Monday, August 29, 2011

Desperado Deux

Let's call this post the Jake 'the man child' Miller show. My camera troubles have been documented in the 'teaser' post. Rodzilla's camera shoots great video but for some reason the video shot won't load onto my Picasa Web Album. Probably a problem I could solve if I ever got some time at home to do it. We can hold our breath and wait for that to happen ... or we can soldier on with art provided by Rodzilla's Sasquatch sized son. I vote for the latter option and since mine's the only vote that counts? I give you: Desperado Dual part Deux (a Jake 'the man child' joint).

Back in Bryce canyon ... seemed like Jake the man child was going nuts on the photo ops, I honestly wondered if we would have more photos of shrubbery than of cyclists, but every once in a while there was a jewel to be had.

Hard to go wrong with subject matter like this just out the window:

Still plenty of props to be given. I manned the wheel, the man-child handled the lens(es) we made a formidable tag-team of non-athlete/athletic supporters.

The international duo of La Canadienne and Swedish Liz give their best Gandolf on the bike path "none shall pass" performance.

Not far ahead Rodzilla stretches in the saddle, grabs some extra O2 on a flat stretch before hammering away again at the canyon climb.

Number 2251, aka Red Rider, pedaling through the Red Rock Canyon. Just a gorgeous morning and absolutely perfect setting for a bike ride, too bad they are racing and missing out on the ambiance.

Rodzilla crests the hill and, it's not all down hill from here, but it's all flat or down hill for the next 40 miles and he takes full advantage. This terrain suits his riding style. No need for an escort. Rodzilla is a peloton of one and happy to be that, for now anyway.

Father/son high lighter markers (aka Craig and non-crazy Brian) make their first appearance. They are about to have their ride hijacked by the international duo but at the moment they appear blissfully ignorant of that fact.

Rodzilla ... attached to a posse? Nope, just passing through. We're four miles from the feed station, don't look for him to stop there either. What you're witnessing is the Rodzilla express, non-stop to Panguitch.

Dead skunk in the middle of the road (ewwww, fresh too if I recall correctly, probably better than a live skunk in the middle of a bike race though) La Canadienne points it out for anybody interested in avoiding a potentially race ending collision with roadkill.

I try to tell non-crazy Brian to make the duo earn their paycheque, no free rides on race day. Either they don't care or they still don't know that they've picked up a pair of stowaways.

Rodzilla tries to draft for a bit, only to realize that any wind curtain that would be potentially useful has to be big enough for him to to tuck in behind. If he can see the road in front of the lead cyclist chances are any wind the group encounters is hitting him square on the chin. How to make yourself smaller on a bike? Crouch perhaps? How to make to make a Rodzilla smaller than an Asian not named Yao Mingh on a bike? Not gonna happen. We do get our first glimpse of Crazy Brian. He's getting cozy with Rodzilla's rear wheel and probably wondering how long the big man can keep this pace. This may end up being the easiest 100 miles he's ever logged on a bike.

As the road flattens Swedish Liz pulls out the parachute jacket to add drag and keep this thing challenging.

It's been more than an hour since we've seen Swedish Matt. I figured he was history. It took some aggressive driving on less than perfect pavement, but this peleton (about ten minutes ahead of Rodzilla at this point) looks promising.

Sure enough, it's Swedish 'just think how fast I'd be if I actually cared' Matt, blazing through the southern Utah desert countryside. He's been working with a group, but the grade is negative and the wind is at his back. He's going to stretch his legs and see what this overpriced Carbon fiber racing bike will do. Quite a bit as it turns out. We charge ahead of him only to see the road drop into a narrow, windy canyon road on a 4% negative grade. It's as close to a rollercoaster ride as you will get on a bike. We manage to get enough distance between us to find a turnout, pull off for some photos, just barely in time to catch the Swede as he flies by.

I shot several videos in this the second most scenic spot of the ride. None of them were terribly inspiring but probably better than the photos we got. 'The man child' goes all combat photographer on me and scales the side of the canyon. He shoots a test frame, is evaluating it as Rodzilla flies by. Can't win 'em all I guess. He's prepared when the duo (and their patient and generous escort) come into view, unfortunately the focus is on the rock wall that the man child scaled to get the crow's nest view. Still an interesting (but unfortunately not epic like it could have been) photo.

On the other hand, he absolutely nails the chase car photo.

At this point I'm pretty sure I'm thinking "How can a kid that's 6'5" with that much hair just disappear? He must have learned that from his dad" (the disappearing, not the hair). Also, I'm checking the odometer and the dashboard clock, and rechecking it. If I'm reading it right, we're 50 miles into this race and still on the sunny side of 2 1/2 hours. They are averaging better than 20 mph. I've covered 50 miles in 2 1/2 hours one time only. It was while I was on vacation in Canada last year, a solo effort that nearly killed me. None of the riders that have passed by have even looked winded. I think Swedish Liz was actually laughing. Watching this ride is hurting me more than participating in it ever could.

Next stop Antimony. And yeah, I heard right, laughter, coming from Swedish Liz. I have very few responsibilities today. Provide 'support' in the form of food La Canadienne can eat and the occasional 'atta-girl, go get 'em'. But we're past that point now. The duo has a chance to break the 6 hour mark for a century ride (actually 107 miles, yeah it's OK, even expected that you split hairs when it comes to distances of > 100 miles). If they do finish in under 6 hours I will owe Swedish Matt a milkshake from the Soda shoppe in downtown Panguitch. Small price to pay. Most of what La Canadienne has accomplished this year has been her own doing, but I'm not above taking some coach/trainer credit if I can. Bottom line is she's exceeded all reasonable expectations for any novice at the age of 40 cyclist, let alone a mother of four. They both have. I'm excited for both of them and I'm not about to let them fritter away what may be a once in a lifetime accomplishment. I fill the water bottles, yell to the cyclist with the Swiss Miss pony tails that if she's gotta use the bathroom she better stop yukking it up and do it now cause the train is leaving the station.

Water bottles are full, jersey pockets are re-stocked with road victuals and there's still plenty of blasting powder left in the legs. The duo saddles up and they rejoin their gentlemen companions for the day (plus one). The other Brian has joined the cast. Things are gonna get crazy now.*

*Still waiting for the 'this is what makes Brian so crazy update from either of the international duo.

Less than fifteen minutes behind the duo we catch up with Red Rider. Going it alone is tough, even when the grade is friendly and the wind favorable. That's been the case so far and the only penalty for riding without a group has been the solitude of the road (actually a benefit if you ask me, most of my riding is done solo, a practice I need to break and swore I would this summer, but I have yet to follow through) but that will all change shortly. For now things are still looking bright for the rider with the ginger locks tucked under her helmet.

There were more than 200 century riders, that means you're never alone for long. Red Rider sets her cross hairs on the rider wearing $500 worth of cycling gear and as the road pitches up she reels him in and ...

gives him the old dumptruck treatment on the backside

One handed (no less)!

As she speeds through the camera nest 'pro-ed out rider' isn't even in the picture any longer. Red Rider is back to legging it out on her own.

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