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.
I 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!