Profile, day 1, ha it looks so easy on paper
Day one of this year’s Stagecoach was quite a roller-coaster. Some good and some really really bad.
The route started with a rather long paved climb. Normally I am one of the huffer-puffers, firmly entrenched in the back of the pack. So that’s where I deliberately placed myself at the start of the climb. But as the climb progressed I slowly let myself open up and found the cadence and pace that felt right for my current fitness level. And somewhat to my surprise I was soon near the top third of the pack. So this was good, very good. I knew I would be a bit stronger than my normal but the difference I could visibly see vs my fellow racers was quite encouraging.
Soon we were bombing down some fire road and single track. With the still cool morning air and residual starting day excitement it was a blast and hard not to overcook it.
A few hours later we hit the first desert sand and I stopped to slip off the knee and arm warmers and slip on the white leg and arm coolers. The heat was coming on and those coolers would now stay on till the very final night hours, near the end about 3 days later. But that's jumping ahead.....
Around 6 hours into it comes a fast re-supply stop at Borrego Springs, then we cruised for some miles on baking hot pavement over some big rollers. I was feeling so good I stupidly toasted myself a bit on these rollers, play racing with a couple of faster riders.
Then we were hitting the real desert sand. At this time, by rough tire track count, I was banging around somewhere near the top 15 or 20 and really didn’t know how to back off, it felt so strange to be that far up in the pack 75 miles in. Never ever legitimately been there but for the one time in the 2010 TDR.
It was now probably 100 deg or more and I soon ran out of chilled water and mini disaster struck. What I quickly learned is when the heat gets to you, regardless of one’s current fitness level you start crawling. This is bad really really BAD. Just so damm fast, in the blink of an eye almost, I was now stopping, puking, riding for few minutes and repeating. Watching smarter riders, one after another, pass on by.
At 8:30pm and around mile 112 I finally rolled into the store / SC 400 pit stop at Agua Caliente park.
I would like to personal thank all the fellow racers who offered aid, support and encouragement to me at Agua Caliente by name. Unfortunately I was so out by this time I don’t remember anyone’s name, just vague faces and offers of support and encouragement. After lying around for a few hours and rather embarrassingly moaning in distress most of the time with a little sleep tossed in the expected finally happened. My nausea had gone away and my thirst and appetite had somewhat returned. Sitting there on a padded recliner I had a bag of ice, assorted food items, including two oranges and a banana. And slowly, ever so slowly, as the body took in nourishment my mind wrapped itself around a rather vague plan about how to continue.
Stay tuned for day 2