Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stagecoach 400: It a wrap

Final day: Cool Historic church in Warm Springs 
Day 3 of my SC 400 was a enjoyable pleasant urban mountain bike foray thru the greater San Diego area.  The day wrapped up with a camp spot on a remote back country road far away from the city. 
To a large extent  my final day was a extension of day 3.  I got up early, but by my standards slept in an extra hour.  Thru the morning hours I knocked out steady but modest pace, not wanting to lose hold of my regained assurance that my body would hold up as the temps climbed.  

Just past Warm Springs, while climbing Lost Valley Road I had the chance to chat with the owner of Revcycling (George Red-Eyed VireoVargas).  George soft pedaled his nice road bike up the climb next to me and we chatted away.  We were behind some of his training camp riders.  He was riding for the 1st time post hip surgery and I was pushing 50lbs of bike & gear, dragging butt after 3 days of shock immersion back into multi-day.  Turns out George has done the Furnace Creek 508 numerous times and is a RAAM finisher.  
At the end of the pavement I stopped and George snapped this picture (say does my red jersey make me look fat—don’t answer that question)
While stopped some hikers passed by, they were coming down the dirt road I was about to head up.  They mentioned something about seeing other bikers, with their bikes all packed up like mine.  How long ago did you see them I asked, oh just a little while back…….Humm must be other Stagecoach 400 racers.  George handed back my camera,  chuckled at bit at my expression as I quickly jumped back on my bike and said something about ‘race on’……
I had no idea there were any SC 400 racers anywhere near me and while I sort of wanted to ‘race’ someone, what I really wanted was to catch up to someone to share the finish with.  My pace jumped up for a few hours to full multi-day effort.  Hard as I could go but yet sustain till the end of the race. This section of the route was rough up-and-down fire road with numerous false summits.  As I crested one false summit I finally saw what I had been hoping for, sight of a fellow SC 400 racer working his way up the next climb, still about 1-2 miles ahead.  I had hoped to catch up before reaching the last resupply point but could tell from the gap and my now rapidly fading adrenaline rush I was not quite going to do it.  I kicked my pace back a notch and settled for the chance to meet up with the mystery racer in front of my at RV Park convenience store.

As I pulled up to the RV store I saw a SC 400 bike out front and met Michael Grosso.  Michael was about ready to pull out but we talked for a bit before he left.  And met up again later on the trail. Turns out Michael was doing his first multi day and had all sorts of adventures and miss-adventures to share.  Michael and I chatted up a storm on our way all the way back to the finish at Idyllwild.  We continued out talk thru dinner and met again for breakfast. I suspect we will see 'Michael Grosso' on a TDR strat list soon--he is a true student of multi-day racing and now that he has his 1st one under the belt is truly ready for more........

So the SC 400 is a wrap.  Know I am getting my head back into the TDR.  With that in mind—SC 400 lessons as apply to the TDR:

  • During the SC 400 I deliberately pushed some limits with regards to chamois cream use. I had to resort to using some Num-Zit gel during the last 2 days, not a big deal for a 4 day event.  However I have decided my current saddle and bib shorts will not suffice for a 20+ day race.  So now I am testing new bib shorts, chamois cream durations and saddles.
testing new shorts & saddle during the weekend......(say does that red jersey make me look skinny---say yes----)
  • On the other hand I did not have any other contact point issues, hands and feet were good, tent/sleep system while over kill for the 400 were truly luxurious compared to past set ups.  Bike and drive train performed flawlessly.  The only ‘mechanical’ on day 2 when I inadvertently I knocked off the dynohub wire connection and was not charging my head lamp as thought.
  • I was carrying extra clothing and am still constantly thinking of new combinations for the TDR and new storage/packing schemes—I suspect this will continue right up till day 1 of the TDR.
  • All my small personal items were exactly what I needed/wanted.  And a few weeks after my weight is down another 3 lbs.  (now down 21 total with about 8-10 left to go)
  • Oh and I really like my new Boulder Bikepacking Tank and Seat-post bags (more about them in a later post....)

All in all the SC 400 was a good early shake down of body, mind and gear.
(oh & I think I finished 20th out of 38 starters)



  1. Michael Grosso here; Marshall - I never saw this follow up blog to your SC400. It was an absolute pleasure to ride with you. Things were really off for me after the Sunshine Market. I pushed so hard on zero food just to get there, I thought my day would turn around. Was so happy when you caught up to me and set me in the right direction. It was great talking and learning from you. Definitely ended that race on a high. Watching your TD progress. Wishing you the best.

  2. Hi Marshall, have enjoyed reading about your Stagecoach experiences ! Wish you the best this year with TD !