Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TdA Stage 14. Good Hard Fun.

148km. Desert Camp to Desert Camp.

Carrie woke up with the cold that has been going around camp (and which I have miraculously averted, so far). I planned to take it easy and ride with her for the day. And we found a nice group, too. But then Scott and Bas rode by after about 20km and I realized that they were probably working on a stage win, so I jumped on with them with the idea that I would help out and take some pulls until I burned out and then I could drop back and work with Carrie.

The flaw in this plan was that we were bigger and faster than I expected. We picked up a few more people (young-adam, peter-the-plumber, and henry-the-hardman) and we dialed it up over 40km/hr. So, I ended up a lot farther ahead than I expected and there was no 'going back'.

Peter eventually dropped. Then Henry. Then me. I suffered the last 45km on my own into a demoralizing cross and head wind. Somehow, I still managed to finish before the pack of men's racers (who left at least 20 minutes after me), which I found quite satisfying. Scott ended up with the stage win, but it was a tie with Dennis, a nice german guy who started and finished at a different time but coincidentally rode in the same time!

Three days of >140km before noon. Not bad. This was the hardest consistent effort that I put in. I rode hard all day. I know it's not for everyone...but I really, really like riding hard. It is so satisfying to finish a ride feeling exhausted.

I have few pictures from the last two days owing to a number of factors. 1) riding too hard. 2) the scenery is the same as the prior days. 3) my lens cap is broken. 4) the lens is jammed with sand. I did miss a couple of pictures today though...herds of camels on the countryside. AND a huge convoy of army trucks and tanks moving in the opposite direction. It is so strange not having the news. I don't know whether these things are just going back home or whether they are on their way out somewhere. I'm just happy that they were going in the opposite direction!

On riding days, we get soup in the afternoon. Amazing soup. Today was something that tasted a bit mexican. Best soup yet. The chef is James McKerricher. The food so far has been really impressive. One day I will learn to cook like James.

Carrie rolled up to camp about a half hour after me. We took a nap/rest in the shade under the truck and told stories of our first boyfriends. It is funny how alone you feel in your experiences and perspectives on the world when you are fifteen considering how similar they are to everyone else your age. Maybe its not just at fifteen, either.

Before dinner, the cooks auctioned off a bag full of lost and found items. It was pretty funny to see how much people were willing to pay to get their own dishes back. Nothing speaks louder than an empty belly. Correction. One thing does. The bag of toilet paper commanded the highest premium at the auction. 


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