Monday, April 4, 2011

Death Valley Century







Why
would
a
Mother
and
Daughter...




bike
across...













Death
Valley...














...together?









Maybe...

we were
trying
to
capture...








...a bit
of the
magic...






...from
last
summer's
bike
ride....






...across
America.












It
was
magical
last
summer...






seeing
the
grandeur
of
America....





and
the
charm...






from
the
seat
of my
Serotta.






For
50 days...









and
3,060
miles...



we
rode
with
ABB...



and
50
strangers
who
became...





...our
greatest
friends.




Together
we
faced
bridges
in
Michigan...







tunnels
in
Wisconsin....






Wyoming
Mountains...






Vermont
Hills...





Idaho
Rivers...


and




Oregon
Deserts....








Heat








Cold





Rain






Wind







and
Hail...







And it
was the
most
magical
time...







...of
our
lives!




Now


9 months
later...






we are
hungry
to taste
again...





the
magic
of
the road.






It's not
just us.





Others
from that
50 day
journey









ache
to
remember...






Some
plan
to join together
this spring
to ride
the Natchez Trace






Others
will meet
in Colorado
for a
shared ride.




Gerard
just
posted
his tattoo







Dan
wants
one, too!

(He just
stopped
by Indy
to see me for
breakfast)






Todd
just
announced
a sabbatical
from his
work






so
he can
bike
again
across a
country.

(he won't say
which one)


Al
and I
yearn
so much...











...to live
again
in that
mystical
realm




where
all that
matters
is
the wind...






...and
the rain.







So
February

for her
birthday...







...I
meet Al
in
Death Valley...




...to bike
100 miles
with
Adventure Corps.





Our warm-up
ride
Thursday
was
delightful.




Bright blue skies.

Gentle breeze.

Soft,
sunny,
warm!





Saturday -
the day
of the
century -

was
BRUTAL!






Cold!







Cruel
head wind!





Sand
and grit
blasting
into our
faces!







Why
do we
do this?!




Shoulders
hunch
against
the gale.



I huddle
behind
my daughter.

Squinting
my face
into the
storm




My pedal
cadence
is stiff

One
stroke
at
a
time.






My Cat-eye
must be
broken!

It
barely
moves!











We
finally
reach
the first stop -

Badwater -





"I'm done!"

I announce.





Time for
this Mom
to
head
back....




to hotel...

car...

camera...

comfort...





I've
faced
Death Valley
and
"No thanks!"

Not today.





Besides
I'm slowing
Al down.





Her only
chance
to make it
is to leave me
behind!







My journey
back
is not easy.

Blue skies
surround
me...





But there's
white-out
ahead!

Is it rain?

snow?

sleet?





Dang!

It's dust!






That damned wind
has circled
back
to blast me
on the way
home!





I creep,
crawl
and
struggle





one
mileage
sign
at
a
time.





collapse
at
mile
2...






...where
a Dutch angel
picks me up





and whisks
me back
to safety!





I leap in
the car

and rush out
to
rescue Al!






I find her

- ready
to bonk -

at mile 45.






- Go for it, Al!

- I'll pick you up
when you're
ready
to drop!







What a trooper!





So while
she faces
wind
dust
and
extreme fatigue...










I take
pictures....










....of
Death Valley
flowers...














...and
fellow
hard-core
cyclists.
















When I find
Al again

she has
found
new friends...





Kevin
and Marc
help her battle
the winds
of Death Valley.

(They only
had a tailwind
for 7 miles).





I watch
cyclists
push
to the
limits...






...of
human
endurance...










sometimes...




with
a
smile
(?)












...and
I say
- Yes!








This is it!




































This is
the magic...






...of biking!
















This is
the magic...




...of life!





































11 comments:

  1. ...beautiful story and pics!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bonnie Surber CoatesApril 4, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Great pictures as usual. You are making a life time of memories... Memories that will keep going after your gone. Memories of bonding, adventure and pictures to back it up. What a blessing for you and your family. Bring's tear's to my eyes. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I LOVE that photo of Jeff Lazer. Good memories all around. Thanks for the birthday present mom. We should try it again?

    ASW

    ReplyDelete
  4. I prefer the magic of mountain dew, a good book, and a warm kitty =)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great blog! Great photos. I road SF to DC back in 1990. I long for that time again...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maybe next year as I struggle to regain my riding form at the age of 67.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was in that ride. It was to be my 3rd century in Death Valley, but I only made it 50 miles. Brutal. You were smart to turn around.

    And then the next day was perfect for a bike ride. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh I remember this ride so very well - brutal, brutal brutal. I also remember well your stops by the road. You were a bit of a sign post, a reminder that someone, somewhere was thinking of us as we thrashed against the hellish winds on the long return. Also turns out that I had the pleasure of riding a bit with the trio of of your daughter, Kevin and Marc. Now it makes more sense that you were out there, still "with us" as the day wanes. Thanks for being there with camera in hand and sharing your, and our, story.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  9. I absolutely love your blog. this entry is spectacular. I ride with my Dad when I visit home, & I wish we could ride across America together. You and your daughter are true inspirations! cheers,
    M.E.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Steve - you're welcome. I got the vicarious pleasure of watching you battle those hellish winds from the comfort of my rented Prius. Thank you.

    And M.E. rider - you and your Dad NEED to ride across America together. It is a life-changing experience to share with your Dad. I lost my Dad last year 1 month before we left on the ride across America. I wish he could have been there to follow our big ride.

    ReplyDelete