As I continue my journey towards the Hoodoo 300, my training is becoming more focused and intense. Recently, I embarked on an arduous 141-mile training ride (Kill Bill Church / It’s a G Thing ), which began in Santa Clarita and meandered through Bouquet Canyon and Godde Hill, finally extending to Lancaster and the end of Avenue G at the San Bernardino County Line. This route, nestled in the heart of the Mojave desert, also happens to pass by the iconic church used in the filming of ‘Kill Bill’.
This course was selected for its demanding, remote terrain and lack of services, which presented an ideal opportunity for my support crew and I to further polish our handoff routines and communication. Given the desert setting, it also provided a perfect backdrop for practicing the use of ice socks to keep my core temperature in check. While the day was hot, with temperatures ranging from 73°F to 93°F and an average of 85°F, it was not oppressively so, making it an excellent test run for the Hoodoo 300.
As the ride unfolded, I was heartened to see our handoff process improving significantly. I was able to take bottles with minimal slowdown, and my support crew demonstrated increased aptitude for timing meet locations. Unlike our previous outings, this ride saw me consistently supplied with carbs, cold hydration mix, and ice when needed.
Interwoven with the physical challenges of this ride, was a psychological journey. At times, the landscape was isolating and eerily desolate, creating an atmosphere of profound solitude. The vast expanse of the Mojave, with its sweeping sands and imposing horizons, can make one feel incredibly small and alone. These moments were a stark reminder of the mental fortitude required for endurance races like the Hoodoo 300.
Yet, even within this desolation, I felt a growing sense of determination. As the miles stretched on beneath me, the silence of the desert seemed to amplify the resolve within me. With every successful handoff, every conquered mile, and every challenge overcome, my confidence grew. It was in these solitary moments, when I was reminded of my insignificance against the vast, indifferent desert, that I found a wellspring of resilience and resolve. This unyielding determination, as much as any physical training or logistical preparation, will be my greatest ally when I face the Hoodoo 300.
Despite these positives, the ride was not without its challenges. Around the 5.5-hour mark, the midday heat brought on a bout of “hot foot,” necessitating a brief break for foot massages. Then, just half an hour later, I had an unexpected encounter with a couple of local canines—a golden retriever and a rather aggressive pit bull. Just as fatigue was beginning to set in, I found myself in a heart-pounding, high-speed chase. Thankfully, the arrival of a car scared them off and I was able to resume my normal pacing.
After 7 hours and 118 miles, I decided to call it a day. Despite my crew’s successes in keeping me supplied with food and drink, I recognized that I was starting to feel symptoms of dehydration. Although the original course was 141 miles, I could feel my energy levels dwindling, and I knew pushing through could jeopardize my recovery and upcoming training. Looking back at the hydration/nutrition log prepared by my crew, it is clear to me that I should have increased my water intake during the hotter part of the day.
Though I did not complete the entire course, the lessons learned during this training ride were invaluable. I gained a greater understanding of my limits, while my crew and I improved our efficiency and communication significantly. Most importantly, I came away from this ride more prepared and more confident for what awaits me at the Hoodoo 300. With each passing day and each training ride, I feel closer to being ready for the challenges that this epic race will undoubtedly present.
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