Monday, March 19, 2007

How natty got his groove back....

As I am sure most of you are aware this weekend was St Patrick's day, a good excuse for most people to drink all day, wear green, act obnoxious all in the name of good olde st Patrick. God Bless the Irish. Well it was also the weekend that The Seattle Randonneur's held there 200km brevet. I had told a few people in the club that I was planning maybe to do this, but was hesitant to as I am still afraid of pushing myself too far and further being sick or doing a slow backslide in to the hole that I have been struggling to get out of. With so many highs and lows in the last year dealing with whatever got to me has been a valuable lesson, but one I don't wish to revisit. I was able to get the day before off, I didn't want to ride 200km or 126.8??? miles on little to no sleep. Looking at this distance was a bit intimidating, you may laugh, I have competed in long mountain bike races and even a few 24 hr races, but this distance would be the longest road ride I have undertaken, and nearly double the distance I have ever ridden on a fixed gear. After the 100km I went back and forth with gearing issues, should I stay with what I have been riding 45x18 or should I drop a tooth in the back to 45x17. I decided to just stay with what I have been on, not wanting to change anything right before a big day in the saddle. I was a bit worried about the weather, and not being the biggest road rider I was thinking what am I doing, I answered with its early in the season, much time to mountain bike and I really like the people they are really quality cyclist, no attitude just out enjoying a day in the saddle.
I will set the stage for you the ride was to start at 7am and it was about and hour from my house to the start, meaning i would have to be up way before I usually am. I got the night befores shift covered and hung out watching movies and taking it easy. Up at 5 eating and out the door to find my way to the start, yes I drove. Arrived at the start with 8 mins to spare till the start, register, spend time looking for Eric, he had a waterproof envelope for me to put the route sheet in so I wouldn't get lost, just before we roll out i find him and head towards the front of the 100 plus riders. We roll down the roads of Kent on our way towards Dash Point. I am so spun out on the 15% downhill, it is not raining and it is nice and warm. We are chatting and joking with one another, a few comment on my choice of bike, and make jokes about the fact that I am going to ride faster then them, they have googled me and the cat is out of the bag, I am a 24 hr mountain biker, no wonder I have endurance and such. I share stories with Chris Ragsdale, he has done some amazing things and has a big goal for the upcoming season. We are a group of about ten or twelve by the time we make it to the first check point of the day. We all stayed together until Green River Road at which time in short succession those of us on one speeds got spat out the back as the speeds reached 23 or 25 miles and hour. I tried to hang on but just decided that I would have to go my pace to finish and be in an ok state of mind. I gained a bunch of time back on the little climb out, catching most of the group by the time we hit the next checkpoint in Black Diamond. Flats have never been my strength and today I was going to have to ride my ride if I were to survive, my heartrate was a bit high in the begining, but calmed downa few hours in and stayed that way for the remainder of the day. I had a few stomach issues going on in black diamond that I had to take care of and missed the group of 5, including Chris by a couple of minuetes. It is here that my experience paid off, no one else wanted to leave and it is the time off the bike that kills your overall time so I was off by myself, where I stayed for the next 40 miles, riding by myself at my pace over flat and rolling terrain. The next section took us out towards the town of Greenwater, and out and back, I thought for sure that they would put big time in to me here, but I arrived to find them at the store in Greenwater, again I loaded up and rolled out thinking that they would eventually catch me, Chris and John did and Chris decided that it was time to go and that is what he did, he was gone, I briefly pedaled away from the rest of the group, but soon was caught and passed on a steep down hill, it wasn't the ups that hurt the most it was the downs as my legs were forced to spin at an ungodly cadence on some of the steep hills. It is here that I started to think about gearing again. We regrouped at the next checkpoint and now we were close to home, my goal of going under 8 hours was obtainable, it began to sprinkle lightly at first and as we got closer to the end pretty good for a few mins. We stayed in a group of 4 all the way in, arriving in 7 hrs and 35 mins. Mission accomplished. I was amazed to hear that chris came in at 7 hrs 18 mins tieing his time from last year. I am unsure how many more rides I will do with the Randonneurs again this year, mountain biking is still my major focus, but i had a great time and it is filled with lots of cool, quality people, I sure would like to get out for the 300km and maybe even the 400km, but only time will tell. Looks like next weekend will be a trip to Bellingham to ride with Kevin again, I hope the weather cooperates and we can enjoy warm temps and sun possibly, if not we will have fun not matter what. Thursdays are also devoted to mountain biking closer to home, last week Craig and I hit up Tokul West and had a great time.
as you can see from this picture I usually don't get up this early. This pic was taken by Kent Peterson just before the start of the ride on Saturday.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Nice to have you riding with us. The 300k through the Tahuya Hills is certain to be some fixed gear fun.