Living in the desert is like no other place, really. We have some of the most gorgeous sunsets. The fall and spring make you feel like you've died and gone to heaven. Cooler mornings & evenings. Beautiful afternoons. You can walk, run, ride your bike, swim and enjoy meals outside ALL DAY LONG.
Then however, mother nature sneaks in one of those gawd awful weekends, just when you think you've hit that died and gone to heaven time of the year that makes you want to kill yourself. Or, something like that.
That weekend JUST happened. Most of you know my obsession with the weather. I don't know why, because it really is what it is & you can't do anything about it. Even if I'm sick in bed, for some reason I just want to KNOW. Traveling? The obsession starts about 2 weeks out. I mean what's a girl gonna wear?
So of course I knew that it was going to be a high of 100degs on Saturday. But, when you live in AZ 100degs really doesn't seem like anything much. What I failed to really pay attention to was the fact that when I planned a bike ride of about 4hours, with a some good climbing in there, and starting at 7am, it was already going to be 80degs.
The ride started out great. We had a couple of other guys join us this week, which was really nice. So three boys twice my size and me. I'm so not complaining about THAT draft. I learned last week that I can't start my rides heading straight up. Which kinda sucks, because by heading up north, after about an hour we have some of the most beautiful riding. But, my legs, especially these marathon in training legs need a serious warmup. If not, I think I suck, I hate my bike & I'm ready to quit.
The route had us doing a nice flat/easy 30min warmup, then we would start the very slight/steady climb up to the town of Cave Creek. We were cruising along, into a horrible head wind, but we all seemed to feel great, taking turns pulling (well - I tried my best, but don't think I helped them out nearly as much as they did for me) and keeping a GREAT avg. About 2 hours into the ride we were up in Cave Creek & Shane got a flat. He'd already changed one before the start of the ride so we were kinda worried. He rode over a piece of metal & his tube was pretty much trashed. He changed the tube & added a dollar bill for protection & got as much air in as he could. He decided he should not do the 10ish extra loop up into Legend Trails (hills) that I added, and just head home. That way, if his tire was trashed - I would see him along the way & have to head home anyway to get the car & pick him up (never mind the fact I totally forgot about him until we were a mile from home & someone asked if we were going the same route Shane would have taken - oops).
We filled up our water bottles & noticed none of us drank enough for that first 2 hours. We also noticed when we weren't heading into the wind and feeling the breeze, how incredibly HOT it was. My legs felt WORLDS better than last weekend, and the hills I normally loathe up in Cave Creek seemed pretty easy! Things were looking good.
At the next intersection, Shane headed on his way home & the boys & I went up for my extra loop. Straight into a flipping head wind. It felt like you were going going going, but not actually getting anywhere. At times there were some cross winds, and I was actually thankful for my tank Hillary (bike) vs mini me. I'm not sure I would have stayed on her.
At the top of the hills, we stopped and waited for one in our group. I noticed I was really REALLY dizzy. My nutrition was perfect, 4 thermolytes down but something wasn't right. We started the descent down Cave Creek, then turned onto Pima, hoping for a tail wind to bring us the 20miles home. But, of course Mother Nature was apparently PMSing and decided to shift the wind on us. So much for the downhill, tail wind dessert to finish up the ride.
The 3 of us were struggling & actually had to stop just 10miles from my house to refill water AGAIN. I took my last gel, and 3/4 a packet of salt (just like a shot, minus the tequila and lime!) but noticed I was getting chills, and goosebumps. Not good. We slowed down the pace, and basically did a 10mile cooldown.
4hours, only 66miles, my garmin didn't map it out so not sure of the climbing, 5 bottles of water, 550calories, 4 Thermolytes & 3/4 salt packet. Deydration, 4.5lbs.
We spent the next 3 hours pounding water until my headache was gone. It was like a flashback to those 5-6hour rides in May/June leading up to Ironman. When you can't drink enough, can't sit on your butt enough and well, are just plain worthless.
About 4pm we both were back to ourselves, fully hydrated and STARVING. We actually made it out of the house to Costco for 2 items. Pizza & lemons, need I say more?
All in all, despite the heat, it was a great ride, a good strength builder & hopefully gained a couple more riders for our Tour de Tucson group!