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Old 09-17-2012, 03:22 PM   #25156
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Originally Posted by Mercury264 View Post

As I read stuff like that, I just think I am totally unworthy to be posting in this thread - just an incredible feat of human endurance.
You are worthy, if you make the decision to get off your ass, and do something to improve your health, which you are doing! It's amazing what Gerry and others are doing, but we do what we can do with time, and means. Hell, I've improved so much in the last few years... Be happy that you have time to get out there, and set goals as you are able.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:45 PM   #25157
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Good job though, regardless of age. As you say dedicating to the task is a lot more than I can pull off right now.
The ride report is fantastic.

I would have rolled over in my motel bed at the sight of wind and rain.

Originally Posted by k7 View Post
As much as I'd like to agree with you and beat my chest a bit, if I can do it, anyone can. I'm well north of 50 as we're the majority of riders on this brevet. I did it by dedicating myself to the task at hand. I guarantee anyone could do the same with a little training.

I learned a few lessons and will share those thoughts later. I took an additional three days off this week to recover and trust me, I'll need every one of them.
"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:49 PM   #25158
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Day 2, Last Chance

The event commandeered all the rooms at the “It'll Do Motel” and getting a room was simple: sign in with the volunteer staff and that person would assign you to a room. That meant you might share a room with several other riders, male or female.

I was damn lucky and got a room to myself – I was stoked.....that's the perfect end to a difficult day although I'm a pretty cooperative roommate when I need to be. All things considered, a room to myself is a prize that occurs only when others are dropping out.

When we checked into the hotel with the volunteer staff, I asked a stupid question: how can I get a wake-up call. I was told bluntly but politely that it was up to me. OK – that's easy: I carry a cellphone and the power stays off until its absolutely necessary. I turned it on, set the alarm and then set three alarms on my watch.

Belts & suspenders – there's no way I'm sleeping past the appointed hour.

Before I went to bed, I got my small USB charger and lithium charger out of my dropbag and got the external 4xAA battery pack for the Garmin on the juice along with my tailight.. I organized my clothes for the next day but didn't bother to repack. The route today is a 219 mile out-and-back so I'll have the same room. My reward was two hours of sleep.

I wolfed down some cereal for breakfast and we hit the road at 0406. I looked for my buddy David but he had pulled out a little earlier than us. That's fine – we'll see him at some point down the road.

Once again, the hills were “strongly rolling” but this time, there was only a little cloud cover and thousands of stars watched over us as we made our way to the east. The first control was located at Oberlin KS - 27 miles away and I thought it would be a perfect spot to have more breakfast. Despite the lack of sleep, the ride was enjoyable and the miles flew by as we arrived at 0640. That's what my card says anyway but I suspect the waitress used central time! There's no way we averaged only 10 mph – at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

These restaurants are solid gold establishments serving solid food and it was worth every minute to have a nutritional breakfast. Unfortunately, all that food made both of us a little sleepy. That's when Bill R turned to me and said, “You ready for your first dirt-nap?”

He pointed to three silos located just off the road that were basking in the early morning sun. One of these had a concrete pad for the blower motor that had enough space for each of us to take a side and lay down.

Laying there in the sun was pure heaven. I put my helmet under my head and was asleep literally in minutes. I suffer from positional sleep apnea so if I'm on my back, I'm guaranteed to snort myself awake...that's a built-in alarm clock and we slept for 30 minutes.

We kept our bikes pointed east to Norton, Phillipsburg and Kensington where we had to mail a postcard from the US Post Office to prove that we had been there. We hit some road construction between Phillipsburg and Kensington and traffic was restricted to one lane meaning we were supposed to wait for a truck to lead us down the road. Luckily, we asked the flagman if we could ride the shoulder and he indicated it was fine. Once we figured out the traffic pattern, we had virgin asphalt to ride! Smooth but still warm from being rolled out!

On one of the hills, we met my buddy David coming the other way. Stopping on a hill and starting again on a recumbent can be a challenge so I gave him a high-five as we went by and kept moving. The run into Kensington was fast but I was worried about riding on the shoulder when traffic wouldn't allow us on the main portion of the road. I hadn't experienced a flat tire yet and didn't really want one now!
After mailing our post card, we turned back to Phillipsburg and stopped at the Subway. Rando riders seem to use Subways when possible to get a good meal when fast food is the only choice. As I was waiting on Bill R, an insurance agent walked from his office across the street to the Subway and asked me where we were headed.

When I explained we were going from Boulder to Kensington and back again, he simply started laughing. Yeah, I get it...we're crazy.

While the turn-around point was at the post office, this was the halfway point based on mileage. Essentially, we had done a 600-km event to this point in 37 hours. My only other 600 event was completed in 38:15 so given the weather conditions, I felt pretty good about this time.

On the next segment, we picked up my buddy David who waited around for us to ride to Atwood together. Darkness was fast approaching and there's perceived safety in numbers. Once again, we started getting extremely sleepy again and it was good to have each others' backs. The weather was quite cool but not to the point of suffering. We hit one truck stop for coffee and rolled back into Atwood at 0437.... just over 24 hours after leaving. Our times suffered on the second half of that day's ride – the event was slowly taking its toll on us.

This time, when we got to the hotel, I didn't stop except to log in with the staff. No food, probably a mistake not to eat and let my body digest that food. Instead, I used that time to get items charging, shower, set up clothes for the next day and repack the dropbag.

At this point, we've covered 470 miles and I'm feeling good about the event. The next two days are 179 miles and then 103 to finish but there are some challenges ahead in regards to food.

Day 3 to follow.......
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:43 PM   #25159
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:13 AM   #25160
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WOW ! Thanks K7 fantastic read
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:59 AM   #25161
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Originally Posted by CatfishRacing View Post
I'm getting ready to ditch my TV provider.
Is there a place that I can download bicycle racing?
I know I can pay for the Giro and the Tour but I never watch them live so I don't care if I'm a little behind.
Basically I'm looking for a but with bicycles.
Anything? for live feeds for... well... torrents of your favorite races. That reminds me. I need to download last Sunday's first euro cross race.

edited to add: guess I'm a week early. No races uploaded to cyclingtorrents yet

I'm a cyclist that rides motos, not a moto rider that rides bicycles.

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Old 09-18-2012, 08:54 AM   #25162
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Day 3: Last Chance 1200

Day 3:

I suspect that the time was entered incorrectly when we arrived back in Atwood. Kansas is on center and CO is mountain. I'm thinking we arrived at 0337 and not 0437.


I do recall being in a very good mood on Friday morning as we pulled out at 0703. I had breakfast in the hotel with food provided by the club and was anxious to get on the road.

There were several concerns that I had. One was that the only store for about 100 miles in Anton was closing at 6 pm and that was 125 miles away. Second, we knew there would be a bit of climbing on the return. That 125 miles doesn't sound too difficult until you remember the number of miles you've already covered and the climbing that's to come.

Recall these are strong rolling hills that now trend upwards. I doubt there was more than 5,000 feet of climbing but that comes in small chunks that just a little too long to simply roll over with any kind of least for me.

The highway out of Atwood starts with an immediate climb that stretches for at least 2 miles and I really felt it in my legs. The first city was Bird City where there was a cafe at about the 42 mile point. I could see that most if not everyone had stopped there and that was clearly the right thing to do but once again, I rolled by a food stop w/o stopping.

St Francis was next at 26 miles and since it was a control, `I used that opportunity to grab some snacks and a drink. Nothing fancy but it was nice to be off the bike for 15 minutes. This was also the last stop in Kansas so I could slowly feel the excitement building as I'm thinking I'm home-free.

The best stop was the little cafe in Idalia. Several of us pulled in at approximately the same time (1346 hrs for me) and we were all ready for a good meal. The waitress couldn't have been nicer. She was quick to take our orders, sign our cards and bring our drinks – all with a quick smile and an extremely friendly nature. I had a great hamburger and fries and it really hit the spot. Little things like this have a huge impact on your psyche when riding. They can drive you crazy or lift you up. I wasn't surprized at the lift – been there/done that and the smallest gestures of kindness are huge.

Now, there are two ways to do this brevet: supported or unsupported. Due to the remoteness, support vehicles are allowed on the route but everyone is careful not to accept assistance except when in the controls.

While at the cafe in Idalia, I was informed that several of the support folks were going to bring food to Anton for those who rolled in after the store closed. Without that support, I was looking at 110 miles without access to anything other than what I was carrying. I had dried mango, fig newtons, some crackers, some misc. energy kind of snacks and water. Not a great selection but enough to get me 110 miles down the road if necessary.

After lunch, once again, the food made me sleepy so I started looking for a place to grab a few winks of sleep. That come in the form of a 5x5 concrete pad that surrounded the flagpole in the city park of Cope. It was another 30-minute nap that help set the stage for the run to Anton.

The last few miles into Anton were a blast but a little dangerous. I was riding with a guy from Canada who had some items fall off of his rear rack. When he stopped to grab his gear, I kept rolling. We were climbing due west into the sunset so we also had to be careful of cars coming up from behind us.

The roads in CO and KS are similar. While the shoulder width varies, they all seem to have rumble strips build-in and if you're lucky, several feet of shoulder beyond the rumbles.

Generally speaking, I stayed on the road itself if there was a car coming from behind me and thee was nothing coming from the other directions especially if the shoulder was narrow. On this section, with the sun in drivers' eyes, I used the shoulder even though it was only a foot wide in places.

Once I made it to the top of the climb, I was able to increase my speed to a much faster pace into Anton. I should have stopped, removed my sunglasses and put on a jacket but I knew I was only 4-5 miles out so I kept up the speed and arrived in town safely.

True to their word, the support from other riders had bread, cheese, cold cuts, cookies, Gatorade, grapes, etc. and it was nice to have quick access to food. Several riders were struggling at this point and it was cool to see other rider's support stepping up to help them out.

Now we're only 55 miles from Byers – the last stop on the brevet – and it's around 1945 hrs. I teamed up with three other riders and we head out pushing 16-17 mph. Unfortunately, after about 3 miles, I suffered my first flat of the event and pulled over to change the tube.

One thing I do is index my tube to the tire when I remove it so I can better locate whatever caused the flat. In this case, when I pumped up the flat tube, the leak was at about the 8 o'clock position on the tube itself. Knowing this, it took literally seconds to locate the source of the flat: a goathead thorn.

I removed it and started installing a new tube when Terry from Canada rolled up. He helped steady the bike and we were on our way fairly quickly. By now, the temps are dropping and the wind is coming it. It was getting colder by the minute.

You may see a pattern here: food followed by getting sleepy. Both of us were impacted and struggled to stay awake. At one point, on a nice descent, I fell asleep and woke up as the bike dove for the right shoulder.

OK – time for a nap. We located a nice grassy spot just down the shoulder and laid down in the tall grass. The stars were simply beautiful and other than feeling warm in the grass, which helped to block the wind, all I remember is looking up at the stars and then boom, I was sound asleep.

The last 20 miles was painful despite the nap. I had a room reserved in Byers but Terry didn't. When we arrive at 0243, I once again didn't eat opting to go the room instead. This time, the room was on the second floor and climbing the stairs was extremely difficult due to the exhaustion setting in. Terry was able to gain access to a room so he was good.

I was supposed to share a room with David so I went through my normal steps to get devices charged, clothing organized, grab a shower and repack the dropbag for an 0630 departure. I also parked my bike in the room as to not impede access for David and when I laid down, I wore an airline sleeping mask and left the light on. All David had to do was roll in and take care of himself. No fumbling for light, working around my stuff, etc.

Once again, we're getting very little sleep but with the last ride of the day coming up, now was not the time to focus on that. Open the barn doors, the horses can smell the hay.

Day 4 to follow....

k7 screwed with this post 09-18-2012 at 09:12 AM
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #25163
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #25164
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Day 4: Last Chance 1200

Day 4. The last day of our adventure. Now, it's not a matter of if we can finish but when.

103 miles. Heck, I can do that in my sleep. I base that on the fact that I've fallen asleep on the bike several times already.

When I woke up, I was shocked not to find David in the room. I quickly got dressed and went down to the check-in room where I found..... David. He had arrived in the middle of the night after having been picked up in Anton.

Here's where we get to level just a little criticism at the organizers. Anton is a control and unfortunately, the only store for a 100 + miles closes at 6 PM. In my humble, inexperienced opinion, the organizers need to work the store to extend the hours, engage a local civic group for support or ask a volunteer to man the control and provide simple food services.

In any case, we were happy to see each other but it was time to ride. Terry and I started out looking for breakfast and as we headed under the interstate, the unmistakeable smell of bacon wafted through the air.

We found a small cafe that opened at 0700 and since it was 0650, we weren't going anywhere. Larry from Florida and his support, LuAnn, pulled up a moment later to join us.

I'm pretty quick on the trigger when it comes to food and an omlet with three meats suited me just fine. Terry wanted a pancake and ordered two of them.

“Uh uhh” his waitress replied - “you only want one – they're large.” Terry was OK with that and even Larry decided to wait and see if Terry might have extra to share. Larry went with normal fare – egges, hashbrowns, etc.

When our food arrived, we were shocked to see a pancake the size of, I kid you not, a medium pan pizza. It was freaking huge! Terry ate maybe 35% of it and Larry also enjoyed a small piece.

When we hit the road, we had a nice 15 mile straight stretch going due north supported by a wind headed in the same direction. I dropped Terry and Larry and enjoyed a nice spin down the road which dropped by about 400 ft over the 15 miles. The temps were slowly warming and it was a great day to be on a bike finishing up my first 1200-km.

As we moved around the area east and north of Denver, we encounter more traffic and more industry. I'm not sure what I was looking at but there were all kinds of 300 barrel oil tanks grouped together with other apparatus. I'm not certain if this is for fracking/shale oil/etc but it seems to be having a huge impact on the economy.

The impact to cyclists were increased traffic in the form of big Ford F250, tankers, etc. The vast majority were extremely polite and the only asshole who blew his horn at me seemed to think I hadn't moved far enough off the road when I took a few bonus miles after missing a turn.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Terry suffered a flat – his 5th – and lunch was at a Love's Truckstop. The closer we got to Louisville, the more determined we became. Larry had rejoined us and we make a concerted effort to watch out for each other.

When we rolled into the Quality Inn in Louisville at 5:29 PM, several people stepped out to take our pictures. John Lee Ellis congratulated us and gave us our Last Chance medals. David grabbed my bike and helped me to the room. Honestly, walking was a challenge having used mainly cycling muscles for the last few days but it was nice to have help.

There was a group dinner that night at 7 pm and while it was the last thing I wanted to do, it was important to go and thank the volunteers and congratulate the others. Everyone put a lot into their efforts and most of us had some significant lessons that we can apply to the next ride.

By the numbers:

You can see that the numbers were split for day 3 when the Garmin reset itself. I'm glad that occurred – it shows how slow I was for the night ride into Byers! It was pretty miserable and we barely maintained a speed that would allow us to finish had that been our speed during the entire event with no stops!

Closing comments/lessons learned/etc:

I finished. I'm new at this having completed my first century in several decades in Jan which was followed by all the brevets. I went from 0 to 1200 in less than a year.

I had ridden a few double -centuries in the early 80's and as I recall, they were much more difficult than this 1200. Why? My recumbent, while a compromise, offers the best combination of comfort and speed. I predict that as riders age, you'll see recumbents slowly lose the stigma that they carry today.

On a side note, we had breakfast with cycling coach John Hughes before the event started. John summed it up very well when asked why recumbents appear to carry a stigma. He thinks that other riders think that if you were a competent rider, you'd be on a regular bicycle. There's some truth to that I suppose but in my case, I don't have an option due to a blue-hair in Atlanta who rear-ended me in her Caddy in 1994.

My training worked well enough to get me through this 1200 and I can improve from here. For me, it took a lot of dedication but I didn't put a ton o' time in it. I was happy doing club rides on Saturday mornings and I generally rode with the fast riders to push myself. I supplemented that 2-3 rides during the week that never exceeded an hour. Those were a mix of intervals, tempo and endurance rides.

This year, I have about 4,300 miles YTD so that translates to a bit over 100 miles per week. Some of the miles are brevets so I'm comfortable in saying that I never exceeded 100 miles of training per week on average. Again, for me, it was quality and not quantity.

I mentioned the recumbent already. Mine was extremely comfortable out of the box. I think that's difficult to achieve on a diamond-framed bike and it may mean you have to add miles to insure you can endure the pain. I can't tell you how many riders I was behind on the last two days who were really suffering...moving around trying to find a spot on their ass that didn't hurt.

YMMV of course!

I got a bit sunburned – the laid-back position of my bike presents not only an Imax view of the world but it fully exposes my face to the sun and elements.

My rain top worked OK – it's an Arc'teryx SL pullover with a front pocket that once again, collected water in the pocket. It'll be returned to the manufacturer to correct. My rain bottoms, don't recall the brand, worked OK but caused on significant chaffing issues on the first day. One rider had some Lansinoh and it worked wonders. That will become part of my kit moving forward.

I didn't have an emergency blanket or anything like that. I didn't feel the need for one but a few more degrees drop in temp and a forced stop might have driven the need for one.

I carried fig newtons, dried mango from Trader Joes, peanut butter crackets and a few commercial
energy packs that I didn't use. In fact, I didn't use any of the popular items from Hammer or other companies. Maybe I should try them – it might have helped my average speed.

In the controls, I looked for coffee, sandwiches, fruit snacks, microwaveable soups, etc – standard fare I suppose. Towards the end, I craved hamburgers and other food that isn't associated with endurance events. I didn't have any stomach or GI issues thank goodness.

Pain: I had only a little where I banged my ankle and knee on the first day. I also had significant pain in my right Achilles tendon which felt like was exploding. I managed the pain with Aleve. The only other pain was when I stopped peddling and then started again. I know we've all felt lactic acid pain before but for me, it was multiplied by a factor of 5 on the 3rd and 4th day. It was painful enough that I did my best not to stop peddling even on downhills – kept my legs moving as much as possible.

What's next? Dunno except that LEL is off the table. My wife's mother is going slowly downhill and we'll need our funds for London in Brazil instead. In fact, as soon as I finish this report, I need to look for flights for a Brazil trip in 1Q13.

I'll likely look for other rides to keep moving forward. I'll probably look for another 1200 next year – I need to determine what rides are where so the costs can be managed in light of our mother-in-law health issues.

Oh - the guy who was there to get his man card stamped? He's a great rider and has proven himself many times on other riders but it's interesting to note that he DNF'd on the first day and my guess is that he didn't have the proper gear for the rain. I also noted with interest that not a single female rider in the event DNF'd. Guess they got their man cards properly stamped!
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:08 PM   #25165
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Wow, Gerry, that's an amazing story and you should be very proud of your staggering achievement. Particularly after such a short build up.

Congratulations, I'm really very impressed.

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Old 09-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #25166
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Originally Posted by Slimie View Post
Wow, Gerry, that's an amazing story and you should be very proud of your staggering achievement. Particularly after such a short build up.

Congratulations, I'm really very impressed.

Ditto. And thanks so much for the report.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:36 PM   #25167
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Awesome accomplishment, awesome report.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:53 PM   #25168
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Man, reading that makes me want to go out and register for one! Well done!
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #25169
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Originally Posted by Ridge View Post
Man, reading that makes me want to go out and register for one! Well done! is a great place to start.

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. If I can do it, anyone can!
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:43 PM   #25170
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Love the ride reports!
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