Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tran Iowa

Soupy gravel roads, lightning storm, some sunshine, thick mud, pushed 3 ½ miles of mud roads (either pushed in the grass of carried bike) soft hilly roads with 3-4 mph uphills, and some 4 mph flats through the quick sand, light to moderate head wind all day until the end then 30 mph head wind. 134 miles of racing in 13 hours (less then an hour off the bike) followed by 3 ½ hours of pavement back to Grinnell in pouring, driving rain with three others. 181 total miles in 16 ½ hours. It really was fun and I felt great except for the blister on my foot from walking in wet shoes. I stayed warm, did not cramp and the bike worked great. Needed a bigger cassette. 58 starters, 27 made the first check point, about 15 made the second, 7 still riding when the race was stopped at mile 154 of the race. Conditions were such that we were not going to make the next check point so I figured no finishers. Chose the easy route of 43 miles back to Grinnell in the rain with 23 being head wind and 20 cross wind. Found out later if I would have gone on I would have been stopped but at least been a finisher. Bummed about that. Next year????????? I will post a more detailed adventure and some pictures later this week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


April 24th is about here. The training is done as much as I can. The only thing left it the execution of the ride plan. This will have to include many calories and ounces of water along with electrolytes and pacing. Physically I think I am ready and feel I am in the best shape of my life. Mentally I really want to finish this ride to wipe out the RAW DNF.
This is the picture of how my cyclo-cross bike will be set up for the ride. I will also carry a 70 ounces camel back.

Training has gone well. I did a 95 miles gravel road ride last Friday and felt really good finishing. Total time was 6 1/2 hours with 12 minutes off the bike. The diet was mainly fig newtons and perpetuam. Now all that is left is figuring out what to pack and how to carry it on the bike. The new headlight works great and I can't wait to get in the middle of no where and see how bright it really is. Being able to see well on the gravel/mud roads is going to be a big plus.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

200K Brevet

The photo at the top of the page is looking over the Mississippi at the Interstate 280 bridge at 6:10 Saturday morning. I decided to ride to LeClaire for the 8:00 start of the 200K brevet. I left home at 5:10 and was along the river right as the sun was cresting over the horizon. It was tough rolling out of bed at 4:30 but riding as the sun comes up is very rewarding.
The weatherman got the forecast correct and the wind was already blowing from the south west by the time I got to LeClaire for the start of the ride. This made for a nice ride to LeClaire and would also provide quite a push as we headed to Bellevue for the turn around. 15 riders started the day but the climb out of town split is up pretty good and left 8 of us together. The out and back route follows quite a bit of the Saturday TOMRV route going through McCausland, Elvira, Miles before heading north to Bellevue. There are no really big climbs but the entire course had rolling hills.
The pace was pretty high all the way up with Keith Wells of Des Moines pushing the pace on the hills. We averaged a little over 21 mph on the way up. We arrived in Bellevue with five of us together and another group of two right behind.
After a quick stop we headed back to enjoy the nice head wind. The first 11 miles along the bluff were protected from the wind before heading south to Miles. Just before heading south I dropped off the pace and was on my own for the next 25 miles until we got to Low Moor. There I caught up with three other riders and heading back to LeClaire as a group.
We finished the ride in 7:16. I did not eat enough early on and definitely did not drink enough water. I had plenty off water with me just did not drink it. This is something I will improve as I get closer to the Trans Iowa.
My next training ride will be 100 miles of gravel around Muscatine county with the bike set up as it will be for Trans Iowa.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ultra Training

I meant to post this at the begining of April but due to computer problems it did not post.

March and April need to be a big months for me as far as miles go. The 24th or April is my first big race of the year the Trans Iowa VI. Work has made my training very sporadic with some long hours and business trips. The weather the last couple weeks has been great so when I was able to ride it was pretty enjoyable.

Weekly miles:

Feb 22 - 333
Mar 01 - 190 (In New York for work)
Mar 08 - 199 (injured shoulder)
Mar 15 - 316
Mar 22 - 190 (In Canada for work)
Mar 29 - 196 (12 hour days at work)

Currently there is no traveling or "special" project at work so the miles will level out around 300-350 per week.

Training for ultra-distance events can very daunting. As with training for any type of sporting activity the weeks prior to the event need to be focused to prepare yourself for the event. When I was racing criteriums and road races I would work on sprinting, hill climbing or short burst of 100 percent effort. When your event is 24-26 hours in length specific training can be pretty tough. Training for ultra-distance races also includes comfort on the bike, fueling, hydration and night riding. To get a good handle in these areas you have to do looooonnng rides. Ideally a long training ride would be 10-12 hours. My longest this year has only been 8 hours. I have quite a few 4-6 hour rides but they are not enough. I plan to get a 10 hour ride this weekend.

Some of my miles have been on gravel with the cyclo-cross bike. Right now the roads are in pretty poor shape. There are sections that are like quick sand and are very difficult to keep a good speed or straight line. Hopefully some heavy rains will take care of the problem. Riding last Friday with a stiff cross wind on the gravel proved to be a bit of a challenge. Picture yourself riding down the road with a 20 mph cross wind. Your bike is leaning into the wind to compensate. The challenging part with the gravel is your wheels are basically sitting on ball bearings. If your center of gravity gets too far off you are laying in the road. When you hit the lose sections you need to be centered over the wheels but then the wind pushes you to the side of the road. During this ride I was actually looking forward to the head wind sections. Some of the aspects of gravel road riding that I love are low traffic, new roads and the new scenery. There are more miles of gravel roads in Muscatine county then paved roads. After 4 months of exploring them I still find new ones almost every time I ride. This picture is of a dirt road I found near the Cedar river off Independence avenue. My plans for the year are to keep riding the gravel once in a while just to keep from getting into a rut.