Chris’ Excellent Adventure! Death Valley Century 2/3

Chapter 2: WYLD STALLYNS!

I clipped in, and a pretty big group of us got into a paceline almost immediately. We rolled along, averaging about 20-23 MPH while the terrain stayed flat. I was able to stay near the front of the paceline, benefiting the tiny people who tucked behind big me for protection from the wind. As long as the road stayed flat, I could keep up with the fast people.

Of course, the road didn’t stay flat. For the short hills, I sprinted up them to help keep the group together. On the short descents, I feathered the brakes to keep from rubbing tires with the gent in front of me. After a few minutes of that, the hills stopped being short. To make sure the people behind me were able to stay with the lead group, I signaled for the guy behind me to pull up and exited the paceline. As I slowed down, I saw that the paceline was able to stay together. So yay! Small victories!

Fortunately, I reached the first aid station shortly after that. I found a group of people to ride with, and off we went. On our way to the next aid station, I noticed myself feeling thirsty. Recognizing this as a warning sign of dehydration, I started drinking more. Unfortunately, the road started pitching up again, and I started slowing down. On the hill up to the 2nd aid station, I felt a hand on my back, and found myself going a little faster up the hill than normal. It was my co-worker, giving me a much-needed push and boost of adrenaline that would help me get to the next aid station. I still found myself feeling more and more thirsty, and I polished off my last bottle as we arrived at the 2nd aid station. I filled my bottles, and drank most of one before I even left. I filled it up again, then drank some more. I thought to myself, “Self, I should be okay with the water I have until I reach the midpoint up at Scotty’s Castle, so I’ll just go.” As I rolled away, I thought to myself again, “I’m still feeling thirsty.”

In hindsight, I should have stopped, turned around, drank my fill, refilled my bottles, and then headed off. That, of course, is not what happened.

From the 2nd aid station to the midpoint, Scotty’s Castle, the majority of the day’s climbing would be done. If memory serves me right, it averaged out to 300ft per mile.

I was in for a world of hurt.

I kept going as best I could, drinking when I was able. Then I drank until I wasn’t able to drink anymore. I wasn’t able to drink anymore because I had run out of water. In the middle of Death Valley. While the sun was directly overhead.

Yup, I was in for a world of hurt.

I still kept going, trying to keep note on how I was feeling; I had yet to feel nauseous, and I was still sweating, which was a very good thing. I’d pull over when I felt my heart rate was too high. I’d recover, then go again, wishing I still had some water. I did this for a while.

And then I realized I was starting to get drowsy and groggy. More side effects of dehydration. My dehydration was getting more severe, and I was still a few miles out from Scotty’s Castle.

I knew the dehydration had gotten to me when I realized I just didn’t want to keep going, and after that, get back on the bike.

From where I was standing on the side of the road, the asphalt looked very steep; it pitched up and curved out of view. Other cyclists that were coming back from Scotty’s Castle would zoom past, telling me I was almost there to the top. I didn’t need encouragement; I needed water.

I don’t know how long I stood there, looking at what seemed to be an insurmountable climb.

And that’s where we’ll end for today. Stay tuned for Chapter 3: “Be Excellent to Each Other… and Party On, Dudes!”

Questions? Comments? Cheap shots? Let me know. Thanks for reading!

-Chris

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3 Responses to Chris’ Excellent Adventure! Death Valley Century 2/3

  1. bgddyjim says:

    No cheap shots brother. Been there. You’re not likely to repeat it. Also, get some Gatorade in you too – too much water will dilute what electrolytes you have left. Looking forward to part two.

  2. Gina says:

    This is why I have no trouble not being a “real cyclist” and wearing my Camelbak. 3L of water FTW, and then I can put Gatorade or Hammer in the bottles. *shrug*

    • TriLAB Chris says:

      I had considered wearing my Camelbak, but I didn’t know how hot it was going to get with a backpack on, and I am more comfortable on my road bike without it. Oh well, live and learn. I might get a Profile Design or XLAB rear hydration setup next time I decide to do one of these.

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