When a top 10 Paris-Roubaix finisher checks on your well being, that's probably a good sign you may have bitten off a little more than you can chew.
To properly set the scene, do you remember in the original Rocky how there was a neighborhood Doo-wop group that would spend their evenings on the streets of Philadelphia harmonizing tunes while gathered around a trash can fire?
That was us this past Saturday at Grinduro! but instead of the streets of Philly, we were high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains huddled around a campfire and instead of singing some oldies, we were muttering to ourselves about the frigid situation we paid to put ourselves in.
And the icing on our frozen avocado sandwiches wasn't Rocky Balboa strolling by but US cycling legend Taylor Phinney who so kindly asked if we were cold as he effortlessly pedaled his way to the next stage of the event.
Yes, Taylor. We were cold. Thank you for asking.
The previous day, four of us, (shoutout to A-flo, Josh, Jonathan) rallied nine hours to sleep in a frosty tent in front of a horse barn so we could wake up at the crack of darkness to Jet Boil enough oats to feed a horse.
This was our second Grinduro! and as seasoned veterans, we knew what to expect, which meant we all spent the summer training as seriously as we could. We "may" have learned the hard way last year that Ginduro! is not the kind of event you can roll off the couch and do. For maximum enjoyment, one must prepare by suffering.
The 40 degree temperature at the start was a good indicator that we could expect a frosty day in the Plumas Mountains. At first, we thought we may have overdressed (as Southern California softies are wont to do) but as soon as the hail pelting us we realized we should have packed more clothing or perhaps a hard-sided lean-to shelter. Chunks of ice falling from the sky can really leave a mark.
Despite the pummeling from Mother Nature, our day on the Grinduro! course was a total blast. Due to fire damage, a huge portion of the course was brand new that brought us up and over rolling hills through beautiful forests made even more beautiful by meandering creeks. Along the way, we fueled up (stuffed ourselves) on a delicious lunch and ran into many friends. One of our favorite road trip games to play on course was called "Spot the swrve" and it was humbling to see how many folks trusted us to be part of their Grinduro! kit.
By the time we made it to the fourth and final stage, the falling snow had been cranked up a notch so we agreed to turn our Grinduro! into a ¡Gridurito! and cut things short. We spent the day riding hard but given the sudden change in weather, riding smart was a bigger priority.
The beers, Mexican Cokes, and bottomless chocolate milk that was waiting for us at the finish let us know we made the right decision.
We can't wait to be back at Grinduro! next year.