Sunday, April 15, 2007

200K Brevet - North Carolina

Yesterday I completed a 200K brevet which started and finished in the Raleigh/Durham area. I can officially call myself a Randoneur. Randoneur is French for long distance cyclist. Needless to say, I did not spend Saturday on the couch!

I completed the 200K in just under 9 hours on the bike and another hour off the bike here and there. So it was about 10 hrs in all. The conversion from to metric to standard makes the distance about 125 mi. As you will soon see, this is slightly less than the distance I completed.

OOPS (1)
The first 30 miles went without incident. We followed our cue sheet to a tee and our average speed was right around 20mph. We rounded the corner at Andrews Store road and began climbing a hill. The hill had a slight slope, leveled off then got pretty steep. I was in a group of three at this point which quickly became three groups of 1. At the crest, I sipped some water and began the decent. I wanted to catch the rider that went off ahead on the hill. I flew down the hill about 45 mph, don't remember much else. As I began the climb on the next hill, I began to have a bad feeling that something was wrong. I didn't see either of the other two riders and considered turning around. Perhaps I descended too fast and missed a turn... Not a good feeling. About this time I heard my name from behind me. I stopped and waited. We agreed we both missed a turn and needed to get back on the trail. The road we missed was 2.5 miles back. At the bottom of the hill. Good thing, we really needed the practice climbing hills, especially 5 miles worth!

"Live Chickens"
We were back on track and even saw some other riders about a mile ahead. We started to push the pace sightly. We caught some other riders on a hill around mile 45. Conversation was everywhere. One rider over packed for his attempt at a 300K. He was fully loaded for a brevet...a 1200K brevet! When asked what he had in the bags he replied, "live chickens."

Around mile 50 severe pain began to form in both legs. Cramps! This is a bad sign. I knew I didn't have enough water and needed to stop to get some but, we passed the store and I figured another 10 - 15 miles wouldn't kill me. I just add it to the lessons learned.

We arrived at the first check point at 1040 am. Another slight problem, the store is closed. We can't even get our brevet cards signed! The "kind" lady in the store poked her head out with a phone in her ear, smoke in her mouth and a drink in her other hand to say she would not help us. She had to get her store up and running. We would have to go across the street to another gas station.

The priorities at the stop. 1. Brevet card signed. 2. Provisions to get rid of the cramps and to survive another 100k. The clerks at this station were very kind and helpful. A liter of high quality H2O, some fig newtons (no bananas at the store:() , a cup of truck driver coffee, some vitamin 'M' and I am ready to go home. Perhaps I can take the Greyhound back to Raleigh.

The return trip went without incident until I read my cue sheet wrong and made a L when I should have gone R. I noticed the mistake after 1.5 miles while looking for the next directions. After turning around, I was home free. Although I am now paranoid about every turn.

Lessons learned:
My training so far is adequate.
Need to eat food during the first hour. Can't get behind too early.
Bring more water. This one should be obvious. I figured I would stop and get some but I didn't.
Vitamin M rules. I knew this already but it sure saved me!
Oh yea, I finally learned the meaning of Hokie of Virginia Tech fame.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Thanks for sharing your trek Comrade. All in all it sounds like you had fun and learned more about the sport.