Just back from the Quadzilla 400. This is a brevet in the fingerlakes region of NY, miles of hills short and steep and totalling over 30000ft of climbing. This is my final challenge before Ireland and it was a doozie!
20ish people toed the line sat mornin, and I was on my own with no crew, just a backpack and a stellar race organization, the rd was doing the event and he had 6 checkpoints staffed with food and fab volunteers. I had a hard time gearing up for this mentally, being pretty thrashed from the season and also travelling alone and not knowing anyone there. But, picking up my packet I was chatting with the other riders and everyone was quite friendly.
There was one other gal, Michelle, and they had us lead out. We rolled along nicely til we got a few miles from town and the climbing started on earnest. Before we were 10 miles in I was in the rear and full of doubts. It was quite windy which was actually good since it kept things cool.
I rode along and at 60miles in or so hooked up with a nice guy (who's name I cannot remember, so I'll call him Sir) going my pace. We chatted and rode and before we knew it hit 100 miles in 9 hours, yup, 9 hours. This course was brutal. We had a 5 mile climb to "lunch" which took close to an hour and enough walking to shred my cleats.
I ate a bit and then headed out alone to face a 40 mile section with 10 fresh chip and sealed miles and of course hills. At the next cp I was looking at my options and Sir rolled in along with another fellow, Stan, who spoke only a little English. We decided to take the short course option (355mi) and agreed to work together thru the night. A mile later we were walking up another steep incline side by side just laughing at the absurdity.
The shortcut skipped 30 miles in the next bit and when we hit the next cp the other gal was there. She has done this 4 times before and has the course record and made the same decision we did. She headed out as my trio ate a bit then followed after.
Time for rollers, but in the dark and too long/steep to really cruise. Stan dropped back to ride with some other folks and Sir and I came upon Michelle sitting at a church. Our new trio was formed and we continued through the darkness. We finally got a 30 mile easy section before hitting the hotel cp.
It was 24 hours in and we'd only covered 215 miles... We decided to do an hour sleep and then continue. An hour sleep takes 3 hours by the time you eat, sponge off, lay down, sleep, and then drag yourself back on the bike. That's why I don't get to see the inside of a hotel on Ireland!
Sir dropped out so Michelle and I headed out. The second day was rainy, ocasionally cold, and hillier than the first with a series of 1800 foot climbs interspersed with steep shorties. My cleats wore down from walking and I could no longer clip in with my left foot. Stan met up with us again so the three of us pushed each other along.
It was hard, but really fun. I learned a bit about hills riding with Michelle and we chattered nonstop. Stan was our quiet partner in crime. There was a .6 mile crazy steep grade that took me 10 minutes to walk up, Michelle powered up it but I had to stop and rest even walking. I tried to keep the pace up on the flats and downhills, and Michelle pushed us up the hills.
Finally, are you tired of reading yet, we got to the end. 355 mile, 39:2x. At least 6 of the starters dropped out, and the three of us did the short course. By all accounts the winds made it a tough year.
I'm really pleased with this event, despite the slowness and my nervousness going into it without knowing anyone. The organization was topnotch and I put it all out there. I was whupped going into the hotel CP, but the short rest really helped with the rest of the trip. I think it was a great final push for Ireland... Legs are tired today, but not too sore. Artemous needs a bath, and I already called my bike shop to get a 29 tooth cog so hopefully I can ride more and walk less in Ireland!
Bring on the taper!