Sunday, April 5, 2009

(Not baby-related) Thrift Drug 200K Scouting Ride

The route

Short Version
  1. The route designer should be strung up by his pawls. Oh, wait...
  2. Didja know there's a big difference between riding, say, 105 miles, and 150 miles?
  3. The only person to harass me was a soccer mom. The rednecks, frat boys, and bikers (of the Hells Angels style, that is) all thought I was a righteous dude with legs like rocks (direct quote from aforementioned bikers.)

Long version
Left the house bright and early to do an official Volunteer Ride™. I'd agreed to pre-ride the route for next weekend's Thrift Drug 200K, the first official brevet in our region; the idea of riding 10-ish miles, then riding 126 miles, then riding 10-ish more miles, two weekends in a row, seemed like such a good one.

Made it to Jim's house in timely fashion (ok, only 10 minutes late for the start), grabbed packet with brevet card and materials for the controle stores, and was off. Bombed back into town, climbed Sycamore, and made it to the top at the exact cutoff time for the information controle. Realized that, given how close Sycamore was to the start, it's only 44 minutes to get from Jim's house in Shaler to the top of Mt Washington; this sounds like a good way to DQ riders mighty early :-(

Down Greenleaf to the Circle, then up Noblestown through Carnegie, Oakdale, and down to Sturgeon for a postcard controle at the post office. Amazing how well hidden a small-town US Post Office can be.

Up Finks (Run) Rd to Steubenville Pike, then over to Potato Garden Rd. As happens every time I ride Potato Garden by myself, I encountered a blue heron...starting to feel frighteningly totemic. This time, Mssr. Long-Legs was fishing rather than flying, but honored my passing with a piercing stare from his beady birdy eye.

151 to the first manned controle (th Buck Board Station), then up to Rt 30 all the way into Chester, WV, and the second manned controle. (Incidentally, no sooner had I crossed the West Virginia Border than I saw three-count-'em-three roadkill deer in the space of 50 feet. Huh?) Across the Ohio River to East Liverpool, OH, and began the long trip on Rt 68.

Okay, here's the "kill the route designer" part. 68 is relatively pleasant up through Rochester, but gets a little suckful from there to Zelienople. It really, really, really wears on ya after the first 20 miles or so. For future reference, I need to make sure that any routes I design at least take the riders OFF the same frickin' road for a break every 10-15 miles.

Anyway, all 30/40/felt like 60 miles of 68 passed relatively uneventfully. Stopped in Evans City for a bite to eat, then headed up the hill to Browsndale Rd. And then all the strength left my legs. It wasn't a full-on bonk, but was definitely a close cousin. I still had my spin, but had no power whatsoever; any grades over about 5% had me crying for my mommy and groping for my granny. [Edited to add: That didn't sound quite right, but you know what I mean.] And I still had 40 miles to go...oy vey.

Gulped some gels, swallowed some voodoo electrolyte pills, and drained one of my bottles of Heed, then kept on plugging away. I never bonked completely, but never really felt particularly good. That was less than fun; while I'd been on track for a sub-10 hour time for the 200K, this slowed me down a lot. I ended up crawling back to Jim's in something like 10:40; not bad, but that's a significant time hit for the last 30 miles of a ride.

Lessons Learned, Pithy Observations, Etc.
  • I'm glad I'm training out the pain now, rather than waiting for the 300K or CTC.
  • Once more, proof positive that it does get better (or at least not always worse) if you just keep turning over the pedals.


Alan said...

Sounds like fun. Can't wait to try it out on Saturday. Unless the weather is pure crap. I might be a little less motivated if that's the case.

Reddan said...

Long-range forecast looks chilly, but relatively crap-free. Of course, that is 5 days away; plenty of time for the sleet to move in.

Alan said...

Yeah, I've pretty much given up on weather forecasts, although I still check them all the time and wring my hands over them.

By Saturday we could have six inches of snow. Or a high in the low 60s. I'm sure the former is much more likely than the latter.