Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pactour Elite Southern Transcontinental: Day 7

Day 7: Roswell NM to Hereford TX
Mileage/Ride Time: 164 miles 9:25 Time Lv/Arr: 6:00am/5:40pm (+1 Central Time)
Climbing: 2000ft Avg Speed/Work: 17.3mph/4130 kJ

The 164 mile question is this: can you call a 164 mile ride a recovery ride?

I think there is a trick to riding the Elite Southern Transcontinental efficiently (for those who are not toast). This trick is don't ride on your own.

There was a quartering headwind all day. For those riding solo, it's a very tough and long 164 miles.

The trick basically means: (1) hammer in the morning, don't get dropped, (2) stay in a pack that makes good time untll lunch, so the time cut is not a problem, and (3) complete the miles without killing yourself after lunch, leaving yourself well recovered for the next day.

Easier said than done of course. If you haven't recovered from a bad day or have heavy legs, even step (1) sounds impossible. And if there are big hills to be climbed, fuggetaboutit.

Today, right glute wasn't giving me pain. It's not going to be perfect, that takes days off the bike to achieve, but as the massage guy Jon put it: at least, it's not getting worse. I found it painful to sit in the saddle at times, but that's another story altogether.

As for the implementation of the plan: I tried to stay with the pack from the 6am start. Lasted 19 miles before being tailed off. However, I stuck with a 2nd pack until the 22 mile water stop. This was a lifesaver.

After that first water stop, a group of about 8-10 people formed, including Jeff Linder, Richard Waugh, Don Magie, Chris Block, Brad Haslam, and Stuart Levy. Rotating on basic half mile pulls, a sensible tempo was maintained to lunch (106 miles). There were two flats in the group but everyone patiently waited. This meant nobody had to fight the quartering headwind on their own. The group managed to reform after lunch as well. So I spent the whole day this way.

So, although I started the day with heavy legs, I didn't feel so beat up by the end. Also, there was only 2000ft of climbing.

And so perhaps I can cautiously claim it was a "recovery" ride insofar as a 164 mile day can be. It's all relative though. Some people in the group seemed to have really fresh legs. The sprint for the Dairy Queen at mile 141 (free ice cream for PacTour riders) was hotly contested.

Two riders were ordered to sag in 2 water stops from the end. This is what can happen even on the easiest of days given cumulative fatigue.

Route (MapSource and Google Earth):


  • We crossed into another time zone today (Central Time) when we entered Texas.
    Each time the time zone changes as we move from west to east, we lose an hour of sleep. However, tomorrow, the start is at 6:30am, so we "only" lose another 30 minutes.
  • It has been 7 days of riding. An intense week.
  • I put on a new chain at the end of the day.
  • We have covered more than 1000 miles. See the map:

  • Tomorrow, it's 170 miles to Oklahoma. We just keep trucking


  1. Thanks for the blog posts. Keep them coming. And a big "Hi" to Stuart Levy from his Union comrades. :) I hope all is still on track for him.

  2. Stuart is strong and seems to love pulling into a headwind.

    However, he didn't ride Sunday. Low blood pressure?