Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Saints to Sinners

I few months ago I was able to reconnect with my Dad's brother John. I think we were both surprised to find out that the other was an avid cyclist and we made some tentative plans to get together for a ride.
About a month after that he emailed with a question, " Do you want to ride in the Saints to Sinners relay"?

The Saints to Sinners ride is in it's second year and put on to raise money for ALS. This is a road ride so I am deviating from the normal mountain bike drivel you usually see here. The route looks like this;

The team was put together with a rag-tag group from So-Cal, Utah, and Colorado.The group was very cool and for once I was not the oldest guy riding.  We also didn't have any of the Uber aggressive, "in it to win it" guys who just need a punch in the face.... so that was nice.

The race is split into 30 legs and each team member has 3 legs of their own to complete. The team is able to ride together for moral support or drafting purposes, the only regulation being that you cannot ride the leg directly before or after the leg you are responsible for.
We split up the effort as much as possible, helping out where we thought it was needed.

I didn't take any pictures the whole trip so I had to rip these from Emily's blog. If you visit her site be sure to take note of how men should wear scarves. It works Pete,    it    just    works.

Two vehicles are a must have for an event like this and a the motor home was invaluable. Not that you get a lot of sleep in there, but having room to move around and lay down if you want is really the way to go. The constant moving was an interesting twist and you need a guy or two to be on top of the logistics. Big props to Brian for keeping us all between the lines. In fact I would highly recommend at least one person on your team be an MIT graduate, they don't seem to mind the extra workload.

The most memorable leg for me was the midnight ascent of leg 13. It looks like this;

In the moment the ride was a grind, but as soon as I had recovered from the oxygen debt and had warmed up from the rain at the summit the recollections were more enjoyable than painful.  The smells of the damp forest, the dark solitude, the lack of oxygen and sleep all contributed to a terrific ride.  I am calling my shot right now and saying that I would do again if we do the race next year.

I need to make a comment on Emily's last leg through the Valley of Fire state park. It was hot, really hot and the profile provided by the race organizers did not seem to be accurate. There was a lot of tough climbing but she pounded out the 16+ miles like a trooper.

If you are looking to do this race next year I would highly recommend it. You take a route through the heart of Utah that you normally don't get to see. I could write an entire do's and don'ts scenario for you but that would take some of the fun out of your event.
Suffice it to say that as the miles pass under your wheels memories will be made, the sun will set and rise again, relationships will flourish, pain and suffering will be felt, sleep will elude you and you will test your physical limits.

Sounds like a recipe for a quality time, every vacation should have some of that.


Chantay Elyse said...

How cool is that!! Love your writing Mark :-)

Steve Townsend said...

Mark: Great comments (a little deeper than I was expecting). It was a wonderful two weeks spent together over 30 hours. Let's do it again next year.

Arlo & Kara said...

all I can say is WOW - that looks like an intense ride