Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lewis and Clark 24 Hour Time Trial

Goal: Ride for 24 hours
Result: Rode for 22 hours, stopping at 5:00 am when I could not stay awake.

Goal: 275 miles
Result: 256 miles. I was on track to meet this goal, but sleeplessness over took me.

My start time was 7:02:30. I was number 7, meaning I was the seventh person to leave the starting line. I do not remember who my 30 second rabbit was, but I did know that I would not overtake him. My ride plan was to ride the 140 mile day loop very easy. I was hoping to saving something for the night. This was going to be a long ride.

It was hard letting folks pass me. I did not want to let them go, but I knew that I must. This was going to be a long ride.

The first section of the route takes you from Hockenson to time station one, at the foot of the Bridge of the Gods, 44 miles down the road. There are eleven turns in the first nine miles. Lots of turns, and lots of stop signs. But after these turns, the route runs along the Washougal River, a nice road to ride. Except for the rain. The rain started just as I left the start and I rode through several showers while making these turns. I had chosen correctly and wore my rain jacket, but my shoes, socks and feet still got wet. Looking at the sky, I knew that these showers would continue as I rode, and this was going to be a long ride.

Elise Ross volunteered to be my support person. I met her at the first time station, got some food and was off again in a very short time. Now, I was riding along the Columbia River and I took several glances to admire the view. But I was on Washington Highway 14, and the traffic was busy. After six miles, I turned away from the river and toward the small town of Carlson. Very soon I was passing through the quaint little town and the major climb of the day was in front of me. Traffic was now next to non-existent, so she could keep an keen eye on me. This was nice, as it allowed me to wear the appropriate clothing – rain jacket when it was raining, and no rain jacket when it was not raining. The trouble was, as soon as I took the jacket off, or put it on, the weather would change. So, I finally went without it and let myself get wet.

When the big hill came, Glenn Johnson was there with a child who was ringing a cow bell. This brought a smile to my face, but it soon left as the real climbing began on Dead Man Pass. I kept to my ride plan keeping my heart rate below 130 bpm and my effort at or near 150 watts. This meant that the folks I had been pacing rode away from me. Climbing is not my forte. To be plain, I am a slug on the hills. The second time station is at 75 miles into the ride and after a 2,000 foot climb just before Dead Man Pass. Elise kept me going by feeding me well on the climb. She offered support by turning up the tunes and dancing as I slowly crept up the hill toward her. There was always a smile on her face, something that helped me keep a smile on my face.

At time station two, I opted for a sock change. My feet had been wet since the beginning of the ride and the sky looked like the showers were over. I even left my rain booties off. I ate, I changed socks and I was off in less than five minutes. As such, I did the first 75 miles with less then 15 minutes off of the bike. I was pleased.

The descent was fast and dry. I soon caught and pass one rider as I descend. I was thinking life was good. And then it began to rain. Very soon my feet, my socks and my shoes were wet. Oh well, at least I was going down hill. I also caught two of the riders who had passed me while climbing up the pass.

Soon, I was along side Swift Reservoir heading toward the town of Cougar and time station three. I was feeling good and riding well. I guess I picked up the pace a bit and left behind the riders I had caught. I felt good as I approached time station three at mile 105, so I did not stop but rolled through. So, I had just ridden 105 miles with only fifteen minutes off of the bike. I was very pleased.

I was riding along now. I was also on roads that I knew, and I knew they were not flat. I had several rollers (walls) to cross before returning to flats just before Hockenson. They were hard, but I got over them.

I had hoped to ride 150 miles in the first twelve hours. Nearing ten hours into the ride, I was at 140 miles and back at Hockenson. Rather than take a break, I decided to roll though and do on night loop before I took a rest. This first night loop was hard. I had been on the bike for sixty five miles and I was feeling it. The night loop is ten miles long, and the first three were flat. Then, can the Wall. One half block long, and so steep my 26×25 was not low enough, I had for force my bike up it. It took what ever I had left in me out of me and I suffered the last six miles of the loop. Previously, I was thinking of doing another loop before resting, but that was now not possible. I had to stop and rest a bit.

Elise fed me food and we did a complete upper clothing change. I got a new base layer, and a new jersey to go along with a my wind jacket and a vest. I now had four layers on my upper body and I was even warm. After about 20 minutes off of the bike, I was back on it beginning the second of many more ten mile loops.

At first, I kept my stops short, just long enough for a bathroom break, or a head light battery change. However, at the night wore on, my stops began longer. I would ride two loops before taking a break. During the first loop, I felt good. The Wall was there, but I could get over it. On the second loop, I suffered. The Wall would just about cause me to stop and fall over, but somehow, I could reach down and find something that would get me over it. At the end of these cycle of loops, I would have to get off of the bike and rest.

The night loops were never the same. I did the first few in daylight allowing me to pick out landmarks that I could use after dark. After the Wall, was a steep downhill on a well patched road that ended at a stop sign. After a left turn, the road swept around some curves to the beginning of a moderate stair-step climb. The first stair was hard, but I could easily spin up it in my lowest gear and the second and last step was even easier. After another left turn, was a three mile section. There were horses in a green field mid-way through this section. One was a bit skittish and would eye me suspiciously as I rolled by. This section ended with a couple of easy rollers and then a welcomed stop sign. The stop sigh was welcomed because once I made that left turn, it was downhill all of the way to the end of the loop.

As the sky darken, I began to become aware of the smells. Perhaps this is compensation for the oncoming lack of vision, but I was soon in a different world, one where smells overstated sight. Once it was completely dark, I could see the lights of the West Hills of Portland off to the southwest. But I could not smell them.

In complete darkness, I could only see the road lite up by my head light, the lights on the houses I passed, and a few stars in the sky. It was lonely. Good thing folks would pass me offering a “Good Job” greeting.

At 3:00 am, I started a new cycle of two loops. The first was went as usual, I felt good and enjoyed the ride. But the second one really hurt. The sky was beginning to lighten, and I could begin to see details around me again. But what struck me were the sounds. The birds began to sing to greet the new morning, and while I was having a hard ride, I enjoyed the bird song along the way.

At the end of that loop, I came into Hockenson intending to take a 20 minute break. This would me my longest break during the night, but I felt I needed every minute. Elise grabbed my bike and I sat down to rest.

Then it hit me. I could feel myself falling asleep. My eyes would close, and my head would roll. Elise saw what was happening and force some food and Red Bull into me. It worked, but to an extent. It was five o’clock in the morning and I need two more laps to obtain my goal. But I did not want to get out of that chair. But Elise and Mick Walsh suggested that I go out for one more lap. I reached down inside, found something and got on my bike, if a but unsteady doing so.

I wobbled out of the parking lot and onto the road. I make the first left turn to begin the night loop. It was at this point in time that my body decided not to ride anymore. Whatever I found that got me on the bike was gone and I knew I was done. I returned and Elise and Mick saw that it was true. They lead me into the school’s gym, found a mat for my to lay on, and I was out within seconds.

I finished with 256 miles and in second place in my are group.

I feel good about my effort and my result. While I did not met my pre-ride goals, I know I gave it everything I had. I could not have done more.

During the ride, I consumed…

Six Bottles of Ensure
Four containers of Muscle Milk
A turkey sandwich
Six energy bars
A large number of bottles of Hammer Products (Heed and Pertemum)
Many smalls cans of V-8
One banana
Fritos and Kettle Chips

I did not drink caffeinated drinks or food during the night. Perhaps this was a mistake, but I was doing well without them, until it all came crashing down on me.