Sunday, June 28, 2009

Things I learned on the SIR 100k

  • I need a better hydration setup for my Lightning. One water bottle cage won't cut it, as switching stuff from my bags is too time consuming while riding to a time limit. Ditto for food.
  • I need a place to put the cue sheet. Jersey pocket + recumbent = sweaty, inaccessible mess.
  • If I'm going to ride with SIR, I need to ride more hills, and/or get a better climbing bike (or just use the Salsa). I was spent after the 100k, but part of that was underhydration and lack of calories.
  • My stomach tolerated my gatorade/bread/luna bar diet quite well.
  • The Lightning is flexible, and slightly scary on bumpy downhills.
  • Need to accurately calibrate my cycle computer. Mismatch between my mileage and the cue sheet made navigation harder than it needed to be. I was off by about .3 miles a third of the way in, which made finding the turns harder than it had to be.

Well, I finished

Update - photographic evidence here (last manned control) and here (Loretta's dining al fresco). Lovely yellow helmet no?

Yesterday I rode my first rando event, the SIR "The Sound and the Fury - 100K" populaire. The course had some incredible views - Mt. Rainer, Tacoma Skyline, and lots and lots of water views. There were some killer hills, as advertised. I think I ended up walking three of them. I rode the first really steep hill in West Seattle, but it took so much out of me, that I thought I'd be better off hoofing the rest of them. Thankfully, all of the worst hills were over by about the 50k mark.

There was one other recumbent rider there, with a brand new Carbent - John (whose last name escapes me). He was new to recumbents, and his bike in particular, and I think he suffered a good bit on the hills. I saw him about 20 miles in, and he passed me, or I passed him, but either way I didn't see him again. Duncan was planning on riding the event, but life intervened and he had to miss it.

The ride started out at a pretty sedate pace in a good size pack. Everything blew apart by the first big hill. Suddenly we were many small packs, and I was toward the back, as expected. At the second hill, we fragmented even more, and I ended up in a pack of 1. Not much later, coming down Fauntleroy, I saw the biggest raccoon ever loping across the street, that thing looked a like a tiny bear.

A few minutes later, someone caught up to me and gave me a navigation/riding/suffering companion. Ryan was suffering a bit, as he'd replaced his front triple with a double after a mechanical mishap. Our paces were almost the same, and we stuck together through a quick 7-11 stop and some bio breaks.

Somewhere around mile 25 I checked the time against the cue sheet and control open/close times and realized we needed to step it up. It seemed to me Ryan was slowing a bit, and I needed to pass him, but I didn't quite have the oomph. At the manned control near Tacoma, Vincent helped us with water and snacks, then mentioned "Gentlemen,the control is closing, that means you have no time in the bank." At this point, Ryan and two other guys were chatting about who worked where at Microsoft, and I realized I needed to go. I said "point taken! I'm out of here", and none of the other riders seemed interested in departing. With that, I was off on my own for the rest of the ride.

The next few miles were quite favorable to my recumbent, and I averaged 17+ mph for quite a while and really made some time up. After turning north, up a longish climb, I had my first "maybe I could just quit now" thought, but I pushed on. I could see another rider a few hundred yards ahead of me, but couldn't close the gap uphill. At the top of the climb, we turned east with a descent (that I flew down) and some rollers, but I never saw him again.

I missed a turn not long after that as I couldn't see a street sign, and my odometer was out of sync with the cue sheet. That gave me a few bonus miles and a bit of extra climbing, though not many of either, as I realized my mistake pretty quickly.

At about mile 45, I think I started to run low on energy and had some bread and gatorade, but probably not enough. The terrain was mostly rolling the rest of the way in, and I struggled a bit on the uphills, and didn't even make particularly good time on the downhills. Nevertheless, I pulled into Loretta's with 7 minutes to spare, so I finished in time, and got my pin. I did go to the wrong door to check in, so I really could have finished a minute or so earlier without that minor mishap. I was so concerned about time at that point that I ran, pushing my bike down the sidewalk and through the parking lot to check in. I was pretty sure that would be faster than getting on the bike, riding and dismounting again.

All in all, it was a good, but tough ride. I shared a beer and burger with a few other riders, then headed home for some rest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Climing getting less pathetic?

Today I managed over 10 mph up the hill on Dexter going Southbound. Not setting any records to be sure, but several mph faster than I could manage last summer. Of course, I was on the Salsa which helps a lot, but still.

Post STP, I plan to do quite a bit more hill climbing. Hopefully I can improve even more by next summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bike Diet?

This morning, when I had a few minutes to spare, I weighed each of my bikes. The Salsa Casseroll came in at 27 lbs with a Tubus rack and a pump. The Lightning Phantom was a whopping 39! That was with a rack, tail trunk and seat bag. Otherwise, both bikes have 1 waterbottle cage, computer, and fenders. (The Salsa also has a bell)

I think I may need to cut back somewhat on the amount of stuff I carry when I ride. I've been doing hillier rides recently, and I can really feel the extra heft of the recumbent. I'll probably start with removing the rear rack and tail pack, and see where that gets me.

I hope this doesn't mean I'm in for a case of Titaniumitis, or even worse - Carbon Fiber Flu.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

70 miles 70!

Saturday I took the Lightning out the Burke Gilman, to the Sammamish River Trail, then east into some hills near Redmond. I averaged a paltry 13.6 mph, but really spend most of my time over 14. The hills just killed my average speed. Although I think I'm a bit faster uphill now than I was earlier this spring, going from 3.5 mph to 5 isn't enough improvement.

Overall I felt great on the ride, except for my lower back. It was a bit tired and sore on the last two long rides I did (56 and 70 mi), but felt fine after getting off the bike for a few minutes and resting. I'm trying to do more ab and back exercises during the week to help with that, and I'm pretty confident I can make some improvement over the next five weeks.

I doubt I can improve my climbing much in that time period though, especially with my limited training schedule. Since the STP route is pretty flat, I'm not too concerned about it. I mostly want to get better on climbs so that I can enjoy more riding in this area and keep up with any groups I join. Once the STP is over, I think I'll start riding shorter, but more difficult routes in pursuit of this goal.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Salsa Casseroll again

I took the Salsa out for a quick ride south of downtown Seattle and back last night, and just loved it. I really enjoy my Lightning for longer rides and comfort, but the Casseroll has a sprightly feel that is completely lacking on my recumbent. (It is also 10 lbs or so lighter)

I ended up riding several hundred yards on a dirt/gravel path to get around a detour and the relatively fat tires ate it right up. Ditto for the many RR crossing and potholes I encountered in SoDo. I returned home up 4th to Dexter, then up the east side of QA. I'm far faster on moderate slopes than I was last summer, but still find myself looking for one more gear on the steep stuff. Honestly, I think my gearing is low enough, I just need to ride more hills.