24 Hours

A Note from Fatty: Today’s post comes to you courtesy of BotchedExperiment. Here, he describes his experience of riding around the White Rim last weekend. I so wish I could have been there.

Tomorrow, I will post Dug’s writeup. And then the following day I will post a video Dug’s doing of the ride.

This is the kind of stuff I love. Indulge me.

Last Saturday was the 7th annual Ride Around White Rim in One Day (RAWROD). Kenny and 50 of his best friends gather at Canyonlands National Park to ride 104 miles of dirt road through spectacular scenery, deep sand, and high temperatures. I’ve wanted to do this ride since I first read Fatty’s three-part write up about it a couple years ago. dug’s write up of last year’s ride only whetted my appetite more. If you really like reading about crazy things people have done, check out Bob’s description of his and dug’s ride around White Rim on summer solstice.

The following takes place between 4:00 am Saturday and 4:00 am Sunday:

4:07 am I’m rifling through my bag for the second time, looking for the earplugs that I KNOW I brought. I correctly predicted a cacophonic symphony of snoring. I still can’t find those #@&*& earplugs.

4:35 am Trying to get some sleep by laying on one ear, while plugging the other ear with a finger isn’t working. Plus, I have to urinate. The air is crisp, but not cold. The stars are amazing, the moon is gibbous and brilliant.

5:00 am I give up trying to sleep and start putting on my cycling clothes while still in my sleeping bag. I think Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) is dead. While sleeping, he doesn’t move, doesn’t snore (thank God), and doesn’t even breathe heavily.

5:30 am Kenny and Brad are up, so I start to organize my stuff for the ride, and go out to shiver in the morning cold. The donuts I bought for breakfast taste like lard. Luckily Brad brought lots of oatmeal.

6:00 am dug emerges from the tent. I’ve never seen anyone look so tired. He drags himself to a camp chair, and someone hands him a bowl of oatmeal. He stares at it blankly, uncomprehendingly. He’s trying to explain why he’s so tired. The individual words he’s speaking make sense, but the sentences don’t. He’s saying something about Ambien. . . I’m pretty sure dug doesn’t remember the first hour of the ride.

7:05 am Kenny honks the starting horn and we head down towards Horsethief road.

The dirt road is mostly downhill and I’m on a singlespeed (like Rick, dug, Kenny, and Brad). While descending the road, dug rests his head on his stem and takes a nap. Far up ahead I see large figures racing along with the main group of riders, and then darting off the road into the brush. The figures do this several times. Apparently, as in Jaws 4, the Chupacabra has followed Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) to Moab and possessed the bodies of some horses.

There is absolutely no one behind me on the road and I start to fear that I’m going to be riding 10 feet in front of sag wagon all day.

7:30 am When we reach the bottom of the switchbacks, we all pose for a picture; after the picture a bunch of people start leaving and I head out with them thinking that Rick, dug, and Brad will quickly catch up. The only thing that happens quickly is that everyone on a geared bike leaves me in the dust. Strangely, it turned out that for several different reasons, everyone on a singlespeed stayed behind at the spot we took the picture. For the next couple hours I pretty much ride alone, and thus, have time to think about all the stuff that hurts, which is my calf, my left knee on the outside and under the kneecap, and my butt. And my left wrist. I’m not feeling strong. At the top of Hardscrabble, I take a page out of Fatty’s book and keep going while all the losers who think this is a social outing, gather for pictures and to “socialize.”

12:00 pm Murphy’s Hogback is the designated meeting place for lunch. It’s at the top of a steep 600 foot climb. It’s starting to get really hot outside. I eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a bag of Cliff Shot Blocks, a baggie of trail mix, a Gu, and a Cliff bar. I also drink a 24 oz bottle of sports drink and a bottle of water. I’m absolutely stuffed to the gills, and fear that I’ll never be able to digest all the stuff I just ate, and will soon be horribly sick. dug is now fully awake and is drinking a Diet Coke. He’s very happy. One of Rick’s legs has been cramping. Brad has only been pedaling with his left leg. Brad and Kenny are the only singlespeeders to clean the Hogback.

4:30 pm We arrive at Musselman Arch. The temperature is in the 90’s. The only shade is under a small juniper bush, under which some blessed human had recently taken a dump. We’re all out of water, and the support truck is far behind. We all slump under the bush, despite the aroma.

Rick begs some water off a guy in a truck; we drink it and then Brad makes shames Rick into begging more water from the guy. I’m feeling good, but tired. There’s a park ranger who is just heading out of the park, so he fills up all our bottles with water.

The past four hours have been a blur. After about 20 minutes of feeling like I was going to die after lunch, I started feeling better. Then I started feeling way better. Then I started feeling strong like bull. I even managed to ride to the front and scare Kenny by riding up on him and yelling “track, track, track,” as if we’re racing, and he’s in my way. Man, I’m funny.

At airport campground I decided to duck into one of the dark brown pit toilets. It was approximately 238 degrees inside and I was unable to consummate my visit.

After the support vehicles come, dug has a diet coke. He is very happy. Rick is definitely no longer having fun, and in my mind I could hear him swearing horribly at dug for introducing him to mountain biking. When Rick tries to pedal hard, his quads cramp and actually leave their designated position on his leg and kind of slide around to the side of is leg.

Brad switches to pedaling with his right leg.

5:00 pm We depart for the 1200 foot climb up Shafer switchbacks. I’m feeling pretty good and ride a descent chunk of the bottom part. Then I blow up and have to get off my bike to rest. After a couple minutes I get back on my bike and make it about 30 feet before my legs quit working. Rick and dug are just behind me so I wait for them. dug rides by in silent, abject suffering. I re-mount and make it up around the next switchback where I see dug laying in a heap in the middle of the rocky dirt road. I ride by him in silent, abject suffering. About 30 yards from where dug collapsed, the climb becomes much less steep. If dug had made it up that last steep bit, he would have cleaned Shafer Switchbacks on a singlespeed after 90+ miles of riding. I don’t make it to the flatter part either; this time when I blow up and get off my bike, my legs won’t hold me up correctly and I kind of stumble around in a wobbly sort of way like a sailor who’s just stepping onto solid ground after a long sea voyage.

Kenny and Brad are waiting where the climb flattens out and we ride back to camp together.

7:00 pm We arrive at camp. 104 miles: it’s the longest I’ve ever ridden a bike both in terms of distance and riding time. I feel tired, but really good. I’m happy to have been able to ride that far on a rigid singlespeed. For the first time in several years, I feel like I’m starting to get into cycling shape.

I make a joke about taking a quick ride down to Gemini Bridges (I am, after all, very funny) and Rick threatens to punch me in the throat if I say another word about cycling.

8:00 pm Brad and I leave to drive home. Normally, this would pretty much be the end of an epic day, but my wife is shooting a wedding in California, so my Mother-In-Law is watching our five year old and seven month old daughters. And it turned out that my day was far from being over.

10:00 pm Brad and I stop at Wendy’s in Price, Utah. I swear this is the best hamburger I ever had. I’m so sleepy, I feel like someone has drugged me. Brad looks like he’s ready to go for a ride when he gets home.

12:12 am I arrive home, unpack a bit, shower, and get a snack.

12:55 am I lay down to go to sleep, but can’t. It’s paradoxical, but I’m too exhausted, too achy. Plus I’ve had enough caffeine to ward off sleep, if not sleepiness.

1:20 am I look at the clock, but can’t see it well, which makes me think of Fatty’s fancy alarm clock that projects the time up onto the ceiling, which reminds me of the fact that I’m supposed to write something for Fatty’s blog. I fall asleep.

2:10 am The baby wakes up. She’s hungry. I change her diaper and feed her. Then I change her diaper again. Why can I never remember that you should change a baby’s diaper AFTER you feed her?

2:50 am Just as I’m getting ready to lay down again, the 5 year old wakes up crying. She had a scary dream. I snuggle her on the couch until she falls asleep.

3:10 am I attempt to carry the 5 year old upstairs to put her to bed. After two steps, I begin to doubt whether I’m capable of making it up the stairs with her. I take her back to the couch. And crawl up the stairs into my own bed. I lay down and have the idea for this blog entry. That’s when I first started to notice The Hunger. I tried to go to sleep, but felt like I was getting more hungry every minute. I got up, ate some cereal, and went back to bed. Still hungry. I get up again and this time make a sandwich and eat it with chips and drank a big glass of milk. Then I eat some M&M’s. And some more chips. And some cheese. And some crackers. I burp loudly and pat my gelatinous torso.

3:40 am I lay back down to go to sleep and before I doze off, I have the idea to write this blog entry.

4:10 am The baby awakes screaming frightfully, apparently with a belly ache. I’m not able to get her to settle down, so I take her to the office, and I start writing this blog entry while the baby plays. Oh yeah and I got some more cereal.

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