Sunday, July 5, 2009
YES Tour day 25: Trials, tribulations and smashed pecans
Elevation gained: 3200 ft
Flat tires: 7
Inter-team conflict: 1
Our plan was to wake up super early and bike the entire distance from Pueblo to Salida. Coffee was in our mugs by 5:15 AM, homemade bread toasted, buttered and masticated by 5:30. I'd only gotten 3 hours of sleep, but the rest of the crew seemed rested and ready.
We packed and headed out into the cool morning. At the river (a few hundred yards after we started) we stopped to take pictures of the world's longest mural and to do a little photo/video shoot of handstands and yoga. After all, it was our earliest start so far, and we only had 100 miles to go. Why not take our time? What could go wrong???
A mile later I had a flat. When we stopped to change it, I noticed goat head thorns (nasty three pointed thorns that stand up like a tripod) all over my tire. A moment later, we realized that both Sam and I had thorns all over our tires. I reached down, pulled one out and "pssssssss" the tire started deflating.
My two tires were covered with them and when I'd pulled the tubes out, we realized that each tube had been punctured over a dozen times. One of Sam's was really bad too, but his other only had 4 holes.
Luckily we had 3 spare tubes, and we cut up our remaining patches to try to repair the least damaged tube. We painstakingly removed all the thorns from the tires, and 90 minutes later, we were ready to go. Back on the road.
Or so we thought. Less than two minutes later, we had another flat...we repaired it.
Ten minutes later, another, and then another. In the first 2 miles from leaving Pueblo, we had 7 flat tires. And with the trailer, and the racks - changing each one was a bit of an ordeal.
The cool morning turned warm and then hot. By 11AM, we'd made it only about 5 miles, and if we'd calculated it right then, our average speed would've been less than 1 mph.
Thankfully, the rest of the day was flat free. We climbed slowly up the Arkansas River valley. We were all in our own worlds during the beautiful, long and, exhausting ride. The long time together with no breaks started to manifest in petty disagreements and mis-communications, especially between Sam and I. Sam thought I was puching to hard, I thought we were taking too many breaks.... Eventually it came to a head during a stop at lonely riverside gas station/cafe. I thought we were just stopping for water (I really wanted to make Salida by darkness), Sam was lured by the homemade milkshakes and cool indoor temps.
It was certainly one of our low points as a team. There was obvious tension, and I ended up riding ahead from the group and pushing hard and purging my emotions through pedaling. I ended up in Salida an hour ahead of the other, and was able to have a nice practice on a concrete street meridian while I waited.
That night we crashed at a friend of a friend's house. Everyone was exhausted, and Sam, Tom and Chelsey went to bed without dinner.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
I looked at the clock and it was 1:30 AM.
BANG! BANG! BANG!!!
The house owner had returned home from a night of play with friends, only to realize she still needed to make a pecan crust for her 4th of July dessert. She was crushing a giant bag of pecans with an even more gigantic bowl. It went on for 30 minutes, and in the end became so surreal that Sam and Tom got up and went to the kitchen and ended up chatting about all manner of things until nearly 3.
For me it was just another night of less than adequate sleep.
It was our longest day yet. 102.5 miles.
Yes Tour: Day 25 at SpotAdventures
Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging