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Discussion in 'Sports' started by Zodiac, Jul 10, 2006.
Your wind yesterday must be my wind today. Its blowing pretty hard around here. Not gale force, but windy.
Today's ride kicked my butt. AKA I brought a knife to a gun fight. Today was the Haymarket Winter Bike League #2. Normally, these roads are a mixed surface affair with plenty of gravel. Today? 2 stretches of gravel and the other 44-45mi of pavement. I rode the FTB with 32c semi-slicks and got my rear end handed to me. Almost everyone else was on road bikes. :eek1
Since this is an unofficial 'race' the fast guys went from the gun. I don't do so well going hard from the minute I get on the saddle and was red-lining quickly and dropped within the first 15min. Luckily there were buddies to ride with that wanted to do the 'old guys that get fat in the winter' pace. It still wasn't easy 'cause if we weren't going up, we were going down. Very little flat in this ride.
I kept up all right till my legs had decided they'd had enough at about the 2.5hr mark. Then hills were a real struggle. Too bad I had an hour or so left to ride!
Backing up to the beginning of the ride: it was sunny and cold. Like 32deg cold. I got to thinking about the last one of these I did last year where it was a hair warmer and rain/snowing on us. I turned to the guy parked next to me and said 'well, at least it ain't snowing!'
Guess what it started to do. It was only a little flurry but still.
I'm home. Chipotle for lunch. ...and I hear the couch monster calling my name.
I haven't ridden my MTB in 2 weeks. I am going... NOW.
Hers and my favorite restaurant. Incidentally, our first exposure to Chipotle was in DC.
Congrats! And good on ya for being a good road buddy.
A 200k brevet is an interesting event. You can ride them as a normal brevet at a typical brevet pace or you can push your limits and attempt a personal best time.
For those not well-versed in the metric system, 200-km is 124 miles and the on-line map shows it as 126.2 miles. Close enough!
To a non-cyclist, 100 miles sounds daunting and 126 miles rises a bit above that. When you think about doing it as a fast training ride, it's amazing to a non-cyclist that a ride that distance can be considered training.
I'm fortunate I know or am acquaintances with a few elite ultra-distance and brevet riders: Kurt Searvogel, John & Jacquie Schlitter, Willy Hunt, Dana Liberman to mentioned just a few. These folks have ridden RAAM on one or more occasions and have ridden every ultra-distance length and brevet available.
Dana owns Bent-up Cycles and manufacturers the Carbent model an elite level, semi-custom recumbent. When he mentioned he was going to ride this 200-km brevet, I was excited at the opportunity to ride with such a good rider and at the same time, apprehensive
at riding with such an elite rider.
Dana arrived at our home around 10:30 pm on Friday evening and we quickly got his oriented to our house and spare bedroom. With an alarm set for 0430, we were both anxious to get some sleep.
On events like this, I usually don't need an alarm my internal clock wakes me up before the alarm so I up and getting dressed right on schedule. I banged on the door to Dana's room and we were ready to head out for breakfast at 0500.
After breakfast with David B, we drove to the route's starting point where 17 or so other riders had gathered. We had talked a little bit about the ride during breakfast and it became clear that Dana was primed for bear. He wanted to go fast.
When you have a group of fast riders and are trying to hang on to the back, the only objective is to not get gapped meaning you didn't want to lose contact with the group. If that occurs, you lose the advantage of drafting.
I decided that would be my strategy not to get gapped. I was still a bit apprehensive there are some fast, talented riders in the AZ Brevet group. I'm not one of them I'm an average brevet rider who has had a bit of success built more on perseverance than speed.
Tom Baker gave the group last minute instructions and at 0700 we were off. Normally, I hang off the back and set my own pace. Dana and David went by me and I jump on David's rear wheel. We passed the pace line and Dana said his good mornings to the group. I think they were a little taken back that someone was setting a slightly faster pace than theirs and quickly decided not to let us go. Instead, they locked onto us and we were off!
I know these guys didn't need us - they're fast enough and fit enough to kick my butt every day and twice on Sundays but it was nice while it lasted. I knew it wouldn't last long - and that's ok too. I'm the third rider here:
I had the route loaded into my Garmin via bikeroutetoaster & Garmin's Training Center software and immediately had issues. It kept routing me back to ...somewhere else that I didn't want to go so on the fly, I loaded the route that I had created from Garmin's website. This is a Garmin Edge 810 and I'm still working out the issues and particularities of using it. Beyond that initial issue, it worked perfectly.
Speeds were fast to me and I knew I couldn't maintain that speed over 126 miles but I knew I could hang on for the first 50-60 miles or so.
Our first town to pass through was Sacaton a small spot of hard-scrabble Arizona small town that has one small climb out of town. From there, we turned towards Casa Grande where we encountered a stage race going in the opposite direction. The climb allowed the stronger riders to forge ahead and I found myself riding alone. I did catch and pass one or two riders though.
Every brevet has a well-defined set of stops called controls where you have to stop, check-in or answer a question on your brevet card to prove that you were there. You also note your time to insure that you were there during the control's hours which are set based on a minimum and maximum speeds. Brevets aren't races but many strive to go fast. The maximum speed is something like 30-kph or ~ 18 mph. When you add traffic lights, slowing for turns, etc, making it to the control before the opening time can be a challenge depending on the course.
The control at Casa Grande opened at 0834 I arrived at approximately 0845. Dana and David were behind me a few minutes. They had stopped for a nature break or something outside of Sacaton and I kept riding knowing that the small climb out of Sacaton would allow them to catch me. They didn't it was the only control of the day where I beat them!
Here's a snapshot of our pace 33 miles in about 1:45.
Not bad but I knew I was pushing my own personal limits. From the first control, we rode through Casa Grande on streets that have seen better days the pavement was rough, there was the occasional pothole and we hit the occasional traffic light which kept the group pretty much together.
I hadn't really noticed the wind that much up to now but as we turned towards Eloy, it was obvious the wind was from the east and blowing fairly hard. It became a quartering wind and that made it a little more difficult to get a draft from the guys in front. That meant I slowly lost contact with the main group and arrived at the second control a few minutes behind everyone else including David and Dana.
This control had a challenge question that you have to respond to and prove that you were there. In this case, it was asking about the clearance of the gas pump cover. It's clearly marked but again, you have to be there to see it so you can accurately respond.
From the Circle K in Eloy, we turned due north and the wind was more evident as it push me around a little. Flags were straight out and road signs were shaking! I knew that the route eventually turned due east which would put us into the teeth of the wind. Once we made the turn, my speeds dropped significantly from the previous 18+ mph to 10-12 mph and occasionally, even slower. Dana and the faster riders slowly disappeared from view!
At this point, it was just David and myself and you can see where we stopped three times for various issues mostly nature breaks. I was so thankful when the route turned back to the north and then towards the west. Again, you can see our last stop and then the benefits from the wind as we went back into the 20's again.
The long stop is at the Circle K in Florence where David and I both refilled our bottles and grabbed a bit of energy food & drink. Oh, and rest.
At this point, like most rides at the 75-80% point, finishing isn't really a question it's the final time. My delusions of an under 8-hour finished were long gone but I knew it would be close. The wind was still blowing out of the east but the only track back into it was on the Merrill Ranch Parkway and luckily, it was only a few miles long.
From there, it was literally a sawtooth ride a jog north, a job to the west, back to the north, back to the west. You can see my speeds during these runs. From the Circle K in Florence to a brief stop to answer another control question, except for stop signs and lights, we barely slowed until the finish.
The final few miles into the start are always tight with traffic. Mostly the traffic was polite - some more polite than others as usual.
At the finish, Tom Baker greeted us, recorded our times and we signed our cards. Then, he mentioned that Dana and a few of the other fast guys were at a nearby bar sitting outside waiting on us. It's a nice way to end a ride a cold (diet coke) outside with friends!
Dana is clearly a much more talented rider than me. We were happy to have him as a guest in our home and for the opportunity to ride a bit with him.
Of, the times were posted today. Five riders finished in front of me. There was David with me - there were three DNF and 10 more behind us.
The next brevet is one of those distances that I consider to be magical - we'll cover just over 250-miles in a day. Does that make me an elite rider? Hell no but I do pretty good for someone halfway between 50 & 60 who doesn't "train". For an elite rider, an acquaintances of mine, Kent Polk, did a 24 hour event in Sebring FL this weekend and in a non-drafting event, he covered 470.7 miles. Yeah - it's a flat course but any way you cut it, that's an elite performance. Oh - Kent is 59.
Great write up thanks for sharing ! Ok you may not consider yourself "elite" but pretty damn awesome for sure.
And I was proud of my 30 I did yesterday. Evil winds as well made 14mph an effort.
Saturdays ride was cut short with unexpected rain . Got 20 in and felt good.
Had a fantastic ride yesterday at a local trail that I'd never investigated. I was reluctant to join originally because the group was comprised of riders of all different skill levels, ranging from two racers to several n00bs who had only just begun mountain biking. I started off somewhere in the middle of the pack and gradually worked my way to the front, just behind the two racers. The last half of the trail was very technical and challenging - much like the expert level trails at Santos, but without the steep climbs. I was determined to keep up with the two racer dudes, which I somehow managed to do, but it was a struggle to do what seemed easy for them. Behind us, the ride had turned into quite a crash fest, as less experienced riders got snagged on big roots, fallen trees, and other obstacles. Several people ended up tumbling down a steep hill that they would have been wiser to descend on foot. I have to hand it to those guys though; at their level, I would have gotten extremely discouraged and just turned back. They were advised repeatedly by the fast lead riders that they could take the easier trails, but they insisted on following us through the hardest ones, even if it meant more accidents. Their sheer determination amazed me, and I have no doubt that these guys will become monster riders once they develop some bike handling skillz. Today I'm sore all over, but I can't wait to do it again.
I don't know how to embed this from my iPad, but this is a cool video.
It'll get easier. Just keep doing what you're doing. Also, quit doubting yourself. Confidence is everything, on a MTB.
Talk about an extension of one's body. :eek1
Doubt is nature's way of telling me not to do stupid things.
k7, great report.
Took me back to my racing/training days. The world from aboard the bike in the early morning chill is just a very cool thing to experience.
I could almost hear those old sew-ups sing.
Back then our usual Saturday morning training rides were 100 miles +. 125 would have been on the longest we'd done. none of our races were ever anywhere near that long. CAT I/II sometimes if it was a big event. CAT III's and IV's never. More like 50 or 60. Lots of climbing and usually wind.
I recall more than a few Saturdays were we got back to downtown in the late afternoon, entirely beat and almost too tired to drive home. I never got to where I could ride the 28 miles from home to the ride start and back and do the ride.
I do miss being in condition to do that stuff.
My ride yesterday had a humbling moment. I am by no means an expert rider, and I am not that fast either. But, I have a ton of fun on the trails and I am getting faster/smoother the more I ride.
Yesterday there were these two kids at the start of the trail needing help with the rear hub on one of their single speed MTBs (they both were on singles). I lent them my Allen wrenches and stayed around in case they needed help. Well, they finally got the hub aligned, so I took off on the trail while they talked a few more minutes.
Well, about 2 miles into the ride they come blasting past me, radio blaring, both singing at the top of their lungs, "I wear my sunglasses at night!" Talk about having fun! I tried to keep up, but these kids were flying on their single speeds and I was already huffing and puffing so keeping up was a loosing effort!
Lessons of the day: 1) Ride more 2) Have even more fun 3) Loose weight.
Overall, even though my legs were shot from the beginning, it was still fun to be out on the trail.
Not a long gray beard or helmet mirror in the bunch? Dammit man, we've got cycling stereotypes to maintain here!
Another rider posted a report and included this picture. It's hard to see but we, the three recumbents were still taking the lead.
Haven't touched a bike in 9-months due to my son being born, and all the preparation happing for his arrival (nursery, guest house) and many other "old house" problems. So yesterday I finally found some time go get out and enjoy some dirt.
72 degrees and sunny! 11.2 miles and it felt like I rode 80. Technical chops still there, but endurance was dust in the wind. Still, ended with a big smile on my face.
ok all you road bike proficient guys out here tell me what i need to know for mounting up a carbon fork.... i can do headsets all day long but do i need to know anything special about a carbon fork, like TQ specs and such? also any specifics for stem types? putting a cannondale SI full carbon fork on this beast...which is also getting a new BB, crankset, shifters, and deraileurs.... also going to swap from threaded to threadless.... i know i need a new headset and some spacers....LOL
The only thing I can think of when looking at this picture is how much it would suck to fall on that cactus. :eek1