I went to bed Monday night feeling like crap and didn't feel much better come Tuesday morning. While everyone else was getting up and getting ready for a road ride, I was lying in bed trying to decide whether or not I felt like going. I finally decided that I probably wasn't going to feel any better just lying there all morning, so I might as well go on one last ride with my friends before heading back east.
We'd added a few people to our group, so we rolled out of the hotel parking lot 8 riders strong. I still felt like crap as we rode through town, but I still knew I'd made the right call to suck it up and ride. Once we got off the main highway, we didn't have to worry about traffic and other road hazards as much, so the shenanigans started. This is what happens when you take a bunch of mountain bikers and put them on a road ride together. "What happened?" you ask. Well, you really just had to be there. Or if Nixon would ever post the video he made, you might be able to get a better idea. Let's just say there was a lot of grab-assin' around. As we neared the turnaround point, I had started to feel a lot better. We all stopped and regrouped and then took off again back in the direction we had come from. As we started rolling, Eric suggested we get serious and really try to push the pace heading back. Pretty much everyone else said, "Nah." I was riding next to Nick out ahead of everyone and we were having a nice chat when Eric flew by us. Nick looked at me and said, "We can't let him do that, let's work together and catch him and drop him."
Now, listen. Some of you may already know this, but for those of you who don't, I'm slow as hell. I don't know what would make Nick think I'd be up for that kind of thing, but he seemed pretty disappointed when I laughed at him and said, "Yeah right." "Come on, he said, I'll pull you." I sighed and said, "Alright, I'll try, but I don't think I can catch him even if I am sitting behind you."
The staccato clicking of shifters grabbing more gears signaled the start of our chase as we both stood on the pedals trying to build some momentum. On a roll, we sat down and I settled in on Nick's wheel trying to stay calm and steady; trying not to blow up. Nick looked back and asked if I was alright. I gave him a thumbs up, which he apparently took as a sign to increase our pace. Miraculously, I stayed with him. As I started blowing hard lungfuls of spent air, I thought about dropping off and letting Nick go at it alone. Then I decided that if I could keep it together just a little longer, I'd get used to our quick pace. I don't know how long it took us to catch Eric. I had lost track of time as I sat there, trying not to lose my breath, trying not to lose Nick's wheel, my focus switching from Nick's head to his saddle to his wheel and back up again until I saw Eric just a few lengths ahead. "I'll be damned," I thought as we all sat up momentarily to greet one another and take a quick break. As I glanced behind us, I saw Jaime rolling up to us. He took the lead and the rest of us fell in behind him. The pace was much harder than I would normally put up with, but sitting behind three boys allowed me to hold on for a little while while they took turns pulling. Our human train rolled on for several more miles, silent except for the steady hum of chains flowing over cogs. Eventually I realized how tired I was getting and that we still had about ten more miles left, so I sat up and watched as the boys soldiered on. The rest of the crew was still a ways behind me, so I rode alone for several miles, pacing myself to ensure I'd make it back to town without bonking.
Soon enough, I rounded a bend and saw Jaime, Eric, and Nick waiting on the side of the road for the rest of us to catch up and regroup. As we stood there waiting, we realized that we should have seen Nixon by now. He had flatted on the way out and told us to go on, figuring he'd catch us on the way back. But he was no where to be seen. We decided he was probably waiting naked behind a rock to jump out and scare us or perhaps he had decided to go for a swim in the nearby river. Nixon is like that. You never know what he's up to. The rest of the group caught up and our reunited troupe minus Nixon resumed our casual pace back toward town. Before long, we caught sight of a pony-tailed figure walking a bike just ahead. Apparently Nixon's attempt to fix his flat was thwarted by a spare tube with a hole in it. So we had another roadside break while 5 completely (usually) competent bike mechanics struggled to fix a flat tire. They boys finally succeeded and we merrily rode back into town, stopping along the way to replenish our lost calories with burgers and fries.
Back at the hotel, we rewarded our efforts with showers and naps before parting ways in the afternoon. Tori went to visit a friend, Eric took another nap, I caught up on some reading, and everyone else went for a mountain bike ride. We all met up again for one last dinner together in Moab before we all went our separate ways. Veggie burgers all around, of course.
I only managed to snap a couple pictures, but one of these days Nixon will get that video up. Until then, here's all I've got: