From: Jon Eberly
Sent: 4/1/2012 10:22 AM
To: John Speare
Subject: Fondo blog
"I awoke to the sound of my alarm at 4:10am. As always, when sleep still clouds my mind, I had doubts about todays ride. Eighty miles of dirt roads with over a mile of elevation change seemed daunting when my longest ride to date this season is fifty miles. That moment I decided that no matter what I would finish this ride.
The drive to Ephrata was slow in the dark morning hours. I ended up getting into Ephrata at 6:55am. I was the first rider to sign in and soon wished I would have slept one hour more instead of getting here so early. I took a short nap in the car. When I woke up the parking lot was filling up and there were participants riding all around eager for the days ride.
I found my friends John, Bill and Glen and we took a short lap around the high school as a warm up. An announcer spoke about the road conditions and few things we should look out for then we began the ride.
The ride out of town was slow following the pace car. Once we reached the 1.5 mile mark or so the pace car pulled off and the pack was instantly divided on the first big hill of the day. I hung back and rode with Glen. We were definitely holding up the slow end of the group. Shortly after starting up the first big hill we ran into Chris whose derailleur had shifted into his rear spokes. Glen stopped and got it sorted out and then we were off again.
It was nice riding with Glen because his wife was driving as a sag wagon. Each time she would go about 10 miles ahead and wait for us to reach. Then we could get food, drink, or change clothes as the conditions required. Glen and I rode together up the hill for the first 17 miles but as soon as we got to the top and started the descent that was the last time I saw him for the next 15 miles. That dude is fast as hell on the descent and there was no way that I could keep up. My wheel would catch in the deep gravel and I would get scared and have to back off. The 15 mile descent to the river was cold but a nice break from climbing.
Once at the bottom of the hill Glen told me that his goal was to reach the half way aid station and then we was going to go home. We rode to the aid station and both filled up on subway sandwiches and mini-cokes. He asked me if I wanted to call it quits and I told he no. We said our byes and then I started off again.
The next chunk of the ride seemed like it took forever. I didn't have a bike with a speedometer but from the cue sheet knew I had 24 miles to go before the next turn. The scenery was quite beautiful and helped to keep me occupied on the long lonely road I had ahead of me.
Eventually I came to the three devils. A 600 foot climb, 65 miles in to the ride is someones cruel idea of a joke. The three devils were really steep and muddy. While in my lowest gear spinning up the hill I looked all around me and saw the foot prints of riders who had dismounted and walked up the hills. I felt proud that I didn't have to get of my bike and walk up the hills. Eventually I came to the top of the three devils, covered in sweat and starting to look forward to the end of the ride.
The last 16 miles of the ride went by pretty slowly because I was really tired and bored of the book I had been listening to. After the final climb the descent down into Ephrata was a major relief as I knew the ride was almost over. I was lost in my mind, thinking about the days events, listening to a book when I realized there was a dog the size of a small car chasing, and quickly gaining on me. I kicked it into high gear but after the long hard days ride, I didn't have much left. When the bear-dog was about 10 feet away from my rear wheel I yelled at him "No" in the most authoritative voice I could muster. He stopped and cocked his head looking at me while I rode away.
I rode through the finish line 7 hours and 44 minutes after I had started this morning. Pretty good, really. Most importantly I finished the ride and look forward to all the pestering I am going to do to get people out to ride this amazing ride next year."
Feel free to edit or whatever..