2003 > Terrible 1.5 > Tom's Report

Terrible 1.5 - not exactly according to plan

Reporting: Tom Lawrence

It *can* really can get hot...

The first three times I did the Terrible Two, I laughed at the "100 degrees" part of the ride description. It was never even close.

This fourth time however, "100 degrees" was an understatement. I heard figures around the 110 mark from a few people. So, for the first time, I got to experience the true nature of the ride.

Rewind a couple of weeks to the Eastern Sierra Double. I finished that day with a huge amount of salt crusted on my face. I had been experiencing this more and more lately and started to conclude that I was getting too much salt. In addition to the crusting, I had also been finding the salt in my water less palatable and assumed that my body was telling me that I was getting too much. So, I decided to cut back on salt intake.

Big mistake. On Skagg's, the steep 2000' climb where temps can head well north of 100, I just wilted away. It was all I could do to turn over a 30/32 low gear by the end of the climb. I figured that it was just the heat and I'd continue out to the coast and all would be better there in the cool air, but by the time I got to the coast I was feeling no better and couldn't muster enough speed to keep up with a guy on a fixed gear mountain bike. I did some calculations and realized that I wasn't going to make the 10pm cutoff anyhow, and given that I could barely stand up while off the bike, I decided to cash it in.

Tums considered hazardous...

When the woman stopped to pick me up, she took one look at me and said "are you done?". I nodded and we packed my bike onto her rack and I got in and we headed off to Ft. Ross. Once there, we picked up a couple more spent riders. I was getting increasingly sick and uncomfortable in the car and nothing seemed to help. Along the second summit of Ft. Ross we came across a cyclist sitting in the road. Upon investigation, we learned that he couldn't get up and needed help. We theorized that his hip was broken. Apparently he had taken a dumb slow speed "parking lot" spill while reaching for his Tums. He was going uphill at the time which made it that much more odd. After lots of talk, we decided to let him try to hoist himself into the front seat of the car, which he did successfully. I was now relegated to the very cramped back seat of a Subaru Forester with two other large guys. It didn't take long for the inevitable to happen. I called for an immediate stop, hopped out and deposited most of what I had eaten over the previous 3 hours into the ditch. It was a relief and I felt ok for about 10 minutes after getting back into the car.

In Monte Rio, we stopped to pick up my lights but I wasn't immediately able to get my muscles to function enough to get out of the car. Zach Kaplan was there taking a rest break and his stare as I hobbled over to the rest area spoke volumes. He was looking really crusty as well. I finally managed to fold myself back into the car and we departed. I got progressively worse and by the time we got to the finish, I wasn't able to hold my head up, focus my eyes or even keep the drool safely in my mouth. (This story keeps getting better and better doesn't it?)

When we got back to Willowside, I had to vacate the car so that the SAG driver could take the guy with the broken hip off to the emergency room. But I couldn't get out of the car for about 3 minutes and even then I had to steady myself on something solid just to stand. After a minute or two I could walk well enough to head over to the food area where Elaine, KenH and Graham were slack-jawed with amazement at my appearance. I was able to choke down some chicken and salad and then I got a lift back to my hotel room.

I was up late, throwing up and cramping and twitching until it finally dawned on me (ding!) to.. (drum roll) take some salt. I guess it takes a long time to reverse a preconceived notion and I had decided that I was getting too much salt and that was all there was to it. So it took a little while for me to realize that maybe I was wrong on that. I ended up consuming several spoonfuls of salt mixed with water and presto, in about 10 minutes, I was relaxed and comfortable and went right to sleep. The next morning I actually felt pretty good.


So, the moral of this story is, don't forget to take your salt! Especially on 110 degree days. I guess the other moral of the story is, stop your bike before reaching for your Tums.


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