Monday, May 4, 2009

150.61 miles in 26 hours Part 1 Dismal Swamp Stomp

My dad is diabetic so doing the Tour de Cure century ride is absolutely mandatory for me. Last year, I did the Tour de Cure Century Ride the week after I did my first ultra. When I found out that both fell on the same day this year, I was excited about the challenge, but really disappointed that I would most likely not have the time to do 50 miles at the ultra and get another plaque. Most of my friends were pretty supportive of my intentions though. About two months before the big day, the Dismal Swamp Stomp was rescheduled from the first weekend in April to the same day as the Tour de Cure and the ultra. The Swamp Stomp is only 15 miles or so from the start of the Tour de Cure. Last year, my friend Tom who is an absolute machine tried to do the Tour de Cure and the Swamp Stomp on the same day. He is a multiple Boston Qualifier. He finished the half in way under two hours and was headed to overtake us on the bike when he bonked, got several flat tires and DNF’d.

Having all three events on the same day, my fucked up mind came up with the most ridiculous plan ever. I could start the Tour de Cure a few hours early from my house and put thirty to fifty bike miles under my belt as I rode to the start of the Dismal Swamp Stomp. Upon finishing the DSS, I would ride another 14 miles from there to the second break area of the Tour de Cure and finish the ride as usual with the slowest riders. That would get me to the Ultra with 13 miles under my belt. As they count all official races run that day, I would need only 17 miles at the ultra to have an ultra and a century ride under my belt in the same day. Of course if I did thirty more miles, I would have a century ride a half marathon and an ultra under my belt. Just another seven miles on top of that would get me another 50 mile plaque. I was totally confident I would do the century and the ultra. I figured I might be able to do the century the half and the ultra, but I really doubted I would get a plaque this year.

Following my Shamrock Brick in March, I pretty much started my taper for the big day. I emailed everyone with the potential to try this, but had no takers for joining me. My brother Bill replied that he would do it on a pogo stick wearing a sequin thong. I seriously considered doing my last ¼ mile that way but figured I would be too exhausted to safely pilot a pogo stick after 24+ hours of forward motion.

One more really nice thing about all these events falling on the weekend after Easter was that I could guiltlessly tear up the Walgreens post Easter candy sale. I picked 4,140 calories of boutique Cadbury chocolates and marshmallow peeps for under five bucks. I figured I would leave a box of something at the turnaround table each lap.

My parents took me to Fellini’s the night before where I had a big spaghetti dinner. I guess the huge side salad with Blue Cheese dressing did me in and I was up sick until midnight. I had intended to go to bed at ten and get up at 3:30 AM. Before going to bed, I changed the alarm to 4 so I would at least get 4 hours sleep.

I woke up feeling better and rushed to get dressed for the big day. Dad’s Expedition was nearly full with all the clothes, shoes food medical supplies and camping gear I had put in it the night before. I still had a backpack loaded with food, a couple different sets of clothes, my running shoes, my running clothes a spare tire, a U lock, my Tom Tom and some tools. It was about the same weight as the one I took to the Shamrock. This time I at least had the light on my helmet right side up. It was in the low 50s as I left the house which suited me just fine. I was quite comfortable in sweat pants, a few layers of technical shirts, gloves and a headband. I had mapquested my ride and found that the best route would be to take Little Creek Road to Military Highway to Campostello Rd to I 17. The ride was only 22 miles, but I intended to arrive early and ride the DSS one or two times. Several of the Tour de Cure rides were in severe winds. So far, air was just as still as the Shamrock last month. I was familiar with Military Highway but Campostello Rd was new territory. I had entered the waypoints into my TomTom but since I had nowhere to mount it on my bike, I just cranked up the volume and kept it in the mesh side pouch on my backpack. When driving, it announces turns in just the right amount of time. On a nice slow bike ride, it tells you about the upcoming turns way too early and way too often. I wanted to keep a lot of energy in reserve, so I was holding about 13 to 15 mph for the ride. Campostello was nicely paved but it didn’t have very wide lanes. At 5 AM, traffic wasn’t a problem. A few miles before I 17, I joined a convoy transporting a

huge bridge truss. It was nice having cops and utility vehicles stop all traffic for me but the Wide load sign escorting me was a constant reminder that I really need to lose some weight.

When we got on I17, there were no more stop lights, and I could not keep up with my convoy. I only had a few more miles left to hit the Dismal Swamp Stomp anyway. I arrived about 90 minutes before the start with 22 miles into my unofficial Tour de Cure route.

As I rolled to a stop in the starter’s area, my friend Cheryl greeted me yelling “Oh my God you’re actually doing it!” Cheryl was the only one to seriously consider doing the triple with me. She bowed out as she did the Umpstead 100 mile run the weekend before. Turns out she did it in 21 hours. I hung with her and a couple of pacers for a few minutes, before I headed off to ride the course. Note the Umpstead shirt.

A couple miles in, I passed a small bear on the side of the road. It brought back all the feelings when I faced off with a Mountain lion cycling in California 20 years ago. At the time I knew I wasn’t at the top of the food chain, but I didn’t know just how much danger I was in until I saw a show about mountain lion attacks last month. I was way past the bear before my mind processed the fact that he wasn’t moving at all and his feet were glued to a purple board with wheels under it. I took this one on the way back.

I wanted to do the whole 13.1 miles but turned around at mile 5 out of fear that I’d get a flat and miss the start.

This worked out perfectly as I had just enough time to change, stretch out and make a couple of phone calls. I even remembered to put on sunblock.

The sun was just rising over the woods as we started the half marathon. I started in the way back as always and went even slower than usual. I started off about half jogging and half walking. I didn’t plan to even get my heart rate into the aerobic zone at all this day. There were some really impressive walkers at this race. I also saw a guy pushing a jogging stroller giving the competitive age groupers a run for their money. Not far behind them was a guy running with a Jack Russell. A good two hours into the race, I passed a couple of walkers heading the other direction who had not yet gotten to mile 5. They looked strong and happy. I really hope they kept the course open for them to finish. I don’t remember talking with many people, but at mile 12 I remember talking with a girl who had quit running and was walking the rest of the way. All she could talk about was how cool it would be if they had smoothies at the finish. About half an hour later, (2:45 total) I finished and in addition to medals and sub sandwiches, they had Tropical Smoothie drinks. I looked for the girl I had walked a couple of miles with, but couldn’t remember what she looked like to save my life. I hung out for about 20 minutes, changed back into cycling gear minus the jacket and sweats, turned on my Tom Tom and made haste towards the Tour de Cure stop #2 about 14 miles away.

1 comment:

  1. I love your the description of your own mind....That's why you are Adrneln!