It's getting closer and closer. Now let's continue with my mini-series of posts associated with the mistakes I've made in preparing and racing the Furnace Creek 508.
San Diego 200km Brevet
Let's talk about 2007. During the off-season of 2006-2007 I had this crazy idea of doing something epic on a fixed gear. My long range goal was to do the Furnace Creek 508 fixed gear. So I built my second fixed gear bike and started experimenting with longer distances. I started with brevets (unsupported events) and then progressed onto supported Double Centuries. My form was progressing nicely in March and then I was thrown a curve ball.
I was invited to join a 4-person team for Race Across America which left in June. I had always dreamed of doing RAAM -- but as a solo racer. I knew I didn't have the time to train properly with family and work commitments so this seemed like a good alternative and great opportunity to experience some of the difficulty of RAAM. Well the 4 person turned to 2 person and that was even more exciting to me. I had to change my training completely from long endurance rides to short 2-3 hour medium to high intensity rides because of the demands RAAM relay. Well after sorting out my training and completing RAAM 2 person in 9 days 18 hours and 55 mins. A footnote- by partner DNF'd and the last day and half I rode Solo to the finish. It was interesting to do that after 7 days of suffering as a relay team. It actually felt better to just ride until I wanted to stop and rest. With RAAM done now it was time to refocus on my real goal for the year-- the Furnace Creek 508 Fixed Gear Solo.
I did a few more climbing doubles multi-speed but would do all my training on my Fixed Gear. On Wednesdays I would commute from my home in Huntington Beach 74 miles to reach my client's house in Rancho Santa Fe by 615am. That meant I would leave HB at 2am. I would train with him for an 1.5 hours and then be at work by 8ish am. I would sometimes hook up with our shop ride as it was ending and hold my own in the sprint. I would report to work with a fixed gear century (100 miles) already done and it was only 8am. Then I would ride home after work for another 65 miles. I would only do that on Wednesdays but the other two days I would commute in and get 130 a day.
Everything was going well until 6 weeks from the event. I caught a cold that lingered and lingered and lingered. I couldn't kick it and I was sick on the final 6 weeks leading up to the event. You could say I had fresh legs but I know I lost fitness. In the end it didn't matter because my goal was to finish. My goal was to challenge myself and find new limits of my physical and mental toughness. In the process of finding those limits I became one of seven riders in 34 runnings of the race to ever complete the Furnace Creek 508 on a Fixed Gear (49 x 17).
So the lesson learned was too much training with too much sleep deprivation. Another lesson learned was DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR SADDLE HEIGHT! I raised my saddle about a 1cm a week before the event. I had to move the saddle forward so I also raised it and the combination of those two things wreaked havoc on my left knee in the event. I think I also choose the wrong gear. I was gearing for the flats and the downhills (35,000 feet of climbing means a lot of descending lol!) but some of the climbs Towne Pass in particular really hurt. Towne Pass, which comes at mile 199 and after 11k of climbing, is a 13 mile climb with a 6 mile section that averages 9% ouch! My nutrition was good this time and the only sleep problems we had was the crew couldn't stay awake through Death Valley so we had to stop in Badwater much to my chagrin. It took me 45:12:45 to finish "the toughest 48 hours in sport".
The Furnace Creek 508 is 10 days away. I have an unusual calm as the days tick away. I am usually a lot more stressed out about my gear or nutrition. But this year being the fourth year racing the "toughest 48 hours in sport" I feel ready and healthy. Over the next few posts I will recap my experiences from my previous three races. For new readers it will give you a chance to see that I've probably made every mistake in the book ;)
In 2006, I had incredible form. I had had a good full season of Ultras. I had done fast doubles, climbing doubles and climbing centuries and unsupported brevets. I even had a great month of August training in the mountains with 1650 miles and 124,000 feet of climbing.
My breakfast was a bit too heavy (Moons over my Hammy with a stack of pancakes) too close to the start of the event. Then too many calories over the first five (5) hours. I was putting in over 350 calories an hour and I hadn't trained with that much intake. As many of you know, when you are out training alone you conserve your calories because you either don't want to stop or the services are few and far in between. I fall victim to both scenarios because my training routes are very remote. Well this totally locked up my stomach and my intensity had to drop significantly. I puked many times on the side of the road until finally my stomach was back in good shape but I was very fatigued.
Are you asking yourself why was I taking in so many calories? Because I was intimidated by the event. The 508 miles the 35,000 feet of climbing. I thought I would really fuel up this time. I would really take in the calories to make sure I wouldn't falter on the course. But that was a big mistake and I paid for it for miles miles and miles and hours and hours of poor performance.
So in short, I had great fitness but my nutrition made for a horrible first 152 miles. Sleep deprivation also was a major problem through the first night and I was still in Death Valley (about 300 miles) by daybreak. I learned a lot from my first Furnace Creek. But as you'll see I still had a lot more to learn in the next couple of years.
Brandy and I did a casual 3 hour ride yesterday. We visited her new place of employment. We got a feel for the route she might use on her commute. I'm a little worried because it has a few sketchy areas. People driving to work are always in a hurry and multi-tasking i.e. cell phones, texting, shaving, applying make up, and I've even seen people brushing their teeth.
On our way home we took Back Bay and merged into a memorial ride for a Steve Hedrick. Steve was a competitive cyclist, among other things. The turnout was impressive. There were many riders wearing their team kit shorts with a Steve Hedrick memorial T-shirt. My condolensces to the Hedrick family.
Today I did the Como Street ride. I get dropped everytime I do the ride but I keep hoping that one day I'll stay in. I usually get dropped going through Santiago Canyon near Modjeska Grade/Canyon. I tried to stay on Jason Bausch's andJamie Paolinetti's wheel. I was successful for a while but eventually I got shelled. When I popped I was averaging 191 bpm for at least 2 minutes. According to my Power Tap download on Training Peaks Software I avg 189 bpm for 5 minutes before I popped. I was only 700 feet from reaching the crest of a roller where I could have recovered slightly.
My pacing was good, my positioning could have been better but I have to be happy with my performance. I've been doing Ultras for so long that doing rides with this type of intensity is not my forte. And of course there is the question of genetics. Do I even have the genetics to stay with these guys and girls? After the ride I rode home with Jason and he offered a couple of tips. I told him I would be doing less Ultras next year and possibly some USCF racing. I may focus more on Double Centuries next year and leave things like 400km, 600kms and 300 milers on the table. I did the long events this year and I believe they led to my burnout. Besides I have a goal to run more next year.
After my ride my recovery consisted of Fluid Recovery Drink and my Skins Recovery Tights. I am evaluating Fluid Recovery Drink. I like their simple formula, low calories for faster absorbtion, high levels of L-Glutamine, Lactose free Whey Protien Isolates, and heck it even taste great. Read all about Fluid Recovery Drink I think you will be impressed how they differ.
Stats of the ride.
Total mileage ---58.4 miles
Duration--------- 3 hours 9 mins
Avg Speed------ 19.2 mph
Avg Power------ 163 watts
Normalized Power- 207 watts
Total Kjs---------- 1784 kjs
Stats for just Como Street
Mileage------------ 33 miles
Duration----------- 1 hour 35 mins
Elevation------------ 1600 feet
Avg Speed---------- 21.4 mph
Avg Power---------- 181 watts
Normalized Power--- 231 watts
Total Kjs------------- 1007 kjs
I'd like to give a shout-out to Rudy Project! I had two frames that were broken and I was dragging my feet returning them because I thought the warranty process would be a hassle and take too long. I thought for sure I would not get them back before the Furnace Creek 508 on October 3rd. Well I'm here to tell you it was hassle-free and very fast turnaround time.
T- 17 days until Furnace Creek 508 2009. I go into this event burnt-out from a full year of ultra racing. My season began with the San Diego 200km Brevet back in Jan 3rd and will end with FC508 on Oct 3rd, a full 10 months! Follow labels such as Race Reports, races, Brevets, or training, mountains, high intensity to read up all the races and training leading up to the Furnace Creek 508, my goal event of the year.
I went for a run today. Every other weekend I have my son. I make it a point not to ride my bike so that I can spend time with him. So today's run we did together while he was riding his little BMX bike and me on foot. Ollie our black Lab mix is slowing building up his base miles. I did the first six miles with my son and Ollie and then dropped them off at the house and ran around the block for an additional two miles.
My left achilles started to hurt at mile 4.1 and my right didn't start to hurt until mile 6.5. Overall I felt good, but Brandy is urging me to take this running thing easily until after Furnace Creek 508.
My friend Nico came by to see me today. I hadn't seen him in about 2 years. He was racing in Europe as part of the Crédit Agricole track team. Once the team was disbanded he was out of a j-o-b sorry brother. But the good news is now we can ride together here. Welcome back to the States!!
Went out for a hard one hour effort. There is a stretch of road where I can "open her up". Unfortunately it's hard to get away from traffic lights but I wouldn't trade living 2.5 miles from the beach for anything.
SCREEN SHOT FROM MY POWER TAP DOWNLOADED TO TRAINING PEAKS SOFTWARE
41 minutes Normalized Power of 244 watts or 3.69 w/kg on flat terrain.
The pink line is Acute Training Load ATL=Short term effects- workouts done in the last 14 days
the Yellow Line is Training Stress Balance- TSB represents the balance of training stress or how well you have been juggling your training load and your rest periods.
And the Blue line is Chronic Training Load- CTL=Long term effects- workouts done 15 days ago and older
You'll notice that the Pink lines or my ATL kept increasing with spikes during June and July. You will also note that the TSB was closing the gap as the ATL was less and less. My CTL has been rising ever since May 27th. I will now begin a slow taper as I am just shy of one month from my goal event of the year. I do have one last hard weekend left 2 weeks before the Furnace Creek 508.
I realized or rather confirmed that I just can't run for time. I went out for a run today. As part of my plan to increase my mileage slowly I was scheduled to run 30 minutes. But once I got out on the road I needed some thing or some place tangible to feel satisfied with my run. 15 minutes into my run I was half-way between cross-streets. At that point felt like I hadn't "gone" anywhere. I decided to run to the beach and ended up with 46 minutes and 5.2 miles.
As far as aches and pains my cardiovascular fitness is good. My left Achilles tendon started to hurt 15 minutes into the run and my right Achilles started to hurt about 30 minutes into the run. Let's hope over time those things toughen up and those pains go away. In the meantime, I will put on my Skins Recovery Tights-- I've got a long day on my feet tomorrow.
I did a partial commute this morning. Partial commute means I take the train part of the way and ride part of the way. It almost splits up perfectly 35 miles on the train and 30 miles on the bike. It was just getting light out as I pulled into a Starbucks. Once in side a gentleman approaches me and says "Your reflective stuff works. Man I can really see you a mile away" That's good to know since I leave the house before 5am on my commuting days.
Thank you Nathan Sports for the gear.
I really like the terry cloth ankle bands from Nathan. They are really comfy and very reflective!!
My wheels have reflective tape on them. I don't worry about the "uncool" factor of having reflective tape on my wheels or my bike. I have a family and I need to get home to them. My I present to you Chloe, my Cervelo Carbon Soloist.
In my new quest to become an Ultra Endurance Athlete I have started running again. I have only run twice in three days and the runs have been really short so nothing that can considered EPIC--- yet. But in talking to a few runners that have come into the store lately I thought it would be cool to broaden my Ultra experience into other sports.
I've always enjoyed running but had to give it up because of chronic shin splints and a groin injury. Before the new millennium I was running 5ks, 10ks and half marathons in hopes of running a full marathon. That goal never materialized because of the aforementioned injuries. That goal is still out there and I eventually would like to compete or complete the Death Valley Cup (DVC). The DVC includes the Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles running race) and the Furnace Creek 508 (508 mile bike race). Sure it's a lofty goal but why not?
It's been 10 years since I've done any running. My runs have been short and based on time. I went out for two 20 minute runs. The pace was slow about 9:30 for Saturday. Then yesterday, Monday, I ran at an 8:30 pace. I felt fine during the runs but I am experiencing some soreness today-- particularly in my calves. I need to take it really slow. Building my running base must be progressive or I'll risk reinjuring myself.
First running goal will be to run the Lasse Viren 20km trail run in Malibu on December 13, 2009. From there build towards my first marathon.
The running will be done as part of my off-season cross training. The Furnace Creek 508 on October 2-3, 2009 is the goal race for this season.
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.