Unogwaja Day 2

LP: You completed Day 1 on a jet-lagged brain, poison-ivy’d skin, and the wrong gears. Take us through a head-to-toe inventory of your physical self at this point.
CA: My neck was sore, arms were tired and my lower back was killing me.  Not only was my lower back sore, but the poison ivy had spread to my lower back.  It was proving hard to manage being in lycra for 12 hrs a day.  My legs were tired, tight and sore.  All of this was planned on, except the poison ivy.  We still had a long way to go and we knew it would be tough.
LP: Everyone knows that Day 2 is the hardest day. How was your mental state when your eyes popped open on Day 2?
CA: Day 1 was a good test as to how we were going to work together bu we hadn’t yet meshed.  We had many riding styles and theories coming together for the first time in Unogwaja.  I had yet to realize why I preferred to climb faster (my gearing) so I was getting a little frustrated, mostly with myself and my lack of training and was so concerned with this that I hadn’t found my role on the team yet.  Day 2 we all knew would be a beast and it would strip the armor off of everyone.  I went in determined to survive. That was all I could promise myself.  The whole team was driven to make it through the hardest day.
Chris’s Story:
Historically, Day 2 has been the most challenging ride of the 10 days.  No Unogwaja
team has finished the day intact.  The day 2 ride has always claimed at least one
victim, or managed to at least forcibly divide the pack. After the party-style send off
on Day 1, Day 2’s start seemed almost anti-climatic. The team got up and got
dressed, and ate breakfast, with the same energy as someone preparing to punch a
clock.  We were out the door before 5am, but not without half of us getting in trouble
for not getting our bottles yet (including me).  After a short motivational talk from
Wisey, we all set out to, in his words, “Fuck the day”.  Legs sore, back stiff and
dead-tired, we charged on to our longest day of Unogwaja.  I wonder, now, if day
would have seemed so hard if I had not known that is was going to be so. That
morning was incredibly cold, and we battled all day with a strong headwind.  There
was a great deal of road construction, with traffic only able to move in one direction
at a time.  Construction workers forced us to sprint to make each one of the traffic
cutoffs.  As the day went on, the rolling hills and climbs, and the rough chip seal
roads seemed to never end.  Each push of the pedal became a battle. This is when I
knew for certain that I had brought the wrong gearing.  All the other riders had 3 or
4 more gears than I did, which left me grinding out every. single. climb.  By the time
we made it to lunch, at the world famous Ron’s Sex Shop, I was done.  My quads
were cramping, and I was physically exhausted. Worse than the physical death of my
thighs was the anger. I was mad that I didn’t have easy enough gearing. I was mad
that I hadn’t done enough climbing in training.  As I listed off the things I was mad
about, it became a cycle of anger. The suffer feast continued as we climbed, as we
descended, as we climbed, and again as we descended.  We were running out of
daylight and Stoff gave us a warning: get moving or get pulled off the road at
dark.  We got moving. A small fracture formed in the group as we neared the last
couple of climbs.  I found myself with the front group, not because of my climbing
skills, but because I had a minimum speed I could maintain thanks to my previously
discussed gearing choices.  I put my head down in a manner that probably looked
like manning-up, but was more like hide-and grind. I just kept spinning, and hoping
for the peak.  We regrouped at the top of the climb.  The sun was dropping quickly,
so we started the descent to our Day 2 accommodations.  The pool ice bath, shakes,
massage, and a couple of celebratory beers came next.  We were the first Unogwaja
team to make it through day 2 intact.  Dinner was amazing and we all crashed,
happy to have the longest and hardest day behind us (135 Miles, my longest ride to
date).  Day 3 was going to definitely be easier. Right?
Unogwaja Day 2 pic

Chris and teammates at the top of the last ascent, Day 2 PC: Chris Adams

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