Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Biking Day in Detail

Today I am going to describe the details in completing an 85 mile ride from Dillon to Cameron. Although there hasn’t been an average day this day was typical. I left Dillon at 7:00 a.m. The temperature was 50 degrees. I was dressed for the rest of the day, so it took several miles to warm up. The route was gradually downhill for about 30 miles to Twin Bridge. As has been true every day, I start with energy and a little extra adrenaline. It was easy to sustain 19-20 mph the entire distance. Even at this decent speed, I was pacing myself. Also as has been true every day so far, there was no wind and very little traffic. At Twin Bridges I drained and refilled a water bottle.

From Twin Bridges, a gradual climb began for 21 miles to Alder. The morning adrenaline has worn off. The pace is now 16-17 mph. I drink another bottle of water on this stretch. Mary catches me just a little past Alder. She’s taken down the camper, gassed the van and been to the grocery store. We typically stop and I eat wherever she catches me, but I ask her to go another 6 miles to Virginia City. I know from the maps this is the beginning of the one big climb for the day. We meet in Virginia City 60 miles into the ride at 11:30. I drink and refill another water bottle and have some lunch. There are 25 miles left.

Immediately out of Virginia City I have a 3 mile 7% climb. I don’t know this until I get to the top. I just know it’s hard. I climb in my lowest gear at 5 mph. I focus on being in the moment. I focus on cadence, relaxing, breathing and breath prayers. I do not focus on the idea of the summit. I take one break, drink most of a water bottle and just look around. Then I complete the climb. At the top I shift from my smallest front chain ring to my largest and begin shifting into progressively smaller gears in the back. I hit 45 mph, the fastest speed yet. Going down a hill like this requires total concentration. I don’t stay to the far right; I stay in the right car wheel indentation. It’s too dangerous to be further over. Plus I figure most people behind me are bemused by a bicycle descending so rapidly. Here's a picture. Ennis is way down the hill in the distance.

Now I have only 11 miles from Ennis to Cameron. Again the views are exquisite with snow on the mountains to the East and well maintained pastures to the West. The road is flat. The temperature has climbed to the high 80’s. I drain both of the water bottles. It’s getting tougher. I haven’t fully recovered from the challenges of yesterday. I’m tired, numb and sore. My left hand pinky and ring finger are numb and tingling and shifting hand positions isn’t helping anymore. My bottom is sore. I can’t sustain my position of or cadence. I coast and stand on the pedals every half mile or so. Ahead I see a line of trees along a stream. I know this must be the tiny town of Cameron with 38 residents, but it doesn’t seem to be getting closer. This is were I remind myself of the songs Pressing On and especially Blessed by Your Name.

I finally arrive. Mary has the camper set up. It’s a great little campground behind the Cameron General (think only) store. I sit down and tank up on water. It’s only 2:00. The rest of the day will be spent eating, reading, meditating and just hanging out. When I go to bed I’ll be exhausted, but eager to do it again tomorrow.

Tomorrow we enter Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park!


UP said...

What happened to the Google map link?

Cal Meuzelaar said...

I don't have time to maintain it. Plus we don't always have access to the internet or to electricity. I decided Mary's retrospective state maps work better. Cal

Justin said...

It's funny to think that you spoke that comment while thinking deeply with your elbow on the seat of your bike. It looks like you took a lot of time pondering the answer. It's as if, while answering an interesting posted question, you need to go get your bike, prop your elbow on the seat, nestle your hand on your jaw, and give the question its due diligence until you have an appropriate response(with a gray screen in the back). I know this won't get posted, but I had to share.

Cal Meuzelaar said...

If you don't already know, that last comment was from my son-in-law clearly daring me to post his comment. You know, a person poses for just one picture and this is the grief he receives. Cal