Around 230am I came back to my camp to find that everyone was out cold in their tents, people in solo alley were all sleeping, and I was on my 9th lap, a little under 150 miles completed. I was feeling good but I started to notice a bit of a cough forming in my lungs. I grabbed my secret weapon, more clif shot blocks and headed to the check in tent.
The announcer asked me to sing "Eye of the Tiger" while I was trying to warm up and eat some snicker bars. I sang a bit before giving up..... looked over in an adrenaline-rushing gaze over at the line of riders to see if anyone would call out my name, heard nothing, so I clipped in and rode off. The gaze is just a quick glance b/c you know you have to leave the warm tent and begin to ride another lap around the same course, the course that you have practically memorized.
This was by far my hardest lap, both mentally and physically b/c as I started to "hammer" up the bitches, I started to cough more and more. I made a grave mistake by not using my Ipod up until my final laps. I wish I would have grabbed it then. More people passing me; me thinking to myself, do they even know that I am solo, do they know how many laps I have done? Silly thoughts, right? That is what you think of when ride for long periods of time, your mind wanders. Who cares how many laps you have or have not done. I had to put that aside and tell myself that I was at here to ride , and ride alone is what I do best. Focus, focus, Chad. People would pass me going up the bitches, but then I would pass them going down. More yo-yoing. Ride up, crouch down into a draft position to conserve energy on the way down.
Finally, the guys at Bravo Company ahead.... the guys I have been chatting with every time I go by. As I get closer, I realize that one of the cars is gone, the other diesel has stopped running. I can see someone inside though. Another human that is not suffering, that is a good sign. I can see the lights of the singletrack off to my left with some more howling of the coyotes (flashback to the AZT solo ride that I did a few weeks ago, at least they are not waking me up). Uplifting, very uplifting. I have been here before and have rode through the night in this very area before.
I turn off the gasline onto the singletrack. "Rider back" and "Can I pass you when you get time" seem to be happening a lot less. After the corral, I fly through the cholla section and onto the double track, one of the places where I drink some water and eat. The frost is coming down on the cacuts and small grass, there is one flat area right before you start climbing on Rattlesnake trail that is uber flat; this is one of the coolest areas where the dew is most prevalent. Ahhhhh, what a site. I ride without any body for a few miles before I get to golf.... "Good morning.... we left the light on for you," some guy utters out. One last gasline-hill, granny gear...hammer, hammer, hammer. Ahhhhhhh....more relief.
This is the longest lap of the day. His/hers trail is the perfect remedy, but wait, why is John Wayne bent over? The frost. The divets and potholes on his/hers trail seem to get harder, but worse. The nice guys at the Hotel area still have their fire blazing. Nobody is in site. Junebug trail is a quick fix to anybody that needs some more singletrack. Cross the road and begin to climb and climb back to 24 hour town. Lee the Spam-man (what a guy!) is sleeping...
Lee, how are you doing?
Who is that?
It's me Chad.
Ohhhhhhh chad. Goooo. Rideeee!
I ride off, climbing more and more, I gotta love that man, out here in the thick of it all, on the side of the trail! Coughing begins to get worse as I near my camp. Stephanie from my pit crew is up, I ask her for advice, to which she replies in her motherly tone, "you sound bad, it might be better to warm up in your tent for a bit." I succumb to pressure and head to the tent after eating some more clif shot blocks. I slept for about an hour and started to cough up flem for 20-30 minutes, before getting up to get warm around the fire. The inevitable putting-the-clothes-pack-on hit me at about 630am when Max made me some coffee.
Today, I got home from urgent care with bronchitis. Bummer.