Tuesday, March 27, 2012
This afternoon, the AdventureCorps group met for our first ride: 36 miles to Badwater and back.
Badwater is at the lowest elevation point in the U.S., and often also registers as the hottest.
From the parking lot at Badwater, you can wander out a bit over the salt pan on the boardwalk over any brackish water that hasn't yet evaporated. Turn around and look up the mountain that runs alongside Badwater Basin, and way, way up the rock wall you'll see a sign, small in the distance, that reads 'Sea Level'.
This is where our ride stopped to re-group and turn around. It is also the place last year where Jill and I ended our fateful Ride from Hell (AKA Death Valley Spring Century 2011).
The roundtrip from Furnace Creek to Badwater and back really isn't that difficult (although I would say that last year, the ride back to FC was impossible for me and Jill). And today it wasn't so bad, just a light breeze. The one thing that brought it all back to me, though, was the heat: full sun blasting in the mid-afternoon, sun high overhead. Now I remember why this whole thing can be so HARD, at times.
Things I have to remember:
- At least one bottle of electrolyte every hour. Learn to drink it warm.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. I'm sure one day my nose will disintegrate from years of abuse.
- This isn't a race. For the love of Pete, find a steady, comfortable pace that will conserve enough energy to get back to the Ranch without dying from heat stroke.
- Look around. Enjoy the ride. When it's over, it's back to Cleveland and the daily grind. That's why I'm here: to live outside of my element for a brief time. No matter how difficult the rides may be, they will all be over too soon.