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Thread: My first 400k!

  1. #1
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    My first 400k!

    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.

    -continued-
    Last edited by bmclaughlin807; 06-03-07 at 08:20 PM.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  2. #2
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Along this area is also where I started having problems again... the couple on the tandem was a LOT faster than me on the decents, and a little faster than I was comfortable with on the flats... I was falling behind, then I'd catch them on the climbs, then fall behind again. Also ran into a glitch with my lighting system... my primary light has a 3 hr battery, which I'd already used for about an hour, and the secondary battery I brought, which should have had around 6hrs of life didn't work at all... I had a couple secondary lights, but one is tiny... just enough to be legal, not enough to see anything with, the other was an LED flashlight that throws a decent amount of light, but in a pretty small area. I ended up using zip ties to attach it to my handlebars, using those two for my lighting, and switching the main light on for areas where I felt I needed more light, and turning it off again as soon as I could.

    We made it to the next checkpoint all right, one minor wrong turn which took us right by a biker bar with INSANELY loud music blaring, and TONS of Saturday night traffic... we quickly figured out the wrong turn, and found our way back to the route and to the next check point.

    And on we went... On our way to the finish line. By this time I was struggling pretty bad... about half way we stopped at a McDonald's and took a break and had more ice cream. Here I found that somewhere in the last few miles I'd lost my route slip... and I was really slowing down the couple that I was riding with... I SHOULD have stayed at the McDonald's and rested longer and just let them go ahead, but I tried to stay with them... I still had my map, though I couldn't really tell distances too well on it...

    Well, within a couple miles it was obvious I couldn't keep up, so after making sure I knew my way back to the start, the couple on the tandem went on ahead... With only around 15km to go I was hurting BAD, and going slower and slower... with around 5k to go I stopped in at a convenience store and had a green tea and candy bar, and took about a 20 minute break.

    After that I was feeling a little better, and made it to the final check in (at 1:55 AM), and got signed in. checked the bus schedule, and found that I'd missed the last bus by about a half hour... I'd have to wait till 6:20 AM. Luckily the final checkpoint was in a motel, and they let me hang out in the lobby and watch TV with them till it was time to go.

    Totals for the event:

    252 miles for the Brevet
    21 hrs 55 mins Brevet time
    11.45 mph overall avg speed for the brevet

    267 miles (Including to/from the buses)
    16 hrs, 4 mins, 38 secs on-bike time (Including the trip to/from buses)
    16.6 mph overall moving average
    32 and a half hours with no sleep.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Congratulations!! Good ride!!

    Did you do the ride with the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club ... the ones who put on the Last Chance?

    Did your lights get wet in the rain? That'll kill most battery lights. I keep mine in plastic in my handlebar bag until I absolutely need them.

    And did you eat anything other than ice cream? Yeah, I know you must have or you would have bonked more often than you did. But when you stopped at the McDonalds, for example, perhaps a better choice would have been a hamburger (and the ice cream). That's one of the problems I've had with my 400K and 600K this year ... no where to get some decent food. I've done both those rides basically on junk food, but I try to go for things with complex carbs and/or protein rather than sugary foods. I find they last longer and give me more energy.

    Too bad about missing that bus!! I'd have been asleep on the floor of the lobby in about 15 minutes!!

  4. #4
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Yeah, I ate more... bananas, beef jerky, chips, a big meal of Mexican food at the one stop, I don't remember what else, but I ate something at every stop, plus I used a few gels on the one huge climb... I still could have done better, though. I'm still working on the nutrition and hydration. But I didn't get dehydrated on this ride!

    Both times I bonked I had plenty of food in me, I just wasn't processing it fast enough. If I'd stayed at the McDonald's for a half hour, I'd have probably been fine to the finish, rather than bonking out in the cold and dark and struggling through.

    I drifted in and out of sleep in the big comfy chair in the motel lobby for about a half hour... then my blood sugar came back up and I was wide awake.

    And yes, I'm riding the brevet series with Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. Good bunch of people.

    Lights? The main battery pack is water proof, the secondary is an SLA battery... it was in my trunk bag so it didn't get wet. I haven't checked it yet to see why it didn't work. Maybe one of my solder joints came loose? I'll check it out later... getting wet shouldn't hurt it at all, though.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  5. #5
    ( 8n(|) DOH!! Pwnt's Avatar
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    You are NUCKING FUTS! Just so ya know. Not sure if anyone pointed that out to you yet Bill.

    Huge props to you my friend. I couldn't do it.
    _____________________________________________

    I love noodles.

  6. #6
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Yes, Pwnt, it's been said a time or two.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

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