thank God it was beautiful.
I mean that literally; I was thanking God for the beauty surrounding me, primarily because that beauty was the only thing keeping me going.
pedaling up, forever up, american fork canyon, you can take a stretch of road called the Alpine Loop. the base of the canyon is approximately a mile above sea level (5280' for those of you who've forgotten your equivalents), and the summit of the Alpine Loop is just over 8000 feet.
by the time we reached that summit we had about 5o miles in, and I had used up every electrolyte stored anywhere in my body. biking buddy bob (a physician, no less) said, you don't look good.
I didn't feel good.
in fact, I felt awful. I felt worse than I've ever felt on a ride: dizzy, dripping with sweat, pale, a bit nauseated . . . and it kept getting worse as I stood there, straddling my bike, trying to recover. I finally had to sit down, and eventually I could feel stability (and blood) return.
the next 6 miles were downhill, to sundance ski resort, where we split a sandwich and I downed a powerade and found myself returning to life.
the alpine loop is unbelievably beautiful. in fact, I've placed this picture here to save me the proverbial (and woefully insufficient) thousand words.
and the conifers, the aspen, the trickling stream, the steep granite hillsides, the view of stunning mount timpenogos, are what combined to help me survive the ride from hell.
by the time I made it home, 110 miles, 10,800' elevation gain, 8.5 hours riding time behind me, I felt like I'd survived the most intense (possibly the most intensely insane) thing I'd ever done. I'd been craving a chocolate milkshake for the past 20 miles, and settled for icy chocolate milk, feeling it flush my body with cool hope of recovery.
I promise to never, ever, again undertake a ride longer than 30 miles without electrolytes in my bottle.
and I promise to always, always, to bring God with me on every single ride.