Monday, May 31, 2010

Brevet Prep and Flat-Yak 200km Ride

After some extensive recovering from the DRR 400km - and just letting the ORR 600km go - began prepping for the SIR 600km. This ride goes over 4 passes, and then adds a gratuitous loop around Lake Sammamish - to get the length to add up to 600km. I'd attempted this route 2 years ago and failed-and-bailed at 400km. Rematches are rare - I have a good success rate in rematch-rides.

The recovery phase had to address knee issues and overall fitness. I made some progress on the knee:). Regular weights.

I also worked on the bike. Changed my position on the bike - setting the seat a bit further back. And put the mountain bike gearing on the brevet bike - in recognition of the climbing to be done. Also put on the 'west-side tires': currently Pasala's. I run more flat-proof (and heavy) tires regularly in the east.

Pie Plate

I needed an appropriate test of the bike/rider assemblage. An available ride is the Flat-Yak 200km. It's a relatively easy 200km ride - out and back from Richland to Toppenish/Zillah, with some variations to make the ride more interesting. So I'm off on a Sunday. The ride-thought is to keep the heart rate around 120bpm - this level of exertion will be fairly easy on the joints. And I'll get to see what that effort-level translates into distance and time.

It's always hard to get out of bed early on a potentially lazy Sunday to ride a bike for a semi-absurd duration. But, I do this regularly. The night before is key - prep a lot so it's a quick exit. Get the bike into the den. Make a PBH sandwich. Fill the water bottles (and place in the fridge - under the sandwich). Pack the handlebar bag. Remember the frame pump. Etc. I'm down the hill at the Starbucks a little after 7:00am for my 'official' start time of 7:00am. A donut and part of a cup of coffee later (~7:15-20) I'm on the bike heading West. I finish the coffee while riding and press on. Distracted. I miss a turn on this route I've created and get a couple of bonus miles on Keene. But, otherwise no issues and arrive at Prosser.

It's water, receipt and out. I'd gotten a late enough start that this was a little close, in time. But, I get there w/ about 15 minutes to spare. And depart quickly. Right after Prosser I get to ride here:

Byron Road

And then it's the long stretch to Toppenish. Sometimes on this part of the ride there are views of Mt Adams, and sometimes it's enough to keep oneself entertained while passing the distance.

Mt Adams in the Distance View on the Bike

I get to Toppenish. The Safeway. The half-way point. Coffee and water. I'd finished the sandwich already. I'm sitting there, drinking coffee and taking in the news of the day, and a young man joins me in rando-vagrant-mode. He (reflexively?) asks me for change. I can't say no. Before I can hand it to him he's greeted by a local woman (my age?). He comes back and I offer him the coinage. I get to hear about his life. Relatives. Behaviors. Thinks of being a DJ. He offers to sell me some artifacts. I look; but, I'm not a collector. A friend/acquaintance of his shows up. Wasted. That's my cue to get going.

It's a short ride to the info control at Zillah. The information is on a sign at this cemetery. More flowers than I've ever seen here before. And people staring at the ground.

Zillah Cemetery w/ Flowers

And on through Zillah. Granger. Then one of the nicest stretches of scenery, and quietest roads on the route. Emerald Rd. There's the Yakima river to the right. Orchards to the left. A few houses around. I get a couple of photos of a flock of pelicans. Also saw a Bald Eagle. Huge.

Pelicans on the Yakima

Eventually I return to the relative civilization of small towns. Sunnyside. Grandview then Prosser again. One more refueling - water, coffee, ice cream sandwich. Home by 6:40 (official ride end: 6:27).

Everything seemed to mostly work. Looking forward to a big ride this next weekend.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Getting Ready for Next - Update

Ended up switching to the SIR 600km, June 5. Switch is motivated by work schedule giving the knee a little more time to recover, and additional training time. I attempted this ride a couple of years ago - had a great time but bailed at the 400km mark. Rematches are rare - so will make the most of it. Here's a sketch of the ride:

View Larger Map

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Getting Ready for Next

Next is the Oregon Randonneurs 600km Brevet. A week after finishing the 400km, the body is mostly recovered but with some issues remaining with the left knee. Other issues that emerged on the 400km were saddle related, and upper body/shoulder strength. Accordingly, I've been lifting weights, and listening to the knee. The essential physiological preparation is boring: clean living and exercise. So, it's weights/cardio/stretching every other day, along with (relatively) gradual re-entry on the bike. This next weekend is a local century: The Inland Empire Century. I'm planning to ride it with a couple of rando-riders. If that's ride-able, then will proceed with the 600. If not, probably not.

Bike prep is straightforward - changed out the saddle to a well-tested Brooks, and will add some lower gears to help with the steep climbs along the Oregon coast. The ride is unsupported - with an overnight about 360km in at Lincoln City. I intend to carry everything with, as opposed to using a drop bag.