Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shift #1: The CA Desert

We picked up from Jeremy and Andrew somewhere around Brawley at 8pm.  They were cooked, and gave it everything they had.  Being 3 minutes down on TT1, and a few minutes up on Team 4Mil, I basically wanted to just maintain place and have fun because I wasn't sure how my knee would react to the violent pedaling.  I also wasn't sure how the 2 of us would stack against the TT1 riders, but more on that later.  We had TT1 in our sights for quite some time, until we hit some little town where we hit every red light.  It wasn't long before TT1 was out of our physical sights, but we weren't worried.  This is a 5 and a half day race!

In fact, our worries shifted quickly when we learned about an hour into our shift that our front right truck tire had a slow leak in it.  Fortunately, our crew chief Chuck packed an air compressor in our follow vehicle, and we quickly grabbed it.  Dave, our driver, handled this with grace.  After every pull, Dave got out, and had the compressor going to keep the tire.  Sometimes the PSI would increase, sometimes it wouldn't.

Expect the unexpected.

I was trying not to let it bother me because I was having FUN!  We had a nice tailwind, with comfortable temps in the desert, and we were flyin'!  I LOVE riding at night (during RAAM): it's something you never get to do in training, and there are very few cars on the road.  Not to mention, it's the first shift, everyone is excited and has fresh legs.  Very rarely in training do you get to just pedal without mercy while going 30mph (and not have to worry about turning around into the headwind!).  It was a good shift where we probably averaged 25mph, and then handed off to Larry and Kevin.  I don't remember where we handed it off, but it was somewhere near the AZ border.

We had a tire to fix, and fortunately, there was a 24-Hour Walmart open somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, and we got some fix-a-flat that allowed us to get to flagstaff.  I passed out fairly quickly in the 3rd row seat of our suburban, and woke up at our destination, where I went right back to sleep in the hotel at 7am.

Pre-sleep #2 breakfast and recovery with beautiful sights in the background:

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