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  1. #1
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    CO Last Chance - done

    I managed to finish the CO Last Chance 1200 on Saturday. My time was respectful at 85:29 in an event that had close to a 50% dropout rate due to cold, driving rain and a bit of wind for the first day that covered 251 miles from Boulder CO to Atwood KS.

    The full results are here.

    I'll try to do a write-up later - just got home from the 800+ mile drive from Boulder.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I was the first dropout on that ride- that cold driving rain and headwind also made it where I couldn't see, and I had to stop not too far past I-25. Beautiful weather the three days prior to the ride, though.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I'm going to Boulder next week - any tips for riding in the area?
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

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    congrats on finishing. I was afraid it was going to rain on the ToC because of the hurricane, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish under those conditions. But we lucked out.

  5. #5
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I was the first dropout on that ride- that cold driving rain and headwind also made it where I couldn't see, and I had to stop not too far past I-25. Beautiful weather the three days prior to the ride, though.
    It was pretty brutal. The weather was pretty nice after that point just like the forecast predicted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    I'm going to Boulder next week - any tips for riding in the area?
    Check this page - there are a couple of recommendation on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    congrats on finishing. I was afraid it was going to rain on the ToC because of the hurricane, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish under those conditions. But we lucked out.
    Thank you. My first brevet was exactly one year ago and I DNF'd. This year, I exceeded my hopes.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Gerry, if you were the only one there from Phoenix, I met you without making the connection to BikeForums. I remember telling someone from Phoenix that a couple of our local riders, the Pettys, were moving out there- I assume that was you.

    RC- The three days before the ride were all beautiful, and as I was leaving out on Thursday, it was starting to clear up. Anyway, weather is highly variable this time of year. The organizer of that ride is John Lee Ellis with the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. If you're interested in rando rides in the area, contact him and he could probably set you up for something. There is an email link on the Last Chance website, that I think will go to him- website at http://www.rmccrides.com/lastchance.htm. For non-rando rides, I don't have any contacts, really.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Gerry, if you were the only one there from Phoenix, I met you without making the connection to BikeForums. I remember telling someone from Phoenix that a couple of our local riders, the Pettys, were moving out there- I assume that was you.

    RC- The three days before the ride were all beautiful, and as I was leaving out on Thursday, it was starting to clear up. Anyway, weather is highly variable this time of year. The organizer of that ride is John Lee Ellis with the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. If you're interested in rando rides in the area, contact him and he could probably set you up for something. There is an email link on the Last Chance website, that I think will go to him- website at http://www.rmccrides.com/lastchance.htm. For non-rando rides, I don't have any contacts, really.

    Absolutely - I remember talking to you and apologize for not making the connection sooner!
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Day 1

    I think we had just make the turn onto Imboden Road when my front wheel was caught in a deep trench that some farm implement had dug into the pavement. The pavement was wet and we had been in a cold, driving rain since the 0300 departure from the Quality Inn in Louisville CO.

    I felt the bike start to go down and then, as I struggled to unclip both feet, I managed to bang my right knee and ankle on the main tube and crankset.

    That was the first moment when I wanted to quit. It would have been so easy to turn around, ride the 36 miles or so back to the hotel and simply enjoy the Boulder area for the next few days. I'm an admitted fair-weather rider for has lived in Arizona for too long. I can deal with the heat but not the cold and certainly not the cold and rain.

    There also seemed to be a little peer pressure at work in the hotel lobby before we pulled out. Several riders decided not to wear leg-warmers or tights. The temps outside were close to 60F and I think the heat in the lobby fooled a few people into a false sense of security.

    I talked to one rider in the lobby who stated he was there to “get my man-card stamped”. I was somewhat amused at his statement and wished him well. I assumed he meant that he had ridden a 1200 the year before and needed this one to maintain his status. Once you ride a 1200, you don't have to ride the full brevet series the next year to qualify for another 1200. Makes sense.

    Having recovered from the near miss, I settled into a steady groove and tried to keep riders in sight as we aimed for Byers. At 71 miles, that was the first control and I couldn't wait to get off the bike and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a snack! I pulled in at 0811 and the clerk added a small smiley face when she signed my card. I didn't notice the little smiley face until I was checking my times for this report.

    The plan had been to maintain a 14-mph rolling average, be off the bike no more than 15 or 30 minutes between the controls and stay in the control no more than 30 minutes unless it was an overnight stay. Clearly, the plan didn't include cold rain and driving winds but taking just over 5 hours to cover 71 miles put me exactly where I wanted to be.

    As I pulled into the control, my friend David grabbed my bike and told me to get inside and get a drink. A cup of coffee and a spot on the floor never felt so good! I got my water bottle topped off, made a few equipment adjustments and was back on the bike. Anton at 55 miles was next up and I was looking forward to another short break.

    When we arrived in Anton, everyone piled into the only store in town – a cold, wet kind of shivering mass of cyclists. The clerks at the store were amused at our plight and went out of their way to sign our cards, point out where to find food we could warm up and didn't seem to mind when we collapsed on their floor to rest, relax and eat.

    When I stepped outside to start the next leg, I was amazed to discover that the temps had dropped a bit more and the wind was picking up. It was now into the low 50's/hgh 40's. Normally, that's tolerable but add wet and wind to the occasion, the chill factor kicks in. While it was still early in the ride though but I could tell some weren't enjoying the adventure.

    I have a little experience built on years of kayak trips, motorcycle trips into Mexico, camping, bike-touring and backpacking which has taught me several lessons.

    First, the weather being experienced now will change sooner or later. The forecast for the CO Last Chance was that the next few days would be spectacular so the immediate goal was to get to Atwood where a warm shower, food and bed was waiting.

    Second, if you're wet/tired/cold/hungry, everyone else on the same trip is also wet/tired/cold/hungry so complaining accomplishes nothing. Be a friend to someone, cheer them up, give them a pat on the back and if you can't manage that, at least don't drag anyone else down by complaining about the weather.

    I stepped back inside the store to continue the ride. Those nagging doubts were creeping in again but it was just 1:15 pm and at 126 miles, I was pretty much on-schedule with my time. Given that, I decided to press-on when I noticed the other riders using plastic grocery bags as wind breaks! I knew this was a common trick and started to grab a few more for myself until I remembered that I had another layer of clothing in my bags. I grabbed those items, went back inside and put those items on.

    I was in the control for 45 minutes – clearly, that stop cost me a little time but the extra layer was a life-saver for me. I guess sometimes, you need to slow down to go faster.

    The rest of the day was more of the same – cold, rain and windy. The stretch between St Francis at 208 miles and Atwood at 251 miles was particularly brutal. The cumulative impact of strong, long, rolling hills, the weather and the miles was impacting most of us. I rode with Bill R and we had to work to keep each other awake.

    While on the last segment, I expressed my concerns to Bill – my ankle and knee were sore from the earlier incident and I was flat tired. I remembered the advice that our RBA Susan gave us prior to our first 600. She said that no matter how badly we felt, get back on the bike the next day and start riding. She said it would all come together and we would be able to continue. Great advice.

    Sure, there were some phenomenal riders who simply killed it. The data indicates that the quickest rider covered the first day at a 14.9 overall average. I managed a lowly 11.4 mph arriving at just after 0100 but the larger point is that I surprised myself by finishing day 1. I'm not sure of my rolling average. I'll try to dig that out later.

    The “It'll Do Motel” in Atwood was a welcome site especially since it was at the end of a 2 mile descent! There were riders in various stages of checking in and eating the food provided by the volunteers. We checked in and I made plans with Bill R from MA to leave at 0400. Between getting a shower, a bite to eat and ready for the next day, we got just over 2.5 hours of sleep.

    Day 2 to follow....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by k7baixo; 11-30-12 at 09:11 PM.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    ...

    RC- The three days before the ride were all beautiful, and as I was leaving out on Thursday, it was starting to clear up. Anyway, weather is highly variable this time of year. The organizer of that ride is John Lee Ellis with the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. If you're interested in rando rides in the area, contact him and he could probably set you up for something. There is an email link on the Last Chance website, that I think will go to him- website at http://www.rmccrides.com/lastchance.htm. For non-rando rides, I don't have any contacts, really.
    You can also get jle's info on / from the RUSA website.

  10. #10
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Day 2

    The event commandeered all the rooms at the “It'll Do Motel” and getting a room was simple: sign in with the volunteer staff and that person would assign you to a room. That meant you might share a room with several other riders, male or female.

    I was damn lucky and got a room to myself – I was stoked.....that's the perfect end to a difficult day although I'm a pretty cooperative roommate when I need to be. All things considered, a room to myself is a prize that occurs only when others are dropping out.

    When we checked into the hotel with the volunteer staff, I asked a stupid question: how can I get a wake-up call. I was told bluntly but politely that it was up to me. OK – that's easy: I carry a cellphone and the power stays off until its absolutely necessary. I turned it on, set the alarm and then set three alarms on my watch.

    Belts & suspenders – there's no way I'm sleeping past the appointed hour.

    Before I went to bed, I got my small USB charger and lithium charger out of my dropbag and got the external 4xAA battery pack for the Garmin on the juice along with my tailight.. I organized my clothes for the next day but didn't bother to repack. The route today is a 219 mile out-and-back so I'll have the same room. My reward was two hours of sleep. :lol3

    I wolfed down some cereal for breakfast and we hit the road at 0406. I looked for my buddy David but he had pulled out a little earlier than us. That's fine – we'll see him at some point down the road.

    Once again, the hills were “strongly rolling” but this time, there was only a little cloud cover and thousands of stars watched over us as we made our way to the east. The first control was located at Oberlin KS - 27 miles away and I thought it would be a perfect spot to have more breakfast. Despite the lack of sleep, the ride was enjoyable and the miles flew by as we arrived at 0640. That's what my card says anyway but I suspect the waitress used central time! There's no way we averaged only 10 mph – at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    These restaurants are solid gold establishments serving solid food and it was worth every minute to have a nutritional breakfast. Unfortunately, all that food made both of us a little sleepy. That's when Bill R turned to me and said, “You ready for your first dirt-nap?”

    He pointed to three silos located just off the road that were basking in the early morning sun. One of these had a concrete pad for the blower motor that had enough space for each of us to take a side and lay down.

    Laying there in the sun was pure heaven. I put my helmet under my head and was asleep literally in minutes. I suffer from positional sleep apnea so if I'm on my back, I'm guaranteed to snort myself awake...that's a built-in alarm clock and we slept for 30 minutes.

    We kept our bikes pointed east to Norton, Phillipsburg and Kensington where we had to mail a postcard from the US Post Office to prove that we had been there. We hit some road construction between Phillipsburg and Kensington and traffic was restricted to one lane meaning we were supposed to wait for a truck to lead us down the road. Luckily, we asked the flagman if we could ride the shoulder and he indicated it was fine. Once we figured out the traffic pattern, we had virgin asphalt to ride! Smooth but still warm from being rolled out!

    On one of the hills, we met my buddy David coming the other way. Stopping on a hill and starting again on a recumbent can be a challenge so I gave him a high-five as we went by and kept moving. The run into Kensington was fast but I was worried about riding on the shoulder when traffic wouldn't allow us on the main portion of the road. I hadn't experienced a flat tire yet and didn't really want one now!

    After mailing our post card, we turned back to Phillipsburg and stopped at the Subway. The guys I ride with seem to prefer Subways when possible to get a good meal when fast food is the only choice. As I was waiting on Bill R, an insurance agent walked from his office across the street to the Subway and asked me where we were headed.

    When I explained we were going from Boulder to Kensington and back again, he simply started laughing. Yeah, I get it...we're crazy.

    While the turn-around point was at the post office, this was the halfway point based on mileage. Essentially, we had done a 600-km event to this point in 37 hours. My only other 600 event was completed in 38:15 so given the weather conditions, I felt pretty good about this time.

    On the next segment, we picked up my buddy David who waited around for us to ride to Atwood together. Darkness was fast approaching and there's perceived safety in numbers. Once again, we started getting extremely sleepy again and it was good to have each others' backs. The weather was quite cool but not to the point of suffering. We hit one truck stop for coffee and rolled back into Atwood at 0437.... just over 24 hours after leaving. Our times suffered on the second half of that day's ride – the event was slowly taking its toll on us.

    This time, when we got to the hotel, I didn't stop except to log in with the staff. No food, probably a mistake not to eat and let my body digest that food. Instead, I used that time to get items charging, shower, set up clothes for the next day and repack the dropbag.

    At this point, we've covered 470 miles and I'm feeling good about the event. The next two days are 179 miles and then 103 to finish but there are some challenges ahead in regards to food.

    Day 3 to follow.......
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  11. #11
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    I'm impressed to say the least. Looking forward to Day 3's write up.
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Good report, like to see the rest.
    FYI, I was at a ride a while back, and one of the riders overslept. Someone made the comment, "What, he only had one alarm clock?" I learned from that experience, and when I have an overnight stop, I'll have a regular plug-in alarm clock, in addition to the motel's and a cell phone. They are cheap insurance. I did have one packed in each drop-bag.
    When I left at 3:00 AM, I got 5 miles out and discovered I had forgotten my antibiotics, went back and got them, and left out again. It seemed to be noticeably colder the second time. I'm not sure if I was just wetter, or if it actually had cooled down, either from the front still being in the process of blowing in, or just because it normally cools off until dawn.
    Re: The "man card". If you'll notice, there were several women on that ride, and a bunch of DNF's, but none of the women DNF'ed. The Lone Star Randonneurs unofficial slogan is "Ride Like A Girl". Don't underrate them.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Re: The "man card". If you'll notice, there were several women on that ride, and a bunch of DNF's, but none of the women DNF'ed. The Lone Star Randonneurs unofficial slogan is "Ride Like A Girl". Don't underrate them.
    Absolutely - I'm going to address that point later.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Day 3: Last Chance 1200

    Day 3:

    I suspect that the time was entered incorrectly when we arrived back in Atwood. Kansas is on center and CO is mountain. I'm thinking we arrived at 0337 and not 0437.

    Anyway.....

    I do recall being in a very good mood on Friday morning as we pulled out at 0703. I had breakfast in the hotel with food provided by the club and was anxious to get on the road.

    There were several concerns that I had. One was that the only store for about 100 miles in Anton was closing at 6 pm and that was 125 miles away. Second, we knew there would be a bit of climbing on the return. That 125 miles doesn't sound too difficult until you remember the number of miles you've already covered and the climbing that's to come.

    Recall these are strong rolling hills that now trend upwards. I doubt there was more than 5,000 feet of climbing but that comes in small chunks that just a little too long to simply roll over with any kind of momentum....at least for me.

    The highway out of Atwood starts with an immediate climb that stretches for at least 2 miles and I really felt it in my legs. The first city was Bird City where there was a cafe at about the 42 mile point. I could see that most if not everyone had stopped there and that was clearly the right thing to do but once again, I rolled by a food stop w/o stopping.

    St Francis was next at 26 miles and since it was a control, `I used that opportunity to grab some snacks and a drink. Nothing fancy but it was nice to be off the bike for 15 minutes. This was also the last stop in Kansas so I could slowly feel the excitement building as I'm thinking I'm home-free.

    The best stop was the little cafe in Idalia. Several of us pulled in at approximately the same time (1346 hrs for me) and we were all ready for a good meal. The waitress couldn't have been nicer. She was quick to take our orders, sign our cards and bring our drinks – all with a quick smile and an extremely friendly nature. I had a great hamburger and fries and it really hit the spot. Little things like this have a huge impact on your psyche when riding. They can drive you crazy or lift you up. I wasn't surprized at the lift – been there/done that and the smallest gestures of kindness are huge.

    Now, there are two ways to do this brevet: supported or unsupported. Due to the remoteness, support vehicles are allowed on the route but everyone is careful not to accept assistance except when in the controls.

    While at the cafe in Idalia, I was informed that several of the support folks were going to bring food to Anton for those who rolled in after the store closed. Without that support, I was looking at 110 miles without access to anything other than what I was carrying. I had dried mango, fig newtons, some crackers, some misc. energy kind of snacks and water. Not a great selection but enough to get me 110 miles down the road if necessary.

    After lunch, once again, the food made me sleepy so I started looking for a place to grab a few winks of sleep. That come in the form of a 5x5 concrete pad that surrounded the flagpole in the city park of Cope. It was another 30-minute nap that help set the stage for the run to Anton.

    The last few miles into Anton were a blast but a little dangerous. I was riding with a guy from Canada who had some items fall off of his rear rack. When he stopped to grab his gear, I kept rolling. We were climbing due west into the sunset so we also had to be careful of cars coming up from behind us.

    The roads in CO and KS are similar. While the shoulder width varies, they all seem to have rumble strips build-in and if you're lucky, several feet of shoulder beyond the rumbles.

    Generally speaking, I stayed on the road itself if there was a car coming from behind me and thee was nothing coming from the other directions especially if the shoulder was narrow. On this section, with the sun in drivers' eyes, I used the shoulder even though it was only a foot wide in places.

    Once I made it to the top of the climb, I was able to increase my speed to a much faster pace into Anton. I should have stopped, removed my sunglasses and put on a jacket but I knew I was only 4-5 miles out so I kept up the speed and arrived in town safely.

    True to their word, the support from other riders had bread, cheese, cold cuts, cookies, Gatorade, grapes, etc. and it was nice to have quick access to food. Several riders were struggling at this point and it was cool to see other rider's support stepping up to help them out.

    Now we're only 55 miles from Byers – the last stop on the brevet – and it's around 1945 hrs. I teamed up with three other riders and we head out pushing 16-17 mph. Unfortunately, after about 3 miles, I suffered my first flat of the event and pulled over to change the tube.

    One thing I do is index my tube to the tire when I remove it so I can better locate whatever caused the flat. In this case, when I pumped up the flat tube, the leak was at about the 8 o'clock position on the tube itself. Knowing this, it took literally seconds to locate the source of the flat: a goathead thorn.

    I removed it and started installing a new tube when Terry from Canada rolled up. He helped steady the bike and we were on our way fairly quickly. By now, the temps are dropping and the wind is coming it. It was getting colder by the minute.

    You may see a pattern here: food followed by getting sleepy. Both of us were impacted and struggled to stay awake. At one point, on a nice descent, I fell asleep and woke up as the bike dove for the right shoulder.

    OK – time for a nap. We located a nice grassy spot just down the shoulder and laid down in the tall grass. The stars were simply beautiful and other than feeling warm in the grass, which helped to block the wind, all I remember is looking up at the stars and then boom, I was sound asleep.

    The last 20 miles was painful despite the nap. I had a room reserved in Byers but Terry didn't. When we arrive at 0243, I once again didn't eat opting to go the room instead. This time, the room was on the second floor and climbing the stairs was extremely difficult due to the exhaustion setting in. Terry was able to gain access to a room so he was good.

    I was supposed to share a room with David so I went through my normal steps to get devices charged, clothing organized, grab a shower and repack the dropbag for an 0630 departure. I also parked my bike in the room as to not impede access for David and when I laid down, I wore an airline sleeping mask and left the light on. All David had to do was roll in and take care of himself. No fumbling for light, working around my stuff, etc.

    Once again, we're getting very little sleep but with the last ride of the day coming up, now was not the time to focus on that. Open the barn doors, the horses can smell the hay.

    Day 4 to follow....
    Last edited by k7baixo; 09-18-12 at 11:11 AM.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Day 4: Last Chance 1200

    Day 4. The last day of our adventure. Now, it's not a matter of if we can finish but when.

    103 miles. Heck, I can do that in my sleep. I base that on the fact that I've fallen asleep on the bike several times already.

    When I woke up, I was shocked not to find David in the room. I quickly got dressed and went down to the check-in room where I found..... David. He had arrived in the middle of the night after having been picked up in Anton.

    Here's where we get to level just a little criticism at the organizers. Anton is a control and unfortunately, the only store for a 100 + miles closes at 6 PM. In my humble, inexperienced opinion, the organizers need to work the store to extend the hours, engage a local civic group for support or ask a volunteer to man the control and provide simple food services.

    In any case, we were happy to see each other but it was time to ride. Terry and I started out looking for breakfast and as we headed under the interstate, the unmistakeable smell of bacon wafted through the air.

    We found a small cafe that opened at 0700 and since it was 0650, we weren't going anywhere. Larry from Florida and his support, LuAnn, pulled up a moment later to join us.

    I'm pretty quick on the trigger when it comes to food and an omlet with three meats suited me just fine. Terry wanted a pancake and ordered two of them.

    “Uh uhh” his waitress replied - “you only want one – they're large.” Terry was OK with that and even Larry decided to wait and see if Terry might have extra to share. Larry went with normal fare – egges, hashbrowns, etc.

    When our food arrived, we were shocked to see a pancake the size of, I kid you not, a medium pan pizza. It was freaking huge! Terry ate maybe 35% of it and Larry also enjoyed a small piece.

    When we hit the road, we had a nice 15 mile straight stretch going due north supported by a wind headed in the same direction. I dropped Terry and Larry and enjoyed a nice spin down the road which dropped by about 400 ft over the 15 miles. The temps were slowly warming and it was a great day to be on a bike finishing up my first 1200-km.

    As we moved around the area east and north of Denver, we encounter more traffic and more industry. I'm not sure what I was looking at but there were all kinds of 300 barrel oil tanks grouped together with other apparatus. I'm not certain if this is for fracking/shale oil/etc but it seems to be having a huge impact on the economy.

    The impact to cyclists were increased traffic in the form of big Ford F250, tankers, etc. The vast majority were extremely polite and the only ******* who blew his horn at me seemed to think I hadn't moved far enough off the road when I took a few bonus miles after missing a turn.

    The rest of the day was uneventful. Terry suffered a flat – his 5th – and lunch was at a Love's Truckstop. The closer we got to Louisville, the more determined we became. Larry had rejoined us and we make a concerted effort to watch out for each other.

    When we rolled into the Quality Inn in Louisville at 5:29 PM, several people stepped out to take our pictures. John Lee Ellis congratulated us and gave us our Last Chance medals. David grabbed my bike and helped me to the room. Honestly, walking was a challenge having used mainly cycling muscles for the last few days but it was nice to have help.

    There was a group dinner that night at 7 pm and while it was the last thing I wanted to do, it was important to go and thank the volunteers and congratulate the others. Everyone put a lot into their efforts and most of us had some significant lessons that we can apply to the next ride.

    By the numbers:



    You can see that the numbers were split for day 3 when the Garmin reset itself. I'm glad that occurred – it shows how slow I was for the night ride into Byers! It was pretty miserable and we barely maintained a speed that would allow us to finish had that been our speed during the entire event with no stops!

    Closing comments/lessons learned/etc:

    I finished. I'm new at this having completed my first century in several decades in Jan which was followed by all the brevets. I went from 0 to 1200 in less than a year.

    I had ridden a few double -centuries in the early 80's and as I recall, they were much more difficult than this 1200. Why? My recumbent, while a compromise, offers the best combination of comfort and speed. I predict that as riders age, you'll see recumbents slowly lose the stigma that they carry today.

    On a side note, we had breakfast with cycling coach John Hughes before the event started. John summed it up very well when asked why recumbents appear to carry a stigma. He thinks that other riders think that if you were a competent rider, you'd be on a regular bicycle. There's some truth to that I suppose but in my case, I don't have an option due to a blue-hair in Atlanta who rear-ended me in her Caddy in 1994.

    My training worked well enough to get me through this 1200 and I can improve from here. For me, it took a lot of dedication but I didn't put a ton o' time in it. I was happy doing club rides on Saturday mornings and I generally rode with the fast riders to push myself. I supplemented that 2-3 rides during the week that never exceeded an hour. Those were a mix of intervals, tempo and endurance rides.

    This year, I have about 4,300 miles YTD so that translates to a bit over 100 miles per week. Some of the miles are brevets so I'm comfortable in saying that I never exceeded 100 miles of training per week on average. Again, for me, it was quality and not quantity.

    I mentioned the recumbent already. Mine was extremely comfortable out of the box. I think that's difficult to achieve on a diamond-framed bike and it may mean you have to add miles to insure you can endure the pain. I can't tell you how many riders I was behind on the last two days who were really suffering...moving around trying to find a spot on their ass that didn't hurt.

    YMMV of course!

    I got a bit sunburned – the laid-back position of my bike presents not only an Imax view of the world but it fully exposes my face to the sun and elements.

    My rain top worked OK – it's an Arc'teryx SL pullover with a front pocket that once again, collected water in the pocket. It'll be returned to the manufacturer to correct. My rain bottoms, don't recall the brand, worked OK but caused on significant chaffing issues on the first day. One rider had some Lansinoh and it worked wonders. That will become part of my kit moving forward.

    I didn't have an emergency blanket or anything like that. I didn't feel the need for one but a few more degrees drop in temp and a forced stop might have driven the need for one.

    I carried fig newtons, dried mango from Trader Joes, peanut butter crackets and a few commercial
    energy packs that I didn't use. In fact, I didn't use any of the popular items from Hammer or other companies. Maybe I should try them – it might have helped my average speed.

    In the controls, I looked for coffee, sandwiches, fruit snacks, microwaveable soups, etc – standard fare I suppose. Towards the end, I craved hamburgers and other food that isn't associated with endurance events. I didn't have any stomach or GI issues thank goodness.

    Pain: I had only a little where I banged my ankle and knee on the first day. I also had significant pain in my right Achilles tendon which felt like was exploding. I managed the pain with Aleve. The only other pain was when I stopped peddling and then started again. I know we've all felt lactic acid pain before but for me, it was multiplied by a factor of 5 on the 3rd and 4th day. It was painful enough that I did my best not to stop peddling even on downhills – kept my legs moving as much as possible.

    What's next? Dunno except that LEL is off the table. My wife's mother is going slowly downhill and we'll need our funds for London in Brazil instead. In fact, as soon as I finish this report, I need to look for flights for a Brazil trip in 1Q13.

    I'll likely look for other rides to keep moving forward. I'll probably look for another 1200 next year – I need to determine what rides are where so the costs can be managed in light of our mother-in-law health issues.

    Oh - the guy who was there to get his man card stamped? He's a great rider and has proven himself many times on other riders but it's interesting to note that he DNF'd on the first day and my guess is that he didn't have the proper gear for the rain. I also noted with interest that not a single female rider in the event DNF'd. Guess they got their man cards properly stamped!
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  16. #16
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    Definitely a great read and success. Thanks for posting this.
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

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    thanks for the detailed writeup.

    I find the problems people have with their saddles interesting since I don't really have those problems much. I have problems with chafing, but not saddle sores. And if things don't feel quite right in the shorts, I carry single-use chamois cream packets. That is a lesson I've learned the hard way.

    I think the reason that people don't use recumbents is much more simple than some kind of bias. I have decades of experience riding a diamond frame, and I'm not going to give that up unless I have to do so. If that becomes an issue, I will switch without hesitation.

    I think perpetuum solids are probably the best thing that's happened to my riding in a while. Otherwise I don't eat early enough and get bonky.

    Interesting about your average speed at night. This is one reason why I resolved to waste as little time as possible in the daylight. I really slow down at night, mostly because of navigation issues

  18. #18
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Congrates on a great first 1200k. I found your comments on having an alarm and a back-up alarm interesting. I've always just had my phone as an alarm. Even though I always set it, I always seem to wake up before it goes off, no matter how tired I am. As far as your comments go regarding the recumbent remember that the LC is a very recumbent/tandem friendly route. When you do a 1200k with some climbing you might want to reflect on those thoughts. There are a whole bunch of us out here who can ride a 1200k pain free with no problem at all. I would guess that the rain/moisture on the first day may have played a role in the saddle issues you noticed.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  19. #19
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Congrates on a great first 1200k. I found your comments on having an alarm and a back-up alarm interesting. I've always just had my phone as an alarm. Even though I always set it, I always seem to wake up before it goes off, no matter how tired I am. As far as your comments go regarding the recumbent remember that the LC is a very recumbent/tandem friendly route. When you do a 1200k with some climbing you might want to reflect on those thoughts. There are a whole bunch of us out here who can ride a 1200k pain free with no problem at all. I would guess that the rain/moisture on the first day may have played a role in the saddle issues you noticed.
    I meant no disrespect I assure you! I'm a rather reluctant recumbent rider and don't have an option. Hopefully, I'll get more comfortable on the hills and can ride other 1200's!

    I think you're spot on with the rain too. It sure help chaff me....never had an issue before either.
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  20. #20
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post

    I think the reason that people don't use recumbents is much more simple than some kind of bias. I have decades of experience riding a diamond frame, and I'm not going to give that up unless I have to do so. If that becomes an issue, I will switch without hesitation.

    I think perpetuum solids are probably the best thing that's happened to my riding in a while. Otherwise I don't eat early enough and get bonky.

    Interesting about your average speed at night. This is one reason why I resolved to waste as little time as possible in the daylight. I really slow down at night, mostly because of navigation issues
    Good to hear.

    RE perpetuity... will give a try. There has to something to the product since so many seem to favor it. I need a little more speed and maybe it'll help along with continued training.

    I recognize my issues at night. And need to avoid them!
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

  21. #21
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k7baixo View Post
    I meant no disrespect I assure you! I'm a rather reluctant recumbent rider and don't have an option. Hopefully, I'll get more comfortable on the hills and can ride other 1200's!

    I think you're spot on with the rain too. It sure help chaff me....never had an issue before either.
    None taken. I really enjoyed your read. It took me back to my first 1200k. I'm sure you'll do fine on any 1200k you do.

    Regarding the nutrition thing, make sue you do some experimenting to make sure that you can tolerate the Hammer products. I can go around 300 miles on them before they give me issues. Hammer is like Brooks, they make a great product, it just doesn't work for everyone.

    Riding at night can sometimes be a very good strategy. I've done a couple 1200ks where the daytime temps were very hot, pushing 115 deg's in one case (Machka will remember than one). If possible it's best to sleep/rest in the heat of the day and ride at night. I love riding at night and my night time speed varies little from my daytime speed, even on descents. Good lights are a must.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  22. #22
    Senior Member k7baixo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice Homey - I do appreciate it!
    Cheers, Gerry
    gerryelam.wordpress.com

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    Congratulations, I think 0 - 1200k in a year is a fantastic achievement!
    ** wishes I was 'zac fit' **

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