Monday, June 10, 2013

Rockwell Relay 2013: Moab to St. George Part I: The Origin of "Crankenstein"

Long ago, I sat in an English class for 12th grade honors students, passively listening to lectures on great works of literature. These great works came from authors like Dostoyevsky, Fritzgerald, & Shelley, and in an arrogant state of seniority, I failed to see the merit that these literary geniuses had for the human condition.

Thankfully, a portion of literary intelligence and human understanding have been revived after a truly epic adventure of the Rockwell Relay: Moab to St. George.

In its 4th year, the Rockwell Relay race covers a daunting course of 516 miles & 26,815 ft. of elevation gain, through Southern Utah desert, high country, canyons, national parks and forests. A team of 4 riders would ride 3 legs each ranging from 30 to 56 miles, through light and dark, heat and wind, from Friday morning in Moab, until Saturday afternoon in St. George.

The Route
A relay race as bold as the Rockwell Relay requires a dedicated, tough, crazy & perhaps a bit naive team of cyclists, and the humble origins of team "Crankenstein" surely fit the job description. Coming (mostly) from the Heber Valley and representing Skullcandy Slim and Knobby's Cycling team, team Crankenstein entered the Co-Ed competitive division with hopes of conquering the race in one piece.

Rider number 1 would be yours truly; a young, lean, bright-eyed pup ready to take on the largest climbing volume and fast and punchy start.

Rider number 2 would be Jennifer Jackson, my super-mom, endurance athlete extraordinaire and nutritional specialist. She would cover the 2nd largest volume of climbing on her sleek new Specialized Ruby.

Rider Number 3 would be Eric Ramirez; Slim and Knobby's head mechanic, power house of the flats and the only member with any Rockwell Relay experience. He would conquer the greatest mileage of the race through the hottest temperatures of day and latest times of night.

Rider Number 4 was planned to be Eric's roommate Abby, a confident rider and solid completion to the team. To everyone's dismay and disappointment, Abby became very sick the day before heading to Moab. Frantically we searched for a 4th teammate, calling everyone we knew but coming up empty late Wednesday night. It was time to panic!

         “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
         ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 

In a desperate attempt I posted a plea to find a teammate from the LOTOJA group on facebook. From that post I got in contact with "Crazy" Jim Auwen from Mesa, Arizona. After a few message exchanges, Jim committed to joining the team in Moab the next day. And late that night, team Crankenstein was born!

We were relieved to complete the team, but anxious to meet an unknown teammate. After checking into our high class accommodations at the Lazy Lizard Hostel, we met Jim and his wife Meri at packet pickup. Cyclists tend to be great people, and Jim and his wife turned out to be great people indeed. After talking with our new teammate about plans for the race, we were happy to have him on on our team and ready to go the next morning.

At 8 a.m. Friday morning, I lined up at the starting line, counted down with the crowd, clipped in and briskly began the journey to St. George.
The Start line
Fresh, ready to go and completely ignorant to how tough this will be.

And we're off!
Part II: The First Rotation, will be posted tomorrow!

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