I'm taking a small break in my re-hydration and eating schedule to write this. Still got a bit of a headache from dehydration.
I'll start my report with my pre ride preparation in the week leading up to yesterday: NONE, didn't ride all week, busy at work, drank too much coffee, very little water, tried to redress the balance by chugging a bottle of water in the parking lot before we rolled out. I think I was dehydrated before we even started!
I will only add my personal details to the ride description given by the rest. As beautiful as the first climb was my legs started to feel it near the top.
Heading towards Calistoga I hit a rock and pinch flatted both tires. Unfortunately I only had a 48mm valve spare, and not the 60mm needed. Luckily I had a valve extender, only one mind you, that we could use to pump both tires up but this had to be a serial process with there only being one extender. Of course we all had comedy pumps and CO2 except Ceely who had a sensible pump but it needs to screw onto the valve and of course valve extenders have no threads. I tried my CO2, but nothing was coming out, even though the cylinder was punctured. I had to then point the CO2 away from us all whilst I unscrewed the based to allow the charged CO2 to launch off into the bushes. The 'O' ring had failed inside resulting in it sealing inside the device with no way of venting the pressure. Fail. So I used my Lilliputian comedy pump to get about 60 psi into both tires and then use Katherine's working CO2 to top them off. This took ages and I started to lose it when people repeatedly gave me the same advice as to how I could have voided this predicament if I had had long valves, plumbers tape for the valve extenders etc. All things I knew, and was happy to acknowledge the first couple of times these points were raised, but after the 5th time or so , whilst I was sweating like a pig pumping my tires up, I had to threaten a total meltdown if everyone didn't shut up and stop moaning about how long it was taking. Over the next 5 miles my internal voice coached me not to hate everyone as it would stop me from enjoying an otherwise very pleasurable ride.
After we rolled out of Calistoga, after fluids and unsuccessfully trying to procure 60mm tubes form the local bike shop, I started to feel bad. My breathing was tight, because of the heat I imagine, so I had to use my inhaler a few times but this didn't seem to have much effect. Also whenever I tried to accelerate where a strong pedal force was required I cramped. As the next 60-70 miles progressed the number of cramping areas increased to about 6 or 7. However I could keep these down to twinges and mini shot duration cramps, , and not full cramps, if I focused on pedaling as smoothly as possible (pedaling in circles really works) , not standing up, and ignoring surges by those stronger than myself.
As Lucas was dying in Windsor a rather fat man, although very pleasant, got out of his truck and told us it was too hot to ride and it looked like I'd lost 7lbs, as he gave me a friendly poke in the ribs as he walked by. I replied I'd be dead if I'd lost 7lbs. As it happens I was 5lbs under weight still when I got home, after drinking fluids, so he may have been correct. I looked like shit. Not as shitty as Lucas however during his cramping and heat stroke episode. Watching his calves twitch and spasm and then seize was truly gross and made his cries of pain and profanities totally understandable.
I amazed myself by completing the ride, effectively fighting off cramps for 70 miles. The moral is if you want to improve your pedal stroke, cramp and give yourself two options 1. ride as smoothly as possible for the next 3 hours or 2. lie on the side of the road, with no water in the blazing heat for 4 hours until someone comes to get you.
Breakfast: 2 Weetabix, with rice milk, a sausage and egg muffin made by my lovely wife, a latte made by me
Ride: 6 cliff bloc packs and 4 cliff bars, 10 bottles approximate of acclerade, water, gatorade combined. Oh yes and some cheesy snacks Campbell bought in Windsor for the salt.
Post Ride: Qualifying statement: I left my wallet at home and only had $7 and change left after the ride. 5 McDonalds Cheeseburgers and a Coke.