Tuesday, May 23

Four hundred and one (very long)

Okay so this post is overdue but here goes...

Last week was my first 400 mile week and it went really well. Those who follow along are well aware of the beginning of the week so I'll start with Friday. I woke up early, stuffed my seat pack and jersey pockets full and rolled out for a long day in the saddle. Marni and I left about the same time, her to work and me for Salida. It would be a good 12 hours before I'd see her again. The morning was already warm and even before 8am I rolled southwest in just shorts and a jersey for Golden and Morrison. My energy level was high and Golden came and went in one hour. Morrison was next and besides dropping my gatorade bottle and having it spill all over the road I had no issues. Rolling out of Morrison I hopped on 285 for just a couple miles before exiting onto South Turkey creek road. This side road bypassed some of the busiest sections of 285 but I just enjoyed the welcome shade and more gradual climbing. Before I knew it I was back to 285 and climbed into Conifer for my first stop of the day. I refilled by bottles at the gas station and called Scott to check in and have him email Marni. I wanted to keep moving since I had only completed 40 something miles and had well over 110 miles still before me.

Feeling strong I descended down to Baily and made good progress climbing fast towards Kenosha Pass. Eventually the climb begain to wear on me but I enjoyed the ride and passed the time by checking out the beautiful scenery. Eventually a sign alerted me to the 4 mile to go mark and I ticked off each tenth of a mile towards the summit. At 75.5 miles into my ride I summited Kenosha Pass and had climbed up and down from 5400 feet to 10,000 feet. Happy to descend for once I started down the backside of the pass. Unfortunately the backside greeted me with strong winds and poor road surface making my descent less than enjoyable. It was a sign of things to come and as I pushed on my route my mood became less than enthused. I was hungry for some lunch and sick of drinking warm Ensure. Hoping to find some lunch in Jefferson I rode with reaching the small town as my sole goal. Ten miles later I arrived in Jefferson to find the diner promising burgers and shakes dark, a sign announcing it's opening day on Memorial day. Dejected I pushed onward but I only made it out of town several miles before pulling over to the side of the road. I set my bike down in the gravel and relieved my bladder in a farmers field. Moving slowly I ate the only solid food I had, a small granola bar and I read the note Marni had written me. Her notes were now a tradition for my endurance rides and I looked forward to her words to help me through my low moments.

After a few minutes of rest and reflection I packed my trash in the front of my jersey as I had all day and got back on the bike. Having something like an hour to go to Fairplay, a town of unknown size to me, I did my best to pedal hard into the winds and up the hills. Along the way I stopped only to don arm and leg warmers as the weather had gone from sunny and 75 in the city to low 60s and cloudy in the high country. Eventually a town appeared ahead of me and when I reached a small but most importantly open resturant I pulled off and headed inside to find food. I spent about 40 minutes in Fairplay refueling my body and spirit. I knew there were still 60 something miles of unknown difficultly left to face. I called Scott again, the first cell reception in many hours, and let him know I was still planning on meeting him and Marni in Salida. It was easier to say those words than to convince myself I was going to get back on my bike and make it a reality. My chicken fingers and fries tasted great and I once again refilled my water bottles. After a quick conversation to some other Buena Vista century participants I remounted and cruised out of town.

Enter my new favorite bike descriptor, the nuclear tailwind (care of Dave Harris). The wind out of Fairplay was mostly a tailwind and I made the best of it to cover a lot of miles and improve my spirits. Mile after mile flew by and even after the tailwind was gone and the route turned back uphill I was feeling positive. I finally reached the top of one more small pass and began a great descent. In fact when I realized that I was going to descend 12 miles into Buena Vista I decided it was the greatest descent ever and couldn't stop smiling. Less than 30 minutes later I rolled into the outskirts of Buena Vista and turned towards Salida. While riding I grabbed my cell phone out of my jersey pocket and realized I had service again. I pulled over in Nathrop to call Scott and Marni who were now on their way to meet me. I figured I had an hour more of riding to get to the hotel so I told them I'd beat them there.

Although I covered over 20 miles in a little more than an hour between Buena Vista and Salida I wasn't tired. I was just motivated and happy to get to the hotel and get there as fast as I could. Wrists draped over the tops of the bars I time trialed the final 8 miles past the cows and 14ers into town. After stopping to ask a local and a couple trips up and down the side streets of town I arrived at the Days Inn, thus ending my ride. In all I covered 156 miles in a little over 9 and a half hours for a 16.2 mph average and a total time from door to door of ten hours and thirty seven minutes.
Marni and Scott arrived a couple hours after I checked in and we all went to grab a bite to eat before getting to bed early. In the morning we woke up at 6:30am to some rocking oldies music and drove over to Buena Vista to check in for the Buena Vista century. After we checked in we grabbed some delicious breakfast bagels and cinnimon rolls from a local bakery. After breakfast we all donned our cycling gear and began the ride. Marni, Scott and I rode together for a while before Scott got the itch to speed up a bit and we agreed to reconviene at the various rest stops along the way.

Marni kicked butt and we were at the first rest stop at 20 miles really fast despite it being all up hill. Scott was waiting for us and we had some great rest stop snacks. Good thing I don't do these kind of rides all the time or I'd gain weight!
We took off again for the 62 mile turn around and since Marni felt so good she came along with us. Climbing uphill and into the wind this time Scott put some distance on us but slow and steady Marni and I made our way 11 more miles to the next stop. Aside from Marni taking some advil for her knees she was in good spirits considering she'd already ridden further than she ever had before and we were only halfway! Unfortunately some bad winds and rain started right after we got to the rest stop and Scott, Marni and I got moving quickly back down to Buena Vista. Now it was all downhill from here for the most part but the first section was in the rain and with a pretty wicked cross wind. This was definitely not Marni's favorite but at least she had on my knee warmers.
Before long we dropped enough elevation that the rain and wind died down and the sun came back out. From this point it didn't take long to get back to the next rest stop and everyone was all smiles back in the warm sun. We even got to check out this sweet 5 person tandom piloted by a whole family, dad, mom and 3 kids!
The rest of the 20 miles back to Buena Vista went really quickly as Marni and I cruised down hill at 25mph. We got to really enjoy the collegite 14er peaks, Harvard, Princeton and Yale, along the way and also talk to a rider with only one arm. Marni was pretty amazed to see him bombing down the hills.
Finally Marni, Scott and I all made it back to town and changed into street clothes for the most important part, eating. The ride hosts a BBQ and then we had some ice cream before heading out of town and back to Denver.

218 miles in 30 hours, 401 miles for the week, and a recovery ride at 19mph on Sunday. It wasn't all easy but I'm really pleased with how well I feel and also how well Marni did! While I can't stay away from these enduro rides and races I've got a lot of short and fast stuff coming up and that's really exciting too. That's all for now, I've got to finish some work so I can go home and get a short ride in. Tomorrow is the final CCTT of the year. Wish me luck!


Cellarrat said...

way cool!

glad you had a good 400 week. One of thase days soon we will rock it on a long one.... Mabe the NB Endruo Snob?

Anyhow good luck on the TT mabe i'll have to spin out there and say hi.

Joel White said...

Wow, what a punishing week. I've taken inspiration in reading your blog and have been trying to ramp up my "training".

Scott DL said...

Awesome pics! Who the heck is the giant in white behind us in the one pic???

Marni said...

Way to go me :) (oh, and your gazillion miles was pretty impressive too I guess...)