Sunday, June 28, 2009

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.

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