Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Time for a BIG Bite
My drop bag had :
The weather was absolutely perfect. Temps in the low 60's with cloudy/foggy/overcast sky. The first 25 miles or so were "rollers" along Lake Champlain. Rollers, rollers, rollers............. I don't get to ride many rollers at the beach but I'd sure get my fill of 'em at this race. With all the time I had to think throuhout this I pondered "What exactlty WAS a roller?" My best definition was an uphill after a downhill that didn't make me shift onto the small chainring. If I had to shift onto the small ring it got upgraded to a legitimate hill. For some reason I found myself wondering if the Bay City Rollers were cyclists.
On the way up a short steep hill into a snall town along the lake I rode by a bunch of young school kids waiting for the morning bus. One Pugsly lookin' 4th grader asked if I was in a race. I answered "Yep". Then the twerp asked me if I was in last place. Kids say the damdest things.
Toward the end of the first long climb after Elizabethtown my seat suddenly dropped down the whole way as the post dissapeared into the seat tube. This would happen a few more times when I was climbing seated on the rivot. The first long downhill was a real rush. All my prerace thoughts about the course centered around the uphills - since I'm a flatlander I was understandably concerned about how I could handle them. Turns out the downhills require just as much concentration and even more technique. I had allot to learn.
<--Looking back at the end of the first long (3+ mile) downhill into the Keene valley. You could go as fast as you dared here.
At the first check point I slammed 32 oz of Enurox, reloaded my bottles with ade for my gator and filled my pocket with more Gu. Total time at the stop about 7 minutes.
John C, John M, and Kurt at the aid station in Wilmington.
The rest of the first lap was fairly uneventful, nice smooth tempo, enjoying the sights.
The last climb out of Keene Valley was a bear - long and steady with 3 separate areas where the pitch increased. I realized after that climb that I'd be in need of water to stay ahead of the hydration curve for the last 35-40 miles. Luckily there waa a small Greek Food trailer just before passing back under rt 87. I drank a few bottles of water there.
Those ski jumps were HUGE. I wonder if anyone ever rode a mountain bike dowm 'em?
There was a cool gorge to ride through on the way out of Lake Placid. It WAS like a wind tunnel though. Wind blasting you head on on the first 2 laps.
The Stretch of Bad Road
A few miles after you turned south on Rt 9 you hit a stretch of bad road. Rick had talked about this and I was actually looking forward to it because once you were done with it you were supposed to be "almost home". I couldn't imagine it would be as bad as he said. It wasn't. It was worse! Words can't really describe the beating this road put on you. The road was crossed by countless expansion strips, except they were all expansion and no strip. It started with a steady da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, as you rolled over the initial pavement joints, Then the potholes came and the expansion joints were more frequent and unevenly spaced. The steady rhythmic sound became da-dum, ba-da-bump, da-da (oh F!)babum, bada-OUCH-bum, da, dum, (MF'er). This went on for a FULL ten miles. Not 9.5, 9.75, or 9.9.........TEN.
<---The guy who put this sign up put one at Everest high base camp that said :
Expect Cool and Breezy Conditions Ahead
As I turned down the road to finish the kast 17 miles of rollers the rain started, and got quite heavy at times. Combine this with high speed semis flying by and blasting you with blinding spray and you had conditions that were far from ideal. I was still in the tail end of the 4 lap support groups. Seeing cars repeatedly leapfroggong ahead of me to pull over and wait for their rider. Down this last stretch I passed James from Orlando who was wisely in his support van.
More to come