Thursday, March 6, 2008

Death Valley Spring Century 2008

Wow. Check out the CRAZY
conditions in Death Valley. Now look at the map. Is that really possible? I thought I was hallucinating with crazy winds in my face all day.

Notice the temp never got that hot. The weather predictions were as high as 85, but we didn't get close with nice cloud cover, and of course wind! I started of with the main pack with Alfredo, but quickly dropped off right away to conserve energy. This would be crucial later. I'd say 70-80 people took off at the beginning with that lead pack.

My plan was to keep my HR around 135 for most of the ride. I budgeted a Camelback with 6 scoops of accelerade each way, 2 bottles of cytomax for the first two hours, and then 7-8 PowerGels the rest of the way. I also brought 12 Endurolytes, planning on taking one every half hour. As the wind demonstrated, that would NOT be enough!

So I took off going about 20-21 with the leaders at the beginning. I was hoping my HR would settle down, but I realized that if I kept up with all these skinny dudes who were going to bonk anyway, then I would be dead. Let's say that last fall was ROUGH, because I went out at like 24mph with the leaders, and then basically suffered for 6.5 hours straight!

It was right about the 1hr. mark when I saw the first checkpoint appear.

I was HAPPY! Unlike last year when I was already feeling it after 45 minutes pacing with those fast guys, I felt great at stop 1. I didn't see Alfredo so I blasted through without stopping. No wind, no heat, everything GREAT so far! I'm guessing that's where I passed 20 of those 80 people that took off at the beginning.

The mountains and scenery were also amazing. I'm glad I took the time to take it easy at the beginning and enjoy the impressive surroundings.

Well.....I sure know I hydrated well. I had to stop around mile 30 for an unscheduled pitstop to pee. I'm actually behind on my hydration plan, but I've noticed that it's cool, and my levels are good. I let my HR drift up into the 145 range sometimes on uphills, but always back to 130 to recover on the downhills, and back to 135 on the flats. It was really enjoyable to pass all those little guys on the flats. But the hills are coming!

Uh-oh! The wind. As you saw in the report above, it was about 2 hours in that we started getting a northern wind in our faces. It felt more viscious then the data alludes to. I managed to catch up to a couple of guys and take pulls into the wind with them. We were going 8mph! When I was drafting it felt maddeningly slow. My HR was down UNDER 120 most of the time. Then when I was in front it screamed up to 150. That was all I was willing to do. Above 150 and I start to blow up.

So we're going slow. I have about 3 guys who to work with into it. Soon I was at checkpoint 2 at the bottom of the climb. Camelback is empty but I have 2.5 bottles so I just start charging. I'm guessing I passed about 30 people at various stages of refueling, and resting up for the climb. I planned on 7.5 mph up the hill. But of course, we had some wind in our faces again.

I will admit I passed about 15 more people on the uphill climb. I could already tell that the return would be dangerous, as everyone would be separated.

The downhill I reached my all time maximum speed of 48mph. I was scared. The road was bumpy so I didn't want to break. As I sat in my tuck watching the numbers increase... 44 (previous fastest)...45...46....47....48 I had to sit up. There was a curve coming, and I tenuously braked to about 30 to turn.

Finally a break. I stop at mile 65 to fill my camelback with water, grab some endurolytes, and mix some accelerade into 3 bottles for the return trip. I'm feeling great. I let my HR go up to 155 on the climb (I even saw 160 a couple times before I forced myself to back off), but couldn't even peddle on the way down. Going up took about 45 minutes. Going down was less than ten! So far I've spent ONLY 5 MINUTES OUT OF THE SADDLE!

Well....the rest is history. Look at the results
I spent the last 4 hours toiling into 30-40mph headwinds. After the decent I was a little feisty, and I kept pushing it. I went to far before I realized to back off. This would come back to bite me in the ass later.

I would only pass about 3 people on this lonely trek home. Nobody to draft. Legs cramping anytime my HR goes over 145. Miles 80 to 106 were like most of the race last time, so I was able to handle it well. Looks like I placed 12th with a respectable 7:30. Looks like they had to extend the time limit by a few hours because of the conditions. I might have pulled Alfredo in if I had taken it easy at the first sign of head winds.

All in all a great ride. In the fall I'm going the DOUBLE! Next up is a couple more easy 100mi+ weekend rides, and then a taper for the Solvang Double, and the Superfrog Half Ironman.

I will rip off the quote from the AdventureCorps Website that was put up on the event page:

“But you, by the grace of an ordeal in the night which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic, you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself. Great was this creature, and never shall you forget him."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars

Yes Indeed.


1 comment:

Zack said...

I would be dead after the first 1.5 miles. Awesome job man!