"John, you might have to take me to the emergency room, I'm feeling pretty rough".
That's what Will casually said to me in the Mexican restaurant we got lunch in immediately after the 24 hour race, right across from our motel. Yeah, it kind of caught me off-guard. I was tired too, but I certainly wasn't in the midst of a medical emergency. Looking back at it now, it's just one more story to tell, but at the time, I was worried about him. Luckily, we ate some food and we both felt a little better. Crisis averted, no hospital visit necessary.
That was all on Sunday (the day the race ended), so Monday morning we woke up ready to continue the road trip. We stopped at the local "Black Bear Diner", which was really good, and served huge portions of food. I later learned that this quaint local diner was actually a somewhat large chain, but it was still cool, and Will and I were seriously the only people in the diner who weren't senior citizens.
The next day, we had planned a 4 hour ride into the mountains that was a route that my friends dad had done before and told us we should try.
The route started off with a 3,000 foot, 100% singletrack climb. The biggest climb of my life. And remember, I was on singlespeed and we were climbing up to almost 10,000 feet elevation.
The climb was actually pretty easy for most of the way, but at the top, as Will put it, he started to add a little "sauce" to it and it got pretty fast and hard. But as Will knows, maybe the best part about riding with me is that I never drop unless I'm actually dead. So I stuck with him.
In the 500+ hours and probably 8,000+ miles I've ridden with Will this year, I don't think I've ever intentionally dropped. So, on this climb, I was determined to stick with him. By the top I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, but I survived. It was epic. That's all I can say.
Yes, I must admit, Dahn Pahrs is pretty lucky moving to Park City. The views are amazing. The trails are amazing. Gawddamnit, everything is amazing.
The trails in Park City are a perfect mix of flow, rocks, and sick views. There is something so special about bombing through a stand of aspen trees only to pop out into the open and see views like these.
The one trail, the picture above to the right, is called the Dragons Spine or something intimidating like that. It was pretty hard, I wrecked on it, then decided not to push my luck and just walked the techy rocks (don't worry, Will walked it too). As it turns out, fellow SS'er and blergher Dicky (teamdicky.com) broke himself on that very same trail around the same time Will and I were there.
Actually, that was my second wreck in two days in Park City. The day before, I ate it pretty hard on a dusty switchback turn. It could've been bad, but I came out of both wrecks relatively unscathed.
Toward the end of our 4 hour ride, we ran out of water. Bigly. My mouth had never been so dry. We made it back down to Park City and back to my friends house. We rushed upstairs to the kitchen to get some water, and when I tried to swallow, my throat was so dry that I just coughed it all up. It was sorta scary. I literally could not swallow. I calmed down and eventually was able to drink.
That day my friend took me and Will out for sushi. It was really nice to have some good food (she took us out for steaks the night before) after trying to eat on a budget for the past 10 or so days.
My friends place in Park City was really awesome. She had a big TV room in the basement where we watched Die Hard the one night.
The other night we hung out with my friend and her parents and I reminisced about Sewickley (they're from Sewickley also), while Will just sat their awkwardly not knowing what to say because he's not from Sewickley. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. But it was cool to talk to someone (my friends dad) who I knew from Sewickley and was also very active on the MTB scene. Will talked to him a lot about Leadville, where they were both gonna be in a few weeks.
The next morning, we started on our way to Bentonville, Arkansas, by way of Colorado. We planned to stop somewhere in Colorado for the night before driving to Arkansas the next day.
The stretch of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon in western Colorado is beautiful. If you ever get the chance to drive on that road, do it, the highway snakes through canyons and along a river for miles and miles. Then, we drove through the Eisenhower tunnel, descended into Denver, and made our way across western Kansas (i.e. the flat eastern half of Colorado).
I think it was before Denver actually, but that day, we stopped in Eagle, Colorado that day to do a short ride. The trail climbed up a mountain overlooking the highway, and then had a cool switchback descent back to the parking area. At the parking area, Will and I took turns hitting the BMX course.
Ok, so this next picture is "chronologically challenged". By that I mean it should be in the part 1 post, but I forgot, so it's here. And we stopped at so many Mexican restaurants on the trip that it can sort of fit anywhere. We stopped at a Mexican place, and I ordered a non-alcohol margarita (I was only 20 years old). Now, Dahn Pahrs, being the big margarita drinker he is, loves to make fun of me regarding drinking. So Will took this picture of me and I sent it to the group. But of course, I told Dahn privately it was fake, so he shamed me on Facebook.