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View Full Version : I Came, I rode, I rode some more. Ride report for 24 hr. Challenge


scrooge
06-20-2005, 05:55 PM
What follows is a very leanghty ride report--skip to the end (before "lessons learned" if you want the gist of it. :D

Well, it finally happened. I’ve been wanting to try riding an event like the National 24 Hour Challenge since I started riding in high school and this weekend I did my first. For some of you who have followed my other posts, you know that I was a bit anxious about this event since I’ve never done anything similar (longest ride this year was 120 miles—not what you’d call “ideal” training). However, thanks to the encouragement of my wife and forum friends, I decided to go ahead and try it out. I figured if I hit 200 miles it would still be a personal best, if I hit 250, that would be great, and if I broke 300, that would be exceptional for a first time effort. Anyway, on to the ride…

The event started at 8:00 AM Saturday so we had to get up at 5:15 to be there in time to register etc. It looked like it might rain a bit, but the weather turned out perfectly: partly cloudy all day, light wind (I believe 5-15 mph from the north), and low 70s during the daylight hours. The field, consisting of 419 riders, hit the road at 8:00 sharp and was sent off by a local bagpipe group (pretty cool!).

Initially I felt pretty good on the first loop, which was 126.4 miles. The first 34, before the first checkpoint, I was in a pack of about 30 riders. I’m not sure what we averaged (I’m pretty sure my computer was on the fritz since it listed my max speed as 154.7mph), but we were clipping along pretty well (I’d guess around 20-21) and it was nice just to suck wheels for a while. I was hoping this would keep up for the rest of the loop, but then we hit the first check point.

At the check point, I learned my first lesson: “Check point” does not equal “rest stop.” I was assuming people would get off the bikes, sit and eat a banana or two etc. Not the case. Most everyone buzzed right on through. I planned to follow (didn’t want to lose that group!), but my “crew” (read: “wife”) got lost and didn’t arrive at the checkpoint until after I had spent several minutes looking for her (I was hoping for a little food and some fresh Gatorade) and I lost them. Then I made my first rookie mistake—me and one other guy thought we could catch the group if we hammered after them for a few minutes. Not to be. So I ended up exerting a stupid amount of energy trying to catch them, climbing up hills faster than needed be etc. Then I remembered some good advice I had received—“There’s always another group behind you”. So I decided that I’d slow up, save my energy, and hope they’d come soon. They didn’t. But I plodded along anyway, and since there was little wind, the main thing I lacked was company (did chat with a few folks).

The rest of the first loop went okay. I was pretty tired at the end because it is a very hilly course. Actually, was worried about my hamstrings cramping the last five miles (I’ve never had that before), and wondered how I was starting to think I’d be lucky to make it to 200 miles. I stopped, ate some, and got a nice message from my wife. The stop was longer than I intended (at least half an hour, maybe 45 minutes), but when I got on the bike again, I was a new man. I cranked out the second day loop (23 miles) and felt really good, overheard someone say, “I want to try to get in three before dark” and thought, “Great idea!” So I kept right on going. On this lap, I was fortunate to be passed by a group of 10 riders about 8 miles in—of course I jumped on. The group grew to at least 25, and I let them pull me around one more time. That meant that by 8:15 pm, I had 197.8 miles in! I was feeling pretty good about myself, to say the least. I decided to treat myself to a fresh pair of shorts and jersey, and a piece of Pizza. Then I started the night loop because I wanted to get a few laps in before dark

The night loop was 7.5 miles, which was a great mental break (I found it easier to say, “only 2 more laps to go before a break” than “Only 15 miles”). The night loop was also much flatter, which was a relief (did I mention the day loops had some nice hills?) So I went around, and around, and around. Much to my surprise, these miles after 200 + felt the best. As I went around, I kept thinking, “How can this be? I haven’t felt this good on a bike for a long time?!” My legs were loose (at least felt that way), I felt strong, and was sure that I was going to hit 300 miles before I had to get any sleep (this was a huge surprise to me, since I’ve never pulled an “all-nighter” in my life).

But then 2:30 hit. At 2:30, I suddenly became very, very sleepy. I thought about pushing through (only 3 more laps to break 300!), but then thought it would be better to listen to my body. So I pulled in to camp and took a 25 minute nap. Then I ate a baked potato, had some coffee, and started rolling again. From that point on, I pretty much kept right on rolling (with occasional breaks which turned out to be longer than I liked) until 7:35, when I realized that I wouldn’t have time to get another lap in. I called it a day and turned in my number feeling very satisfied with my accomplishment.

So, long story short, my total mileage was 340. Total time on the bike was 20 hours, basically on the nose. Average moving speed was 17 mph. It was enough to get me 3rd place in my division (18-24, 1st was 370), which was pretty cool since I’ve never placed in an athletic event in my life. It also gave me a number I think I can beat next year (yeah, I’m already planning on that—I think I’m hooked. Sick, isn’t it?) And, as you can probably tell by the way I’m rambling on in this report, I’m generally excited about it.

This was a great learning experience for me. Among other things, I learned:
1. Solid food bad (makes stomach feel like crap, especially “bike food” like power bars and cliff bars), liquid good. Used “Ensure” (350 calories in a 8 oz drink is a gift from God!) every few hours which I think was a great idea.
2. Pace lines good, alone bad (I think this will be the key to getting significantly higher mileage—having people who are willing to stick together and cooperate—not leach a pull and take off up the next hill )
3. My biggest surprise is how the body can “fool” itself (which mine must’ve been doing). I still can’t get over how good I felt between 200-300 miles!
4. Not having a speedometer is a blessing. I didn’t get freaked out about what my average was and couldn’t obsess how I still had 17 miles to go for a check point. I just rode where it felt right.
5. Caffeine may be good to a point, but it takes a few miles to get that funky coffee feeling worked out of my stomach.
6. Time management is crucial. Even though I’m happy with what I did, I can’t help but think, “If only I was a little smarter, I could’ve broken 350”. On this note, I think having a goal will be important next time so that I can know how to gauge my progress and know how long of breaks to take.
7. The best advice I received was, “Keep your butt on the bike.” Enough said.

Well, that was my weekend. Thanks for reading (even if you skimmed a little!)
If you want more info (including results, soon), check out www.n24hc.org
Oh, one more thing, the top rider got 478 miles!!!! There’s still hope for me, since I have another 30 years to catch him (he was in the 50-54 group)

Too Tall
06-20-2005, 07:20 PM
I am really proud of you m'boy. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME.

Accomplishments can never be taken away, it's yours man.

mikemets
06-20-2005, 08:54 PM
Whoa, way to go!

Do you know if there are any 24 hr. events held in the Northeast?

davep
06-20-2005, 09:47 PM
Scrooge,

GREAT job - 340 is fantastic.

Mikemets - Check out http://www.ultracycling.com, web site of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association for a full calendar of 12/24 hours races, brevets, etc.

spiderlake
06-20-2005, 10:00 PM
Scrooge,

Did you ride the course in Grand Rapids?? The 24 hour challenge is something I have always wanted to try. Maybe next year??!!??

Thanks for a great recap and congrats on the third place finish!! BTW - Looks like the 2005 results are posted.

Darrin

scrooge
06-20-2005, 10:11 PM
Scrooge,

Did you ride the course in Grand Rapids?? The 24 hour challenge is something I have always wanted to try. Maybe next year??!!??

Thanks for a great recap and congrats on the third place finish!! BTW - Looks like the 2005 results are posted.

Darrin

Darrin,
Yes, it was the course in Grand Rapids (Middleville, actually). I'm actually living in Kalamazoo right now but will be moving back to GR next year to finish school. Do you ever ride with the Rapid Wheelmen? I rode the 100 Grand a few weekends ago and was wondering how active that club is. The Kalamazoo club is great--rides pretty much every day of the week of varying paces. Its been great for me.

Louis
06-21-2005, 12:35 AM
Watch out Jure' Robic, here comes Scrooge...

Congrats.

Ginger
06-21-2005, 12:40 AM
Congratulations!

Every year my buddy Susie attempts to get me over to that side of the state to crew a sag truck. I keep missing.

I'm glad you had a great ride!

jeffg
06-21-2005, 05:36 AM
:banana: :banana: :banana:

William
06-21-2005, 05:49 AM
NICE JOB!! :beer:

Can't wait to see what you do next time around. :cool:

William


PS: Just a helpful hint. When writing long posts, in order to keep Roy or the drunk engaged enough to read all the way through, just randomly insert the word "Beer" or "Fight" through out your post.

:rolleyes: ;) :)

mikemets
06-21-2005, 07:25 AM
Scrooge,

GREAT job - 340 is fantastic.

Mikemets - Check out http://www.ultracycling.com, web site of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association for a full calendar of 12/24 hours races, brevets, etc.

Thanks...hey, there's a 24 hr, challenge in Saratoga on July 9th!
Kevan?

Ginger
06-21-2005, 07:39 AM
William...good thing scrooge isn't a RAAM rider we'd be reading for hours...

(I'm just joking scrooge...)

spiderlake
06-21-2005, 09:56 AM
I'm not a member of the Rapid Wheelmen but I know it is an active group. In addition to their tour rides (colorburst, 100 grand, etc), they sponsor a weekly time trial in Ada and a wide range of weekly group rides. I see various groups on the road all the time and I believe they also field a race team. Not sure if you have been to their website but you can find it at:

http://www.lmb.org/rapidwheels/

Hope this helps!

<SNIP> Do you ever ride with the Rapid Wheelmen? I rode the 100 Grand a few weekends ago and was wondering how active that club is. </SNIP>

slowgoing
06-21-2005, 10:21 AM
Pretty darn impressive!