Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stagecoach 400: Day3

With only 70 miles and a true bonk, Day 2 was a mini disaster, at least from a ‘best time’ point of view.  But the day finished up nicely with dinner and about 15 miles of riding with Ty.  Ty also had a rough day 2 but you would never know it from his demeanor or attitude.  Once we had some hot food Ty was right back in the moment, enjoying the experience and looking forward.  He told me he was going to take his time and enjoy his vacation days, I however was getting up early as I had to finish Monday for work reasons.

For Day 3 I recalibrated my goals for a Monday finish, with the main goal being to enjoy the urban experience and not to bonk on the last section.  I rolled out of Alpine at 4am, fully re-hydrated and stocked with sodas, juices, red bulls and a few select goodies.
Having semi bonked on day 1 and fully bonked on day 2 my confidence was sagging more than a little.  As a result I soft pedaled pretty much the entire day.  This turned out to be the ideal pace to take in and ‘experience’ the flow of urban bikepacking thru San Diego.  I have visited SD numerous times for work but never like Day 3.  I raced a homeless man on a clanking bike with a massively bent rear wheel, he kicked my butt.  I talked to two TDR riders.  I was asked several times on the bike path if I was doing the SC 400.  I saw cool boats, ostentatious mansions, hole-in-the-wall bikes shops, beaches and single track. 
I got a light scolding from a park ranger for riding down a signed/closed road.  All in all this day is why I came, it was great.  So different than any other multi-day I have done.  Kudos to Brendan for his SC 400 route!!

In one sense I was all alone on day 3 as I did not see a single SC 400 participant.  I guess this can happen when you are way off the back…..
I rolled on till about midnight.  I camped up when it got steep enough to get me walking.  I was up high enough it was almost cold—again I enjoyed the luxury of my tent, air pad and warm bag.  I slept great knowing I should be able to finish within my allotted time with no real hurries.
Day 3—125miles in about 20 very easy hours

Comment: Day 3 was very much like a slow easy TDR day—felt good to get in some easy, mostly flat miles…………

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stagecoach 400: Day 2

TDR bike,  all ready for a run thru the desert down to the sea.......... 
By the end of day 1, around 9:30pm I was slightly dehydrated and running on adrenalin instead of re-supply calories.  The legs were still good and as the temps had cooled off I was still slowly riding along in the deep sand.  But it was time to change strategies.  Having worked my way into the same situation many times in the past I knew if I camped up, laid down and slept for an hour or two my appetite would return.  However if I continued I would eventually reach a point of no return.
I walked 90 deg away from the road for about 200 yards and camped up.  I had my full TDR kit—tent (ZPacks™Hexamid Solo Tent ), pad and bag, so once set up I was resting in the lap of luxury from a multi-day point of view.   I placed a full 32oz water bottle and my half eaten dinner next to my head, laid back and stared at the moon and stars.  I woke at 12:30 hungry and thirsty.  Ate and drank and watched some bugs in the bright moon light trying in vain to find their way into my netted tent.  Ha take that nasty desert bugs……

I re-woke at 1:00am feeling ready to go.  My alarm was set for 3am and I finaly gave in and got up at 2am. My plan called for me to deliberately bypass the still closed store at Agua Caliente Springs and reach the RV park store at Oakzanita Springs before 4pm close time.  Now Oakzanita Springs was only about 50 to 60 miles away so you would think this was a reasonable resupply plan.  And I still had plenty of calories, just ones that were not particular appealing to my fickle stomach.  Also there were several places on route for water . So off I went into the night, hanging on to my hopes for a better day.
Needleless to say-- I crashed and burned as soon at the real climbing started and the sun came out.  In short I really should have waited till the store at Agua Caliente opened and ate & drank till the ol body was truly re-fueled.   I met several racers along the way, they were all passing me as I continued my decent into bonkdom.  By 4pm I was still a few miles from the RV store at Oakzanita Springs.  Most of the day I kept my smile but by 4pm if someone in a pickup truck had stopped to chat I would have gladly offered them $100 to haul my sorry butt back to my van in Idyllwild.  (also I was so preoccupied with my suffering I did not take any pictures on day 2-- so any here are from day 1 or 3)
Group at Borrego Springs
I skipped the burritos--in hind site this was a mistake 
Once I reached the now closed RV store I went looking for someone to possibly open it up and sell me something cold to drink.  No luck with that but “hallelujah” I was offered a tall ice filled glass of strawberry soda by a picnicking couple out for an evening day hike.   And then my luck fully turned 180 deg when fellow SC 400 racer Tyrel Beede pulled up.  Misery does love company and the two us were sharing plenty.  Together we made a plan to share our mutual woes all the way onto the Mexican restaurant at Descanso.  Soon we were stuffed on great Mexican food and all was again right with the world.  Smile fully back!  All that really matters is some good resupply……….

Ty & I both got hotel rooms that night in Alpine.  As soon as I checked in I walked over to the Carl Jr’s and got a second dinner with extra milk shake and drink---did I mention-- all that really matters is some good resupply……….

Ty was great company and his positive, laid back attitude really lifted me back up to the point of enjoying myself despite my many self-induced, minor setbacks.

Day 1: 103 miles in 15 hours
Day 2: 70 miles in 17 hours

Day 3 up next--(the joy of multi-day returns full force)
ahh--down to the cool 'cool' ocean on day 3..........

PS: I am embarrassed to point this out but the whole time I was suffering on day 2 I had a large but forgotten packet of drink mix stuffed away in the bottom of my bags.  Had I remembered it and used it strategically I might have been able to reach he RV store before the close at 4pm.  That would have totally revamped my race going forward. oh well.........

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stagecoach 400: Day 1

The Stagecoach 400 is in the books.  As expected I floundered in my first heat of the year.  But other than some moderate heat induced bonk/dehydration woes it was a fun little route!

Day 1:

At the start I got to chat with my multi-day friend, Forest Baker.  Read his SC 400 blog post for a glimpse of how to do it right . Forest pulled off pretty much what I had 'hoped' to do.
Anyway, we departed Idyllwild in the cold at 6:30.  Knowing it was overkill, but wanting to tryout my cold gear, I went ahead  and wore my eVent rain jacket and rain knickers as wind breakers.  With my baklava, toe covers and over-gloves I was toasty warm during the initial decent (actually I broke a sweat on the 1st hill).  Anyway--Check for nice wind/cold gear test. 
Of course I already knew how this gear performed from all the 40 deg rides around Colorado but what the hey, the whole tone of this event was play and test.
Soon we were at lower elevation and I stripped off all the excess gear as the day began to heat up

Water in the desert, pretty cool right? To bad it was only for a short section early on........John ? blasting by in a rush to make up time from a flat.....


Strange mating rituals (perhaps a mirage) take place in the California desert

I maintained a very modest pace but by the time we hit 70 miles I was slightly overheated.  And at this point I made a judgment error that cost me any chance of “racing” to my best potential.  Basically I hurried my main resupply before the desert section.   And why one asks did I hastily leave that nice shady spot at the last stop/convenience store?
Why did I leave this nice spot in such a rush--stupid stupid

Silly, but they did not have a bathroom on site, and I really really had to find a bush.  So off I went like an idiot, only about 60% rehydrated and with my frustration and crossed legs--a ill thought out choice of resupply liquids and food.  One short hour later I was beginning to truly regret my rushed resupply.  And one day later I was truly crawling, still in recovery debt from this simple day-1 re-supply folly.

Now there was a resupply store at the end of the desert section but you had to get there by 9pm. Due to my rapidly degrading pace I soon realized I was not going to make it.  This was frustrating but not seemingly a big deal as the whole idea of the SC 400 was to train/test for the TDR. 

it was cooling of but the damage was done, I was not going to make the next resupply store before it closed........

 Anyway at 9:30pm I camped up short, slept for a few hours in the truly beautiful desert night (under that full full moon) and though up a plan to regain lost time.   
Of course my new plan soon backfired as it called for skipping the only nearby store in the still wee hrs of the morning and pushing for the 'next' resupply point. Ha, one mistake on top of another, I was floundering like a multi-day rookie but with a smile (most of the time)
More to come in day two (how to bonk in a multi-day yet have fun doing it)
PS:  I should probably mention at this point that part of my 'testing' involved no chamois cream on day 1. Hey, I wanted to see what would happen--but the results were as expected and I would not recommend this test procedure (at least to a friend).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Last Shake Down

Pre Stagecoach 400

edit: click here to follow the race:

I had to take the work van west to Las Vegas catch a plane east etc etc—but on the way so I got in an unexpected, last/short 2 hr shake down desert ride.  Also stayed up late and sorted thru all the small bits and pieces. Funny how they all add up--the final bike cut "always" winds up heavier than you think it will during your 'round-town' training runs.

I really am tempted to reconfigure the bike for the Stagecoach 400 rather than the TDR.  If I used a small backpack, and dropped some cold weather/rain gear-- I could eliminate the entire front bags if I went ‘race-light’.  But the whole idea of the SC 400 is to use it as a prep for the TDR—so I stay on plan….
So here is what I will run for the SC 400 (who knows what it will look like come TDR)  it’s going to handle single track like a pig but what the hey…………

Few more shake down ride pics:


Thursday, March 6, 2014

1 Week till the Stagecoach 400

Sort of ready but not really……….

As the Stagecoach 400 approaches I have never been so unprepared for a multi-day race. 

The bike is mostly ready but there are key components glanced at but truly left unchecked and as is.  (I will be using my TDR setup, aero bars, tent--the whole 9 yards.....well I am using different/larger tires......)  And now the bike will be sitting untouched for the next week while I fly about the country in pursuit of money to pay for things like mtn bikes, TDR racing, mortgage payments and food for the table......

The gear is mostly packed but the little items, tools, personnel kit etc are just random piles in a box that may or may not contain what is really needed. 

The clothing and sleep system are mostly set, but the new shoes will be left home, un-cleated and in their shoe box.  

The new dynohub, light and USB charger are installed but not fully tested. 

The just received 2014 SC 400 GPS track is up loaded but not double checked.  Some water and food Waypoints are still a bit of a stab in the dark…….

The training is mostly on track (for the TDR in 2+ months) but you can only train so much on hotel exercise cycles. And the weight loss is on track (now at about 167lbs) but again that’s on track for the future TDR, not the SC 400.  So I am still a bit porky for a real race.

And most of all that body/mind Zen state of being is NOT going to kick in during the 1st hr and last till the end of 3 or so back-to-back all-day efforts.  With the exception of a few 4 hr training rides  virtually all my training/base miles are from 1 hr sweat sessions on a trainer of some type. 
So while the legs have had some simulated interval work, the overall body is in for a truly rude surprise around  mid-day next Friday --when I tell it NO-- no stoppey now--why we are just barely getting warmed up………

Actually I do not mean to whine--I truly am looking forward to this race.  100% new-to-me route combined with my version of an underprepared/ wing-it style. 

But--Why what could go wrong?  Makes me think of that quote--something about ‘the real adventure begins when things start to go south’…………

I will add/edit in the actual SC400 2014 SPOT tracker page when it’s available   ....
edit: click here to follow the race:  SC 400 SPOT Tracking