Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My 400km brevet


I can't even begin to explain how incredible this was. In some ways it seems entirely crazy, in others not enough. I do have to say at this point it is enough. I finish the 257 mile course in 25.5 hours. I never felt beat or broken and enjoyed all of the sweating, climbing, and down pouring that was thrown at me. I am very proud of my accomplishment. I am not the typical cyclist type and it takes a huge effort to get me up and around on the hilly and mountainous roads of VT. But, that doesn't stop me and now I know I can do anything that I set my mind to.

It all started at 2:30am. I got up to get ready for Mike was picking me up at 3:15. We drove out to the park & ride in Waterbury (hey, that's what we did - parked then went for a ride). We rolled out of Waterbury at 5am and headed to Montpelier.

Early up for an early start

I road ahead of these guys with some others for a short bit, stopped and snapped a pic

Mike getting on his game face
Our first control was in Roxbury. We grabbed some things that we thought we might want and headed down the road. There was one guy behind us who showed up at the start late. He later called in and dropped out for something he had to take care of.

first control
Below starts some pictures that I took along the way. Mainly they show the varying conditions that we encountered. If I had a waterproof camera, I would have taking a bunch more. We had some torrential dumping for a while. We passed by a chasm that was absolutely stunning but I had no desire to dig through my bag at that point.

this is a cool vantage point

as is this one

the cockpit
I borrowed one of my friends' lights for the ride. The one on the left is my mini newt 150 that I use for commuting. It was plenty bright for this ride but Joe's on the right is 1000 lumens! Who can argue with that. It was awesome. Late in the dark (4:11am) I had a problem with it that is getting solved. I was using it for more burn time and to test it. It is new to him. We think he had a lemon but they are warrantying it, so it's all good. If you look closely under the stem on the top tube, you can see the TD sticker that Mike designed.

this was the view after some long descending

picturesque Vermont

roads that keep on going
This was not a control but a good place to stop to refuel, grab a pastry, and freshen up. Mike and I were leap frogging with another guy, Tom. He was here when we rolled in and ended up taking off just before us. I thought to myself that there was no way that I wanted to blow up on any part of this ride. I wanted to finish it within the time limit and not be hurting when I did that. I can now say, success!

my trusty friend that keeps getting me through everything

ticking by the time

Trouble (rain) rolled in before we made it to Putney. It got pretty heavy and at one point we were headed downhill for quite some time with nearly any breaks due to the rain and it was pounding so hard that I could hardly look ahead to see what I was facing. It was sketchy for sure but it was for a short period of time.

40th anniversary of West Hill shop in Putney, VT
West Hill Bike Shop was our furthest point south on the course and one of our controls conveniently setup by Mike so that we could refuel for lunch. Nice food and great people. They had a ride that day and even though they had their own glow, they were eyes wide open when they heard what we were doing. It was a great place to end up.

our bikes (on left) taking a well deserved break
After we left Putney we headed into some (more) climbing. It was plenty and once again it was paired with a well deserved bombing downhill. I broke my personal best on this ride. It is now 51.23mph. I drop like a freaking brick thrown from a window when the road turns down. I fall away so quick from whom ever I'm riding with. It's crazy.

one of many covered bridges we saw, the only one we crossed
15 minute nap at a control

Here are some pictures that were the last I could take for the day. It was going to be getting dark and I wanted to concentrate on riding. I have done rides (plenty) in the dark. All winter my commute was dark in both direction.

cockpit at speed
After it got dark, I went into a different mentality of riding. I really enjoyed riding through the night. Mike and I had caught back up with Tom at a control in Ludlow because he had done some bonus miles. We all decided to just ride together and keep it rolling. It was so much fun. At one point, when we were in Granville Gulf, Mike was up ahead and came across some moose prints crossing the road. Fresh muddy prints and some water splashing says we just missed it. Thankfully it didn't ram into us as we rode through.

After the daylight came back, we were all pretty much flat out tired and there was little to no talking anymore. I didn't take anymore pictures. I was ready to be done and scurried right along so that we could call it done. In fact it did come to an end. I am still working through catching up on rest. Because the ride started at 5am and got done at 6:30am, there is a time warp in my mind. It feels like I got up real early to go for a ride, rode for a few hours, then came home not too long after. Not easy to explain. I recommend doing an event like this. Not too soon but I will do this again and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every bit of it.

loaded up and ready for home


Pondero said...

Congrats on a great performance, and a noteworthy adventure!

I can't imagine enjoying a ride that long, but I'm inspired to stretch limits a bit. Maybe I'll set a couple of goals for this year...

mike said...

Congrats. And thanks for riding with me. And apologies for taking a pic of you sleeping. It was longer than 15 minutes though ... ;-)

You did an amazing job. And you descend more like a meteor. What a joke it was trying to keep up. You'd be coasting and I'd be throwing out 110 to 120 rpm, and youd still be gapping me!

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Good work, Wil (and Mike).

I see that front wheel is still treating you well.



Apertome said...

Congrats! Your photos are excellent, they really illustrate what a beautiful ride it was, as well as some of the conditions you faced. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! My favorite one is of you sleeping...too funny. You did amazing and I am very proud of you. Your determination and endurance is off the wall!!!

sminch said...

Chris: Ironically, I am inspired by you to get out more for the simpler rides and overnighters.

Mike: It was great to ride with you. I think our skills are pretty well matched. Look forward to more rides and training. Let's shorten them up a tad. :)~

Jim: The wheel is hanging in there. I had two spokes come completely loose on the 300k that made my return trip a bit sketchy. Harris @ OSH brushed it up for me before the 400k and it did great. no mechanicals and no flats! Thanks

Michael: Its flattering for you to say excellent photos. I aspire to get good shots. This state of our is amazing and every which way you turn, you can find a challenge if you want it. Great times!

Dawn, my loving wife: Thank you so much for your support and understanding. Without that, I find it hard to believe that I would put so much effort in to being a better person. I love you completely. xoxoxo