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I think I've bitten off more than I can chew

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I think I've bitten off more than I can chew

Old 08-03-17, 08:16 PM
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Shinkers
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I think I've bitten off more than I can chew

Hey,


So there's a local ride going on this month that involves my two favorite climbs in one ride. Overall it is 11k vertical and 116 miles. The last 6 miles of the ride averages 16% for 3 of those miles.


Like a fool, I signed up for it thinking 'how bad can it be?' This year I've been doing 60-80 mile rides every weekend with 6-7k vertical. That's not a huge leap from the numbers on this ride, but still significant. I average 20-25k climbing a month.


Last weekend, I took off on an attempt to hit 10k in 80 or so miles and see how I felt, throwing that 6 mile stretch of climbing in toward the end of the ride.


Typically I can grind up this hill in about an hour, but this time it took me nearly 2. I bonked hard mid-way up and ended up stopping three different times.


I finished the whole ride in just under 7 hours moving time, achieving 9500 ft.


Anyway, I'm starting to panic just a bit thinking about how in the hell I'm going to pull this off. Given my background here, what are your thoughts? I've never ridden in a 'race' before, and am not sure how having aid stations and other riders/people around me will effect my ride. It's open to CAT riders as well as guys like me who aren't licensed FWIW.


Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-03-17, 08:31 PM
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Having others around you will help if it is an event with lots of riders. And don't be afraid to stop at some of the rest points they have set up along the way (assuming they have them). Even if you feel good before The Big Climb, stop, rest and reload.

And I can't stress enough how much having other riders next to you pushing/encouraging you can help. I've found on rides where I was struggling and had other riders around, they pushed me. And in return, some of them said I pushed them. At a certain point it is all in your head and how much pain can you tolerate.
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Old 08-03-17, 08:40 PM
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Much, MUCH easier to accomplish with other people around. I've found solo grinding up a long climb to be the hardest thing to do on a bike. Whether it's trying to stay ahead of the people behind you, catch the people in front of you, or just having someone alongside to share the suffering, it's easier in a group, no question.

And this is from a guy with over 90% solo miles.
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Old 08-03-17, 08:43 PM
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It sounds like a good challenge with a decent chance of failing.

I did something similar this summer with 13700 ft elevation, and it was similarly daunting. I ended up walking twice... and I never walk.

If you get to the point where you're about to quit, just pretend there's a million dollar check at the top. You'll figure out how to get there.

At least you're familiar with the climbs already.
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Old 08-03-17, 08:49 PM
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If this is a ride for fun ... then naturally you will stop whenever, and why not? You aren't there to "race" anybody (not anybody who knows it) nor to prove anything (except possibly to yourself.)

Just Do it.

Stop when you need to or want to, ride with other riders if it pleases you, ride alone if you want. Stay with a group riding at a pace you like if you find one, or be your own group and see if anyone joins.

if you are tired, stop. You might be a huge help to someone else who was hurting him/herself out of misplaced pride, because s/he didn't want to be the one to stop, as if it were somehow a bad thing to take a break at an appropriate time (and you know there are those riders who would look down on anyone less strong ... but anyway.)

if you need a break be honest and rational ... maybe others will also, or will have already, maybe it will be a good thing for a lot of people that someone was honest enough to admit that s/he wanted to take a break to better enjoy the rest of the experience.

Or maybe you will feel great and not even want to take a break. Who knows?

I do know a couple things: First it is (i'd imagine) like doing any long ride: if you can do three quarters of it, you can do seven-eighths of it. it is the last bit which is six times harder than the rest. Be mentally prepared, go at a sensible pace ... if you can keep a good attitude probably you can grind it out and not even hurt yourself.

Otherwise ... as happened with your test ride ... wen it is suddenly much tougher than you thought, your brain makes it tougher still.

Expect the last miles to be extra hard. if they are not, Bonus! if they are, you will not be nonplussed; you will be satisfied that you were right , and will simply adjust your pace and enjoy finishing... even if you end up walking.

Second, all the stress is just making the intervening days harder ... no benefit. If a one-day ride is going to spoil two weeks of your life, quit now. You might not live until the ride ... the ride might be called due to weather ... on the day of the ride you might have some family emergency which keeps you from going ... or you might find some terminal problem with your bike, or your car.

The ride might not even happen for you. Why suffer every day from now until then for something which, until you are on your bike on the starting line, is all imagination? Live Now.

Not only will that make the intervening days better, if you should do the ride, you will bring more energy and a better attitude.

Last edited by Maelochs; 08-03-17 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 08-03-17, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
Hey,


So there's a local ride going on this month that involves my two favorite climbs in one ride. Overall it is 11k vertical and 116 miles. The last 6 miles of the ride averages 16% for 3 of those miles.


Like a fool, I signed up for it thinking 'how bad can it be?' This year I've been doing 60-80 mile rides every weekend with 6-7k vertical. That's not a huge leap from the numbers on this ride, but still significant. I average 20-25k climbing a month.


Last weekend, I took off on an attempt to hit 10k in 80 or so miles and see how I felt, throwing that 6 mile stretch of climbing in toward the end of the ride.


Typically I can grind up this hill in about an hour, but this time it took me nearly 2. I bonked hard mid-way up and ended up stopping three different times.


I finished the whole ride in just under 7 hours moving time, achieving 9500 ft.


Anyway, I'm starting to panic just a bit thinking about how in the hell I'm going to pull this off. Given my background here, what are your thoughts? I've never ridden in a 'race' before, and am not sure how having aid stations and other riders/people around me will effect my ride. It's open to CAT riders as well as guys like me who aren't licensed FWIW.


Thanks for any advice.
LOL, "The Punisher". I think I finally talked myself out of it last Friday on my way over Monte Cristo yet again. I realized I just wasn't having fun and was worrying too much about getting in enough training to make it up Powder at the end. In fact I haven't rode up Powder in about 3 years even though it's right out my front door.

Just a little heads up too. There is a marathon up here the same day staging out of Valley Elemetary and the Balloon Fest will be going up. The Balloon Fest uses the Snowcrest Middle School parking lot to run shuttles out of. So it's going to be a total circus. The Balloon Fest Committee knew nothing about the bike race and as of last week end neither did the folks at Powder Mountain. So I hope the race goes off ok. I did two of the 100 milers they ran years back for the Tour of Park City and one time the water point at the 50 mile turn around was not even setup up and then the next year they ran out of water late in the race.

I'm not sure how crazy this one is going to be. Heck, I may still do it. Blew up a knee Sunday but it seemed to be working ok the hard rides I did the past two days. Still debating....

I think you can do it just fine if you pace yourself. I've been up Monte a lot lately. Just be ready for some heat up past the gate as it seems like the winds stop a lot in that area. I actually overheated in that part on the 4th from temps in the high 90s. The other times it's been pretty nice up top, 60s and 70s around noonish. You may know this but there is water up top in the Monte Cristo Campground. Faucets of potable water outside each bathroom up there. So even if the water points up top are messed up somehow you can still get water. I've been taking a baggie of my sports drink powder with me for when I fill up there. As you know it's been really hot around here this summer so push the fluids and stay on top of your electrolyte intake. Once you get to the end and Powder Mt you can complete it on determination alone. If you've made it that far then don't let that piece beat you.

Oh, and on the downhill to Woodruff there at 3 cattlequards as you get farther down into that lower dry area. Two are just painted lines on the road but one is a metal grate. You do not want to ride over that one in my opinion. It's marked with yellow cattle guard signs. There are free range cattle there too that are sometimes on the road, so look out for them.

I can't think of any real road conditions issues off the top of my head. They laid new chipseal on a lot of the Monte Cristo route last year but it's in good shape. The valley roads are getting worse, a fair amount of small potholes and cracks in the Eden to Huntsville section. You can always use the bike path I guess. One part was tore up and gravel but has been fixed a couple of weeks now.

The part around the Eden Park may be dicey with the balloon fest. There will be lots of people walking on the road most likely trying to get to the morning flights.

You may know all this but just sharing my insight just in case. I live right by the start so if I can help, you need a place to park, etc. just PM me.
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Old 08-03-17, 09:20 PM
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I appreciate that you're anxious about a big ride -- I always feel the same way.

As others have said, it will be easier and more fun when you're sharing the suffering.

And don't lose perspective. Remind yourself that it is not a measure of your self worth, it's just another damned bike ride -- that no one cares about but you!

Good luck!
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Old 08-03-17, 09:20 PM
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And you know for me when I bonk on something I can normally do I don't worry too much about it. I know it means I just did something wrong that time and just go over it all in my mind until it comes to me. Usually it's just messing up and not eating or drinking enough. So, if you've been doing these climbs and have the base mileage in it's just a matter of keeping up with the hydration, nutrition, and the right pace so you can conquer Powder at the end. You know that one is going to hurt no matter what so just be mentally ready for it. It does hit over 20% there at the top. That'll hurt anyone but it's plenty doable.
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Old 08-03-17, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
LOL, "The Punisher". I think I finally talked myself out of it last Friday on my way over Monte Cristo yet again. I realized I just wasn't having fun and was worrying too much about getting in enough training to make it up Powder at the end. In fact I haven't rode up Powder in about 3 years even though it's right out my front door.

Just a little heads up too. There is a marathon up here the same day staging out of Valley Elemetary and the Balloon Fest will be going up. The Balloon Fest uses the Snowcrest Middle School parking lot to run shuttles out of. So it's going to be a total circus. The Balloon Fest Committee knew nothing about the bike race and as of last week end neither did the folks at Powder Mountain. So I hope the race goes off ok. I did two of the 100 milers they ran years back for the Tour of Park City and one time the water point at the 50 mile turn around was not even setup up and then the next year they ran out of water late in the race.

I'm not sure how crazy this one is going to be. Heck, I may still do it. Blew up a knee Sunday but it seemed to be working ok the hard rides I did the past two days. Still debating....

I think you can do it just fine if you pace yourself. I've been up Monte a lot lately. Just be ready for some heat up past the gate as it seems like the winds stop a lot in that area. I actually overheated in that part on the 4th from temps in the high 90s. The other times it's been pretty nice up top, 60s and 70s around noonish. You may know this but there is water up top in the Monte Cristo Campground. Faucets of potable water outside each bathroom up there. So even if the water points up top are messed up somehow you can still get water. I've been taking a baggie of my sports drink powder with me for when I fill up there. As you know it's been really hot around here this summer so push the fluids and stay on top of your electrolyte intake. Once you get to the end and Powder Mt you can complete it on determination alone. If you've made it that far then don't let that piece beat you.

Oh, and on the downhill to Woodruff there at 3 cattlequards as you get farther down into that lower dry area. Two are just painted lines on the road but one is a metal grate. You do not want to ride over that one in my opinion. It's marked with yellow cattle guard signs. There are free range cattle there too that are sometimes on the road, so look out for them.

I can't think of any real road conditions issues off the top of my head. They laid new chipseal on a lot of the Monte Cristo route last year but it's in good shape. The valley roads are getting worse, a fair amount of small potholes and cracks in the Eden to Huntsville section. You can always use the bike path I guess. One part was tore up and gravel but has been fixed a couple of weeks now.

The part around the Eden Park may be dicey with the balloon fest. There will be lots of people walking on the road most likely trying to get to the morning flights.

You may know all this but just sharing my insight just in case. I live right by the start so if I can help, you need a place to park, etc. just PM me.


James, I was wondering if you'd be doing this. I'm glad you chimed in since you've also ridden all of these segments. They actually bumped the start date back a weekend to the 26th due to the balloon fest. Thanks for all of the intel and the offer on parking. I'll be hitching a ride with my parents though (who will be spending the day in the valley and hopefully meeting me after I finish). If you decide to ride, look for probably the only guy with DT shifters.


I've been up Powder half a dozen times this year, and lapped it twice a month ago. I've been up Monte four times, Snowbasin/Trappers 3, and the divide more times than I can count this year. I actually really like climbing, and Powder on it's own is my favorite. It's the only place I can do 60+ on a descent...


I think it's probably a culmination of such a big ride coupled with having never ridden in an event. I guess it might just be jitters.


At any rate, I really appreciate the advice and your insights. It helps!

Last edited by Shinkers; 08-03-17 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 08-04-17, 10:31 AM
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If you are worried about the last climb, then manage your HR throughout the day. Keep it Z3 or lower as much as possible, and do the first big climb conservatively.

Make sure to drink enough through the day, as I find most bonks are more about water than sugar. But also take on sugar too, either sport drink, bars, gels, or whatever works for you.

I'm sure you'll be fine. And when you finish, you'll be pissed you took it to easy and vow to come back next year and kill it lol
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Old 08-04-17, 11:00 AM
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If you bonked, do you think it is possible that you aren't eating enough?

On a supported ride, it's easier to remember to eat more. And it's easier to pack more food.

I rode with a guy who stopped and put a Slurpee in his bottles before a long climb. I must say, I have thought about that halfway up that same climb a few times…
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Old 08-04-17, 11:19 AM
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Start out slow, spin easy, bring lower gearing, stop to rest, eat and drink as required, and just do it. You aren't the typical " I just started riding 2 months ago and going on my first century" guy. You'll be fine, just keep in mind the 16% grade at the end of a long ride is going to suck no matter what, so breath deep and keep as steady a pace as you can no matter how slow you go.
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Old 08-04-17, 11:28 AM
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I find if a ride is going to get to the hard stage, some quick calories, for me in the form of a gel or two, provides usable energy within 20 minutes.
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Old 08-04-17, 01:10 PM
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Every time I start thinking this site is full of nothing but people like me, I see a thread like this where a poster gets lots of practical advice and encouragement.
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Old 08-04-17, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
Last weekend, I took off on an attempt to hit 10k in 80 or so miles and see how I felt, throwing that 6 mile stretch of climbing in toward the end of the ride.
Typically I can grind up this hill in about an hour, but this time it took me nearly 2. I bonked hard mid-way up and ended up stopping three different times.
Supported rides are MUCH easier. You find a group for the flats and it's easier to re-fuel so you can eat more.
I suspect you'll find the training ride was harder than the actual event.

At the last stop before the hill, grab a can of Coke (regular not diet), tuck it in your jersey as emergency fuel.

Relax, have fun, you're in a good place. If it were easy everyone would do it.
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Old 08-04-17, 05:14 PM
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May I play around a bit with your metaphor? Take smaller bites.
Seriously, you won't be doing the whole ride all at once, so looking forward to it as if it was sort of one huge mouthful rather than a series of segments that just happen to come one after another is just your imagination getting the best of you. That big climb at the end won't come until hours after your first segment has come to pass, and then before you know it, it will ALL be over. Just a sequence of challenges and (at least relative) recoveries. All long rides are like this, some are just richer than others. Enjoy the first and second course while being sure to leave room for dessert and it will be awesome!
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Old 08-04-17, 06:14 PM
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Here's what I do when I get into a "bit" of trouble on a ride.

I think about the toughest thing I've done...For me, it was wrestling in high school, and I think to myself this is not harder than wrestling an overtime round.

That thought has gotten me through a couple of serious bonks.

Sometimes, if you've done everything else right, it's all in your head.

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Old 08-04-17, 08:12 PM
  #18  
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Thank you guys so much for all of the advice and encouragement.
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Old 08-05-17, 12:15 PM
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You are way overthinking this. If you're doing 60-80 miles per week with 8K vertical, 116 miles with 10K is a piece of cake. I haven't done any long rides this year -- just my commute -- and I wouldn't hesitate to jump in on a ride like you're contemplating.

As has been mentioned, it's all about pacing and supported rides are easier. Keep an eye on your HR to help you manage your effort.

I disagree with those who say it's easier with others around. It can make it harder because you may try to keep pace with someone who is better than you in which case you're in for a world of hurt. If you can just ride your own ride, you'll be fine.
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Old 08-05-17, 10:56 PM
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It will be challenging but rewarding! Be rested before the ride. Hydrate the day before and stay ahead of hydration and calories. It will be a long day. Cramping is a danger so deal with that in the way you see fit. I hate to bring it up here but pickle juice helps me. Really! Take your time! Have fun!
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Old 08-06-17, 08:12 AM
  #21  
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This is the kind of thread where the OP needs to not post again for a week while we all wonder if he died by the roadside .... when we are at such a height of tension that we are about to attack one another, then he drops in to say, 'Yeah, it was fun and easy ..." and we can all be ashamed at how we acted ... and blame everybody else.

It's the BF Way.


Enjoy the ride, bro.
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Old 08-06-17, 10:30 PM
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May the Fred be with you.
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Old 08-07-17, 12:22 AM
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don't you watch any durianrider? a 40 tooth cog will solve all of your life problems.
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Old 08-07-17, 08:27 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Danny01 View Post
don't you watch any durianrider? a 40 tooth cog will solve all of your life problems.
I'm surprised how long it took for someone to mention or ask about gearing. For going up hills, if I have to get out of my seat to keep pedaling, then I need a larger cog on the cassette or a smaller chain wheel.

Though I'm not sure in what context I should take your comment.....
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Old 08-12-17, 07:37 PM
  #25  
Shinkers
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Bikes: '88 Trek 1200, '91 Trek 1400

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FWIW, this ride isn't until two weeks from today so it'll be a while before I can report back success or failure.


I built a new bike this week (not for this ride) on a size smaller frame and the shorter top tube is comfortable enough I'm considering swapping stems on my Trek (the bike I will be riding) to match. Granted, I've only ridden the new bike a dozen miles to shake-down, so not really sure on long term comfort.


With two weeks to go, is that rolling the dice? It'd be 20mm shorter.


Again, you guys have been fantastic and I appreciate the reassurance.

Last edited by Shinkers; 08-12-17 at 08:05 PM.
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