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...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Back on the bike

Tomorrow, I'm doing 200km brevet ride from Marana to the top of Mt Lemmon and back. 125 miles.

So today, I put the bike back together again. It has been lying in my living room in pieces for months. I've been so busy since the start of the semester in mid-August, I can't believe it's November before I'm actually riding again.

  • First, I degreased and washed it. Charged the dead SRM PC V controller while I did all this.

  • Threaded in a shiny new Shimano Dura-Ace 9-speed chain, my last one. Push the pin in. Break it off carefully. No more pins left, gotta get some spares.

  • Installed new rear Michelin Pro Race2 tire (old one ruined on too-fresh tarmac in Delaware). New rear brake pads (Swissstop yellow) for the Reynolds Stratus carbon clincher rear wheel. Adjust the rear brake and pads.

  • Swap the touring seatpost/saddle for the regular one (Selle Italia SLR and Bold Precision Ti seatpost). It's actually identical to the touring one except for the Moots Ti seatrack. Mount the underseat Blackburn bag with tools, 2 CO2 cartridges, Park patches and inflator.

  • Put the fork back in. Adjust headset preload. Line up saddle nose, stem and fork. Put the Keywin pedals back in. Tighten cleat bolts on my shoes. Tighten waterbottle bolts.

  • New stem mount system for the Garmin Vista Cx. Reset ascent, tracklog, and trip on the Garmin. It has been a while. Almost forgot how to do it.

  • Connect PC V to Windows XP. Set the new date/time. Mount it on the bike. Hit Set + Mode to set the offset. So much stuff to remember. Get dressed.

It has been four hours. Finally, I'm ready for a shake-down ride. 12.6 mile loop around Rancho Vistoso. Nice sunny day and no creaks from the bike. About 533 ft of climbing.


I see I pushed the wattage close to 400W near the end. Couldn't resist. It's good to be back on the bike.