Sunday, September 30, 2007

Abandonded 1000km

I left the 1000km ride after failing to make time cut at The Dalles - the first control after the overnight at Carson. The time was close, and I was aware that making it to Kelso on time was the benchmark to hit; however, the brief, actually easy (~60km, fairly flat and with the wind), ride from Carson to The Dalles went slowly enough for me that I was dead certain of heading down from Govt Camp well after dark, in the rain etc. I'd enough of exploring my boundaries for the weekend already. I think I found some, and called it enough.

Some highlights from the ride include:
  • We were riding against traffic heading south out of Issaquah on Friday morning, and got to observe some Seattle metro-area traffic - I was glad to not be in one of the cars stuck in traffic heading North
  • Skate Creek Rd - I like it. Didn't like the rain so much. We all ended up very cold in Packwood after that, and lost a lot of time and body heat as a result. A rational man would have called it enough then - 4 of us continued on anyway.
  • Enjoyed the climb up the shoulder of Mt St Helens from Randle. The temperature never read below freezing; but, we got close, and spent some time above a recent frost line. The headlamp showed the frost on the trees.
  • Late nights (and pre-dawn mornings), being cold and on about hour 20-21 of a bike ride induces sleep. Sleep is dangerous when riding a bike. Falling asleep on the bike, Kramer crashed into a ditch - which is bad; but, the good part is that since he was asleep he was very relaxed when he landed, and perhaps that minimized the damage. We both had sleep issues after a point. I never hit the ground (neither did John after that one time); but I came close a few miles out of Carson. My near fall started with a sharp swerve to the right, which woke me up enough to recover before getting to the side of the road. I had taken to riding towards the middle of the road to enhance the chance of recovering from a sleep-fall. Stopping wasn't an option, as it was cold, wet and hypothermia is an equal danger to a bike crash. I'm still pondering how to plan around situations like this in the future; caffeine comes to mind, as does not attempting high-pass parts of rides after 2:00am in poor weather. On warmer rides, I handle this easily with a 15 minute nap. Hmmm.
  • The following joke tested very badly between Randle and Carson: "A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says: 'Why the long face?'".
  • This alleged joke didn't test much better: "A Hamburger walks into a bar, sits down and orders a drink. The bartender sez 'Sorry, we don't serve food here'".
  • Maybe it wasn't the jokes, maybe it was the delivery.
  • The aid received at the controls was very helpful and I very much appreciate it. Thanks.
  • The chemical footwarmers work. Offered and accepted at Northwood, and no cold-toe-numbness issues afterwards. I plan to start using those.
The season's almost over. One more Brevet attempt to go this next weekend, and then it's on to disorganized rides and organized off-season training.


Amy said...

Epic weather - umm that sounds familiar ;-). Good job giving it a try. I think they need a new category not DNF - abandoned, ie came to senses - survive to try again when the weather is not "epic"

Paul Johnson said...

Glad you liked the toe warmers, they have worked well for me over the years, especially on a few of those really cold 200K perms last winter.

As for your sleep issue, wish I'd had same caffeine tablets to hand around too. I had a terrible time with those when I first tried using them a few years ago. But on that 3 volcanoes route year befor last I decided to try a half a tablet to see how that might work and voila! C'est magnifique!

Good on you for getting as far as you did on a very hard course.