Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 30

Date
July 25, 2015

Distance
128 miles

Strava Link
Week 30

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This is my last long ride before Petoji and I made it a good one. I headed to Markleeville and did both sides of Monitor, both sides of Ebbetts, Carson Pass, and Luther Pass. I don't think I've been out to Monitor or Ebbetts since I Everested the east side of Monitor pass last summer. That's way too long!

Red Lake

It was a beautiful and sunny day out there. It got windy on Carson Pass, but it always seems to be windy up there and it wasn't anything too crazy. There is brand new pavement on both Carson and Luther. Can't beat that.

PETOJI

Petoji begins next week. I doubt I will be able to update the blog for about 3-4 weeks. I'm not even sure how often I'll be able to upload rides on Strava, but I hope it will be at least once per week. I'm not a big Instagram user (I only made an account to link photos to Strava), but that's probably the one thing I'll be able to update most frequently when I'm out on the road. Here's my Instagram feed.

I've been wanting to ride across the country for more than 10 years, and my whole year has been focused on this ride. The time has finally come.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week 29

Date
July 19, 2015

Distance
103 miles

Strava Link
Week 29

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
Two weeks to go until Petoji. I did my last back-to-back training rides before the big ride begins. Yesterday was 120 miles with 9,000 feet and today was an easier ride- the Red Rock loop.

Red Rock Road
Petoji is just around the corner and I'm happy with where my endurance is. I can do back-to-back rides without any problems. I'm not as happy with my speed. I probably did too much endurance work and not enough speed work. I planned on sacrificing a little bit of speed for endurance this year, but I may have taken that a bit too far. I've done a lot of back-to-backs this year and it's possible that I should have skipped a few of those in favor of some shorter, more intense rides. But then again, would I feel as comfortable with my endurance without those extra back-to-backs? Probably so, but it's impossible to know for sure.

Either way, it's too late to change it now, so I might as well look on the bright side. I would rather finish the ride at a slow pace than not finish at a fast pace. If I did make an error in my training plan, at least I made the error in a safer direction.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 28

Date
July 12, 2015

Distance
133 miles

Strava Link
Week 28

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was a fun route. It's mostly flat, but with just enough climbing to keep things interesting. The section between Bassetts and Graeagle was probably the highlight of the day.


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.