Doing it all the hard way...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reflections on the Winthrop Gran Fondo

This worked for me !
Time heals many wounds and gives perspective to past events.   One of the reasons I started this blog was to document what worked and what didn’t both as a benefit to humankind and as a reference for me the next time I decide to get in over my head.

For an assortment of reasons, most of them physical, I had decided not to push myself too hard on this event.  The reality was that similar to States in Cyclocross at the Arlington Airport in 2012; the course simply wouldn’t let you go easy in several places. 

Here are my takeaways:

Core and secondary muscles are way more important off road compared to riding exclusively on the road.  Between wrestling the bike up hills and around obstacles there was squeezing the seat between your legs on descents and being in a different body position on many descents (tucked in the drops, but just barely out of the saddle).   My adductors and abdomen were sore.  Gotta do more core work.

Denial can only go so far.  Despite warnings and plenty of information that could be found on the web; there were more than a few who showed up on road bikes with road tires (albeit wider ones).  I passed a guy who was changing his fourth flat and this was before the halfway point.  To further complicate his life, he had only brought CO2 and was all out.  Someone had loaned him a pump and given him a tube so he was okay at that moment, but part of doing one of these epics is being as self sufficient as possible.

Nutrition is the holy grail and for once I nailed it!  I drank ten bottles during the event. Eight of those had scratch labs and all ten had nuun tablets.  I dropped 3 Hammer Endurolytes before the start and had the same in my drop bag halfway through.  I ate homemade bars made from almond butter, agave syrup, protein powder with dried fruit and nuts and some grape nuts.  I also had Clif Shot Bloks and some gels.  I kept eating and pounding the drinks.  The middle aid station had normal food and cookies and all manner of temptation.  I showed exceptional judgment and skipped all of that and stuck to bars, gels, bloks and liquids. 

When I finished I ate two pieces of pizza and then felt fine while Hottie drove me back to Seattle.  The next morning I had a scone for breakfast and felt just fine.  Usually after an epic I am eating constantly for 24 hours.  This is a measure of success.   That other food may have been more tasty, but it would not have digested in time to help me out.

Fat is where it’s at.  The 35mm tires I was on are not UCI Cyclocross legal.  They are, however, very at home on rough mountain roads. There were lots of guys on 30, 32 and 33mm cross-legal tires.  I generally flew past those guys on the descents. They looked nervous and they should have been.  I also have over 800k on those tires without a flat.

Pactimo Summit Raptor Bibs are the schizzle.  I can’t think of a harder test that this fondo. Including tooling to and from the ride and the pizza infused park I had over eight hours in the saddle.  I could not have imagined a better performing short.  The muscle compression was a life saver and the pad served two very different missions.  It protected my netheregions from friction and provided some much needed vibration dampening.   They look good, fit great and are a bargain at full retail.

On the downside my Giro helmet kept drooping on bumpy downhills and although the white color was cooler and the venting wonderful I was disappointed in the helmet.   In retrospect I should have worn my headsweats headband to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

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