Rockwell Relay: Contending for Podium 1
We've arrived in Moab and have our packets now. At the park the teams are all out enjoying the fresh desert air. What I see is more people and teams than in previous years. But this should make sense as this event is gaining serious momentum. I heard something about 142 teams which is substantial compared to events past. While I'm glad the event is doing well I foresee an issue being backed up in traffic because there are so many people on the road.
A little later - We just ate a filling pasta dinner at a place called, ironically, Pasta Jay's. Yummy yummy food and definitely recommended when visiting Moab. Following the wonderful eggplant dinner I had we headed out to our humble slumber shack at the Lazy Lizard. It's quite nice and clean. It's captained by a man who appears to be a pirate. "Arrgg, quiet hour is eleven o'clock! Arrgg!"
I'll have more for you in the morning!
So morning rolled around with me having little sleep and a little remainder anxiety about the race mentality of leg one. Would I be able to keep up? If so, for how long? With some oatmeal and feeling properly hydrated. We headed over to the park where the start line was waiting.
A long time ago I used to do a little downhill mountain bike racing. I did enough to learn to cope with start line anxiety. There is no comparable type of anxiety. But starting at the Rockwell Relay just doesn't quite have that.
The start was like what I imagine a road race to be. Everyone took off with a shotgun start and my heart jump immediately to 183 bpm. That's substantial for me since I usually am not rested enough to acheive this task. Either way, the call was made and we all tried to hold on to that super fast bunch of guys that seemed to know somehow that they were going to win. Which as long as team LiveWell shows up there's not really a chance.
I found a group and rolled with them as long as I could. But after doing a majority of pulling I was left in the dust and massive headwind for the last 5 miles. I struggled in but finally made it. That would be my least preferred leg on this event. I think for obvious reasons, climbing 4500 feet over 54 miles really makes for a tough ride when every year it's also served with a headwind. As I reached the exchanged Jen took the batton for the least prefered leg of the day. The wind had picked up beyond reasonable levels and she struggled for the next 3 hours to move forward at all.
The group I was riding with was moving fast. However, only a few of us were pulling at all and the rest were just wheel suckers. The etiquette and form of these "racers" was frustrating because they wouldn't pull their share. So I, the mountain biker, tried to get them to start a rolling echelon paceline since we were headed into a nasty cross wind. It worked for about 3 cycles. And that's what we all had to deal with on this event: lots of "racers"who had no idea what they were doing.