Sivas : Sachsenhausen
Today’s Leg is a monster! This will be the toughest Leg of them all at 110 miles and over 12000′ of elevation gain!
When I first signed up for LA2DC. I saw that they had plenty of riders for this Leg so I thought I would just skip it. However, now that I had ridden each day of LA2DC I could not stop now!
The LA2DC warriors to join me on this Leg are Hagop Koulyan, Aram Kavoukjian, Eric Josephbec, Khachik Gevergyan, Vicken Seplian and Anush Ricci. Vicken and Anush needed to be picked up at the airport and would meet us later. They both had ridden with us for several days for some of the earlier Legs and then had headed home. They had planned to come back for the last day and ride Leg 26 but they missed us too much so they worked it out so they could come back a day early and have a go at the mountains!
Vicken caught a a red eye flight and never slept! This would be a tough ride fully rested but to tackle it with no sleep, that is proof of his amazing spirit!
The last few days we would pass a lot of cemeteries. Today it seemed like they were every 5-10 miles. We also passed many historical sites. I wished we had more time to take in some of the sights and history but we have to keep the wheels rolling!
The first 10 miles of the ride was mostly flat and small rolling hills. About 12 miles in we hit the first steep longer climbs. My legs were burning and my pulled muscle in my back was aching. The way I felt at that time I wondered if I could make it through this day. Then the words “I must” popped into my mind and I began to say it out loud to myself repeatedly and I rolled on!
I told myself I would just get to 100 miles and then I could get picked up. Khachik offered to be my domestic. He is such a good guy and a very smart and smooth rider. He pulled on the flat sections but once we hit the hills it was everyman for himself because pace-lining doesn’t usually work very well in steep terrain. Khachik knows how to pace himself for the long haul. He kept telling others to slow down in the beginning of the ride. It is difficult for some riders to know their bodies and how to pace themselves to be able to ride these long distance rides. Learning this comes with time and experience. The old children’s story about the Tortoise and the Hare is a good one for cyclists to be reminded of.
We would be 33 miles into the ride before we would get word that Vicken and Anush would be meeting us shortly! This was exciting news for me because I really enjoy the company of these two. We pulled over for a break while their bikes were prepped to ride. Hagop, Vicken, Anush and I had ridden several Legs together so it felt like the gang was back together!
It would take me to about mile 50 to really feel warmed up. I felt good for the rest of the ride. I am used to climbing and do well on the longer climbs since I have a chance to ease into them. The shorter climbs are the ones that hurt me because by the time I warm up to it and get in the climbing mode it is over. Just as I was warming up I could see one of the other riders that was going hard in the beginning slowing down and not looking to good. I bet he wished he would have listened when Khachik and I told him to take it easy earlier!
The hills got steeper and longer the further we went. I tried to keep the group together but we were spreading further apart the farther we went. It was really hot and humid out. The temperature was somewhere in the low 90’s and the humidity was probably close to that too! Surprisingly I was feeling really good. I guess all those climbing miles I did in training were paying off!
At mile 95 I passed the support vehicle as they were checking on another rider. I told them I would go to 100 miles and then get picked up. As I passed the 100 mile mark I did not see the support vehicle anywhere in site so I figured I would just keep going and finish the last 10 miles to complete the Leg. The remainder was rolling hills with a few longer climbs and then it ended with a nice downhill run! When I arrived Khachik and Hagob were already there. The others would arrive shortly after.
12,228′ Elevation gain
Ride stats on Strava