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Michigan National 24-Hour Challenge

Old 06-07-09, 10:12 AM
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Michigan National 24-Hour Challenge

It's that time of year again..... Details here: http://www.n24hc.org/.

If you're going, raise your hand. If you've been there, tell us a story.

I'll be there for the 4th time. Rider #272. You may see me on the fixie... we'll see how next weekend's 600K goes first.
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Old 06-07-09, 10:20 AM
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So 153 miles in 3 sections?
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Old 06-07-09, 01:01 PM
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my understanding is that you ride a long loop, then the 23 mile loop until some time cutoff, and then a <8 mile loop after that.

I was interested in doing this, but I think I'll do a 1k brevet instead.
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Old 06-09-09, 10:30 PM
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I'll be there. Rider #48, on a blue Cannondale, dining on Accel Gels and crossing my fingers for no repeat of last year's festival of nausea.
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Old 06-15-09, 07:10 PM
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After a successful 600K this past weekend on the fixie, it's on -- going fixed. Look for the guy on the IRO; that'll be me. Say "hi" when you see me walking that hill on the night loop in the early morning....

The 600K was hardly part of the appropriate taper for a 24-hour race, but sometimes the schedule just works out that way.
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Old 06-18-09, 12:15 PM
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Though the weather is looking a bit rough -- winds forecast to gust into the 20s -- I'm still planning take a whack at 400 on the fixie. After the 600K last weekend, the butt feels good. The legs feel ok. The hands are still a bit sore. Here's the plan:
  1. [*]
  2. [*]
  3. [*]
  4. [*]
  5. [*]
  6. [*]
If all this plays out, then I end up with 403.9 miles and I'll have taken 1:40 off the bike.

There isn't a lot of room for error here. It's all based on being able to roll between 18 and 18.5mph over the course of the entire event and to manage time off the bike wisely.

This has me finishing the 121-mile loop more than 2 hours slower than I've ever ridden it before. The idea is that I ride wise enough to keep a reasonable pace throughout the remainder of the event with little time off the bike. I'm hoping that the pace I want to ride is going to give me a lot of wheels to follow throughout the day to help manage the wind, and that the low-ish gearing on the fixie will prevent me from burning matches too early in the event.

Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!
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Old 06-18-09, 12:35 PM
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Good luck everyone! Be sure to post reports back here once you're done.
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Old 06-19-09, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!
Best of luck to you. Thanks for outlining your plan, that was very interesting.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:37 AM
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Good luck Octopus! Your plan sounds very well thought out, though daunting. Can't wait to hear the report. May the tire gods keep your path clear of pokey things.
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Old 06-22-09, 03:43 PM
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Back from the races....

Three tornados blew through the area Friday night but by Saturday morning it was dry and clearing and would turn out to be a nice day. There was a bit of wind (15-20mph) during the day but it died Saturday night. Muggy at the start but the temps stayed comfortably in the 80s.

Execution of the plan was near flawless. I like the plan. It's the rider who's not worthy! I had plenty of company in the second group until it started to break apart before the second checkpoint (mile 71.5). I was riding solo after that through the end of the grand loop (mile 121). Everything felt great. I was having a nice, conservative ride -- taking it easy and really minimizing time off the bike. At mile 121, I was 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Started the day loops. Traded pulls with a friend for the first two of them and then was solo for the second two. Had some rest and geared up for night and started the night loops with the same extra 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

The wheels came off the wagon on the first night loop. I was cursed by my gearing. That night loop is flat. Except for the big descent and then the big climb. The climb was ok, but the descent required hard breaking which made it impossible to stay with any kind of group and I didn't want to burn a lot of energy chasing them down on the climb. My 49x18 gearing was fine for taking it easy during the day -- it worked well in rolling terrain -- but on that easy night loop, I found myself to be really under-geared. So I completed the first loop in 25 minutes and knew then I was in trouble, destined to spend the rest of the night watching my 20-minute time cushion and my 25 minutes of scheduled stops evaporate and with no ability to stop. Twenty-five minutes became 26 and then 27 and 28 and then, at 3:15am, I pulled the plug on it with 306.9 miles completed.

It was a bit frustrating to end a ride when I was still feeling great physically and capable of riding reasonably fast, but my quest for 400 was going to go unfulfilled this time and I thought it better to get some sleep and live to fight again another day. I did learn some valuable lessons, though. Racing a fixie is quite a bit different than randonneuring on one. Gearing is absolutely everything. It's exhausting to be stuck in a cadence that's higher than what you're comfortable with. At least for me, spinning really fast for a long time with no break is much more difficult than powering through a few steep climbs on a brevet where you can otherwise ride your own pace. The 18T in back forced me to take it easy when I needed to, but then it prevented me from comfortably riding a nice 20mph pace at night which easily has the gas to do. And the uneven pace I was forced into riding meant I was riding by myself for a lot longer than I'd have otherwise been required to, had I had some taller gearing.

So, next time on that course on a fixie I'll try 80-ish gear-inches rather than 73/74.

Anyway, a great event and a great ride, even though the goal was not met. It's always fun seeing so many friends at these events. And it was another good long ride before the Gold Rush in two weeks.

Hope all others from BF had good rides, too.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:44 PM
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Single Gear, WOW!

Octopus,

I am 48 years old and started riding a bike 14 months ago. Some close biking friends encouraged my wife and I to do the 24 Hour National Challenge. I hit the wall at 2:15AM with 251.5 miles done. You passed me several times. I noticed your fixed gear bike and was amazed. You were the only one out there with a fixed gear bike, more power to you.

And as a bike shirt I saw once said, "The Wind Always Blows, Shut Up and Ride".
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Old 06-24-09, 01:22 PM
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Octopus, somehow my mind disregarded the fixed gear part, you're nuts

Congrats on going as far as you did, that's quite an accomplishment.
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Old 06-24-09, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Weebee View Post
I am 48 years old and started riding a bike 14 months ago. Some close biking friends encouraged my wife and I to do the 24 Hour National Challenge. I hit the wall at 2:15AM with 251.5 miles done.
Congrats! on a great ride. That's really an amazing effort that you should be very proud of.

I was set up at the school next to a fellow who similarly had just started riding recently and was out there giving it a go. He had a personal best long ride well before sunset. Good stuff!
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