Monday, May 4, 2009
150.61 miles in 26 hours Part 2 Tour de Cure Century
On prior years the Tour de Cure has always been a point to point ride to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. OBX is a magical place for me. I was bummed that they had decided to make it an out and back ride, but it did leave me closer to the ultra when I finished the ride and it allowed me to get some miles under my belt before the official start. As the course was out and back, three of the four rest areas were doing double duty as stops on the way out and the way back. My left knee was starting to bother me a bit. I am pigeon toed and it felt like I wasn’t toeing in enough. When you bend a hinge out of alignment with its intended direction of travel you put undue strain on it. My knee (the hinge) was getting really pissed off.
I arrived at stop number two 47 miles in as many people were leaving it as stop number 5 at over 80 miles into the race. I had hoped to arrive sooner and with about ten more miles under my belt, but I was within reason. I had a snack and asked the bike tech on duty to adjust the toe in of my left cleat a bit more inward to reduce the strain on my knee. I rode on and the pain in my knee magically disappeared. I was relieved to be on the official course as they had patrols and mechanics at your disposal ready to assist with any problem. This part of the course was still pretty close to the swamp. It was mostly wooded, pretty, and enjoyable. At rest stop 3, I was now 63 miles into the race and 33 miles away from the finish if I skipped the loop through rest stop 4. There were several riders here (67 miles in) and still another half a dozen riders on the course who had not gotten to it yet. For the first time in almost 12 hours I sat down to eat my snack. I had planned to continue on and U turn at the point where a straight through ride would give me 100 miles but decided to do the turnaround here and avoid the potential for any rest stops shutting down before I got there. From here on, I was always within sight of at least one bike. I got to talk with a few people, but there was never an opportunity for drafting. The ride to rest stop six was pretty uneventful. I ate some more food and filled my bike bottle with half water half gatoraide. I needed the salt but didn’t want to overload the sugar. Upon leaving that stop, I was starting to get tired. This area goes though some of the big Chesapeake mansions along otherwise nondescript roads. It is boring and the lack of trees allowed the wind to pick up. I started to cramp up in my left quad, so I began pedaling almost entirely with my right leg, only pushng down with my left after my left foot hit the 4:00 position. After about five miles of this my right leg began to cramp so I switched to pedaling with my left leg and allowing my right leg to rest. This only lasted for a mile before my left leg cramped too. I just told myself that I was going to rest both legs and kept pedaling. This trick worked for about a mile and a half before I was forced to stop. Fearing another fall with a Charlie horse, I unclipped both legs before even slowing down. Not wanting to waste any energy, I coasted until I was traveling too slowly to continue. Trying to stretch out simultaneous cramps in both quads and both calves is not possible. Stretching one muscle flexes the other three. I just stood there for a few minutes and came up with a game plan. I figured it may be salt related so I ate all six Slim Jims in my backpack and drank my dilute Gatoraide. Then I stood on the slope of the edge of the road, balanced myself against my bike and allowed my heels to gently lower off the shoulder of the road and stretch both calves. This worked without sending my quads into spasms. After my calves were under control I massaged my quads and did a few toe touches to rest my back. Then I carefully stretched my quads. I returned to the bike carefully and kept it below 13 mph for the next few minutes. About a mile from the last rest stop, I turned back around and rode back to the area where I had so much trouble, then turned back towards the last rest stop. I originally had some math in mind, but I didn’t really have enough mind left to do the work. I figured I was now pretty close to where I should be distance wise. Just before arriving at the last rest stop, one of the motorcycles that patrols the course came up next to me. The rider said that he was the first one to log me, and that they had been looking for me all day. I’m not sure he believed me when I told him what I had done, so I went on and told him where I was headed after the ride. At the last rest stop, I sat down again for a few minutes and had some salty snacks. I would have stayed longer but the radio announced that in half an hour they would start sweeping anyone who had not yet made it to the last rest stop. I called my parents and told them to meet me back at the starting point.
I really don’t remember the last 10 miles at all other than riding under the big balloon arch at the finish.
I was kind of bummed that I missed the camaraderie of the mass start under the same arch that morning and the mass of riders for the ride, but Hell, you can’t have everything. My parents were not there yet and I only had 99 miles on my odometer. I did a huge victory lap around the school campus. After a lap and a quarter cool down, I saw my parents car in the parking lot. I stopped behind the expedition at 100.01 miles for the day – a new cycling PDR for me as the official course the last few years was exactly 100 miles or maybe a couple tenths shy. I let Dad secure my bike as I sat in the back. This was only the second time in over 12 hours that I had sat down on anything with a cushion. I would have liked to take a nap, but I was too excited about what I had done thus far, and what I had yet to do.