Wednesday, August 5, 2009

riley, riley, riley

riley, riley, riley.
or, I should really be saying susan, susan, susan.
because as the quote states:
fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

yes, I'm referring to the Tour de Park City. which is the event whose finish line I am just about to cross in this picture.
first of all, the name. I should know better than to sign up for anything that takes the Tour de from the infamous Tour de France and slaps it in front of another environment. and then rides everywhere but that environment.
second, it was the first year of the event last year. one should always question participating in an event that has never before been held.
third, I rode this darn thing last year, had a pretty awful ride, and knew better than to repeat the experience.

but this is what happened: first, they changed the route so that the Big Climb was not as long and difficult as last year, and second, my team, the bad ass cycling team, was asked to provide riders that would perform as Ride Marshals for the event. ooh, doesn't that sound important? prestigious? super cool?
not really.
but at the last minute I decided that I would volunteer to be a Ride Marshal: it would be a way to get a tough, long ride in, I would get an almost-free admission, and if it so happened that they still needed a Marshal at what was close to the last minute, then I would accept it as fate, and ride the ride.
(yes, I was unwilling to pay full price to ride this ridiculous ride, but would do it for a deep discount. don't even ask me to explain that.)

it turns out they needed me, and I accepted my fate.
I trusted fully that riley, the event organizer, had learned from his myriad mistakes and their repercussions last year. I trusted that he would be better organized, more accurate, and completely dependable. in numerous emails he had sworn up and down that this year would be different. that he had changed things. that he had listened and learned and was fully prepared.

and I bought it.

I was prepared to fulfill my commitment as a Ride Marshal (knowing the route, behaving appropriately and encouraging similar behavior in others, chastising those who peed by the side of the road, giving encouraging feedback to those who used the porta-potties, reminding all to ride no more than 2-abreast . . . ) and asked for a detailed map of the initial phase of the route, which had been slightly ambiguous when I'd viewed it on the website.

they were out of maps for the century route.

okay, fine. I had a general idea, and hoped for the best.
and the first 3 miles were fine, until we came to a possible turn. there were no signs, no markings on the road, and no person to point us one way or another. so some of us went one way, and most of us went the other.
three miles later we were in chaos again, splitting up all over the western hillside of Jeremy Ranch, having no idea where we were supposed to be or where we were headed. at one point I rode between a backhoe and a dumpster through a 6-foot-wide opening, thinking to myself, I'm sure riley didn't intend us to be going this way . . . and about a quarter mile later, there was a smiling volunteer pointing us to the right, to continue on our way. yikes.

things were fine again for awhile, until my riding partner, julie, and I decided to skip a water stop by Jordanelle reservoir because we didn't need it yet. julie had somehow obtained a map, which assured us there was a water stop in francis, at 25 miles.
hmm. the Jordanelle stop was 25 miles into the ride, and francis was still a good 7-9 miles away.
well, the map showed a water stop in francis, and I would just keep the faith. riley must have just added that extra one by Jordanelle because so many people complained of the lack of water last year.

13 miles later I was really wanting a water stop. I was limiting my sips to only enough water to coat my tongue, and rationing out my first (of only 2) GU I'd brought from home.
10 miles later I was climbing a hill from hell and down to a quarter of a water bottle and about the same amount of my second GU packet.
and I was cursing myself.
I knew better.

I'd gotten suckered again.

I made it to the top of the hill, where the rest stop was full of water and gatorade and vitamin water and power bars and oranges and bananas and . . . and I revived. while still kicking myself in the behind because I knew better than to believe riley's vague and inaccurate maps and promises.

susan, susan, susan.
will I do this ride again next year?
don't ask, because I fear the truth.

I finished the ride, I survived, I ended better than I had the year before, and I'm still smirking at myself for being a sucker.
shame on me.

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