What did we do today?

The Gila Monster, which some people consider the hardest road racing stage in the United States (it’s not). It’s 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing and includes side helpings of nasty descents, brutal heat, and lots of sadness.

What was it like?

It was like waiting in a trench in World War One for the sergeant to blow his whistle before charging directly into a machine gun fire.

How did I do?

Utter collapse. When I woke up that day, I was dead inside – nobody was home; sorry, the bar was closed.

I tried to fight it by crushing enough sugar-free Red Bull, Z-bars, and a mound of oatmeal before setting off, but as I was rolling downhill from the Airbnb to the start line at Geough Park, I could feel my legs already waiting to cramp.

BUT – GET THIS. As awful as I was, I still finished 47th on the day and 37th out of 115 starters overall which confirms one thing – I am STILL a mediocre CAT 1!

Sometimes dreams do come true.

Quotes of the day

“You have to finish your breakfast.”
“I can’t. Diesel Daddy is running out of steam.”
“No, Matti, I can’t see you go out like this!”
~Henry saw me crack before even starting the Gila Monster

“You’re in the gruppetto! Stop attacking the gruppetto. You’ll never get back to the front group.” ~Some random dude with a British accent clearly to me. He clearly doesn’t understand how to get through to a tryhard.

“dub dub dub dub,” ~ Me, as I caught my teammate Sam making Diesel Daddy noises.

“Never again.” ~James, after finishing the Gila Monster.

“You could just ride back with the team instead of Primal.”
“Yeah?”
“Yeah.”
“Everything you’re saying makes a lot of sense. Let me out here.”
~Sam, mentally fried after the Gila Monster

“Jesus, look at your legs right now – your veins are popping. Drink some water, King.”
~Taj to me in Victor’s Burrito shop. If only I were always as lean as the two hours after the Gila Monster when I’m incapable of eating or drinking.

“Where are you?”
“The gas station in Hatch.”
“I’m hungry again.”
“We ate an hour ago.”
“I want another dinner.”
“K. I saw this burrito shop on the side of the road, and it looks like CS Velo is going there.”
“Sick! Meet you there?”
“Nah.”
“Really?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
“…OK.”
~Henry has never been more disappointed I didn’t join him at Pepe’s burrito shack.

“I saw this thing recently, and by that, I mean I saw it on tik tok.”
~Tony, our DS, on the drive from Silver City to ABQ. I love it when people admit they get all their information from Tik Tok.

What I hated about today

It was embarrassing to be defeated by a bowl of oatmeal.

Mediocre power reveal/inner race commentary.

Go ahead and laugh at my Strava file if you want. The most exciting metric of the day was that the average temperature during the race was 88 F, with a high of 106 F at one point. No wonder everything was cramping.

Also, chances are I’ll be riding in similar conditions in Kansas in four weeks, but just for an additional 100 miles. Raise your hand if you’re nervous.

What I loved about today?

Taj, our barely 20-something wunderkind, finished 24th. The dude doesn’t even live at altitude and legally can’t even rent a car, but he was dancing on the climbs and booling on the descents, and as his surrogate bike dad, I felt proud and almost said something nice to him after the race.

At Victor’s burrito shop, after finishing our entrée, which only cost us $12, many of us returned for ice cream dessert – nothing fancy, just blue bunnies from a small freezer in front of the ordering counter. Victor rang us up, took our card, swiped it, and when the gratuity option popped up on his phone, he quickly tapped 25% gratuity and handed us our card back.

Victor is a business, man.

Kind of everything about Tony Olson. The dude is a hell of a DS and was a rock star from start to finish.

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