Friday, June 15, 2007

Pactour Elite Southern Transcontinental: Day 6

Day 6: Socorro NM to Roswell NM
Mileage/Ride Time: 170 miles 10:07 Time Lv/Arr: 6:00am/5:21pm
Climbing: 5000ft Avg Speed/Work: 16.9mph/4416 kJ

I really didn't feel like riding this morning.

First time I've contemplated not starting since the Elite Tour began on Sunday. Not getting recovery and still having to put in long hours on the bike was getting to me.

However, I did start:
  • Jon Jahant, the Elite Tour massage therapist, worked on my right glute for 30 mins last night. I hope the pain I've been experiencing is reduced.
  • Afterwards, I sat in the spa for 15 mins as well.
  • Plus, at breakfast I was given the purple pig to carry today. It's a plastic toy that squeals when squeezed.

    Rather embarassingly, it was squealing like crazy when I was trying to squeeze it on top of my Moots bag while Lon was giving last minute instructions at the start.

(Why I was given it remains a secret between me and the pig for now.) And that was a big incentive to finish. I'm told not everyone gets to carry the pig. I guess since there are 17 days and we started with 50 riders, that must be true.

Anyway, today, I was praying for any sign of improvement. If I can't find a way to recover, I'll be riding myself into the ground and be totally wasted every day, raising the ire of Susan. To my great relief, today was a better day. Not a great day. But let's just say the purple pig had a good ride.

The plan was 170 miles to Roswell NM plus 5000ft of climbing:

I started off in the big pack. And managed to stay there for 15 miles of rollers averaging a bit over 20mph before I fell off the back.

This is a big deal for a tired rider because even though you get tailed off on a climb, there are smaller groups behind that you can surf for a while, rather than battling it out alone. I reached the first water stop this way by sucking the wheel of Jeff Linder (of Bike Friday) and Fred Matheny.

Leaving the first stop, there was a strong sidewind component as I headed south. The weather forecast for the area had indicated a 14mph wind from the east and high temperatures around 90F for the day. I was by myself at first but fortunately, I was passed by Scott McIntosh (who didn't say much but) provided steady shelter. Again, for a rider who needs recovery, this is a much better strategy than letting the pack go and grinding out 170 miles by yourself.

My right glute locked up fewer times today, so I was riding a bit stronger (or more accurately, less weak) than yesterday, but I still got seriously tailed off on every climb of course. You do what you can in the circumstances. I even managed to ride at the back of a group with Lon on his single speed for a while. I felt halfway like a rider.

As a result of extra minutes spent surfing wheel after wheel that passed me, I arrived at the lunch stop comfortably ahead of the time cut and didn't feel ready to die. Even Susan Notorangelo was pleased.

I posed for a picture with the pig at the 106 mile lunch stop.

Having made the cut, I decided to back off a bit on the last 65 miles. This is a luxury I haven't had for the last few days.
The profile looks favorable but you wouldn't think so. Since we were heading more or less due east, there was a strong headwind coming into lunch and all the way into the finish in Roswell.

I rode carefully for a while, then joined Chris Block (whom I know from the Boston Brevet Series and Boston-Montreal-Boston) for the last 40 miles or so.

Course (MapSource and Google Earth):

Tomorrow, we leave New Mexico and head into Texas. 160 mile day. Hopefully, Jon can work some more on my right glute tonight. The PacTour operation just keeps moving forwards. Gotta stay with it or leave.


  1. I knew if you hung in there things would start to improve for you. Keep hangin' in.


  2. Sandiway,

    Rick Hardy here from TTF. Hang in there. many of us TTF'rs are following your efforts. I forwarded your blog over to a freind of mine - Ed Kross who I am sure you know.

    Stay the course!

  3. Thanks for the support!
    I didn't realize you guys (TTF) were reading...