Not such a good weekend..I think that is putting it nicely. Bad weather follows us everywhere, I think it may be a curse. Again, after looking at the weather we were sure that our time spent in Arizona was going to be ideal weather wise.
After having to work late on Thursday, Chris and I headed south. The ride down to Page was pretty uneventful. We arrived around midnight meeting up with Tim and MaryAnne and then spent a quick night before finishing the trip. The second leg was a little stressful. The weather forecast was now calling for snow and rain. Then there was snow almost the whole way to Phoenix--where it started to look promising. As the temperatures were raising so were our hopes. We were both surprised that it was snowing anywhere in Arizona. Naively, I did not think this really happened. Our hopes were again crushed when Keith called and said that it was snowing at the event site. The dirt road out to willow springs ranch was muddy and flooded. Luckily we were able to take the Subaru Gary Fisher Tribeca--our jetta may not have made it.
The Tribeca the day after Willow Springs Road. Chris washed it on Thursday before we left.
The storm was supposed to break at 5 pm, then 8 pm, then midnight, and then 8 am. Needless to say we decided to sleep in the back of the Tribeca. Again, I was grateful to take the Tribeca as our tent is not the most weather resistant. We woke up and there was a thick fog and a thin layer of snow. The fog began to lift around 10.
After the captains meeting Chris and I decided we were going to do a little preriding. Reed was taking the first lap and joined us. He had never ridden down there and wanted to get a feel for it. The course was in pretty good shape...nice and tacky. Reed got off to a good start and Chris turned in a good lap as did Tim. I was riding last. My first lap (around 3:15 pm) was okay. A couple of times I thought I felt a “pre-cramp”. I needed to start taking care and properly hydrating. My second lap (around 7:30-ish) was cramp free. But around the middle of the lap, I had a strange feeling in my right knee. I did not think much of it. I could feel it on the climbs...no big deal though. My third lap (a little before midnight) started much where my last ended. I could feel that slight twinge in my knee, but I did not think much of it until half was though my lap. The twinge was gaining intensity and becoming a full blown pain. About 2/3 of the way through the lap (for those in the know mid-JuneBug Trail) climbing started to be a serious issue and it was not just climbing it was pedaling in general. I felt as though my knee would explode with every pedal stroke. The final ascent had me close to tears. I had to shift into my small chain ring and proceeded to get passed by everyone. It wasn't that I had nothing, but it just hurt too badly. I questioned whether I was going to make it back. People (who I had passed earlier) were passing me and offered words of encouragement “Good job”, “Looking good”, etc. Each of these had the opposite effect instead of being encouraging it was rubbing salt in my wounds. I wasn't doing well; I barely surviving. I was so thrilled to reach the final descent. The flats were not so bad and I could carry some speed allowing me to ride like I was a bit more accustom. My final lap was a long and painful 1:37. It was ridiculous. Even more ridiculous was the fact that I knew I was done. I had done only three laps and I knew I could not survive another. I was done long before the event was over.
Common cactus found int he area. These are huge!