
Within another minute, I put down 2 more gels, and another banana. We still had an hour left, and I needed calories stat. I followed it up with a full clif bar about 2 minutes. In total, there were over a THOUSAND calories consumed within 5 minutes. I then realized that my body needed extra calories to stay warm, and that was probably one of the reasons why this was happening.
We finished up the leg, and I was so spent. I was moaning in the back seat, freezing. Beyond hungry, unable to move, and no motivation or energy to eat! It was definitely a low point. We headed to Denny's (again, against my wishes), and I could barely eat. I was laying down in the booth, barely able to communicate. I am sure Larry and the crew were wondering how this 28 year old rookie, youngest on the team by 10 years, was going to be able to finish. We got back in the truck, and I feel asleep very quickly. DONE.
Below is a montage of Day 2 put together by our awesome crew: