Thursday, May 5, 2011

My 300k

At the end of the day, I had 195 miles in my legs. I finished minutes (2) shy of 15 hours. I wasn't destroyed when it was over but I was quite pleased that it WAS over when I made it in.

It all started the day before when I did what is commonly known as one of the big mistakes in cycling. Working on your bike the day before a big event. As much of you know, I have ridden this bike through the winter and really putting it through its paces. The bike is amazing. It just keeps on getting it. I put the Alfine IGH on the bike at Christmas time and have not had nearly an issue with it since. I have learned a few things and like most of the time, the best way to do this is with experience.

But, I digress. Friday, the day before, I planned on changing out my shift cable and my drivetrain. A simple task turned extensive. The STI type shifter for the IGH has a shift cable like the old Shimano 105 where the cable does not route back under the bar tape. It comes off the side of the hood and just heads to the downtube to get to where its going. I though how pleasant it would be to change this cable without messing with bar tape. Boy was I wrong! I cut the shift cable near the bottom of the head tube and slid the housing off, took pressure off the rear brake cable and tried slide the shift cable out of its seat and the ball end would not move for anything. Nothing helped get it out. Frustrated, I decided to cut the rear cable and unwrap the bar to take the lever off. I had to find a way to get the cable out. I ended up taking the shifter nearly all the way apart and found a spot to lever the cable out. At which point it comes out with relative ease.

Put it all back together and remount it on the bars. Now I have to go to the LBS and get another cable for the rear brake and some more bar tape. Small job turns into a big job. Sound familiar? Needless to say, I am now down some time and still have other planning to do. I wisely decide to not dive into the drivetrain. The last thing I need is more trouble the night before the ride. I just ran the chain and gears that got my through the winter. A little noisy and slightly crunchy but trustworthy.

Which brings me to the morning of... I awoke at 3am to get myself ready to head out a little after 4. I rode to the start at Old Spokes Home where I met up with everyone signing in and getting their brevet cards. MikeB organized the ride and had to spend the day before rerouting because of our record lake level and flooding everywhere. We essentially did an out and back. We took off at 5am and Mike had decided not to ride because of his lack of sleep making sure that we had a great event. I rode out and got to the sandbar and saw some of this:

These were two of the very few pictures that I took while I was out. I was hoping to take more but I seem to get so caught up in looking around and keeping my nose to the ground to stay on point, that I forget to take pictures. There is significant flooding of the houses and properties that surround the lake. There were also several roads that we encountered that we had to forge water to continue. It was an unsettling sight to see the damage and maybe losses that these people faces.

Once the sun rose, I knew that it was going to be a beautiful day.
One of many majestic scenes that I encountered 
I ended up between two groups of riders for about 50 miles until just moments before reaching the first control I came upon three riders that were on top of the bridge dealing with a flat. I stopped for a moment as they were finishing up and I said I was rolling to the control. Two of the three showed up sometime later and the guy with the flat was not one of them. I was told that he slashed his sidewall in a crack in the rode. He was virtually out. But, later after the finish, I heard that a couple from Maine at the back of the field actually had a spare tire and gave it to him so that he could finish. That was not only amazing luck but demonstrated the camaraderie of the riders.
good coffee and a apple crumb cake set me off right
John, Andy?, and I left the first control after some coffee and rode quite some time together on and off between the first and second control.  We saw roadies down from Canada burning up the streets of new York at a paceline somewhere around 22mph. It was a bit windy for up to hold that and we had a long day ahead of us so we let the Peleton roll by without much thought. Our paths crossed again later and their group got larger and ultimately faster. I was pretty cool to see.
That's regular gas for over $4/gal. I later saw $4.11

Just before the second control the road turned up with some pretty long ascents. This is where I ended up alone again. Not a great climber but I can hold my ground. I got to the second control which was the turn around point of the course. It was a pleasant stop and the hospitality was over the top.
good hogie for lunch! mmmm!
This is where things got interesting for me. I thought that an out and back would be a good way to have the miles tick away back to the finish. I think by the time I got to the third control I changed my mind. It was nice to have a sense of where I was compared to where I would end up but it seemed to get a little torturous mentally. On the second hand, the reroute took the climbing from ~6000' down to about ~3000' which in the end turned out to be a fine trade off. When I was done, I didn't feel defeated at all but I will have to say that I was glad that it was over. I feel that at my current fitness level, 200 miles is about my limit. That doesn't leave me feeling too comfortable knowing that the 400k is in three weeks. I am pretty sure that I will do it but I have to get to a better place in my mind.

We will call this pedal tan!
The next morning I felt incredibly well after doing what has become my longest single event to date. I look forward to working on improving and pushing this to the next level. I don't know how far I will take it. Maybe the 600k but I am sure that there is no room in my current plans to do the BMB 1200k. It just so happens that that is on the same weekend as the 24hrs of Great Glen. I have joined a four man team for that and I am at full tilt with excitement. Its going to be a blast.

Stay tuned. I still have to do a write up on my plans for the Tour Divide.


bmike said...

congrats...! well done dealing with the wind, water, and re-route.

after the 400k we're going to take the ferry to the other side of the lake and ride one of my favorite roads on the ny side that you missed. lots of up and down - but worth it.

see you on the 400!

Pondero said...

Well done! I don't understand how one trains for that kind of distance. Obviously, you can't just go out and ride 200 miles every week. Keep the reports coming.

Apertome said...

Phenomenal! Great job ... what a long ride. I think I would find an out-and-back a little discouraging, too. Good luck on the 400k!

greg said...

Nice tan! I saw the Canadiens' also. Mike and I discussed how shabby they make us look with their matching bikes and outfits :) (just kidding) Kind of how I feel when we go to Montreal.

A woman I talked to along the way said insurance covers the damage to the outside of their houses but not the inside. One of those read the fine print things I suppose

Nice job on the ride, 15 hours is a nice time man! You can do the 400k, no doubt. If Mike rides the 400k I may man the finish and see you at the end.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Wil. That is an early season leg tan for sure!