Monday, July 6, 2015

Everesting: Nevada 844




Strava Link: Everesting: Nevada 844

This is my 3rd successful Everesting attempt and it took place one year to the day from my 1st attempt on Geiger Grade. Here are links to the first two: Geiger Grade, Monitor Pass

The Climb



This is a great little climb out in the middle of the Nevada desert. It gains 1,104 feet in 2.8 miles, which translates to 27 repeats. It's just about perfect for Everesting. It starts with a straight, flat section, which (a) gives you a little time to adjust to climbing after the descent and (b) makes for a nice place to slow down during the descent. It also finishes with an easy section, which is a nice spot to catch your breath before the descent. The middle portion is steep with a fairly steady gradient. There are just enough turns to keep things interesting, but none of them are too tight to slow things down much on the descent.

The Ride



I rode the first climb too fast and couldn't find a good rhythm on the second climb. From the third climb on, I was starting to get into the groove. Climbs 3-8 were all at a similar pace and I didn't feel myself slowing down until the 9th or 10th climb.

I took my first break after the 10th climb. One of my big goals for the day was to keep the off-bike time to a minimum. I wasn't able to reach that goal. The first break seemed short to me, but looking back at the data I can see that it took 17 minutes. Not a good start.

I felt good after the break and rode the next 4 climbs at a decent pace. As you can see from the graph above, things really started to slow down on the 16th climb. I've seen this on my past Everests and I should have been ready for it, but I wasn't. I think I expect to gradually get slower over the course of the day, but for whatever reason that's just not how my body reacts. At some point I hit a wall and slowly recover from there. It happened to me on climb #11 on Geiger and climb #7 on Monitor. This time it happened on climb #16.

I'm not going to lie. I went into panic mode. My legs felt terrible and I still had 11 climbs to go. How would I ever finish? My easiest gear was a 34x30 and I was already using it. I decided to take a long break and hope for the best. Long is an understatement. The break lasted 35 minutes and I even fell asleep for a short period of time.

I wish I could say I had an epiphany and decided not to be a quitter, but the truth is that I was at 95 miles for the day and only needed one more climb to hit 100 miles, so I decided to just ride one more climb. The 17th climb didn't feel great, but it felt better than the 16th climb, so I tried for 18. After 18 was done I decided to go ahead and do 2 more to get to 20. Once I hit 20 I started to believe in myself again. I was feeling better and falling back into a rhythm. It hurt, but I believed. That belief makes all the difference.

I took a 19-minute break after climb #20 then a 24-minute break after climb #24. As you can see, all these breaks started adding up and by the end of the day I was up to 2 hours and 18 minutes of off-bike time. I was hoping for less, but that's actually my lowest total. I had about 2.5 hours for Geiger and close to 3 hours for Monitor.

During that break after the 24th climb I changed into a clean set of clothes. It doesn't sound like much, but it made me feel a lot better. It felt like starting a new ride. At that point I knew I was going to finish. I was still in a good rhythm and all I had to do was keep eating and drinking and keep a consistent pace.

The last climb is a funny thing. I've always felt relief, not euphoria. More than anything I was glad that I didn't quit. I think that's what Everesting teaches me and why I've done it multiple times. It's amazing what you can do if you put your head down and just keep pushing. 

Total time for the day: 15 hours and 52 minutes. That's my best time so far (Geiger: 18:30, Monitor: 18:54) on what felt like the toughest Everesting I've done.





Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 26

Date
June 27, 2015

Distance
111 miles

Strava Link
Week 26

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
We had record-breaking heat in Reno on Saturday and I celebrated with a modified version of the LeMond loop. I rode both sides of Mt. Rose, then 342 and Six Mile Canyon. The day started out well and I rode a decent pace up the east side of Mt. Rose, but the west side was a different story. I don't know what it is about the west side of Mt. Rose, but it's probably my least favorite climb in the area. It should be a favorite. Its numbers aren't particularly impressive (7.5 miles at 6%), it has a nice bike lane for the entire climb, and there's often a tailwind. The problem is that I never seem to ride it with fresh legs. I have either just climbed the east side of Mt. Rose or I'm towards the end of a long ride and heading back home. There are a lot of long, straight sections that seem to take forever when I'm going so slow. I didn't have many miles in my legs by the time I rode the west side of Mt. Rose today, but the east side of Mt. Rose has its way of sucking the energy out of your legs and I did a slow ascent.

The rest of the ride was pretty easy until I hit 342. I was ready for a super hot ride into Virginia City, but a storm rolled in and things cooled off considerably. My timing was perfect. There were a few sprinkles by the time I hit Gold Hill, but nothing major. Things looked clearer to the east, so I did a descent down Six Mile Canyon and rode straight back up. By the time I made it back to Virginia City the roads were completely dry but the temperatures were still cool. Somehow I managed to have perfect timing.

Looking south from 341
I'll have a 3-day weekend coming up thanks to the 4th of July. I haven't decided what I want to do yet, but hopefully it will be something big.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week 25

Date
June 20, 2015

Distance
132 miles

Strava Link
Week 25

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
I did the east side of Lake Tahoe plus Luther Pass, then an easy 50 miles or so back home. Luther Pass just got brand new pavement on the south side, so that descent was silky smooth.

During the summer it helps to know where you can get water. I'll share a few that I use on this route. Preston Field is a convenient stop right near the bottom of Mt. Rose. There are some outdoor water fountains right next to the bathrooms, or you can just go in the bathroom to fill your bottles. I've had good luck with the bathrooms there during the summer. They always seem to be open when I stop.

Kahle Park is another good place that is right near the bottom of the west side of Kingsbury. There are bathrooms right here that have water fountains outside and running water inside.

(I haven't had good luck at the park in Genoa lately. The bathrooms were closed this winter, but I don't remember them being closed last winter. I've seen them open this summer, but I was out there Sunday morning and they were closed for some reason. The water fountains were on, though, so you can at least fill up your bottles.)

I'm cheap, so I prefer public places with free water when I can get it. When that's not possible, Save Mart is the next best thing. They have these machines where you can get 12-ounce drinks for 35 cents. That's a pretty good deal and you don't even have to go inside and worry about locking up your bike.


Save Mart
I'm loving summer so far. Get out there and enjoy it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 24

Date
June 13, 2015

Distance
111 miles

Strava Link
Week 24

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This is a great route with a little bit of everything. There's the long climb to Mt. Rose, the scenic views of Lake Tahoe, then some desert riding and the short but steep climb to Virginia City via Gold Hill.

The light at the end of the tunnel
It's starting to feel like summer out there. Temperatures were in the 90s and there were big crowds out at the lake. I haven't done much riding in the heat yet this year, so today was a bit of a shock to the system and I was out of gas by the time I hit Gold Hill. 342 is never easy. I hit it again the next day on a 4-hour ride and felt better.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week 23

Date
June 6, 2015

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 23

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
After the 10-day block of training I took it easy for a while. This was my first long ride since then. My main goal for June is to pick up my climbing again, and this ride was a nice start. I did Geiger plus Six Mile Canyon x2 and 342 x2.

342 is back open
342 is back open after being closed for a while due to damage done during a recent rain storm. I'm glad to have it back. It's a tough short climb- one section of 1.7 miles at 9% with a killer finishing portion of 0.5 miles at 11%. On top of that, 341 (the truck route) has a lot less traffic now that 342 is back open.

I did Mt. Rose (east side) and Martis Peak the next day to continue the climbing training. My legs were toast after Martis Peak, so it was a successful weekend.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spectator Report: 2015 Tour of California Stages 1 and 2

2015 is the 5th year in a row that I've visited the Tour of California. This year I got to hang out at the team bus area for Stage 1 in Sacramento and at the feed zone for Stage 2 from Nevada City to Lodi. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, here are some Spectator Reports from previous years.

Stage 1

Stage 1 was very similar to last year. It started at the same spot in Sacramento and had the same winner: Mark Cavendish. I spent a little time walking around but focused most of my time on the Tinkoff-Saxo and Lotto-Jumbo buses that were parked next to each other. It worked out well because my two favorite riders at this year's race were Peter Sagan and Laurens Ten Dam. I've always been a Sagan fan. I just like his energy and it seems like he's having fun out there. He may not be winning as often as he used to, but I'm still a fan. As for Ten Dam, I've been following him on Strava for a long time. I guess I'm a weird Internet stalker, but because of Strava I feel like I know him better than most of the other pros. Last summer before the Tour de France he did some training in Truckee, which was super interesting to follow since I've ridden a lot of the roads he was riding during that trip.

I started the day in Sacramento, checking out the festivities. Trek was displaying an interesting piece of history: the bike that Jens Voigt rode when he beat the hour record. Jens didn't hold the record for long, but it was still interesting to see the bike that once held the record.

Jens Voigt's hour record bike
I don't know why, but I'm always amused by the team bus situation in America. Here you have a huge team like Tinkoff-Saxo, which usually has one of the fanciest buses you can imagine, riding around in a cheap looking rental RV.

Tinkoff-Saxo team bus
Same goes for Lotto-Jumbo.

Lotto-Jumbo team bus

I saw Steve Schlanger with his camera crew waiting for a Peter Sagan interview, so I decided to stay close to him. This used to be a good strategy for me back when Bob Roll was doing interviews. He seemed to get quick access to riders and I'd just follow him around and get to see a lot of the big-name guys. However, Schlanger wasn't having much luck with Sagan. He spent a lot of time waiting around. Sagan did eventually appear, though, and I got a pretty close look.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan
I also managed to catch a glimpse of .

Laurens Ten Dam

Laurens Ten Dam

Laurens Ten Dam

Laurens Ten Dam

Laurens Ten Dam
After the race start, we drove out towards Davis to catch some more race action. I got a tiny ride in before the cops closed the road. There wasn't a hill in sight, so the guys rolled by very quickly.

Breakaway

Peloton

Stage 2

Stage 2 also gave me a little deja vu from last year. I drove past the exact same spot near Folsom Lake where I stopped to watch Stage 1 last year. There was a park nearby and I stopped there and got my bike out. From there I followed the race course with no real plan. I was just hoping to ride as far as I could before the peloton rolled by. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon the feed zone, which was on a slightly uphill section of road. This made for a perfect viewing spot. I rode a little bit past the feed zone hoping I might get some bottles or a discarded feed bag.

The feed zone. It was still early, so not many cars were parked here yet.
My spot in the shade, just past the feed zone.
You wouldn't believe what happened next if I didn't have video evidence. Laurens Ten Dam rode right at me and dropped his feed bag right at my feet! Here are some still images from the video:

Laurens Ten Dam, looking straight at me

Laurens Ten Dam, moving closer with his feed bag in hand

Laurens Ten Dam, throwing his feed bag right to me

Riding away
I couldn't believe it. I've picked up quite a few bottles over the years, but I've never really known who threw the bottle. This year I didn't get many bottles at all, but I did get Ten Dam's bag. One bag from Ten Dam is better than 20 bottles from unknown riders.


That's probably it for me this year. I won't be able to make it to Utah or Colorado this summer (I have other plans) and as much as I would love to make it to Richmond, VA for the Worlds in September, it's not likely that I'll be able to pull that off. However, I'm sure I'll be back for the Tour of California next year. Here's hoping they finally return to Lake Tahoe.

Week 22

Date
May 25, 2015

Distance
105 miles

Strava Link
Week 22

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 

This was day 10 of a 10-day training block for Petoji. The goal was to average 110 miles per day over 10 days. I ended up with 1110.8 miles, for an average of 111 miles per day. Mission accomplished.

Day 10 was another cloudy day with a chance of rain, so I did a few laps around Washoe Lake. After the 3rd lap the weather looked clearer to the north, so I headed that way but ended up getting rained on anyway. It was a fitting way to end the week. The weather wasn't cooperating all week, but there's a chance it won't cooperate during the real deal in August, so I suppose it was good training.

A fitting finish to the 10 days
I'm happy with how the 10-day training block worked out. Except for my pacing mistake on day 5, I didn't run into any major problems. My legs felt better than expected. I'd say the biggest challenge was mental fatigue from riding a lot of the same roads. (I was hoping to travel a little more, but with all the rain in the area I decided to stay close to home.)

I'm going to take it easy for a while. Time for a recovery week.