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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!
Hi Stef and James, We are looking to purchase compact chairs. I really like the one you guys have here. It looks like it’s easy to put together and looks lightweight. Is it comfortable? Do you know if Amazon sells that? I can use your link to purchase them. I plan on getting the paper towel holder too (is it Kamenstein Perfect Tear Paper Towel Holder?) and the Deconovo microfiber bath towels. We want to get the right ones so you guys get credit. (Stef, I bought a Bodylastics kit but I messed up 🙁 and got it from Amazon. I called Bodylastics and advised them that it was because of you that I got them so hopefully you will get credit for that. Thanks for all the help you guys have given me.
Maggie! You’re so sweet, that was super nice of you to call Bodylastics! Just the effort you put in to make that call…well, I’m just smiling. And as for our Helinox camp chairs, we just love them. They pack down so small, they’re virtually weightless to carry around, and pop together easily. They come in two sizes. Most people prefer the ones that are normal height. But ours are called the Helinox Chair One...which is a little lower to the ground, but that’s harder for some people to get in and out. Click the hyperlinks and you should be able to see both! And, yes, we love the Kamenstein paper towel holder…there’s a couple different styles and all are probably fantastic! This is the one we have. As for which microfiber towels we have, I’ll have to get back to you on that! The Deconovo towels get great feedback, though, so I’m sure you’ll be happy with them. 🙂 Keep me posted!!!
Stef, We received the Helinox camp chair, the Kamenstein paper towel holder and four Deconovo towels today! The chair is fantastic! It’s so easy to set up and take down. It’s super comfy and doesn’t weigh a thing. Yet it holds Joe just fine. He tried it too and thought it was really comfortable. He told me you need to tell Stef how comfortable the chair is and thank her today for her suggestions. It has such a tiny footprint. The towel holder is solid, not flimsy at all. The towels are big but don’t take up a lot of room. We are very happy with our purchases! Yaaaayyy!!! Hope you guys get credit for the goodies. 🙂 Hope you guys make it to the Super Show in Tampa, Florida in January!!!!!!! Keep us posted please!!! 🙂
I am SO glad to hear this, Maggie! You’ll especially love the chair when you have to lug it to an event, the types where you have to walk a ways and park far. We had to do that this summer to a festival in Iowa…we had the Helinox chairs and some regular bag chairs. The heavy bag chairs were such a pain and were so heavy! The Helinox were lighter and much tinier than my purse, lol. And the paper towel holder doesn’t look fancy, but we love how it only lets you pull one. You don’t need a 2nd hand to brace on the paper towel holder to stop it from unrolling more than you need. It’s brilliant. Glad you’re happy with your purchases! Keep in touch!
Totally awesome writeup – both parts!
Thanks, Ron! Glad you liked it, and I’m sure you could relate to some of it, being a fellow Travato owner!
Lots of fun–great write-up. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if this van would be easier to drive than the Sprinter and you answered that question. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve discovered about the compost toilet, too. 🙂 Hope James is recovered from his amazing feat to write about it soon.
Thanks, Carol! Yes, it’s SO much easier than our old Sprinter. James has definitely recovered, and he’s back in full speed working on RV projects, riding his bike, and planning his next shenanigans & adventures.
We enjoy following your adventures. Hoping you will have some free time for a Composting Toilet review/video? With all this exercise nature must be calling!
We have SO MUCH to tell about our composting toilet adventures, Ken! James keeps telling me to hold off and let him write about it…so I’ll keep on him, he’s just swamped right now. In a nutshell, they take some work, many things can go wrong, they aren’t for everybody, but we’ve learned a ton and plan to keep it!
Yay James…..that’s my boy. Second place during a 300 mile bike race is damn good in my book.
Love ya both!
Wow. You are living the dream of every recreational cyclist/triathlete/ultra runner (or at least James is). What an great blog post. And I certainly hope James writes about the race and how much it meant to him to have you and Lance there. The very sight of Lance pulling up with ice and spares tubes when it’s 100 degrees plus must have sent James into paroxysms of joy, though no cyclist would say that out loud. Against the code.
And I must know how the Scrubba worked. Sweaty workout clothes fermenting for days while traveling drives my wife nuts.
This post was the most compelling reason to buy a Class B I’ve ever seen. Thank you both.
Wow, Thomas. Thanks so much for your comment! It’s always fascinating to me to see other people’s takes on something I’ve written. Comments like yours help me see things I’ve missed, or taken for granted, and I can’t tell you how much I take away from your words. It never dawned on me how James must have felt seeing me up ahead. That’s awful isn’t it? But you’re right. It must have been a big relief, a safety net. And yeah, ultra events like this are definitely a compelling reason to buy a Class B, and hopefully this post explains why we remain, and always plan to remain, B people. Besides, anything wider is illegal as a race support vehicle!
For our trip (leaving Monday!) the Panguitch to Cedar City drive looks great.
As we zig-zag Utah parks that looks like a perfect way to get from Bryce to Zion.Was that using the highways 143/148/14? From the pictures it looks like Cedar Canyon may be a good place to camp and hike.
Andy & Kim and Chubby the Camping Kitty
Yes! Those were the highways! We cruised right by Cedar Breaks National Monument…gorgeous. Apparently, the hikes along the rim are amazing. There are some ranger led hikes, too. This is what I WISH we had done: take a picnic lunch, enjoy it along the rim, and then head into Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival. Maybe you guys can, and I’ll live vicariously. James and I want to go back and explore it right someday! Can’t wait to hear your impressions of the area!
Nice write up, Stef. Enjoyed how you combined the race, Lance and your personal experiences with Lance with your driving impressions. Oh, and also your support and thoughts about James and his great effort! All in all, sounds like a great time was had by all. That’s what it should be, more about the journey, than the vehicle itself!
Thanks so much, Al, such a nice comment! Eventually, Lance won’t be so novel and on the forefront of our thoughts as we do adventures like these. But right now, we’re still getting to know him, so it’s interesting to see how these adventures unfold with him. Like you said, it should be more about the journey, not the vehicle. I love that. 🙂
Well done, Stef! And Lance! Oh, and congrats to James as well. Two 150 mile days with plenty of climbing is not easy.
Going for the full Hoodoo 500 next time? 😉 Or come on up to Oregon, and get some ultra riding in at Race Across Oregon of the Ring of Fire. 😀
Regarding the RV topic… what size is the fridge? I’m still finalizing the specs for BoB (the name of our PM) and haven’t decided on a fridge yet.
LOL, Ian! Right now James says he’s not doing this race again. But between you and me, he probably will. He eventually forgets the suffering and in a couple months will start talking about, “next time, I’ll…” But the whole 500?!?! Don’t give him any ideas. (shudder) If he does I’m definitely passing my soigneur duties on to you. 😉
As for the fridge, Dometic RML 8330. As for size, I can only see liters: 140 liters for the fridge, and 12 liters for the freezer. But it’s a 3-way fridge, not sure if that’s ideal for your custom van?