Well, perhaps that is a bit of a spoiler, that post heading. I mean, why read the post if you know already that we did not complete it? I dunno. Maybe you, like me, are actually sort of into the "process" of all this. In any case, here is what happened, and what we did about it, and what is next.
While we did not go the full 300 km, I nor Roger consider this ride a failure. We got to 165 miles, and that is way farther than I had ever ridden before. So that's something. We had plenty of time to complete the last 20 miles or so (we'd gotten a bit off-course here and there, so it was hard to know exactly how much we had left to ride. Probably less than 25 miles, though.) So why did we quit?
We determined that it was not safe to continue. And that's saying something. Roger was just losing all the strength in his left side. To be perfectly honest, this was terrifying to me. We'd been going along just great for a hundred miles. In fact, we were probably riding way too hard and too fast and just too much in the same position and at some point, fatigue in the muscles just hit a critical point. Maybe he pinched a nerve or something. He was having trouble staying right of the white line, beginning with the stretch back along PCH after we left Seal Beach. The extreme failing was not obvious at that point, but I did note that I could see his entire right arm from my position, while his left was not visible at all. I kept asking him to move right, move right, you're drifting. Which, of course, was aggravating to him.
We had a little trouble following the cue sheet around Newport, and by the time we made it to the Bayview Trail, it had gotten dark. We were fine riding with lights, but I just became more and more concerned about Roger. We were stopping every couple of miles, and I was trying to check him out for a possible stroke or something like that, but we could not really figure out what was going on. We had a meal, we took frequent breaks, I made sure he was eating and drinking, but when we finally arrived at the top of Jamboree (and Chapman) near the turn for Santiago Canyon and thankfully, at a Chevron station, he called it.
We'd been in touch with Steve Workman, who had come out to do the ride also, and so Roger called him and asked him to come out and retrieve me. I rode back to the start with Steve, and picked up our car, and then went back to get Roger. By this time, he was feeling okay - tired but not falling over as he had been. And we determined that we would get everything checked out before we would attempt this distance again.
True to his word, poor Roger has seen the doctors for a full check-up, EKG, brain scan, sonogram, blood work, stress test, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary has surfaced. We are no closer to knowing why this occurred than before, but we have at least ruled out the truly scary stuff. We are close to concluding that we started too fast, we rode too steadily, we did not get off the bike often enough, and we needed better nutrition. So we are working on all those things. Oh, and I remind Roger to sit square on the saddle, in hopes that that may help him avoid over-taxing one side or the other. He's typically riding a bit to the left, trying to avoid some persistent saddle sores. So we are trying some remedies for that, also.
Anyway, we were lucky with weather. It had been predicted to rain, but we never saw any. It was cool and overcast, perfect for riding. The route was interesting and really, too flat. We decided that we need more variety to help us avoid the temptation to just "go for it." And, while it's lovely to have our friends with us, I have resolved that we will not ride with anyone again. It is just too tempting to try to go their pace, and we are not going to make it to Paris on anyone's pace but our own. Gracious, we do not need to pull anyone around these routes! And we aren't good at drafting. So it's pretty clear to me we need to stay focused on our own ride, and not worry about whether or not anyone else is along for the ride.
As you can tell, I learned some important lessons in this event. And we really did have a rocking good day, until we didn't! Our average speed was near 18 mph for the first 80 miles or so. That's ridiculous! Especially when you have 100 miles more to go. Well, live and learn. We have registered for another 300 km that will occur in a couple of weeks. It's from Joshua Tree to Las Vegas, and it will have some climbing in it. Which also means there will be some descending. To tell the truth, that Five Rivers ride had not one bit of descending in it. Not really. I mean, we were heading down hill now and then, but not so that you could just coast. So we really did not ever get any rest. We did one stretch of nearly 50 miles with hardly any time off the bike. I told Roger we are not going to do that again. Just because there is no control point does not mean that you don't stop!
I took some pictures of the "rivers" along our route, and will share those in another post. And we will keep those wheels turning!