Since Drew is running Boston this weekend, I took Wednesday off to get my long ride in. I was planning to do it Friday, but the weather forecast was grim (snow) for Friday and 70's for Weds. A no-brainer!
I picked up Artemous last week (a beautiful new Kestrel RT-900) and had gotten 180 miles on him but this was to be our big bonding day. (Pictures will be posted here whenever we manage to get me, Artemous, and a camera to gather at the same time… a picture of her frame is a few posts down). Tuesday night I installed her fancy seat post, mounted headlights and a taillight, packed a bag to give to Drew, and tried to think of anything I was forgetting. To bed at 10…
The alarm went off at 3am and up I go. Ate a muffin and drank some decaf coffee (I'm caffeine tapering for my race May 2nd) and hit the car. Drove to a park n ride in Aspen Park, which is between my house and Denver at 7600 feet or so. Put on a ton of clothes, turned on the lights, and headed out at 4am. It was chilly, but not too cold. A bit spooky to be out on the deserted roads. A few lights on in houses as people were beginning to stir but mostly quiet. I cruised down the hill, but pretty cautiously because there's a lot of gravel left from last week's snow, plus the faster I went the colder I felt. Down to Denver and then looped out to Parker. Watched the sunrise, and ate some Gu chews (blueberry pomegranate, YUM!). Saw my odometer as the sun came up and I was definitely cruising slowly… under 14mph. Picked up the pace. At 9:30 I was definitely getting warm so I stopped by Drew's office, drank a Boost (sorta yuck but okay), dropped off my outer layers and lights. Had pulled my average to 14.5, so 5:30 in I was at mile 80.
I added a second pair of bike shorts. On Saturday's ride I tenderized my bum (new bike seat, not quite the same position) and the second pair really did the trick. My bum was tired by the end of the day, but not raw.
Headed South for my next leg. Unfortunately the wind had come up, straight from the south. 3 hours later I was barely 30 miles in. Stopped and ate a nutter butter, pushed another 30 minutes then decided to turn around. Flew down the road barely pedaling. Got a bit sleepy actually since I wasn't working hard. Stopped for a drink and Resse cups and kept on. Decided to do some laps on the road around a state park so that I could at least phase the wind… phase 1: easy pedaling, phase 2: stiff crosswind, phase 3: work as hard as I could, phase 4: stiff crosswind. Did 2 laps and then back to Drew's office. Stop by McDonald's for a Southern chicken sandwich (a gift from the bike gods… would never touch it in real life but it is the thang on the bike) and chocolate chip cookie. I was 11:05 in, so I grabbed my lights and agreed to meet him at 8:30 in Morrison.
Had the wind at my back for awhile but then it switched up and came out of the West. The rest of the ride was wind, hills, grr… repeat. The sun went down and I put on my lights and knew I was less than a half hour to go. Had to make a few little laps in the parking lot, but I managed to hit my 15 hours… only 214 miles but they were hard fought and I'm pleased with them. 16:30 including stops.
Artemous is a champ! We went full carbon (the frame of course, but also seatpost, handlebars, and all…) and he dampens out the road noise beautifully. Decided to not put on aerobars (which looks weird to me) which gives me a lot of nice positions on the bars. I'm learning to ride in the drops too… All in all I'm pretty tired today, and somewhat ravenous, but I have no real aches and pains.
I know these long rides are supposed to be tough, and it was in a good way. But, I have a real hard time wrapping my head around doing it 6 times. I expect RAW to take around 90 hours… I can’t quite fathom that today. Next week is a pretty long training week (the highlight on the schedule says "LONG WEEK ALL WEEK" in caps and everything) and then I've got 24 Hours of Davis on May 2nd. May looks to be a doozy, and hopefully by the end of it I can truly envision crossing the finish line strong.
Snowing like crazy here today… glad I did this on Weds!
OCN: 3757 miles this year