My sister and I, undeterred by our previous biking adventures (...or perhaps encouraged by them…..) met up in Mesquite again this year and participated in the 2018 March Madness 65 miles bike ride. Good times.
The good times were slow to start. In fact, I was not sure they would start at all. Late Friday night, while unloading my bike from the back of the truck, the chain broke. All the bike shops in Mesquite has closed hours previously and they would not open again until after the event was scheduled to start. A chainless bike is about as effective as a bum steer. It might look nice but it would not get the job done.
My stress was unnecessary. (Is any stress necessary?) At the registration table, a kind lady told me to ask the Red Rock Bicycle Company’s bike mechanic and pointed me to a man wearing Chacos (clearly a good omen!). After listening to my sad story, he indicated he could probably help and asked me if I had the chain with me. (I must have looked as stupid as I felt….and I would have felt even more stupid if I’d left the chain behind!.)
“You are in luck,” he said as he fished a small something out of his toolbox and, after threading the chain back through all the sprockets, spokes and speed ring things, used it to reconnect my chain. Good news!
And the good times started...but they did not start quickly. In fact, there was nothing quick about it at all. Marjorie and I crossed the start line a 5:03 minutes after the leaders. We crossed the finish line almost four hours after the leaders. [The FIRST person to finish the 65 mile ride was a 63 year old woman who did it in 2:52:05.23. It took us 6:45:51.58.]
We were not quick but there were several quick things associated with the event.
Twenty-two and a half miles into the ride, at the first fabulous food (and drink and potty) station, it became very clear to me that short sleeves,short pants, and short shoes (i.e. Chacos) were not enough to keep me warm. I sent a short text (“Help!”) to Lance and he quickly responded. Bless him and bless him! He brought me a warm jacket and then spent the rest of the day shadowing Marjorie and I as we completed the course.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Miles and James were quick thinkers. Lance, coming to my rescue, left very quickly, so quickly that he had not time to think about, much less act upon, the need to check out of the hotel room. Miles and James, on an unrelated errand at the hotel service desk, thought to ask about check out time. When they learned they had to be out of the hotel room in 15 minutes, they quickly packed up everything (even Lance’s dress shoes that had been thrown in a corner) and moved out. Impressive action for a couple of teenage boys!
Quicker even than Miles and James moved from the cold pool to the hot tub was the wind that howled through the canyons Marjorie and I were navigating. Oh my lands! Heading out, toward Beaver Dam, it felt like a great day. Confidence surged, until we observed the riders coming back from the turn-around point. They were working….hard! We felt great because we had a tail wind. When turned around, our tailwind turned to a head wind and our confidence blew away. We had to pedal going downhill. Uphills (and there were several significant ones) were brutal. Brutal!
But we did it. We did it! My sweet sister and I did it. No one and nothing can take that away from us. It was hard. And we did it. We did it! And it was good times. Not quick times but good times. And our good memories of the good times will last a long, long time.