Sunday, November 4, 2007

Arizona 200km Brevet (Mt Lemmon)

Yesterday, I attempted the hardest 200k brevet I've tried to date. See Great route, I hope Susan Plonsky (the RBA) decides to make it a permanent fixture.

62.5 miles from Dove Mountain on Tangerine Rd to the turnaround point in Summerhaven at the end of the Catalina Highway and nearly to the top of Mt Lemmon - and back - makes for an epic 200k. A nice touch is that we got to mail a postcard (provided) at the (closed on weekends) postoffice in Summerhaven. Zip code up there past 8000ft is 85619.

As a local, I've done the Mt Lemmon climb many a time. However, I haven't attempted it after a 5 month layoff before - my last ride was at the end June after the transcontinental, so I knew I was going to suffer. I've been trying to become a runner exclusively this semester, so my quads weren't getting the workouts they needed. I didn't think I was going to have to get off my bike a dozen times though.

My stomach cramped up on the climb - I use Sustained Energy and dosing is critical for me: too much and my stomach rebels (as it did yesterday), too little and I bonk. Build up of tolerance is another factor. I switched immediately to plain water. That makes the stomach cramps disappear but then of course my stomach is not processing correctly and on a climb of this magnitude I ended up bonked anyway. That's when it got difficult: riding half mile chunks, stopping, and riding a bit more until I hit the Palisades checkpoint (mile 20 on the climb) where Susan was waiting with food and a drop bag. A banana and some brownies and I started to recover.

Five miles remaining to Summerhaven to mail the postcard and back down to the Palisades where I ate a sandwich for lunch. I then rode the rest of the brevet with Alan Marmostein, finishing at 4:40pm having started at 7am. We'd started off in the same group but Alan simply was too strong for me as soon as we started the Mt Lemmon climb. And he probably outweighs me by 50-60lbs. Ouch! He is clearly in excellent shape. (BTW, Carol Havrda from Colorado finished at 3:12pm.)

About 20 miles or so into the ride, the lead rider just a minute or two up the road got hit by a car exiting a road onto Sunrise. Separated shoulder and squished disc in the back. Paramedics were there even before our group arrived. Turns out it happened next to a firehouse. Rather sobering as always to see a rider down, but at the same time it was reassuring to see that he got immediate medical attention.

Some ride details now... I carried a Garmin etrex vista to record the route.

1. Mapsource:

2. Google Earth:

3. The profile, total 8700ft of climbing:

4. The descent from Mt Lemmon from my SRM powermeter.
It's a bit unexpected but I could keep up with Alan Marmostein here despite him outweighing me by 50%. Hey, I'll take anything positive given my rough day.
There was a 15 mile run scheduled for Sunday morning at 6:30am. Needless to say, I didn't make that...

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