triple bypass

a bike ride of 122.5 miles with 10 000+ feet of climbing.

Up at 4:30 to pick up the rest of the carpool, 163lbs out the door before breakfast of milk & PB&honey sandwich. Theoretically the earliest start was 6am, but we got there at 5:40, and there were lots of riders heading out already. Started just at 6.

First pass (Squaw) was lovely, road closed to traffic, climbing steadily up through pine forests and alpine meadows. Got sucked up in the slipstream of a couple of guys and a gal climbing fast, and followed them, then decided that was probably a bad idea. One of the guys had just taken delivery of a Klein with a triple, had to track down the UPS guy the previous night to get his new bike. Talk about a shakedown cruise. When we came up on the guy riding a Schwinn Orange Krate, stick shifter, sissy bars and all, I slowed a bit to talk. Told him about my Schwinns including my little boy's Pixie, all ruby sparkle paint and chrome, he told me about his.. He had khakhi shorts on and sandals, with platform pedals, but a nice old Schwinn/Wheaties racing jersey and cap. Said lots of people had Schwinn stories for him, but most of them ended with 'and then some b@st@rd stole it off the porch'. I kept seeing him at the aid stations until after Breckenridge, made me feel some silly with my climbing bike I'd carefully pared down to 17.4lbs, and there he is cheerfully loping along with a 40-pounder..

Stopped at first aid station, 15min of assorted activities, and on. Descent past Echo lake was good but cold, nice turns, clear road. The sunscreen I'd just put on collected a variety of bugs on the way down, which stayed stuck all the way into Avon. Unexpectedly pleasant ride from Idaho Spgs along the frontage road above Clear Creek, very steep climb on the bike path from Georgetown up to I-70. Along I-70 there was a hot dusty headwind, plenty of traffic, and lots of grades that needed my bottom gear of 38x26, not to mention extensive withdrawals from my reserves of fortitude. Never again without a triple.

Went into survival mode on the grind up I-70 and stayed there. Took 30min in the Loveland aid station to eat and drink, also starting to choke down the Gu's. 4 more miles to the 12000ft summit, started in bottom gear and slowly slowly up. Grand views on the way up and at the summit, another WHEE! descent. Kept at 45mph or slower because I didn't trust myself at speed by this point. Halfway down there was an old prospector-type climbing up the pass, everything the colour of dirt - his skin, raggedy beard, hair, clothes and bike. He may have been a hypoxic hallucination..

Swan Mountain which I'd cheerfully dismissed as a 'little bump' while contemplating this ride, was short but sharp. Back into bottom gear with aching legs and feet. Feedbag on again in the Breckenridge aid station, a bit of stretching and made it out again after only 25min. Temps in the 90s, lots of salt-encrusted riders.

Another lovely little section of bike path up to Copper, along the stream, mild grades and merciful tailwinds.

Bike path winds languidly up Vail pass through subalpine meadows full of wildflowers, rather gorgeous. However I suffered a complete sense-of-humour failure here. Actually cracked about a mile below the summit, got off the bike and lay down next to the stream to think about things for a bit. Riders streamed past, most politely averting their eyes from the steaming pile of abject misery that I'd become. Tried again after 5min or so, and tested to see how slowly I could ride before actually falling over. 15 min in the Vail aid station, I was ready for it to be over.

Potholed bike path down the other side, steep and twisty, stayed on the brakes all the way. Last 10 miles from Vail to Avon on a rather nasty frontage road, narrow with construction, and that hot dusty headwind again. Pacelines whizzing by as I soloed grumpily on.

The good news is that my torn calf muscle feels much better this week than it has since tearing it, can walk without a limp for the first time. I guess 10.5 hours of flushing highly-oxygenated blood through the muscle is a kind of therapy - not for everyone, though: those who like action, maybe..

I saw a couple of triathletes running back to Vail after the ride, when I was 10k out, at about 4pm, in 90 degrees or so, hoofing it back up the hill. That was impressive.

Major sources of pain, in no particular order: hot spots under the ball of the foot, and the big toe (?); butt; after about 80 miles, stomach cramps, muscular rather than intestinal, on the RHS; knot in R shoulder muscle that just kept getting worse; L knee, some patellar irritation.

Ah well, I'm now perfectly convinced that 20miles/week isn't enough to prepare for this ride.. hem. Vast quantities of fruit at the aid stations and that noxious Accelerade held the bonk at bay, though. Weighed 163lbs at the finish, same as start, so I guess I was right on the mark with nutrition/hydration. It's amazing how adequate nutrition can keep the tattered shreds of the flag flying. Total time 10.5 hours, ride time 8.5 hours, average speed according to my computer 25.7km/h. I doubt I'd have finished without the two hours of footling about at the aid stations, so the 'ride time' is kinda irrelevant. I'll take the finish and happy with it.