Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Time for a BIG Bite

"You'll never know how big your mouth is until you bite off more than you can chew"

Well today was the day to find out. After prepping my bike last night I laid in bed wondering what tomorrow would bring. The forecast was for mountain top temps to get down to the low 50's/high 40's with a 50% chance of rain. That was good. I prepared a drop bag to be taken to the one and only rest stop/check point up in Winchester about 65 miles away. On the way down to the parking lot with my bike I "upgraded" my registration to 3 laps. The race directors John and Rodger looked at me with wide eyed disbelieve when I told them. Then they told me I was the only 3 lap entrant. Throughout the rest of the event they were the source of great support and encouragement.


My drop bag had :
1 gallon of Endurox
10 Gu packs
Gortex riding shell
2 Extra jerseys
A t-shirt
Arm warmers
Clean dry socks (I thought)


The nutrituion/hydration plan was a Gu every 45-60 minutes and 2 large water bottles of gatorade in between the stops. At the stops I'd down 32 ounces on Endurox and water as needed.


The group gathers in the parking lot


John C gives some last minute instructions

<----I chatted with John M and Kurt during the first few miles of the race. We'd leap frog for the next 8-9 hours.

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

JB


Comments:
I remember Pugsly. Luckily Kurt and I were together at that point and we didn't get the second question
 
I just wish I could've thought quick enough to give him a smart answer. I just said "Nope" and kept going. I don't know how you guys are feeling now, but my body is still pretty far from back to normal!

JB
 
This is goon stuff. Keep it coming.
 
I am feeling pretty good, but only did one lap. I ended up taking Sat off. I had a wedding in the afternoon and did't want to look at the bike in the morning. Sunday I was feeling great and rode a recovery century. My pics didn;t turn out great, the lighting was weird that day. When my wife returns with the laptop, I'll post them and send you the link.
 
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