When we left off, Day 2 of James’ 300 mile Bike Race of Insanity in southern Utah and northern Arizona was just starting. Lance and I were poised for another long day of leapfrogging, putting ice in water bottles, and listening to James’ bitching.
But let’s back up to the evening of Day 1, when James had just rolled in to the hotel for the evening in “Anguish” Utah. It was a little before dinner, and the other bikers settled in for a whole lot of doing absolutely nothing the rest of the night. Not James! Not 15 minutes after arrival, I heard this. “Let’s wash my sweaty bike clothes in our new Scrubba bag and film a video of it!!!!” Really? Can’t we just be like NORMAL people and chill for the night? James got his stupid Scrubba video, and guys, you better love it.
The second day of the race was a lot more relaxed, as James had 30 minutes in hand over his next closest competitor. He had no hope at 1st place, which was held by his riding partner and close friend Steve, who was HOURS ahead (we suspect he’s bionic), so there was no pressure there. All James had to do was not lose by more than 30 minutes to keep second place. Considering that the day started with a 32 mile mountain climb – and the third place rider was from the awesome, but FLAT state of Iowa – James actually enjoyed his time up the mountain.
I did too. Lance and I saw some amazing scenery the 3 hours we leapfrogged that gorgeous mountain road. Guys, the road between Panguitch and Cedar City, put it on your Places To Go list.
Since we were so high up, the first half of the day was much cooler than Day 1. That, and the smell of fresh pine in the air made me, for the first time, so thankful James is crazy enough to sign up for events like this.
Not sure James was feeling very thankful at that moment, nor were any of the other racers who were struggling their way up that long mountain climb. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen, but it was about at this point I turned into psycho-cheerleader-support-person. I was determined to help those poor suffering racers up the mountain. I cranked Lance’s outdoor entertainment system, with Eye of the Tiger blasting all down that mountain road, and I started cheering and clapping like a freak each time a racer passed by (they were going about 5-6 miles an hour), “you got this!” “you’re the eye of the tiger, baby!!” Not sure what other nonsense I was spouting, but it did seem everyone picked up the pace when they got near me. Plus, strangely, a few crossed the road…
After the 32 mile climb came a 20 mile descent. Down a mountain, driving an RV, with some insanely steep bits. James was a wreck about this. Not about being on a bike during a dangerous curvy descent, but because I was behind the wheel of Lance during a dangerous curvy descent. By this time, I had already been flipping U-ies, off-roading along some pretty rough shoulders, and driving one handed taking pictures out the window with my phone,
But James still felt compelled to yell at me as he biked by, “Steep descent coming! Use engine braking! Use engine braking!” Yes, Dad. Guess what. I did, it was fine, and Lance was just as composed on the way down as on the way up.
After Cedar City, it was 80 something miles of crosswinds and sweaty weatha’. Lance handles like a dream in wind. I didn’t even notice how windy it was until I’d step outside and get blown off my feet.
The rest of the day was a repeat of the day before. Hand off water bottles (with ice, or endure whining). Try to make James eat. Listen to his whining. Tell him yay good job. Drive 10 miles, and do it all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And then finally, (drum roll please).
300 miles later….
James, Lance, and I finished.
James took second place in his group, but I feel like Lance and I totally won this thing. NONE of the support crews had a better ride than I did.
Things that make Lance the best Soigneur/Support Vehicle ever:
- Bike garage makes it easy to find things when upset cyclist starts throwing things about.
- Generator and AC keeps support crew comfortable so they can not react to raving cyclist
- Giant fridge for a bazillion water bottles.
- Freezer that can keep ICE in the Arizona desert.
- Outdoor Entertainment system is a hit with spectators and other racers.
- Front Wheel Drive keeps things on the road when the cyclists can barely stay upright.
- Wireless internet options in remote areas so you can know how far ahead (or behind) your racer is.
- Consistent meal options for racers with on-board galley (this is actually very important).
So, we’re pleased to report that the honeymoon’s still going strong with Lance. Besides a few hiccups (stay tuned), he’s living up to our hopes and expectations and we couldn’t be happier.
James has a MUCH smaller race coming up next week: the USA Cycling Masters National Championships. They happen to be in Utah this year, so not far to go! Send good vibes. Lance and I will need them!