Friday, February 22, 2008

Tour of California, Stage 3

I was watching the stage of the Tour of California today, and got to thinking of what my worst day on the bike might have been. It is really hard to say, as there really is not a particular day that really stands out, although there are a few which do come to mind (in no particular order):

1. 24 Hours of Canaan, preride, 1998.
We had driven all day, and when we arrived at the race site, the weather was abysmal, to say the least. I had driven down with my good friend and teammate, Brian Caron. We got to our hotel, and decided to sleep for a bit, since it was about 40 degrees with a driving rain outside. The rain stopped around 4:00, so we decided to go for it and preride the course. Let's just say the course was muddy, and the lap took a loooong time. By the time we were finished and had registered, hosed off the bikes, etc., we were soaked, it was dark, temps had dropped into the high 30's, and we had about a five mile ride back to the hotel (with no lights). Not fun. When a guy in a pickup drove by us shortly after we had started and offered a ride, I took him up on it immediately and put an end to the suffering.

2. San Dimas Stage Race, prologue and stage 1, 2006: California in the spring. Supposed to be sunny and 65 degrees. Turned out to be 40's and cold rain. Why did I leave Arizona? The prologue was a four mile uphill time trial. Warm going up, but you freeze you bleep off coming down. Things didn't improve much the next day. We started in a driving rain that came down intermittently throughout the day. Lucky for me that I didn't have any sort of legs at this point in the year and got to drop out and hit the outlet mall in Palm Springs the next day while my teammates were going through day 3 of rainy racing.

3. Tour of the Gila, Inner Loop Road Race, 2004: The start had to be delayed because it was around 35 degrees and there were reports of snow coming down on the pass that we were going to be going over in the first fifteen miles. Luckily for us, everything was clear once we got there, and the day turned out to be pretty nice after all. This stage really shouldn't be on this list, but it is the Gila and you can't have a list of cycling stories without it.

4. Monday Night Ride, MI, late 90's: There is a group of riders that meets every Monday night at 6:30 sharp at Maple Lane Florists in Clawson, MI for a 25 mile recovery ride. No matter what the weather, the ride will happen. These guys are hard men. During winter in MI, we used to head over and use the ride as a way to get in some base miles, and get away from the trainer for a bit. I rode over to meet the group one mid-winters night with my friend, Danny Klein , with temps hovering around 35 degrees or so, and a light drizzle in the air. We were fine on the way over, but sat around for fifteen minutes or so once we got there waiting for the ride to start. During this time, the drizzle got harder and the temps started to drop. The group called the ride after about two miles, as everyone present was absolutely freezing. I was so cold on the way home that my middle finger on my left hand went numb, which still gives me problems to this day.

I'm sure that I could think of a few more, but that's enough for now. If you have any epic, miserable rides, share them with us in the comments. Adios.

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