This afternoon was a blur of plastic bags and baggies. We got our stuff race ready - laid all the bags out and filled them up. Checked them through once, twice. Salt tabs, gels, vaseline, anything and everything your body might need for a day long adventure in the hot sun.
Afterwards, headed out to the Queen K for a short ride. Found a great place to park about 5 minutes from the Energy Lab. Rode 20 minutes out along the Queen K. The legendary winds were howling at my back pushing me along geared out at 28 mph. Nice. Turned around to find the tailwind was really a cross headwind so I nicely pushed back around 21 mph. Fingers crossed for similar conditions on race day.
My legs felt great. My mind was ready. I looked to my right and saw nothing but lava and grass and thought - this is it, you are here. You have trained months for this moment along this road. As the wind howled through my ears I thought to myself I have ridden miles upon miles in Fermilab preparing for these winds.
The lava fields are unrelenting. There is nothing inspirational in them except the ocean miles away. Literally it looks like Mother Nature shat everywhere in clumps of brown rock, oozing black lava and tufts of grass. Not sure what she was eating on that day but it did a real number on her. But still you find little things along the way to ease your mind. Like the Adpot-A-Highway sign at mile marker 89. Road maintained by....Starbucks. If that isn't a pick me up in my mind, then I don't know what is.
Afterwards, we ran towards the energy lab. A 5 minute run and into the lab. Down the slight hill in the beating sun. I wore black just to remind myself that hot is hot. And it was. Ran all the way to end of the road then pointed out the turn, the turnaround point, and the special needs pick up to Chris. Took lots of pictures and watching Chris run up the hill on the way out knowing he is ready. Mentally plugged in and ready to go. In fact, while stretching I caught him staring at the ground. Asked what he was doing and he said "visualizing the run". Nothing but the sound of feet on pavement, get the rhythm, the sound in your head and you'll be good to go.
On the way back to the car, Chris stopped to build a little shrine to Madame Pele. I built one too. Threw some water on it, and some sweat and said here's to light winds, calm waters and full speed ahead. And he added "give us energy, too."
Driving back we saw Desiree Ficker riding the Queen K. She has a new bike, love the light blue color. Also noticed Karen Smyers riding with that forever smile.
We're watching the ocean and honestly it seems angry today. It is loud and crashing in thunderous slaps against the lava rocks. But soon it will settle. One can't stay angry for too long, right?