Deep Breath Before the Plunge

In Onward on October 11, 2008 at 2:54 am

It is 2:47 am and I just walked out to my car to suck grab a Bottle of Tiger Gatorade.  The moon showed clearly amidst a scattering stars.  The air felt clear, like desert air.  I could not sleep and I took the opportunity to hydrate myself for tomorrow’s ride.  I arrive in Irvine around 6:30am for a departure of 7am.  Our route will take us fifty miles to Carlsbad, and then for a 50 mile loop around Lake Hodges to finish in Westfield Plaza in Carlsbad.

Our neighbor, John, showed a bit of concern as I was pumping up my bike tires at his house yesterday evening.  An avid rider, John raises funds and awareness for a Leukemia ride every year.  I arrived home from work in a rush to see John fixing his sprinklers.  I was trying to fit in several things: getting my bike ready for the race, register for the race at the Irvine Marriott and, not least of which, I was going out on a dinner date with my wife.  Seeing John, I asked him to borrow his pump.

Maybe it’s just me, but a pump seems like an essential item for a bike owner.  Having been riding for about four months, I have not yet made the purchase.  John eyed my bike setup, saying with cautious oversight, “You need to get a full cage for you water bottles.”  I only had one holster on my bike.  Apparently, having a second might help on such a long ride.  I was not too concerned; because, there will be check points every ten miles.  “Fill your bottles with Gatorade; because, you will need the electrolytes and extra calories,” he told me.  “Force yourself to eat more than you think you need.  You can’t get enough calories this weekend.”  Asking if I had pump for flats, he supplied me with a CO2 cartridge for quicker fills (I have a hand pump, but they are a bit archaic).

After a few more minutes of bike prep, Lindsay and I headed for the Irvine Marriott for the final check-in, which closed at 8pm.  Our irritablility mounted with our growing hunger.  I felt constrained by the preparation for the ride.  I rushed through the lobby, which was really quite extraordinary.  There were serveral groups sitting in the piano-filled lounge area.  It was not an average, bar-crowd feel.  This group was drinking Perrier’s and waters, in conversation about their months of training for the weekend’s ride.  Several people checked-in to the hotel with their bike at their side.  The athletic energy in the room was evident.

I walked down a long corridor following signs to the Rider check-in.  There was a Knights of Colombus booth closing down after a half day of promotion.  The hallway was lined with now empty rows of folding chairs.  I turned the corner and made my way to one of six agents in blue t-shirts.  Ten minutes later, I stopped by Rock ‘n Road’s stand and picked up some Gu Packets and a new water bottle cage. I loved the feeling of the lobby.  The quick purchases made me feel like I was on the road.  For me, traveling has a distinct feel of adventure and abandonment.  It carries with it the attitude that “I may not pass by here again.”  I love it!

For dinner, I carb-loaded with a blackened-fish plate from Wahoo’s.  Ok, the carbs were in the bed of rice and spicy white beans.  Lindsay and I managed a more steady conversation once we got some food in us.  It is amazing how a basic need for food can create such tension when it is not properly addressed.

I managed to gulp half a gatorade in the time I have been posting.  I am excited about leaving from the start line (they have a huge, squared archway erected outside the hotel).  Just a few more hours and I will be taking pictures with my team (teaMSeaside), a group of riders from our church.  I am glad to have a few minutes to jot down my thoughts before I come upon the weekend!

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