We stayed at the host hotel - the Red Rock Resort - which was great because it was on the outskirts of town and had pretty much everything you needed right on site. It's a huge hotel with 60 rooms per floor, and the hallways were super long so we started riding our bikes between the room and the elevator. We timed it once walking, and the trip from our door to the elevator was 3 minutes, and we are not exactly dawdlers. But despite the infinite hallways, it was a gorgeous hotel and we took advantage of as many amenities as we could.
|Riding out to Red Rock Canyon the day before.|
|We're definitely not on the west coast!|
|Looooong hallways! They curved so you|
never saw the end.
Friday involved a morning ride through Red Rock Canyon, an afternoon of relaxing at the spa pool (we chose that one because it was adults only, and had lanes for swimming), then package pick-up and dinner. Saturday was an early wake up as the start time was 7 am and we were riding to the start (probably only about 15 minutes). There seemed to be more nervousness at this start compared to Boise (-1 for Vegas as there weren't as many porta potties - the lines were long!), and a couple of women crashed right in the start chute. Catherine stopped to see if they were ok, but kind of got yelled at by one of them, so we just carried on.
|Jason volunteering as a "Papa Bear" - got to ride the course|
and provide any help along the way. Nice as he got to
spend the day with us!
|Strong wind from WSW = in our faces for much of the day!|
The road markings were flawless (+1 for Vegas as we went off course briefly in Boise), but there was A LOT of stopping as 75 miles of the 100 were in urban areas. Lots of stop signs, and lots of traffic lights (-1 for Vegas as Boise was almost completely rural). According to my Garmin, we spent almost 20 minutes stopped at intersections. Boo. That's really the only reason I wouldn't return to this event: too much urban riding. The final 25 miles were out of town and absolutely gorgeous scenery, so it behooves the organizers to reroute things to take more advantage of that. Skip the entire Henderson part, as that was just city city city.
Besides the traffic, another downer was the wind. No fault of the event though, but we ended up going straight into a pretty significant headwind for much of the day - probably from mile 40-95. A lot of the ride was me with my head down, trying to hold on to Catherine, Corinne, or Jason's wheel. It ended up being a total grind, just keeping the bike going and trying to keep spirits high. For the final 30 miles, the 100km course joined up with the 100 mile course, and so many of the 100 km riders were dropping out everywhere. It probably didn't help that there was a 20-mile 3% climb in there. Not steep, just infinite. It seemed like the highway between the city and Blue Diamond was littered with women pulled over and calling the sag wagon. We stopped at a gas station for a coke (-1 for Vegas as the aid stations weren't that well stocked), and that coke was the nectar of the gods... and pretty much the only reason we were speaking to each other for the last bit as the wind had stolen much of our souls by then.
|Combination of sugar and fatigue makes things REALLY funny!|
|Finally out of town and almost out of the headwind.|
Once we reached Red Rock Canyon where we'd ridden the day before, the winds were finally at our backs and it was downhill, so we screamed into the finish. We didn't stick around though, as the post-race food wasn't as deluxe as the spread in Boise (-1 for Vegas), so we rode to a grocery store and stocked up with as much food and drinks as our jersey pockets could hold, and rode back to the hotel.
|Post-event 2 R's: relaxing and rehydrating!|
What do you do when you finish an event in Vegas? Head to the strip and take in a show! The next day we had some time before our flight, so did some sightseeing, and then a swim at the Henderson pool. Have to enjoy the sun while we can, as it's home to the wet west coast for the winter.
Hello, off-season! Hello, planning for next year!