“Oh, the places you’ll go…”
2015 Race Across America county elevations – 12 states, 88 counties – click to download huge image, click again to zoom in your browser.
Sleep and Stop Data
There is a reason why every RAAM racer’s advice is to “stay on the bike” and “just keep riding”. I could have knocked a day and a half off my time if my only stops were for sleeping. While this is somewhat unrealistic as you do have to use the bathroom and make other stops throughout the day, my average of 16.2 stops per day riding an average of only 17.6 miles between stops is somewhat ridiculous. Altogether, I stopped 170 times with an average stop duration of 24 minutes. This is entirely my own fault as I struggled not only with sleep, but also with pain in my hands and feet.
Continue reading RAAM 2015 Data Analysis
I took off fast after the long neutral section and got caught up in all the excitement of passing people and trying to make it through the desert as quickly as possible. I stayed well below my lactic threshold power, but perhaps this was the beginning of my battle with heat exhaustion. That battle would play out the next day, but first during the middle of the night I crashed in the uneven lanes construction zone between Blythe, California and Parker, Arizona. My front wheel caught on the rise between the lanes and went right out from under me. I hit my head hard and slid on my face and left shoulder.
After a quick check of everything on my bike and my body, I was up and riding again. Heading into Parker, Arizona Rob White caught up with me, and we rode together for a few minutes as the sun came up and the temp started to rise (very quickly). I was struggling and told him to go on. The temperature just kept on rising and rising. It was unbelievable. I stopped at a bar/lodge that was open at 9AM to use the bathroom and change kits. It was already 100 degF outside when Kristine took the picture below:
After another hour or so struggling in the heat, I knew I needed to get out of the heat. Our RV air conditioner could only keep the temp at 20 degrees below the outside air temperature. So it was still 90+ degF in the RV. Fortunately, in Hope, Arizona there was a gas station with good air conditioning. We setup a small cot in the corner of the store, and I slept there for a couple hours. I was off the bike for about 4.5 hours before continuing.
Continue reading RAAM 2015 Race Report
The Skyway Epic 100 men’s podium – left to right – me, David Potter, and Eric Nelson.
The Skyway Epic 100 mountain bike race definitely lived up to its name on Saturday. I was happy to be racing again this year for the inaugural 100 mile (107.5 miles) version of the race having missed last year after crashing into the side of a car. Being in the final stages of training for the Race Across America, I need to make the most of every minute of bike-related activities. Therefore, I decided to ride my mountain bike down to the start of the race, do the race, and then ride home. This made for a very long 185 mile day on the bike that ended with Kristine driving down to Chelsea to rescue me at the base of the double oak climbs. Overall, it was excellent training for Race Across America, and the race itself was nothing short of epic and awesome.
Continue reading Skyway Epic 2015
One of the things that makes the Heart of the South 500 mile race one of the most difficult 500 mile races in the country is the enormous amount of climbing over the course of the race. The major topographical features include the three main climbs – Lookout Mountain, Fort Mountain, and Mount Cheaha – as well as four crossings of the Coosa River. I’ve annotated a topocreator.com map of the course below. Click to enlarge and then click again to zoom in on your web browser to see maximum detail.
topocreator.com – annotated map of the heart of the south race (click to enlarge)
I especially like that the entire course fits on the raised relief maps I have mounted on the wall next to my home office. This is the pic and overlay I made for last year’s race.
Raised relief map with overlay of the Heart of the South 500 race.
Back to Back Weekends
Back to back race weekends last weekend and this weekend. I won Friday’s Heart of the South 515 mile race just missing the course record only five days after placing 25th in a strong Pro/1/2 field at the inaugural Fort McClellan road race last weekend with lots of strong teams visiting Alabama from around the country as part of the national criterium calendar kickoff event (Sunny King) in Anniston. I raced that race RAAM-style meaning I left my house at 3AM and rode the 80 miles to the start of the race, raced the race, and then afterwards rode home a longer way going up and over Mount Cheaha for a grand total of 255 miles of racing and riding. There is so many great things I could say about that race — primarily getting to see a lot of friends from the racing community that I haven’t seen much this year because of my RAAM (Race Across America) training, but in the interest of time I’m going to skip straight to how the Heart of the South race went down this weekend.
Heart of the South – Start to Camp Comer
Tailwinds and thunderstorms
Friday was a beautiful day – I rode my bike to and from Samford to teach my Friday classes as usual (16.6 miles round trip). Later in the day, my awesome crew of Michael Staley and Payne Griffin drove over to my house so we could pack up everything for the race.
Side note – huge shout-out to my rookie crew of Michael and Payne. Those two guys did an amazing job of anticipating my needs for food, drink, and bike supplies. Plus, they did a good job of staying awake for a really long time as well as keeping me awake late in the race when I hit my sleep wall. Thanks guys!!!!
Side, side note – huge shout-out to my sponsors as well. Raymond James has been behind me financially and helping to get the word out to other companies and individuals who might be interested in joining our team. My Martindale wheelset was amazing again this year. I’m excited for the new Carbon Clincher wheels Philip will be getting me for RAAM – easily shave hours (if not at least half a day) off my total time!
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