By 2002 solo finisher Ron Worm Way
Well, it's been eight days since I finished the 508. This morning I got on the bike for the first time since, with "new" skin on the butt replacing the damaged stuff. I did 17 flat miles and felt OK. The 508 started at a different place outside of Magic Mountain, only it was the same distance (4.7 mi) to the turn into San Francisquito Canyon. This year was much tougher with all the wind. It was there going through San Francisquito Canyon and never stopped on Saturday. After San Francisquito Canyon it kept getting stronger and mostly head on. Up to the Windmills (57 mi) above Antelope Valley and down into Mojave (70 mi) they kept blowing. That downhill can usually be done at 40 plus mph but this time 20 mph with harder pedaling. I made up my mind to not knock myself out fighting them and down shifted even knowing I would lose time. I found myself in the thick of things with many of the other riders so I know they were being slowed also. Some I knew, out ahead of us, were fighting to stay on pace and later had to drop. I had a fun time with the Tortoise (Marvin Fields) on a recumbent. He would blow by me on the downhills like a tandem might and then I would pass him on the uphills. He would say, see you on the downhill and I would say, see you on the uphill. He would also out pull me on the flats being a lower profile in the headwinds or maybe just willing to work harder. I kept thinking that if we run out of the winds I would stay ahead for good after passing him on an uphill. That didn't happen for 200 miles.
At California City (82 mi) we got to time station #1. We were down from last year by 21 minutes. I went through without stopping and headed down toward Randsburg Rd on Nutrailia. It is about a 1% down grade that I usually do comfortably at 22-23 mph. This year I was only going 8-9 and working harder.
The climb to Randsburg was the only relief from the wind as the road turns back southeast. (the winds were out of the north mostly). The two tandem relay team, Fire Ants, passed us as we were leaving Randsburg already picking up the three hours later start they had at mi 118. We got into Trona (mi 152) just after dark, 1:23 down from last year, which meant that I had to wait while the crew gassed up and grabbed a couple things from the Mini Mart. The rules don’t allow you to go on after dark without your sag vehicle. There were so many other crews lined up at the pumps it took more time than we would have liked. I tried to relax and went to the head. It's funny that I only need to pee after stopping for a few minutes. I think I only stopped for that purpose 3-4 times in "512" miles (well, that’s what I got). It took me 20 minutes longer to climb Townes Pass this year. That's 20 minutes in just ten miles.
Joe Brown and his wife Virginia were at the right turn at the bottom of Townes Pass in there van waiting for me. What a surprise and a big lift that was. It helped me for a while but with the wind and my climbing legs still back on my training rides it didn't last long. The long downhill into Death Valley was as fun as always. I was down four hours or so at Furnace Creek, which is half way. And then down fourh hours at Shoshone, (325 mi). At Furnace Creek I had to go down for sleep being worn out from all the headwinds on Saturday. The crew woke me up in one hour. I did not want to go on. My crew, Jack Gaines, Lynn Katano, and Larry Parker were in no way going to let me keep sleeping. I said that I "could not continue" and they said I had no choice because I wasn't going to the finish in the van. I thought what the hell is this...I thought I was the boss. Well, I'll show them, I'll go down the road to Badwater, 17 more miles, and sleep again, and then go to Ashford Mills, another 23, and sleep some more. Pretty soon I'll be so far back it will be impossible to finish before the cutoff time, and then I'll quit without getting this abuse from them. But, after a stiff cup of coffee I got on the road and felt pretty good and got a change of attitude thinking I am going to finish this thing if it kills me. With no headwind anymore I felt strong and was riding OK until we got to Jubilee and Salsbury climbs (304 mi).
I have to say I did not climb well this whole ride. My climbing legs were still at home. After the big hills I felt strong again and headed down into (with more headwinds) Shoshone and on to Baker (382 mi). I had some tailwind, more headwinds, but mostly no wind on this leg to Baker. I got a nice break on the 23-mile Kelso climb out of Baker with a pretty good tailwind. I climbed at 12-14 mph where as last year I recall 9-10 and working harder. I don't recall any winds the next 70 miles, although I don't recall much of anything except butt pain, a sore right shoulder, a sore left knee, a stiff neck and thinking "I am going to crew for someone next year."
After the rough (say rough) downhill into Kelbaker came the 16-mile climb to Granite Summitt (430 mi) and then a long, long downhill to Amboy where we made a sharp left toward the last major climb of 13 miles up Sheep Hole. I kept saying to myself get over this thing and it's all over but a cruise into Twentynine Palms. Well, the cruise into Twentynine Palms was 30 miles of rollies and strong headwinds blowing along the base of the mountains. I guess Kostman didn't want you to go home unhappy with an easy ride. We made it in somehow with even a few brave young souls behind us and 24 more solos who either got to far behind to make it or just figured it wasn't worth it. But, they didn't have my crew. I say that we made it because I mean "we." I quit halfway, but the crew took the van away from me and said no way are you getting in. I guess the only choice I had was to take the bike to the finish. "We" finished in 45:29, picking up one of the four hours we were behind last year's time in the last 200 miles.
I used Sustained Energy by E-Caps all the way with small cubes of ham and cheese every so often for additional protein. It worked perfect. Also I took Race Caps, Enduro Caps, Super AO's, and Anti Fatique Caps every hour, all by E-Caps. They really keep the soreness at bay. If I forgot to take them any hour my soreness would remind me. They don't make you stronger but keep you more comfortable by eating up those nasty free radicals so you feel like working. They do a lot of other things also that is too technical to explain here. The E-Caps System really works. I use these products throughout training and recreational riding also.
Again, my crew was great, keeping my SE coming like clockwork and refilling my "four day planners" with hourly E-Caps, and keeping me on the bike. I couldn't have made it with any other three people. I would also like to thank my chiropractor, Rod Bazil in Huntington Beach. He put me on an exercise/stretching program along with regular adjustments that really helped in overall strength. Also I want to thank Karen, my massage therapist, who helped in keeping my muscles loose (and they were tight before she started) over the last couple months. Finally, a big THANKS to Chris Kostman and AdventureCORPS for producing this prestigious event. It's great that we have events like this to look forward to and train for. I have some ideas for next year (no, I won't be crewing) to improve comfort because that is the biggest issue the second half. Why do I do it? Hell, I don't know. Next year I'll be even more mature (or is that manure) and that may help. I’ll let you know...
-Ron Worm Way, or as my crew might say, Grouchy Old Geezer Worm