Or Disaster Strikes Or Where Our Intrepid Hero Gets Bit on the Backside by Hubris Or What Were You Thinking???
I don’t know about you, but I find that the week before a vacation can be more stressful and busy that any of the weeks preceding it. There always seems to be too much to do and so the night before is always a mess of chaos and frayed nerves. This trip was no different except that I was tired from my ride during the day. It was in this frame of mind that I made my first foolish choice. Instead of fighting through the sleepiness and finishing everything up that night or even more intelligently, rescheduling the ride for the next day, I decided to just finish packing and put off my “work work” till the next morning.
So I woke up early and quickly got started on the last bit of project work I needed to finished. It started off well but I got set off course and ended up having to hand over something that kind of worked, but certainly wasn’t pretty nor up to my standards. By the time I handed off my work, it was pushing close to noon. However, my confidence was so strong that I saw no problem in heading off.
Of course there were really, really, really big problems with heading off this late. First of which was that I would be racing a clock to get in to camp at a reasonable time. But I headed off without a worry and for the first 30 miles things went great. However, it was the ease at the covering the first thirty miles and the fact that I was racing the clock which led to another huge mistake, instead of stopping and eating a full meal in El Reno, I ate a small snack at Fort Reno to cut back on time. However, bread and peIanut butter wasn’t going to cut it . . .
Because then came the hills and heat. It has been almost a year since I had ridden this route and somehow I had dramatically shrunk the size of these hills. Combined with temps in the middle 90s and I started to fall apart. Distances between rest breaks got shorter and shorter, but even then I started cramping both on and off the bike. By the time I was 10 miles out of Hinton, I was making less than a mile between breaks.
I ate some of those awful tasting carb treats which helped some, but I barely made it to Red Rock before dark. And then, the final nail in the coffin was the road into Red Rock Canyon. It had been years since I had been there and I had forgotten how steep the road was into the park. I quickly realized that there was no way I could, in the state I was in, that I could get out riding or walking for the next couple of days.
That decided it. I called Grace to come pick me up which she graciously and eagerly did. It was a truely awful start to the trip and my confidence in being able to conintue on was very shaky.