Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gravel Worlds 2017: The Nut Gets Turned

Barns For Jason: Gravel Worlds Edition
Leaving Malcom I felt pretty good. I told Tony I would be getting a slow start due to all the Coke and food eaten in Malcom. He headed off and I slowly followed along until I managed to tack myself back within eyesight of him part of the way to Checkpoint #1 which was the Reinkordt Farm.

It wasn't cool anymore by this time. During the morning each climb I would generate heat and then cool down nicely during the descents, but now the air was too warm for that. We didn't have far to go to get to the Checkpoint and the hills were not terrible through here either. Just long miles of rollers and Sun beating down. It was only about ten miles to get to the Checkpoint, but I managed to suck down a couple of water bottles during this stretch.

When we turned onto the pavement which signaled the approach to the Reinkordt Farm, we saw a volunteer in the road waving wildly, hooting for us, and giving us a dramatic gesture to pull in to the driveway. It was a great uplift to my psyche at the time and I enjoyed the stop immensely. Here I only re-upped my water and snacked a bit from my food, staying away from the pickles. I tried that two years ago with poor results! I wasn't about to go down that road again!

With our pipe cleaners wrapped around our bars to signify that we had actually been there, we were off down the road to Roca Tavern which would be our next stop, approximately 20 miles down the road.

This VW Micro Bus was the checkpoint volunteers shelter for the Reinkordt Farm Checkpoint. Cool!
Once back out on the incessant rolling hills South of Lincoln we were subjected to the greatest heat of the day thus far in to the event. It was positively cooking now. I recall cresting a hill and talking to myself to stay calm and enjoy the heat and scenery as much as possible. I throttled back on speed a bit to keep from cooking myself going up hills and I concentrated on spinning as much as I could.

Garmin devices and my GPS are not known for super-accurate temperature readings, but I have a few data points from myself and other riders that suggest that at some point during this stretch the temperatures were at or above 100°F. The "official high temperature" for Lincoln this day was 88°F, but I know it was much warmer than that out there Southeast of the city. Added to this was the fact that the wind got up and for a time, it was quite breezy through this section as well. Wind, heat, and all that Sun conspired to wreck a lot of folks day, and it was "Bad Sign #2" for me.

A bench made from an old pick-up truck tail gate at Roca Tavern.
I never got overheated.I was hydrated well, as I was urinating throughout the event, but maybe the stress of the heat was something. Maybe. Hard to say, but by the time I rolled in to Roca my sips of water made me feel "urpy" and I was feeling really drained on energy.

I sat down in a chair outside the tavern in the shade and tried to stay awake, which was difficult. I downed a bottle and a half of water sitting there, which stayed down, but eating seemed to not be a possibility. Frankly, at this point all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep. It was everything I could do to get back on that bike and roll out of town.

The Roca Tavern came at Mile 103 or so. I had gotten there in 8.5 hours, which was my fastest gravel century ever, to my knowledge, and that over the hilliest part of the course. Now there was less than fifty miles to go, but that seemed about like a 150 to me at that point.

Next: Dirt Nap

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