I got a chance to meet my host Rick today. He has been gracious enough to not only host me but allow me the use of his bike. Soon as I got to his house I had to set his bike up for my use. Here are a couple of pictures of the transformation.
Trans Iowa Radio: The annual commentary by your's truly will be posted on my blog "Guitar Ted Productions" for all to hear starting Friday evening. (There is a course condition report up now there to check it out)
While many of you find the commentary useful and entertaining, I must add that it is not a professional news report. Keep in mind that I am doing these audio posts while trying to keep tabs on an event that sometimes requires my full attention, (see T.I.V4) or finds me in a half dazed stupor wandering around in the middle of the night after being up for 30 plus hours. Sometimes both at the same time!
Anyway, these reports are what they are. If I don't mention your significant others name, it isn't because I didn't see him, or that he is missing in a pig lot somewhere in the boonies. I probably (a) don't know his where abouts at that particular moment, (b) forgot to mention his name, or (c) just plain spaced off giving a rider report.
So, please do not think that I am such a great reporter that I wouldn't.....nay- couldn't- possibly not see your man out there. No, no! I am just a bike mechanic hopped up on a large quantity Red Bull and beef jerkey having fun with an audio-blog service.
That said, I will do what I can to impart the feel and progress of the event to listeners and I will try to be diligent about names and DNF's and what not. I just wanted to put that disclaimer out there for all the wives, girlfriends, partners, lap dogs, and any distant relatives that might be listening for word on their favorite racer. __________________ Riden' an Smilin' Guitar Ted
THIS IS A B-ROAD -- A DRY B ROAD-- I WONDER WHAT 5 INCHES OF RAIN HAVE DONE TO THIS B-ROAD
FROM TRANS IOWA WEBSITE.
START TIME IS 4AM
04/27/09: Time Cut Offs: Checkpoint#1 @ Mile 40- 8:00am. Checkpoint #2 @ Mile 151- 7:00pm, Checkpoint #3 @ Mile 217.3- 2:00am Sunday morning, and the Finishline by 2:00pm Sunday.
Course Condition Report: After a weekend where rain totals of over 5 inches were reported over different sections of the course, things have changed dramatically. Gravel in the area local to me is very soft and wet. B Roads are, of course, totally mud now.
Anybody Got A Boat? I think it rained harder for longer yesterday than I can remember in a long time. Maybe since 1993 when we had the big floods here. I am seeing that we received well in excess of 4 inches of rain in less than a 24 hour period from Sunday morning till now. (And it hasn't been raining for several hours!) That's a month's worth of rain in a day. Yeah.....go figure that out! Needless to say, I didn't get in a window of dryness to ride my bike in. Oh well........
Yes.....You knew I couldn't end without talking about this! The weather and Trans Iowa. Like peanut butter and jelly, these two go hand in hand. The weather is always a big player in the outcome of this event. Now we have had upwards of five inches or more of rain in two days over parts of the course and you know that some of that will be making for slower going in some places, even without more rain. Trouble is, there are scattered thunderstorms predicted for Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday now. So far, the weekend forecast has flip flopped several times, but is looking to be cool, overcast to partly cloudy, windy..........and dry!
Oh, and just to tag on to the last post, Trans Iowa Radio, the audioblog I put up live during the event, is a great source of information as to where your riders are at any given time. I don't usually give specifics, (I don't list out every indivial rider in the event),but I often call out DNF's and the leaders position on course.
If you have access to cable, it is a great way to find out what is going on, and I will be trying to do more consistent reporting this year to fill your need to know what is going down. __________________ Riden' an Smilin' Guitar Ted
As I go into this event I have realized that so few people of heard of this mountain bike race. I thought I might share some of the warnings, cautions and disclaimers on their site. You might get the idea from these excerpts that maybe this is an extreme event ya think?
In short it is A 320 MILE NON STOP UNSUPPORTED MOUNTAIN BIKE ULTRA DISTANCE RACE THROUGH THE GRAVEL, DIRT AND B ROADS OF RURAL IOWA.
"The Golden Rule. The sponsors, organizers, and anyone having anything to do with this race are NOT responsible for your safety. Think of this race as a 300+ mile hard training ride with prizes. We can't say this enough.....YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU!"
"Trans Iowa V5: Here's a reminder of what Trans Iowa is.........We are informing you all that are in the event that if you don't agree that you are on your own, that you are responsible for yourself, and that this is being undertaken of your own volition, then don't take the start."
"The event takes place rain or shine, as most of you know. Again: No support, no aid stations, no drop bags- you are on your own, responsible for procuring your own necessities along the way. The course passes by convenience stores, or through towns with services on average about every 40 miles. Remember- if you leave the course to get something you must re-enter the course at that point where you left it."
"The Trans-Iowa Mountain Bike Race is a non-stop, self-supported, solo competition along the gravel roads of rural Iowa. Competitors must carry with them ALL necessary equipment."
"Each rider is considered to be on a private excursion and remains solely responsible for any accidents in which he or she may be involved. No responsibility can be accepted for riders becoming lost or stranded."
"Prearranged outside support is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to assistance with navigation, delivery of supplies, lighting, or lodging."
This time next week I will be on an airplane flying to Des Moines, Iowa for my Trans Iowa Epic Adventure. I'm excited to meet new people and in particular my host. My fitness is where I would like it to be in April. I missed my November December months of winter base building due to a fractured thumb but I feel good nonetheless. I don't want to feel too good yet since we have such a long season here in Southern California.
My goal event for the year is in October, the Furnace Creek 508. The key to a successful season here in SoCal is to not burn-out in the early season and either over-train or loose focus for late season events.
Now even though my fitness is good I woke up on Tuesday with a sore throat. I wrecked my body last week with lack of sleep leading into the weekend, then Big Bear ride on the Fixed Gear on Saturday, and followed by 200km on Sunday. I also haven't been sleeping soundly. The combination of all of that has made me susceptible to whatever virus/bacteria I was already harboring. So I have to rest rest and more rest and try to kick this thing in the next week.
I had three of these Snackers during my ride. I was so hungry. I was surprised to see that each Snacker is bad for you. Even after eating three of them and I still fell well below the US RDA numbers on a 2,000 calorie day. My Powertap was 3,800 kj's so I think I was way way below the numbers. By the way, I don't know any Ultra Cyclist that can survive on 2,000 calories a day ;-)
Went out on a 122.5 mile ride yesterday and felt ok at the start. But by mile 85 I was fading fast, I was dehydrated and just wishing for the ride to be over. I underestimated my calorie deficit from Saturday's Fixed Gear climbing, and the heat of the day-- lesson learned.
It's that time again. Time to get your climb-on. Brandy and I will be going to do the ride you see in the graph above on Saturday. It is about 13,000 in 88 miles. You can read about my last trip to Big Bear City here. I also created a video here. Click on Big Bear City. Internet Explorer seems to work best with the media player.
Start: Mill Creek Ranger Station 34701 Mill Creek Road Mentone, CA 92359 (909) 794-1123
Start Time: 0600
The route begins at Mill Creek Ranger Station we will climb over Oak Glen in both directions. Then we will climb up and through Onyx Summit to Big Bear City. Refuel and climb up and over Onyx Summit and back to Mill Creek Ranger Station.
Everyone welcome-- Climb at your own pace. This is not a beginners ride. However, there are plenty of bailout points. Just think if you get tired of climbing just turn around and head back down the mountain and the pain is over. This is a hard ride with lots of climbing and not much in the way of support.
Thank you to the good folks over at Detours Bags. I now have a fourth Detours Bag. Yes fourth! I have paid for three of them in the past. Today I spoke to them about my race plans for Trans Iowa and how pleased I have been with their other bags. It came as a complete surprise when they offered me a bag for my race. YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT THE QUALITY OF THESE BAGS!
My personal experience with Detours bag began in late January on the San Diego 300km Brevet. On that event, Brandy and I used the Hightail on our tandem and were able to fit so much stuff in the bag that we were amazed. We were also very amazed at the quality of construction, weatherproofing (also comes with a rain cover) and the zippers. There we were the two of us tugging at the zipper and squeezing the bag and tugging at zipper to stuff all our clothing in the bag. The quality of these bags is without peer and the zipper is REALLY tough. The finger loops are a nice touch. You can tell these bags were designed by people who ride!
Thank you Detours!!
DETOURS HIGHTAIL BAG ON TANDEM ON THE SAN DIEGO 300KM BREVET
From the Detours website: The full enchilada for Fast+Light Touring. From your first Fundraiser Century to springtime B+B hopping in Arizona, this puppy will hold your essentials and swallow the extras.
It's the Big Bro of the HIGH TAIL. The EXP denotes the mid-riff expando bellows that considerably increases this bag's volume . Meant to carry extra clothing on credit card tours or committed all day on or off-road rides. Simple-to-use, German-engineered KlickFix seatpost attachment. Only a small plastic adapter stays on the bike after you remove the HIGH TAIL EXP. Waterproof bottom and top lid. Waterproof zippers. Removable raincover. Reflective piping and patch. Tail light tab. Elastic gear spider on top lid. Inside pockets.
It's easy to share the HIGH TAIL EXP with your other bike when you buy another seatpost adapter.
USE fast + light credit card touring, all day off-road adventures, touring w/trailer, commuting, brevets VOL 500-850 in3 DIM approx. 11x7x8 in WT 29 oz MAX LOAD 5 lbs - the seatpost adapter is plastic, not reinforced concrete - overloading the bag can cause the adapter or frame connector to break - particularly on bumpy off-road adventures. The extra large capacity of the EXP model is meant to accommodate bulky, but lightweight items such as extra clothing - not a six pack of your favorite microbrew.
NOTE The HIGH TAIL EXP will not fit frames of 54cm and under - use the standard HIGH TAIL or HIGH TAIL ULP for smaller frames
WARNING: Do not use the HIGH TAIL EXP and its adapter on a CARBON SEATPOST. Failure to heed this warning could result in serious injury or death.
Ride Stats-- 33 miles and 4100 feet of gain on 11 ascents.
I had an unexpected 2.5 hours to train while in San Diego today. Being that I had such a small window I decided to do hill repeats on Torrey Pines. It had been a long time since doing a workout on that hill but after the first repeat it all came back to me. You see when I lived in Encinitas I would do hill repeats on Torrey Pines about once a week. It was also the turn around point of a lunch time ride of 21 miles and 1,000 feet of gain. I've done so many ascents of that hill I know where every crack is, where every tree root is breaking the pavement and every undulation.
The stats are 1.3 miles and 400 feet of gain.
I think it is just the right amount of effort and recovery when you loop around the inside of the park. The scenery is amazing. You are on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I feel rejuvenated each time I go through the park as I descend and recover for the next ascent. It is a popular place for beach goers, hikers and runners. My descent through the park is a nice diversion from the pain I feel on each climb. Today my pass through the park was so much of a diversion that I lost count of my repeats. Hence, the odd number of 11 ascents.
Weight of 150lbs today or 68.04 kg The Efforts range from high 8 minutes to low 7 minutes. Later in the season I work towards sub 6 minute climbs Torrey Pines.
Tomorrow Brandy and I will go on a little adventure. We will be riding Maple Springs Rd which continues climbing "at the end" of Silverado Canyon. I've taken my ever versatile Cannondale CAAD9 and put 28mm tires on it. I say ever versatile since I've raced crits, commuted, gone on climbing rides and now will do some Rough Riding.
Here is a video I shot on my ride in the Santa Monica Mountains on March 29, 2009 with Chris Kostman. The compression done by Google Video will degrade the quality quite a bit. It is also hosted it on my website.
I would like to give a shout out to Greg Sellers of Motor Tabs. I met a Motor Tabs rider named Mark on Jamboree. We chatted for a bit and then we climbed at our own pace. Thanks for the support Motor Tabs!
I missed the train in Oceanside yesterday which threw a wrench in my recovery ride plans. I did a 600km (373 mile 18,000 feet of climbing) brevet on Saturday see below. So I did a little discovering instead. I had read a thread on Bikeforums.net that discussed sustained climbs in Orange County. I'm fairly new to Orange County and was interested what people considered "sustained". One poster mentioned Silverado Canyon. I only knew of it as a 5.5 mile rolling stair step climb. But he mentioned that you could ride past a gate and continue another 3 miles on pavement. After the 3 miles of pavement it gives way to a hard packed dirt road.
This all sounded interesting to me and so I bagged making any other attempt at commuting and drove to Tustin. I parked adjacent to Tustin Market Place. I started my ride from Jamboree and Irvine Blvd. Here are the stats:
41 mile round trip with 3500 feet of climbing 3200 feet in the first 20 miles
Start Irvine Blvd Right Turn on Santiago Canyon 4.92 miles 515 feet of gain
(Lap 1) From Santiago Canyon to Left turn on Silverado Canyon 6.44 miles 550 feet of gain
(Lap 2)Silverado Canyon to "gate" 5.7 miles 835 feet of gain
(Lap 3) Gate to end of paved road 3.11 miles 1115 feet of gain
Hard pack .39 miles 180 feet of gain
The climb past the gate is steep and as you can see from the graph it gets progressively steeper. I rode a 53/39 and a 11/27 (homemade) and spent a lot of time 39x27 seated and 39x24 standing. Based on my effort level and gearing I'd say it's at least 8% grade. The climb is deceptive because the surrounding canyon goes up with you. But beware the water crossings. I fell on the first one (about 5 crossings). I was going less than 5 mph and I still fell. Putting my carbon soled shoe out to stop my fall was useless - know what I mean? The paved road isn't great, it has lots of ripples, but it's paved nonetheless.
Now for the adventure part--since this is GEORGE'S EPIC ADVENTURES. I didn't have lights!! I made my turn around at 7:45pm. It became prematurely dark because of the rain clouds hovering over the canyon. I thought I was alone it was dark and it was getting colder at over 3,000 ft elevation.
I'm on the dirt section only .3 of a mile and I'm looking for a satisfying "summit" but the road just kept climbing. Just then I see headlights. I flag the motorist down and his first words are "Damn you got more balls than I got!" He was a young guy too-- mid 20's. Aren't they supposed to be fearless? I'll just consider it my naivety. But I digress, I asked him how much further the road goes and he says "How far do you want to go? Hwy 15? Temecula?" I then decided it was time to turn around and follow the little bit of light I could get from the pick-up truck being in front of me. I eventually lost the truck as I had to dismount at the stream crossings. After losing the pick-up my speed slowed way down because I couldn't see a thing. I was really cold on the descent. I had a Hi-Vis shell but my hands and my feet, which were wet from the crossings, were really cold.
My greatest fear was getting attacked by a mountain lion. I don't know anything about their hunting habits and I felt defenseless. Knowledge is power they say and I felt powerless. I will be doing some research before going "out there" again. I want to continue up the dirt road and see where it goes. I think there is an opportunity for Rough Riding up there!
I made it back to the car sometime after 9pm.
Thanks for reading. Show some love, comment if you feel compelled.
First allow me to thank my sponsors, NiteRider, Motor Tabs, Skins, Speedfil hydration system and Nathan. I wore the Skins Bib Longs cycling specific compression tights with chamois for the duration of the 372 miles and I can honestly say they made a difference. I know my legs felt better than they would have without them.
THE SHORT OF IT
I completed the San Diego 600km Brevet in 27:20. Beating my goal of 30 hours by 2 hours 40 mins. I rode with two strong riders, MICHAEL STURGILL and JOSH TALLEY. We helped each other through our lulls and kept each other safe through the night and throughout the 373 mile course. I owe my success at the 600km to their company, their tireless efforts to keep the pace high, our unified and singular focus of "Git 'er Done!" and our synergy--thanks guys!!
The event had 17,740 feet (5400 meters) of climbing, (data from Polar 625x your climbing data may vary) covered four counties, San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles. The course was a good sampling of typical Southern California terrain. It included plenty of hills, mountains, rollers, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, rural communities, flats and even urban areas that slowed us down significantly. The three of us were the lead riders from the start and finished with a four hour time gap over the next group of riders.
For the Power Mongrels I burned close to 11,000 kjs avg 130 watts. As you can see I kept the wattage down as this was an Ultra and conservation of energy is the name of the game.
THE LONG OF IT
I was anxious to get started on the 600km because my last two attempts at that distance had been really tough. My biggest challenge is sleep deprivation. I usually have decent legs and the distance is not a concern. Another reason I was anxious was that Brandy and I had done the first part of the series on a tandem. We had done the 200km (125 miles), 300km (187 miles), 400km (252 miles) and I wanted to see where I was as far as my fitness. Trans Iowa is on May 2nd and I haven't much time left to get ready for this 320 miles non-stop off road race.
Many of you might recall that I fractured my thumb on Oct 30th. I missed my winter base building phase. I typically build my mileage in November and December to prepare for the early season brevets. This year I jumped right into the January 3rd 200km brevet with almost no base.
This was the first time I used Twitter during an event. I thought it was fun and luckily I had coverage at the controls. People often ask me how I am able to recollect so much detail of the ride. Well it's really quite simple. As I prepare my reports, I use the time stamps on the pictures and the mileage on the route sheets to keep me on track with my story telling. For the 600km I didn't bring a camera so the Twitter log and my route sheets will suffice.
A good group of riders were present at the start. There was a 200km available in conjunction with the 600km. There were familiar faces along with some fresh faces. I struggled trying to figure out who was going long. I got to the the line just minutes before we were launched.
THE FIRST LOOP OCEANSIDE TO TEMECULA 78 MILES WITH 4800 FEET
Our first loop would take us from Oceanside to Temecula through one of my favorite roads to climb, De Luz and De Luz Murietta. We would then go through Rainbow, Fallbrook and return to Oceanside. As soon as we rolled off I noticed I was not getting a speed indication. Although, I was very familiar with the route and needing exact mileage wasn't necessary to follow the route sheet I like seeing the mileage accumulate and it motivates me. I pulled over and fussed with it until I got it working.
By the time I got my speed indication working everyone and I mean everyone was up the "road" -- we were on the San Luis Rey Bike path or Oceanside bike path as most people call it. I had to chase pretty hard to catch the lead riders. But every group I caught was not the lead group and I had to bridge again. Finally, on Sleeping Indian (a very steep hill over 15% in parts) I saw the lead rider and focused on catching him. Along the way I passed Josh and we said our hellos. I didn't recognize him at first because I had only met him once in 2007 at the Eastern Sierra Double Century just two weeks before I did Race Across America on a two person team. I was intent on catching the lead rider who turned out to be Michael Sturgill.
As soon as I bridged up to him I asked him his name and introduced myself so he would know I was on his wheel. Soon after I noticed Josh had bridge up as well. It was around mile 12 and the three of us stayed together for the duration of the event. We arrived at the Fallbrook control at 8:16 am 20.5 miles and 1610 feet of climbing.
from my Twitter: Fallbrook control 20.5 miles 8:16 AM Apr 4th
The climbing from Fallbrook to Temecula is some of the best in San Diego county. We climbed and rolled up and down culminating on Rancho California Road with a great view of Temecula. Old Town Temecula was abuzz with people enjoying their morning. We weaved through the traffic and hit the control. I had a King Size Snickers bar yummy!
from my Twitter: Temecula control 46. 3 miles 3920 feet of gain 10:01 AM Apr 4th from txt
From Temecula we worked our way back to Oceanside through Live Oak Canyon, Green Canyon, Mission and the San Luis Rey Bike path. It was evident to Josh and I that Michael was very strong on the flats. On the bike path Michael would crank it up to 23-24 mph and all we could do was hang on. While you might say that riding and drafting other riders saves energy-- and it does-- staying on Mike's wheel was really a huge expense of energy. It was not the pace I would have gone and it hurt. MOre pain than you need only 70 miles into a 373 mile event.We arrived at Oceanside at 11:46 with 78 miles and 4820 feet of gain with a Total Time of 4:45. I had a personal goal of 5 hours so we were 15 mins ahead of my schedule.
from my Twitter: Oceanside control 77.93 miles 4820 feet of gain 4:45 tptal time 11:46 AM Apr 4th from txt
Once back at Oceanside we had to get our night gear i.e lights, reflective gear and cold weather gear. It must seem odd to other riders that it is only 12pm and we have all this stuff with us. I had a little anxiety hoping I would remember to take everything I needed for the next 154 mile loop. Not only can you be disqualified for not having lights or reflective gear--IT'S JUST NOT SAFE! So I grabbed my Nathan Reflective vest, my Nathan Acid Reflux, and my Nathan bands. For lighting I used the NiteRider MiNewt X2 and two batteries. Not nearly as much light as the NiteRider Moab but I was hoping to hang on to Josh and Michael. About 17 mins after arriving at Oceanside we rolled out.
from my Twitter: Rolling from Oceanside 12:03 PM Apr 4th from txt
SECOND LOOP OCEANSIDE TO ALPINE AND BACK TO OCEANSIDE 154 MILES 9180 FEET
The next loop took us from Oceanside down the coast through Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, Del Mar, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Old Town, Downtown San Diego, National City and Chula Vista. LOTS OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS AND STOPS. Not my favorite part of the ride. We continued a southeastern route heading away from commerce, traffic and population. We had another control at South Western College. Where I gladly ate a turkey sandwich from 7-11. It had been 10 hours since my last solid meal.
from my Twitter: Chula vista control mile 130 7100 feet of climbing- lights through PCH and downtown San Diego slowed us down Big thank you to Motor Tabs!! 3:31 PM Apr 4th from txt
Eating 7-11 turkey sandwich first solid food since Brandy's awesome pancakes and eggs at 500 am 3:35 PM Apr 4th from txt
The next section has some good hard climbs and they were packed in a short area. We would do 6,000 feet of climbing in the next 60 miles. We climbed Honey Springs Rd, Lyons Valley and rolled through Japathul Valley Rd. I remembered how I felt on my last San Diego 600km and I was feeling so much better. I was tired and low on energy but at least I was not sleepy nor did I have the hot-foot issues I had in 2005. We continued on and reached the Alpine control at 6:52pm 168 miles 11,000 feet of climbing in a Total Time of 11:50.
from my Twitter: Alpine control mile 168 11,000 ft of climbing 11:50 total time not feeling great 6:52 PM Apr 4th from txt
I was starving and feeling really bad by the time we got to Carls Jr. in Alpine, the control. I chose a Chicken Bacon sandwich and went to town on it. About half-way through it I got really naseous and thought I wasn't going to hold it down. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Michael said maybe I was really close to bonking and that is why I felt so bad even though I was putting much needed food in me. We ate as fast we could and I called Brandy. I hadn't talked to her the whole event. It felt weird because this was the first Ultra event of 2009 that Brandy wasn't on the back of the tandem. We talked as the food settled and then it was time to suit up. The stop was much longer than I wanted but I was glad we were all on the same page and wanted a hot meal.
from my Twitter: #16 at Carl's Jr hit the spot Chicken Bacon and real Coke yeah! 7:10 PM Apr 4th from txt
I knew we still had more climbing to do but I felt good again after the meal and some rest off the bike. We then descended from Alpine and climbed up to Crest and then descended down to Lakeside only to climb again. We climbed Hwy 67 to Scripps Poway Pkwy (approx 8 miles) and then descended into Poway. That was the last of the long climbs. But plenty of rollers for the rest of the event. It was at this point that Mike said "No good descent goes unpunished in San Diego". Man is that appropriate. We just finish a descent and then bam another climb. We made it to the Poway Control at 9:30pm. 199 miles and 13,080 feet of gain. a 14:30 double century. We does it take so long to do brevets? Could it be the lack of support? Duh!
from my Twitter: Poway control mile 199 13080 ft of gain total time 14:30 9:30 PM Apr 4th from txt
At the Poway control I had a Tuna Sandwich and a Classic Coke. I looked at the faces of my two comrades and they looked like I felt. Leaving the control I had the shivers pretty bad. I donned my Hi-Vis shell and we headed towards the coast via the 56 Bike Path. Once on the Pacific Coast Hwy it was due North towards Oceanside.
from my Twitter: Oceanside control 233 miles 13980 feet 17:04 total time burrito time! 12:04 AM Apr 5th from txt
We arrived in Oceanside and I was starving AGAIN. Mike went to his room at the host hotel and Josh and I got a burrito. There was a gathering of young men in front of the taco shop. One said "I didn't think cyclist ate burritos...only healthy food" I replied well "That's BS because when we're hungry we ate anything!" and we all had a good laugh at that. Little did I know I would be burping that burrito for the next 4 hours.
THIRD LOOP OCEANSIDE BELLFLOWER OCEANSIDE 140 MILES 3760 FEET OF GAIN
The next leg is always the toughest for me. It is a "straight shot" North and it was already Midnight. Now were headed to Long Beach along the coast. Sleep deprivation and fatigue took hold. Mike shared with me that on his "long" brevets -- um wasn't this a long one? He struggles between the hours of 2am - 5am and typically plans his naps at that time. I struggle during that same exact time frame.
As we headed North on the Hwy 5 we left San Diego County and continued towards Orange County. We went through the rollers of San Clemente , Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar. The road flattened out as we entered Huntington Beach. It was there that Brandy came out to PCH and gave a me kiss and continued north. A few miles north after seeing Brandy, which always makes me feel better, I got a flat. It was the only mechanical for the three of us in 372 miles not bad I think. I had put fresh rubber on the bike and that usually prevents me from flatting on a long event. The puncture was caused by a wire strand so small so thin it would have been impossible to avoid...oh well.
We continued North and crossed into Los Angeles County. We entered the San Gabriel River Trail on our way to the Bellflower Control on Artesia. I was getting dropped by Mike and Josh mainly because I was falling asleep. I would wake up just inches from the rocks that line the bike path. I kept thinking I just have to get to the Bellflower Control and get some caffeine. After multiple close calls I dismounted and started doing jumping jacks, slapping my face, stretches and even push-ups to wake-up.
As I'm stopped on the side of the bike path looking all silly I see two headlights coming back to me and one coming from the direction I had been traveling. Mike and Josh had doubled back because they thought they missed a turn. The other rider must have been commuting. Imagine if you will almost 300 miles into the event about 22:30 hours and in complete darkness on a bike path. The three of us huddled around a route sheet questioning our mileage on our computers and comparing it with the mileage on the route sheet. The three of us asking each other "Did you see the Y they are talking about here?" I was of no help since the last 3-4 miles I was riding basically asleep. It's at these times that you don't want to ride not one mile in the wrong direction NOT ONE! I made the decision that we should keep going and we should see the Y. Would you believe that when Mike and Josh had gone ahead of me earlier had been less than 100 yards from the bridge but they just didn't see it.
When people ask me what is so alluring about Ultras it's times like the one I just described. Yeah the miles are tough and the terrain as well but it's those decisions you have to make while in a fog that challenges me. It reminds me of my time in the Marine Corps, 12 years by the way, where I had to make life and death decisions in that "fog of war" as we called it. It seems silly now in the comfort of your office or home as you read this, but when you're out there-- sleep deprived, in a huge calorie deficit with aches and pains in many parts of your body I ASSURE YOU IT ISN'T TRIVIAL AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME!
from my Twitter: Bellflower control mile 302 23:00 total time 15, 780 feet of gain lots of sleep deprivation problems hoping when the sun comes up I will ... 6:01 AM Apr 5th from txt
At the Bellflower Control I had a very dry and hard to eat Pita and ham sandwich another Classic Coke and then we were off. Daylight was my savior. I felt good again and I was awake. Problem was I was just tired and was having trouble staying on Mike and Josh's wheel. I got dropped twice and twice I bridged. At which time I made it clear to the boys that I just didn't have it in me to chase one more time. I got to the front and set pace-- a lot slower than they were going but I had to hold on just 40 more miles. As we neared the last 10 miles I got my 20th wind and pulled on the 5 freeway. I was just acting like a horse going back to the stables.
We got in just as Mike Berry was heading out to "intercept" us. I was more than spent. But thanks to Mike and Josh I was done and not still out there. And then the best part-- Brandy came down to meet me and have Sunday Brunch LOL! She then followed me home and talked to me on the phone to keep me awake.
There you have it -- a successful goal beating 600km brevet!
Done 372 miles 17,740 feet 27:20 total time! Stick a fork in me I'm done! 10:24 AM Apr 5th from txt
Today is Wednesday the usual start day for my 3-day block of commuting/training. But I am changing up my routine. In the past, I have suffered from sleep deprivation on 600km events. Subsequently, my pace slows down during the event when I'm falling asleep. Yes, I said falling asleep and yes, on the bike. I consider it one of my biggest weaknesses in my pursuit of becoming a better Ultra Cyclist. Don't forget these events are overnighters for the average cyclist. My best has been in the 33 hour range. As you can see that is an 11.36 Mph Avg speed. If I can just stay awake and keep the wheels rolling I might break 30 hours.
I climb...ok, I ride the flats... ok (drafting helps lol!) and I spend very little time off the bike. But the one thing that slows me down in longer events is fighting the Sandman. In 2005, I did the San Diego 600km I was about 160 miles into the event and I had to pull over. I was so tired and sleepy. Would you believe it was the middle of the afternoon? Also in 2005, two weeks later I did the San Luis Obispo 600km and also suffered from sleep deprivation issues early in the afternoon.
In both cases above I worked all week (who doesn't?) and had real early starts to my day on the Thursday and Friday mornings leading into the event on Saturday. I have vowed to get at least 7 hours of sleep over the next couple of days. I rarely get more than 6 hours. To keep the legs loose I will try and ride the trainer (hate the trainer) or go for a short ride after work BUT NO commuting on the bike. When I commute I'm up by 4am and I think I can squeeze out 1-2 more hours of sleep and wake up at 530am or 6am. I'll ride the rails instead of clogging the freeways with my car!
I am an Ultra Cyclist and father who completed 2- Person Race Across America (RAAM) in 2007. I have finished Furnace Creek 508 SOLO FOUR consecutive years in 2006, 2007 (Fixed Gear)2008, and 2009. I am a Trans Iowa finisher and a Super Randonneur. I am a cycling coach with clients ranging from endurance cyclists, to triathletes, to beginners just entering the sport of cycling.