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2014 Cache Gran Fondo and experiences riding overall

Well I thought I would pen a little bit of some of my experiences pedaling around the cache valley and alentours.

I decided to enter my first structured event on July 12, 2014. It is called the Cache Gran Fondo Click Here for Official Site. I signed up and got excited and began to prepare for the 50 miler. In my preparations and prior to a trip away from home, I decided that a 30 miler should get me to where I needed to be. The last ride I took before my pre-ride the night before about killed me as I rode in the heat of the day and ran into the Hyrum city Freedom days. As I toured into Hyrum City, many of the event goers pretended to be oblivious to their surroundings and almost cut me off about 4 times. At least the Sheriff on a bike was complimentary and mentioned in passing that he liked my 'Share the Road' Jersey.

The week just prior was spent in Dover Delaware on business. I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn while there. To my dismay, the little gym they have closes at 10:00 PM, so I found myself out pounding the pavement on a simple two mile run both times in thunderstorms. One night was really exciting as chain lightning filled the in-compassionate skies all around. It was the first time I was so frustrated with a stay that I was going to ask for a was not satisfied free stay, but little Thomas Joseph Hubbs (Julie and Robert) was born that day and I hustled to meet mother and son in the women's center of a local hospital in Philadelphia. Along the way my phone decided to die.

So the day of the race comes, my father decided to surprise us after my brother disappointed him by not letting his two twins spend some time on a road trip with Grandpa and Naunie. My Father, unbeknownst to my brother was desperately hurt by this, when years before he as a father allowed us as youth to go with our grandparents to witness an important ordination of my cousin Donald, at the time I was about 13. Sometime doing things that are uncomfortable help us to grow and allow little fledgling minds and hearts grow. But I digress. My father came up to enjoy in the activities and chase me around with Liz and Dennis.

Liz took me to the start point of the race where we ran into a friend of ours that had just moved from our ward. Her husband was hustling to make the start of the 100 miler. Liz came with me, grabbed a few photos and wished me well. And I was off. The roll out I kept to the middle of the pack as I hate being with too many folks still, something about me being claustrophobic and not having complete control of those around me, and being in my clip-less pedals and shoes. The pace was easy going and after the first major turn I decided to get to the upper tier of the group. The route was taking us from Logan regional hospital through North Logan to the Hyde park road where we headed due west out towards Trenton and Clarkston. Along the way i was mesmerized by the ride and being awake and riding around 7 AM in the morning with a bunch of other clowns/fools/enthusiasts. Soon we were turning towards where we would run into the first aid station some 10-12 miles into the race. As I came up on the station and I saw the zoo of folks, I decided why in the world would I stop so early on the 50 miler, it won't be until about Mendon where I really need to re-fuel, so i pressed on. As I made this decision the road on the course came to a T. As I approached 3 generations of males looked quickly then ignored the on-coming cyclist (namely me) and proceeded to cross the road. To my chagrin and theirs 3 vehicles (farm vehicles) turned the bend which caused me to concentrate only on avoiding them and refraining from screaming obscenities in either English or French (although in my head putain de merde, conards! -- blurted in my mind). This is where things get interesting because, I saw a sign. I didn't really understand the flashes in my mind at the time as I was arguing with right/left or take out these fools. Needless to say all was avoided and I made the 'right' turn, or should it have been left. Well about 3-4 miles down the road the flashes on the sign begin to nag at my mind. 100 with an arrow --> pointing right.

Could it be. Who am I riding with? There aren't too many folks out here, and I hear the chatter of about half a dozen others saying stuff like: 'My GPS says we made a wrong turn'; 'This isn't an out and back so a wrong turn means a lot of miles'; 'are you sure this is the century route?'. To these remarks I blew it off. I made the turn up a gentle climb to the next aid station, and well it wasn't Mendon where i was expecting number 2 to be for the 50 miler. I did not make the 'right' turn, in fact I was supposed to turn left. I verified with the fella that I recognized who coordinates the Monster Runs at bear lake that Liz likes to run in. I also heard a couple in dispute of whether to do the century or turn back and do about 60-65. My mind had said at this time, I'm all in regardless. So i pull out the phone, call Liz and alert her to the surprise of the day. I would not be rendez-vousing up with them coming out of Newton rather, the next stop for them was Malad Idaho. Onto the Weston Highway I went. I was still riding comfortably oblivious to the climb that was in front of me.

As I rolled on, it got really cool in the canyon that I was riding in, that was the turning point of the heat tho. After that cool rush it only warmed up. As I rode up the incline, I decided I needed to reposition a few things in my jersey. I came to a stop about 40 miles in and climbing to the peak where i rolled off to the side, a bit to far into the shoulder and as I placed my foot down, slip! Onto my knee. Road rash! Battle wounds! and the lady that slipped by concerned enough to ask if i was ok, but watching what just occurred to scared to do the same as she pedaled on. I acknowledged that I was just fine, please continue. So, made my adjustments, sucked in some of that gelatinous goo crap and carried on. Over the saddle I went. There is nothing like a 50 mph downhill, riding your breaks completely fatigued from an ascent your body and mind were not prepared to do.

Did this stop me? Hell no, I was in all the way. So onward I went, pedaling through and enjoying the downhill breeze (I just turned 40 on June 25th a few weeks prior) literally. So, into Malad Idaho I roll. I come to a stop at the aid station. 52 miles. Liz and Dennis were there. My Dad was off making friends and telling stories of how his son made a wrong turn. I think everyone there knew of my blunder and I even got a few comments from folks saying that what I was doing was pretty cool. My mind was singing the same song, my body was thinking 'what in the world are you doing, we're not 17 any more dude!'. Well after taking way too long and catching up with the fun mistakes of the day with Liz and Dad, I got a huge good bye and hug of encouragement from Dennis. I couldn't tell if he was happy or like, just finish dad, like 2 hours ago. Back in the saddle. Rolling on the western side of the Wellsvilles heading toward Tremonton, oblivious to the next challenge before the end. I mean how was I thinking while riding alongside I-15 from Idaho into Utah that i was going to make my way back into Cache Valley. They were closing down the last aid station as I showed up as I was the last known rider on the course at that stage. the 10-30 rider behind me called no-joy at the last aid station with one last couple calling it quits when water support asked if a ride was wanted. Heck no! I am all in.

Realization hits me after I leave the 3rd station. The route into the beautiful Cache Valley could only be by one singular route. Yup that dreaded highway 30. Well about mile 96 I hit my limit. I took a 6 mile relief ride from the support vehicle to the last aid station at the park in Mendon. I was only about 4 minutes behind the rest of the pack, but my body was at its limit. I think if it wasn't 90-95 degrees I could have willed my way through but, I was a bit under fueled as I only carb loaded for a 50 miler not a 100 mile century the night before. I jumped out of support and road the rest of the way to the finish line. Not too shabby for a recently turned 40 year old that only had about 200 miles on a recently acquired triathlon bike. that was all I had done to prepare for this ride. I was set for the 50 and nearly conquered the century although I did ride over 100 miles I found out as the course was really about 108 miles in total length.

So what did I learn from this experience. I miss athletics. And more tot he point, singular type athletics where teams are encouraged but not required. I keep reading in cycling when you ride in teams you only get better, but I love the notion of competing against yourself and the elements. Sure, I will prolly join a few folks in a club and stuff, but with how often I travel, I will always tend to be the outsider or 'there's that guy' type over and over. most of them haven't seen a Kestrel and a tri-rig. I still remember when I came to pick up my bike from the Butler boy at Sunrise Cyclery that most of them were like, that is a sweet bike. One asked to weight it and at 20.5 lbs they were just in shock. Anyway, point being, I am addicted. When I come home Liz knows I want to get out and ride. Oh yeah, after the race in my depleted state, Liz got me to buy her a bike from the Sportsmen that was on sale, too. I don't know if she planned it that way, but it happened. We have even been on a few rides together, well depends on her or my point of view, but at least we are out active together more than just a hike. She likes to run, I don't. I like being on a bike, although I am in it to do a 70.3 mile half IRONNMAN down in St. George Utah IRONMAN (St.George) Half.

And so it goes. I am out rolling around Cache Valley. I ma prolly cramping folks style as I ride the roads I choose to ride. They have to look at my annoying yellow jersey that proclaims 'Share the Road' in many different ways on the jersey. They zip on by, some giving plenty of room and others oblivious to the preciousness of life compared to their lack of respect for time. I ma addicted. I like it. It gives me time to unwind and just roll along. I get to pedal at my pace, fast or slow, driven or pushed back by all the local winds. It is fun. I need to do it more so that I can do two major things I would like to do next year. One I mentioned as the half IRONMAN in St. George. The other is the 2015 LOTOJA ride Clieck Here for details. Both will be really hard to train and prepare for while I work and travel as I currently do. However, I would like to complete those in an effort to get back to my used-to-be-an-athlete-then-joined-a-corporation self. I would like to just do it so that Dennis can see his Daddy accomplish something more than just getting on a shuttle to go somewhere. I am thinking that the vacation right after should I have enough points be something like Hawaii or Cancun or St. Thomas. Ya, that might shock Liz a bit that I ma thinking that far in advance, not really and yes, I think Dennis should come too unless we have something else come up in between that weighs about 17-20 lbs by then.

Anyway, this 40 year old has found a hobby/passion that he enjoys. I even enjoy the company of my wife from time to time out there. Please be more careful when she's on the road, although, yes she is distracting out there, I just tend to be more used to her as a distraction, and yes she is mine, so be careful! Wrapping this up, I think everyone should find something that helps them get back tot he activity levels they once enjoyed. Go in 'all the way'. Don't go half fast. Like with anything, and I liken it back to my faith, fence sitters only end up with sore crotches, so I trade my sore crotch for a seat on a kestrel bicycle and keep my faith strong and on fire like my passion for rolling on an open highway or road with no end in sight.

Fear the beard!
Share the road!

SL

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and the photos:

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