The weather is starting to get warmer and this weekend Angie and I are heading down to the Tour Del Sol stage race. I have had a fun winter spending a lot of time on the trainer but I am more than ready to get out and ride. Two weeks ago I went down to St George with my team for training camp. I left Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon and made it down to St. George around 6pm then met up with Ira and a few other team members where we stayed at a house with about 7 of us.
On Friday March 8, the team met up for a ride around the Gunlock loop in St George. The weather was extremely cold, in the 40′s, but from the house it appeared that we would warm up on the ride so we dressed accordingly. We met up at the park in Ivins and began rolling out towards the Gunlock reservoir, then the rain started coming down and the temperature dropping. By the time we got to the reservoir it was fully coming down and our clothes were completely soaked through, with the temperature dropping into the 30′s. I was absolutely freezing and could hardly feel my hands. I pedaled as hard as I could over the two climbs and my hands hurt the most, I couldn’t even shift or control my bike. I was able to make it over the climb first then we headed over to Veyo and warmed up in a gas station. My core wasn’t that bad but my hands have never been so cold and as I put them under cold water, the stinging was almost unbearable. I literally pulled my socks off and wrung them out.
We stayed in the gas station for a while, mulling on how bad it would be to go back out into the cold and have to ride back home. I was drinking a hot chocolate when Ira and a few other teammates decided to take off. I was running behind and a lot of the team opted to stay and warm up, I tried to convince a few people to ride back with me because I didn’t want to just sit around and wait. Finally I decided to just suck it up and get out in the cold, with rain drenched clothes, and ride it out. I grabbed a few plastic bags just in case it started to rain again, to cover up my hands. At first it was absolutely freezing, but there was a small climb shortly out of Veyo that allowed me to warm up as I went hard. Coming down from Veyo it started getting colder and colder with the long descent, but finally I made it back to the house we were staying at and jumped in the shower. Soon the guys got home and we got in the hot tub to warm up, then went out to eat at a local Thai and Sushi place, followed by a brief visit to Dave Brinton’s rented house where the team was having a gathering.
The next day was the one I was really excited for, the climb over Utah hill down to Littlefield and back. The temperatures weren’t much better the next day but at least it wasn’t raining. We could see snow up on the mountaintops so that wasn’t to exciting. Instead of driving to the meet up location in Ivins, we just got on our bikes and rode the 6 miles to meet up with the rest of the team. When we got there it was extremely cold and even though we had warmed up on the ride over, the wind was still very chilly. At least there was a head wind in the direction we were planning on going, which I prefer so there is a tail wind on the way home.
The team seemed to take a bit of time to roll out from Ivins, so being as cold as I was I latched on to the first group. It felt good to get going on the road and as soon as the group of riders hit the bottom of the climb, riders began drifting apart and I rode along with Mike Austin for most of the way up. At the top it was very cold as expected, and it took about ten minutes to round up most of the group. About half turned around and went back at that point but the rest of us started riding down towards Littlefield. It was a long and cold descent but at least that side of the mountain was warmer than the Ivins side. We all regrouped at the bottom and then after a bit, riders started returning up the mountain.
Ira and I were in the last group of riders to leave and quickly met up with Nate, Dave and the Brinton’s. I was hoping to get a group to go hard to the summit and see how fast we could go, and hopefully take on some of the better times on Strava. There wasn’t much of an interest in doing that but Ira and Harry were up for the game. We started pushing it hard right about the time we hit the border and Harry hung with us for a while, then it became just Ira and I. We ended up riding past all the rest of the Infinite group and by the time I reached Mike Austin I was riding alone. I got to what I thought was the top and sat back to wait for Ira, and 30 seconds or so later he caught up to me and told me to keep going because we weren’t at the finish yet. It took about a mile more and then we were done, but we didn’t stay long and rode back down towards Ivins to keep from getting cold. My chain kept skipping, I didn’t realize but it was broken and gave me a hard time putting pressure on the pedals.
We briefly stopped at the meetup location and then Ira and I headed home. We were so excited to get back and sit in the hot tub, then after that we all went out for pizza, which just tasted amazing. I decided that instead of staying another night, I would pack up and head home then. It would be a late drive but then at least I would be able to see Angie and have a day to spend with her.
Other than that, my spring has been pretty routine, just hanging out with Angie, working and training. This weekend is the Tour del Sol, time to see how my fitness is coming along. This race is always exciting, the first one of the season for me, now this is my third year doing it.