Wow, what a ride.
Finished my 400k in 22 hrs. Not too bad, considering I bonked TWICE.
The first part of the ride was ok, we did a loop out onto the plains to the first checkpoint, before heading back towards the mountains.
Our secret checkpoint was the last convenience store before the top (well, a bit before the top) of the long climb... This part of the ride was just downright GRUELING. 24 miles with 4,263 feet of elevation difference. According to Topo USA there was 5,523 feet of climbing.
The downright worst part was as I was nearing the top I started talking to another rider who had started his ride at the bottom of the canyon, and was pretty fresh. I asked how much further to the top, and mentioned how hard the climb was.... He says, "Oh, this isn't too bad, it's the last mile that's a killer" ... right about then we rounded a corner and the grade instantly doubled.
the remainder of the climb had an average grade of around 10, with a couple places that were 17 and 18. There was a small store right before the top, and I stopped in and had an ice cream sandwich and a soda. The shopkeeper was REALLY great... one rider didn't have any money with him, and another rider only had a debit card (The store doesn't take credit/debit) and the shopkeeper offered to let them fill out IOU's and pay him the following weekend! I threw in a couple dollars to pay for the one rider's stuff, scarfed my ice cream sandwich and headed out. The top of the climb was about a half mile later.
The next checkpoint was an informational one right at the top... I never did find the information that was requested... I marked down the time with a note that I couldn't find the sign that the info was supposed to be on (Wanted a county road number, but the only road sign was a named road, not a CR number) and continued on the way.
Hit the top and started descending down the other side... had to stop and put on my arm and leg warmers and my windbreaker... the difference from the climb was intense.
Unfortunately, this is where I hit my first snag on the ride... descending I kept nearly passing out... I'd burned up everything I had on the climb and my blood sugar must have been REALLY low... after the third time catching myself I found a sunny spot next to the creek, set my alarm for a half hour, and tried to get a nap... I didn't really sleep at all, and was up and moving before the alarm went off, but it was enough of a break for my body to catch up... I'd eaten plenty, my body just couldn't keep up with the energy demands I was putting on it.
After my break I was feeling a LOT better... made it down to the next checkpoint and there was a Motorcycle rally going on... lots of nice bikes, though the music was rather loud for my tastes. Had a snack, refilled my bottles, and was getting ready to leave when a couple doing the brevet on a tandem showed up. I decided to wait around and ride with them for a while, so I took the time to call home and let my wife know how the ride was going.
We headed out again, everyone thankful that we were not heading back up into the mountains, and feeling pretty good knowing that there were only about 3 more real climbs on the whole ride.
The next sections of the ride were pretty uneventful... one big climb before the next checkpoint at Carter lake where we had a break and enjoyed iced tea and ice cream bars before heading out again.
Got a little lost before the next checkpoint due to an ambiguity on the route slip... Evidently the intersection had been redone recently... Gotta love things like "Hwy 1 (N) at stop sign... No signage for Hwy 1" ... It was also a stop LIGHT and not a sign... Maybe it's time to update the Route slip to show the actual street name (Terry Lake Rd)?
Made it to the next checkpoint ok after that, got checked in and we took a break... had a nice dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, while we were eating the storms that we'd been ahead of caught up with us and it started raining... we hung around a little longer than planned, hoping it would stop, but since it didn't really look like it was letting up, we donned our rain gear and headed out again. Within a few miles it was no longer raining, and we were just dealing with wet roads (Not very wet, though!) Unfortunately my rain gear isn't very breathable, so I soon started overheating and had to take off the wind breaker... I just dealt with the warm legs, as I didn't want to stop to take off the pants, especially as it was already dark and the temperature would be dropping very fast soon.