You had a pretty rough trip Will and I think a vacation like your going to take will be a great reward, good luck on the rest of your ride. Thanks for taking us along on the trip.
Good news about the Continentals. The LBS recommended them to me when I changed tires earlier this year. So far they've worked well for me, too.
We have lots of chip seal roads around here I dread riding them immediately after they've repaved as there is always quite a bit of loose gravel to deal with along the edges.
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
-- Antonio Smith
I just caught up with this amazing thread. Will, what an amazing journey! I can't imagine having the inner strength you have.
But I do have a comment: early in the thread people were talking about Sag Wagons, and how one tried not to use them. Someone said they wouldn't even talk to someone in the sag wagon unless they were seriously injured. I'm hoping that now we realize that there is less stigma in this, and that people are smart to know when they've pushed their limits too far? Taking care of oneself on a trip like this has a level of importance I've never experienced before, and it seems silly not to take the sag wagon because of peer pressure, and I wouldn't want to be the person applying* peer pressure.
You heard it here first: Will for President!
Day twenty-four, Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Prattville, AL to Columbus, GA
I need to do some catching up with you guys. No Internet connection in Econo lodge, Columbus, GA.
This day was supposed to be an easy day with only 2,300 feet of climbing.
False advertising. It was well over 3,500 feet and much of that on chip seal with loose gravel. I have no training on that and find it very difficult with 120 PSI 23 mm tires and going up steep hills. My 190# body gets hammered and each rattle and bump is like putting brakes to my bike. I am a mechanical Engineer by education and wonder how the bearings, wheels, spokes and tires take this hammering. We shall see.
The riders were strung out by hours. It think I have seen 4 hour difference today.
I must admit that I was very tired and possibly a bit disoriented as Mike Munk mentioned in his Web Site.
Sandra was biking with me most of the day. She is doing much better than I with these conditions. Did I mention that she was a MTB racer placing 4th on national level? It showed today.
Well, we still got early to the motel with the first 6 or so.
The weather has been good to us. It got hot and muggy but that is nothing to complain about.
Some hardened bikers are getting fatigued. I should not be surprised that I feel a bit tired.
We shall see how things are tomorrow. I will try to get more sleep.
Sounds like the bike is holding up fine Will. You should be just about there, aren't you ?
I have since been more observant and must warn everyone not to rely on mirrors for estimating oncoming speed. If you see a car or truck at all in the mirror, it is probably already to close to pass in front of it.
Another lesson please: This kind of biking may result in mental numbness. You can follow orders and routines but may be slow in reacting and evaluating.
There should be no stigma as solveg says but there are practical concerns.
Such a tour is a business to make money. There are two van's loaded up with food, water, maintenance, luggage, spare wheels and 4 crew personnel with bikes.
There needs to be room for emergencies such as accidents and seriously ill people. Also, the van's must go back and forth to do rescues.
Now, if a significant number of riders are in the van because of lack of preparation or lack of willpower, that reduces the ability of crew to provide service in emergencies.
Obvious solution is more van's and more crew. Well, this tour will cost me about $10,000. I do not think that the market will accept much more than that.
You can rent a car of course and I have seen some guy do just that.
Last edited by will dehne; 05-15-08 at 10:54 PM.
I think that a better motto would be "Where there's a Will, there's a way"
Want to be or not, we are an Empire. Use it wisely.
Day twenty-five, Thursday, May 15, 2008
Columbus, GA to Perry, GA
I made a non-scientific survey of tour riders who feel really lousy on some days.
Before anybody get angry let me assure you all that I am NOT known to be a Teetotaler.
There seems to be a correlation (if not causation) of alcohol usage the night before and diminished ability the next day. Remember that we get up at 5:30 AM and need to be in bed before 9:00 PM. That does not leave much room for Happy Hour or late night socializing. I must admit that a Teetotaler (Sandra) pointed that out to me. I love my wine but do not like that consequence. So, I will cut it out on this tour. Just a few days to go anyway.
This was an easy day. Only 100 miles and the roads were actually good. It is Georgia. I was told that is because they have legalized gambling in GA as compared to AL (by the bikers from AL).
The wind was against us but compared to the two days before this was a walk in the park. My Aerobars come in handy. We got lost but managed to be in the motel with the fast group.
The two terrible days on Chip Seal did cause damage. There was an accident because the bearings failed on one bike (no injury but wheel is scrap). There were also several tires damaged beyond repair.
This is a good place to put in a good word for good products. (Not a paid advertisement.)
Continental GP4000 and Gator-skin are holding up very well over 2500 miles of terrible road surfaces.
Michelin Krylion are holding up and have very few flats.
Bontrager do not go the distance and the same problem with Schwalbe.
Lots of tour riders have butt problems. My Terry Touring saddle is much admired and envied.
The Trek Madone 5.2 is performing flawlessly. You do need 27/12 cassette and triple crank unless you are a better biker than I am.
For a tour such as this you need to travel light. Get a big under saddle bag for a rain jacket and that is all you should need. Of course you need two or more spare tubes and tools.
You need a mirror in my opinion but be careful with trying to judge oncoming speed of a car or truck.
It is important to have your shoe cleats professionally adjusted. Knee damage may result if you do not. Same goes for saddle position.
I pedal at 95 to 105 RPM. Much slower is fatiguing and so is much faster RPM. I watch my cadence all the time more so than the speed.
Chain needs to be cleaned every day and lubricated. I use WD-40 for cleaning and White Lightening for lubricating.
Last edited by will dehne; 05-17-08 at 09:42 PM.
A word on biking with a Team Mate.
A pace line which exceeds your comfort level can be dangerous. As you strain to keep up you may not react fast enough. A slower pace then your ability is boring. A pace line forces you to keep close watch of the wheel in front of you. That does not leave much freedom for sight seeing. I have more satisfaction with a small group or just two bikers. Solo biking is a problem if you get lost or have unexpected issues.
Danger of getting hit by a car or truck is ever present. Accidents happen frequently but often are not serious. If they are serious, you need a friendly soul immediately.
I like to bike with someone as evenly matched as possible. Best of all worlds is a team mate who is considered and protective.
Let me use DnvrFox motto modified: Know the weaknesses of your friend and do not exploit it.
I have been on two CC tours and have been fortunate with team mates on both tours. I am grateful for that.
Last edited by will dehne; 05-15-08 at 11:02 PM.
Thanks for running this thread Will. I checked it every day and really enjoyed it.
"For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY
Hey Will, when you get to the end, take some pictures if you can would you. I saved the other ones that DenverFox posted and one at the end would be nice. Also, I don't know if you checked out your heart rate or pulse rate, before you left, but I wonder if they changed any from the trip. Thanks, take care.
Yeah, Will, thanks for keeping up on the thread. I've toured, but always at a casual pace. I've done 80-100 miles, day after day, but stopping for food, pictures, etc. I don't know if I would enjoy the ride you are doing, but it sounds like you are built for it.
There is no logical explanation why some people push their limits and others do not. My most beloved son will not go outside his comfort zone. My wife not either except with me on a Tandem. All of a sudden she enjoys to win. Go figure.
I think it has to do with:Because You Can and so you do it. Just IMHO.
Last edited by will dehne; 05-15-08 at 10:52 PM.
Wow, this has been a thrill ride, Iron Will. Each day I check in and today when I didn't see a post from you I worried a little, but then I checked the report at the link on the first page and didn't see any bad news so I was glad for that.
I am not at all surprised at the correlation between alcohol and diminished performance the next day. I can't imagine it contributing anything to your body under such demanding conditions. It seems best to stick with nutritionally-dense food and drink and lay off anything that isn't.
And nice to know about the Continentals! I plan to put them on the Roubaix when it's time to change tires.
Specialized Roubaix Expert
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Will, how many people started the tour and how many have ridden the distance?
Which type of Scwalbe tire didn't hold up? They are very popular for touring and some of their models are said to be pretty bullet proof. I know the Michelin Krylions are tough; I use them the most. I'm glad your Continental GP4000 tires did so well ;I haven't tried them yet, but will in the future.
I hope you pop the cork on a good bottle of champagne at the end. You deserve it!
Will you be driving or flying home? Don't forget to take frequent breaks and walk a lot because blood clots in the legs are possible after such marathon events when you are suddenly confined to sitting for long periods. Aspirin would help.
Thanks again for sharing your trip with us.