had scheduled a team time trial for Day 13. We'd tried to convince
him to do a team with him and Susan and John and me on tandems,
but they had to run the race. So instead, we had a team with
us, Roger, Eric, and Tim (with Tim being the only non-crew member).
I was actually pretty excited about this. Other than 24 hour
time trials and RAAM qualifiers, I have never raced, so this
would be a great first one. Lon had tried to balance the teams
out fairly well. This race was just for fun and the standings
would not be affected by the outcome. We all took it fairly
easy riding out to the start, which was scheduled to be at the
first snack stop. But when we arrived at this designated area,
it was deserted, and paint on the road indicated that we should
When we finally found the stop many miles down the road, we
discovered that the reason for the relocation was a cranky cemetery
watchman. Snack stops and lunch stops vary from wide spots in
the road to road side picnic areas, abandoned stores, parking
lots, church picnic areas, etc. We roll in, setup a few small
tables with snacks and drinks, a few benches, and trash bags.
We clean up thoroughly and leave no evidence that we were ever
there. Some of the snack stops can be chosen ahead of time like
roadside parks or church picnic areas. Wide spots in the road
are chosen on the fly by the crew.
This particular stop was listed as a church picnic area, but
apparently the cemetery caretaker felt we were trespassing and
ordered people off of the church property, somewhat forcibly,
with a gun, and threats to call the authorities. Victor packed
up the snacks and moved on. Apparently the caretaker called
the police and that was his undoing, since the police seemed
almost eager for Victor to press charges regarding the threats.
The police were actually quite friendly and supportive of us.
This served to revive my good impressions of cycling in Texas.
we finally started the time trial, a few miles later than planned.
And it was a good thing. Lon had described the course as flat,
and it was anything but. I'm not afraid of hills, but I knew
that a tandem and three singles would have a little trouble
staying together on this terrain. The route flattened a bit,
but still had a few good climbs. Despite averaging almost 30
mph, we still fell off the back on some of the climbs. But the
team worked together to keep us around, since we were such an
assett on the flats and downhill.
I have never ridden so intensely in my life. For the first
4 or 5 miles, I was sure my heart was going to explode through
my rib cage at any moment. I was sure I would not be able to
hang on for 27 miles the way I felt, but suddenly I got into
a good rhythm and while I was still working harder than I ever
had, I felt better.
Then we hit construction. We actually had to stop while a bulldozer
pulled out in front of us. We got through after a minute, but
what lay ahead of us was dirt and mud. We hammered right through
it and back up to speed. We passed through several of these
mud patches, and soon we were all covered in mud from the knees
down. We kept cranking along.
Near the end, Lon drove by and told us we were doing well,
although we had lost Roger a minute or so before. The timer
would stop on the third bike, so each team could lose one rider.
We were really excited and just kept going at 30+ mph until
we finally reached the finish line, where we all stood and sprinted
across the line for a time of 56 minutes, 6 seconds. Apparently
I wasn't the only one working harder than ever before. John
discovered a new max. heart rate of 200 bpm at the end. All
this was good enough for third place !