Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm as ready as I'm gonna get.

I emailed most of this out to some people already. If you're one of them, you can likely skip reading this. :)

Fancy GUI summary of today's Winterset metric century is here

Got up at 5:30, loaded my stuff up and was on the road by 6:00 AM. 30 minutes later I'm at one of the West Des Moines Hy-Vee's drinking a coffee and eatin' some 'cakes. With the event season in full swing, as well as graduations and other things, no one else showed up for today's adventure. The fact that I was riding with a tailwind for the first half of the ride probably did it' part to dissuade people too.

90-ish miles total today, including the ride to/from Hy-Vee. For the gravel portion of the ride, 2:47 going down, and 3:01 coming back into the north wind. Somehow, I managed to find yet more hills between here and Winterset than the last time we used this similar loop. My Edge 605 showed a total of 7850 feet of climb between leaving Hy-Vee and the time I came home. At this point, I have no doubt that a standard century with 10K+ feet of climbing is possible if you map the route out properly. For those that were on the January Hundy, that big hill by the cemetery was wavering between 12-13% grade when I was looking down the GPS display. It's pretty easy to spot on the elevation graph. By far the most difficult hill on the ride IMHO, mainly due to the flat approach in the river valley. The hill on the other side is longer, but stairsteps a bit coming up, giving yoi a chance for a break.

I was using this ride as a final test/tune for Dirty Kanza at the end of the month. I hadn't put a long ride on the bike since Donny did the fit just before TransIowa, so a quick 100k seemed like the thing to give it a good shake down, but not really beat the hell out of my body. I rode with most of the items that I am going to use on the ride, and I was concentrating on maintaining food and liquid intakes at regular intervals (1 GU per hour roughly, and a good sized sip of water every 15 minutes). I have started using the Elete electrolyte concentrate in a couple of my water bottles and it appears to be working ok. It's not upsetting my stomach and it adds zero taste to the water according to my taste buds. My helmet mounted Dinotte was almost unnoticeable, except for the battery cable not staying in place. One zip tie will fix that issue. A 4 cell LiIon battery fits in the ipod pocket on my camelback and provides a perfect spot for the battery so I don't have any extra weight on my head. With one of the 200L's on the bike and another on my helmet, Illumination should not be an issue. I did forget both my sunglasses and a camera for todays ride. I missed the sunglasses more as my eyeglasses didn't really help keep the dust out of my eyes. Coming back north into the wind was a lot of work, but the trees really helped to dampen the effects quite a bit. However, it was still there and definitely wore me down at the end of the rode.

Other random thoughts:

I was generally happy with how the Edge 605 worked out. I wish I could use it for navigation during raceses, but I understand why they don't allow them as they are definitely an advantage. If you don't start your course and timer at the right time (say before you start the course), the unit is VERY adamant about wanting you to turn around and go back to the start, which is a bit of a pain.

Small thorns suck. A 1/4" thorn gave me a flat about 6 miles into my return loop. I had plenty of spare tubes and CO2 inflators. However, I forgot to bring the inflator nozzle. Thankfully I also packed a pump this morning.

I saw a baby deer run through a housing development on Walnut Avenue in WDM. This was the only deer I saw all day.

Eating breakfast and riding by yourself sucks. It would have been nice to have someone else along today, but being by myself was a good mental challenge, and it allowed me to ride the pace I wanted, which was important for me on this particular ride.

At this point, there is nothing else I can do to get ready for Dirty Kanza, other than minor things like drop bag prep and figuring out clothing for what I am sure is going to be a weather pattern with a lot of changes. I think arm and at least knee warmers are a must at this point. This morning's temps were a bit cold for me in shorts and jersey. The windbreaker I brought at the last minute was most welcome. The other thing I am going to work on this week is a checklist so that I don't forget anything

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