|Spaghetti Dinner before the ride at the Cochise County Fairgrounds, Joe, Becky, and Adela|
Friday was originally planned to be a nice leisurely travel day down to Douglas, Az. Perhaps stopping off to sight see in Tombstone. Unfortunately Adela's birth brother recently was discovered to have a rare heart defect that was genetic and so, wouldn't you know it, the only day we could get Adela in for screening was our leisurely travel day. As a result we didn't get to start our 4 hour drive to Douglas until 4 PM. Nice. Since registration closes at 9 that was cutting it close. I had fears of no spaghetti dinner left for us.
Fortunately, there was indeed spaghetti left and everyone was even able to get T-Shirts in their sizes sort of (not a lot of kids do Cochise so small adult sizes have to do). We caught the tail end of the instructions for the 49 and 97 milers and were able to be entertained by the instructions for the 165 milers while we ate our delicious Spaghetti dinner. I love Cochise. This ride just has a much more homey feeling than either Tour de Mesa or El Tour de Tucson. The kids enjoy it too and have grown quite fond of the PBAA staff.
The motel (6) was out of roll away beds (but they did give us half off our room rate to compensate) so I had to duck over to Walmart and purchase an air mattress and fleece sleeping bag liner so I could get some sort of sleep. The kids had the giggles so it took them FOREVER to fall asleep. This would put us behind in the morning as it took me forever to get them to wake up. We still hadn't finished packing everything when we went out to watch the 97 milers cruise by which would have us cutting it pretty close to get to the start line by 8.
I discovered around now I had forgotten my bike shoes but fortunately I was wearing my biking sandals whose cleats are eggbeater cleats but with a little squirming I could get them to clip into the tandem's Time ATAC system. Amazingly enough, I told the kids to put their own numbers on their bikes and you know what? They did it successfully! So between them doing that and me pumping up the tires we were able to sidle up to the start line right as they started the national Anthem.
Temps at the start were just getting into the 50's when we started so I let Becky borrow my jacket. I rode with her until we caught up to Joe and his flat tire and then she took off to find Josh. I had Joe's flat fixed in a jiffy (no thanks to Josh who raided my tool bag in order to stock his own with my tire irons, not a good thing seeing as I was bike patrol and he wasn't.... grumble grumble).
About 5 miles in I made the mistake of pointing out a water tower in the distance I thought was the first rest stop. Thus, by my own stupidity, I started the "we have to go THAT far????", "When are we going to get there?", "We'll never make it!", etc, etc. I have a mental note made to never do that again. Standard answer from now on will be, "oh, I think it's a little ways further on" which could mean anything from 2 to 100 miles.
Also around here I got the call from Sheila saying that the EMT's had Josh in their care and he was complaining of a stomach ache! Augh! I don't know if I have shared with you fair readers about my son, but he seems to relish being treated by EMT's and has an uncanny knack for telling them what they want to hear. Today he didn't feel like he could finish. I'm pretty sure he went out too hard and overdid it a bit. Anyway, I pulled up in a few minutes and got briefed on the whole situation and found the EMT's had got him on oxygen but hadn't taken his heart rate yet. I reached in and felt his pulse. A very calm, resting heart rate of around 85 ish for the young lad. It didn't strike me as being the heart rate of a body in duress. So my decision was to put Josh on the back of the tandem for a few miles to let him recover and see how he did, while his younger sister pedaled his bike. If he was still feeling unwell we'd call it quits and head back in.
Less than a mile or two down the road he was energetically mocking his brother that he was getting beat by a girl. The heart rate seldom lies my friends. Learned that one from the Seawolf although I hope I am a much more merciful and loving mentor than the terrible sea captain, but that is a neat trick which works well on Josh. That kid has been to more emergency rooms lately when nothing turned out to be wrong with him. From this I have learned that cat scans and ambulance rides are expensive, Josh can act really well sometimes, and let the kid out of your sight only at your wallet's peril. That being said, one of these times it could be real so I am always second guessing myself just in case. This time though, he recovered quickly from whatever he had, real or not and I am thankful for that.
By the time we hit the college he was ready to get back on his bike, and Adela, who hates his bike, was ready to get back in the lap of luxury on the back of the tandem. One amazing thing was we actually caught a few of the border patrol crew at the stop. I think it was a husband and wife or boyfriend girlfriend. He was on a road bike and she was on a mountain bike and they were wearing border patrol jerseys. He said later on (we'd play tag for the rest of the ride) that this was only her 7th ride since she was 9. She did awesome.
The boys took a little inspiring to get to the next rest stop up at the top of a long hill but they started passing people and that helped a lot. That and Sheila was on the side of the road periodically cheering them on. Between those factors and a few "Scooby" snacks they made it to the top just after 11. I knew if they could make it this far they would finish before 1:30 which was the cutoff for the 49 mile riders.
Joe. I love the kid but I wish he would learn how to not ride his brakes downhill. I think he descends slower than he climbs. I am sure he will get over it someday so I am patient but darn it makes for excruciating descents! The border patrol couple left us in the dust in this section as they did not have any issues with fast descending and pedaled along at a wonderful clip. The last guy even caught us just as we were leaving the rest stop at the bottom, I think he stayed for awhile though as he finished about 20 minutes behind us.
The last 10 miles were a bit of a slog for the boys but after we turned onto highway 191 the helpers there said Dan McGehee was on his way and would be passing us soon and that got the boys excited so they started pedaling hard. Sure enough about a mile down the road Dan came roaring by and yelled words of encouragement to the boys. The guy has been blasting the watts for nearly 7 hours over 160 miles averaging over 24 mph and he can still cheer on the little guys. Dan's a class act my friends, wish all racers were like him.
After that the boys got the border patrol couple in sight and passed them with about 2 miles left to the finish line. It was funny to see the boys jockey for position down the closing stretch but in the end they crossed the line together at around twenty after one. I'm a proud Dad. Waiting patiently at the finish line was Becky. She had finished an hour and 20 minutes earlier. I knew she was ahead but I didn't think she'd be anywhere close to that far ahead. Her secret to success? She didn't stop. Not once. " Except when She fell down" she tells me. Dang! Don't get that girl mad fellas!
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