Thorp to Tieton

A friend had a piece in the 10 x 10 x 10 x Tieton exhibition, so last Saturday a few of us went out to see it. I still needed to get my training in for the day, though, so I asked them to drop me off in scenic Thorp, from which I’d ride my bike the rest of the way. I figured this would be a good test of how well my body now deals with heat (since starting hot yoga), as it was supposed to hit 95 that day.

planned my route with Google maps, checking out supposed ‘bike trails’ online and eliminating most of them, as they turned out to be gravel. I wish Google would let you specify ‘road bike’ directions.

We were later getting to Thorp than planned, so it was already clearing 85 by the time I started out. I’d frozen all 4 of my bottles, and hoped they’d stay at least somewhat chilled over the course of the 60 mile ride.

The first 10 miles or so were quite flat, and flew by. I then found myself on Canyon Rd, which winds its way alongside the Yakima River. The next 30 miles were great fun, as I was in a gorgeous canyon next to a lovely river that was full of entertaining inner-tubers, drunkenly floating down the river. It wasn’t nearly as hilly as I expected, so I averaged 18mph, which is really fast for me. By the time I hit Selah, though, the temperature had hit 95 and I’d already burned through 3 of my bottles, so I stopped at a gas station to enjoy the A/C and reload the bottles with cold Gatorade.

I left Selah on the Yakima Greenway, a lovely, twisty, mostly well-paved bike trail. According to my directions, I didn’t have to make any turns until it ended, so I just pumped away until that happened. What I didn’t realize was that the trail actually splits East/West just as you reach Yakima, and of course, I went the wrong way. By the time the trail ended (and thank goodness it did!), I was in the SE corner of Yakima, 5 miles off course. Doh!

Once again thankful for a GPS-enabled phone, I was able to figure out where I was and how to get back on course. I didn’t yet realize how far off course I was, though, and thought I’d only added a mile or two (not 10). I also hadn’t bothered to map out the course on a site that would show the elevation, and HOLY CRAP did it ever go up, up, up from Yakima. That was a very unwelcome surprise, especially as I kept expecting to find Tieton at the top of each hill, only to find there was yet another hill to conquer first.

By mile 65, I was too damn hot, the last of my bottles was boiling, and the front outer quadrant of each foot was killing me. I actually started audibly swearing because it hurt so damn much. I thought about stopping, but I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to walk or stand, so I just kept going.

I finally reached Tieton, and about 5 feet from the welcome sign, my chain popped off the front gears. I had to laugh about it lasting 70 miles and coming off in the last 2 blocks.

I made it to the car, where I had very smartly stashed some ice cold water in my cooler. It tasted better than anything I’ve ever tasted, ever. EVER. I also had a towel and water with which to rinse myself off, so I wouldn’t stink up the car on the ride home. This was immensely gratifying, as I had so much salt built up I probably would have been licked to death had I wandered near any horses. My feet turned out to be fine to walk on, and were even fine to run on the next day. Weird.

In summary, I was pretty damn tired:

But hey, I survived the heat! Woohoo!

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One Response to Thorp to Tieton

  1. Will says:

    Ah, yes, I forgot about the cooler trick. However, the point of the heat training is to get used to getting too damn hot, because there aren’t any coolers or A/C during a race (but there is plenty of cold Gatorade).