Sunday, June 18, 2006

Amazing challenging, totally fulfilling and a great team effort

Tahoe Photos 043

First off I want to apologize for taking so long to post this. I've been swamped at work recently and I just haven't had time to write the wrap on my ride. I'll try to run through the weekend to give you a bit of a feel for what the ride was like.

The flight out was uneventful, other than having to get to the airport at 4:30 in the morning. Fortunately I was able to catch some zzz's on the way out to Houston and Reno. The flight was a little delayed out of Houston but we arrived in Reno on time. I was a bit troubling when the pilot on the second leg said "anything under 15 minutes late isn't a DOT late." I kinda suspect he really hammered things on the way out. Had there been red lights in the sky, I suspect he would have run them. I think Continental has the same guy overseeing their late arrival policy that used to oversee Domino's 30 min or less policy. We all arrived safely though.

The rest of Friday was relatively uneventful. We just hung out, settled in to our room at the Horizon and vegged out a bit.

Tahoe Photos 006 Saturday was great, we woke up relatively early and headed out for an warm up/acclimation ride. We also posed for a Team photo, which would later be popped into the frame with the first team photo as a thank you for our coach Dave.

After the photo we all rolled out for a short warm up ride down Pioneer Trail. I have to say, this year, I felt the altitude alot more than I did last year. Maybe last year I was just so pumped up on adrenaline or something, but this year I noticed the lack of air ALOT more. About 4 miles in we started hitting some decent hills and I felt like my heart was about to explode. I got a sudden mild panic of "Oh shit, I've been off my bike for a while and I'm not ready for tomorrow." Well after about 8 miles into the ride I felt alot better and warmed up alot more and felt pretty much normal. The way back on the warm-up ride was much better than the way out. I felt a little sigh of relief when I rolled back into the hotel and felt like I belonged on a bike.

Tahoe Photos 013Later on Saturday we headed over to the ride registration to pick up Noel's packet for the ride. Since she wasn't technically riding with Team she registered for the ride on her own. The rider registration was a bit of a mess. It took about ~2 hours for her to get her packet. AMBBR needs to rethink how the hand out packets to non-Team riders. Way too long.

We had the Team dinner that night which was very inspiring. We all got extremely pumped up and headed out to plop into bed stuffed to the gills with pasta that would be our glycogen fuel the next day.

Sunday morning was great. We got to watch our Team staffer do a cheer which made getting up so early all worth the while. We were the first group rolling out across the start line that morning, so we had to be on the start line at 6 am. That wasn't too early. Everyone got there on time and we rolled across the line super pumped.

The first big issue was the climb on the switchbacks at mile 13. I did those pretty well. Felt alot stronger going up than I did last year, but I know if there is a place I need to work on my cycling skills it is hill climbing. I think this winter I will spend alot of hours on a trainer with spinervals hill climbing video.

First Rest StopAfter finishing the switchbacks I hit the first rest stop and shed some of my clothes. I rolled out in 45 degree weather with a shirt underneath my jersey and leg warmers on my legs. By the first rest stop the sun had come up and it was warm enough to drop the warm clothes. Noel didn't hit the rest stop so she was ahead of me for quite a bit of the ride.

After this rest stop it was relatively flat for a while. We took the trail out to Truckee and the road out to the 46 mile rest stop. This was a bit downhill and there was a little tail wind, so I made a good bit of time here. I hit the rest stop feeling pretty good and a bit antsy to get back out. I lingered for a short while, and then got rolling out on the road.

I should mention though that this was the rest stop where I discovered the par boiled potatoes. There must be something about an endurance event that make otherwise dull food taste better (GU almost tastes good at mile 65). There were cold par boiled potatoes at the rest stops that you would sprinkle salt on and toss back. For some reason they tasted super yummy. You'd probably have to pay me big sums of money to eat one of these on a normal day, but during the ride they tasted great.

The ride out of Truckee was a bit of a challenge. It was a slight uphill grade and there was a bit of a headwind. This made it challenging enough, but since I was chomping at the bit to get out, I didn't roll out with the Team and enjoy the benefits of pacelining. I also got a flat at mile 48. This wasn't the end of the world. I got a flat last year, and am fine at changing them, but it was still a drag. But I totally lucked out because another Team rider had a flat a few hundred feet in front of me and their SAG wagon driver came back and brought me a floor pump. Tossed a nice 120 pounds of air into my tire and I was back on my way. Would have never gotten that much air in my tire with my little hand pump!!!

The next stop was the lunch stop. This is a bit of a mob scene with tons of bikes, a huge line for the port-a-pots, and lots of food. It was a nice time to rest, but I think everyone knew that right down the road was the biggest climb of the ride, Spooner Junction.

I certainly didn't make it up spooner like I had a gas motor, but I did better than I did last year, and felt good about my riding. I only threw my chain twice on the climb. My bike, was and is, having a problem going from middle chain ring to granny. I still need to wrench the front derailuer. The climb was hard, but it was over when I got to the top. It kicked my butt more than I kicked its, but as you can see from the photo at the top of this page I was happy to get up there. I was also pleased to find out that Noel got there before I did...we both left the lunch stop together and she really pounded it. Very impressive. She's a very strong climber.

The ride out of sponner is a bit sketchy. You head past Zephyr cove where the winds are whipping around as you bomb down a 15% grade. Its a bit harrowing, but you've just done a bunch of climbing so you enjoy the way down. On the map it only looks like there are two more small hills. After 90+ miles of riding any hills get big. I knocked out these last two reluctantly after throwing my chain one more time.

Finally at mile 99 I rolled into Bart's Liquors and grabbed me a Guinness Pub Draft can for the ride into the finish line (they fit perfectly into a bicycle bottle cage!). It was without question the best tasting beer I have ever had!!! Noel and I crossed the finish line together feeling great with huge smiles.

We wrapped up a great weekend with a victory party with our teammates. The food was yummy and it was great to see how much everyone had improved and how proud all my teammates were of their huge accomplishments. We had a great team with a ton of people who worked really hard this year to do the ride. They all did impressively well and had a great time I think.

Most importantly we raised $8 Million at the ride. The ride was a huge success, we had alot of fun and I am looking forward to next year. The stats were, 6 hours 55 minutes riding. 14.4 mph pace. 100 miles.

Thanks so much for your support.

See you on the road.

Also if you'd like to see more ride photos click here

Please leave some comments as well!