Later that day...
As I was flipping channels and relaxing John and Diane came in from the ride. Diane had been at the finish for a while and was waiting for John to cheer him on through the finish. They came in telling stories of their adventures. A little late Jo stopped by and her and John were talking about the ride especially the last part. Everyone talks about the last part. No one can say that ride was easy.
One of the best stories to come out of the ride is the excellent tale of teamwork and the spirit that pushes us to extremes. John Barton, Jo, Keith Hill and John Martin all got to continue the ride together. These four hung as a team and earned the "Fast Girl" title. The rest of us have to take the "Slow Guy" title but everyone came out a winner. They made it in time for the cut off to Hell's Gate even though the officials closed it an hour early. Chris Shaw also made it through and was working on a personal best time. More on his story in a moment. It seems that the 4 Fast Girls rode along together taking their pulls and talking each other through the down times. After they past the air force base, like everyone, they too began it fade. The heat, the exhaustion, it was becoming too much. Finally Keith annouced he was finished around mile 94. He couldn't go on and to make matters worse, he was clipped in with a malfunctioning pedal and the only way off was to remove his shoe. It would stay attached to the pedal or he would have to ride unclipped which would have been harder. There had been several rest stops that had run out of ice. They were riding by a c-store when they all pulled in and bought a bag of ice and laid it across Keith's legs and then JBar worked one leg while Jo worked the other. JBar told me that that was something that he would not have done for just anyone. It reminded me of when I rode from Ft Smith to Cook's Landing last year and Paul Britt's foot cramped and I was sitting on the parking lot of Sonic working the cramp out of his foot. There are things you do as a team that are different then when you are solo. Anyway, John told him he didn't come down here to ride the HH94 but rather the 100. Back up on the bike and slowly they continue on. The 4 of them cross the finish line together. A true team in the highest sense. To you my friends, my helmet is off!
Ok, Chris Shaw story. This young gun is one of our fast and strongest riders. I think he has placed in every race he has entered this year. I continue to hope that he will exel to make a Cat 2 or 3 someday. Chris was out to play witht eh big boys today and sounds like he did very well until the very end. As with many ace riders, he suddenly lost the steam. He told me the last few miles were some of the hardest he had ever riden. He had called in to let Jenn know he was 40 minutes out. It ends up being more like an hour. He made it through.
There are still so many stories or trial and triump. Fonda, Yale's sister riding and Yale returning to the course to ride in with her. The story of Patrick walking in the last few miles pushing his bike. One of my favorite stories was hearing Jo talking about the girl on the side of the road. About 20 miles out from the finish was a girl dressed in shorts and a sprots bra type thing for a shirt. Talk was that she was really a cutie and on the side of the road with a flat and every guy just flew right on by. Jo's remark was something like, "Ok guys, you know it's too hot when no guys stop to help a girl looking like that." Another tale was the guy hanging over his bike barfing and someone asked if he was ok and he said no and the other rider side well ok and kept riding. Yes, real thougths and actions were not registering with anyone at the end. There were stories of riding along and seeing "bike skeletons" along the side of the road. Those bikes that had had a mechanical problem such as a flat and part of the bike was missing and the rest lay abdonded on the sides of he road.
So we finally head over to the steak house which is just blocks away. The wait will be an hour. It was longer. We spoke with others that had rode that day and talked up the BDB 100 that happens in LR/NLR on Oct 1st. Finally our table was ready! I had my first glass of sweet tea from the whole weekend. It was good too! We acting like rabid hyena's over the appretisers! We about killed each other when our salads came. Waynes wife decidied she wanted my salad and the waitress gave it to her and I watched everyone else start eating their salads. UGH! Ha! Then the steaks came. Cooked just right and cut with a fork tender! Oh man, it was heaven. Everyone was enjoying their meal when suddenly there was excitment at the other end of the table. Keith Hill had just said he wasn't feeling good and passed out. The day had taken a lot out of him and was having a delayed reaction. Dehydration. He was white as a ghost and came around within seconds but it seemed like minutes. Very very long minutes. Everyone was freightened. Is there a doc in the house? Call 911! Lucky for us there was a nurse at the next table as well as a table or two away. They came to our aid and although we don't have their names we are forever grateful. Their calmness soothed us and we knew it was going to be ok. The EMT's did come and so did fire and rescue. Keith was up and moving now and declined the ride to the ER. Several of the team took him a little bit later. Funny story about the hospital: Yale and Jo were there and they would take turns checking on him and one Yale got up to go check and Jo got over to Yale's couch and stretched out and fell asleep. Keith got a double shot IV and was sent home around 1 a.m. Long day huh?!
Yep, you could say it was hell... but we all lived though it and have some great memories!