300K Brevet is in the books!

A modern bicycle computer is a wonderful thing. You can look at distance and estimate how long it will take to get to the next cue based on your expected speed. Looking at the time gives you a reminder that you need to eat. Power and heart rate let you know if you are working too hard.  Where was my computer for this ride? Sitting on my desk charging up for the ride! Ouch.  But I paid close attention to the cue sheet and didn’t make any mistakes.

The ride started relatively quick. The route zig zags through Phoenix and Glendale before heading to Wickenburg, so I tried to keep the lead group in sight so I’d know where the turns were without having to refer to the cue sheet. I got very lucky. They would ride away and invariably get caught at a red light, which allowed me to either catch them again or get through the light just behind them. 25 miles down before turning towards Wickenburg. 

As soon as we left that first checkpoint I let them ride away and dropped back to my own pace.  I had a friendly tailwind pushing me along so that section was pleasant. Until I got to the outskirts of town where I had my first rear tire flat.  Got that changed relatively quickly and went around the corner to the second checkpoint.  

I took my time getting the rest of the way through town before the turn towards Vulture Mine. The friendly wind continued so I continued making good time. This is the first time on this road and I have to say Vulture Mine impressed me. Much larger than I expected with a number of rundown historic looking buildings. I’d love to get a tour of that someday!

Shortly after passing the mine I came up on an accident. Two riders touched wheels on a slight descent with a nice tailwind. They had to have been really moving when that happened. End result one rider with a broken clavicle and broken ribs. Bad day for sure! The ambulance hadn’t gotten there yet, but it did pass me on it’s way back before I got to the lunch stop in Tonopah.

Tonapah is 104 miles into the ride and I got there in 6 hours 20 minutes. Not too bad. Without stops, that was probably a 5 hour to 5.5 hour ride time century. My form is definitely coming back!

After finishing lunch I turned right into a cross headwind. The wind had shifted while I was eating. A few miles later I turned left into a soul sucking direct headwind. My speed really dropped. A couple miles down the road I turned left again and damned if that wind didn’t stay right in my face.  Did I mention how nice it is to have a bike computer to remind yourself to eat? Obviously I wasn’t because at about 120 miles I bonked. Hard. No power at all in my legs.  I stopped and started fueling up. Amazing what food does for you. It doesn’t happen right away, but within 15 min or so I suddenly felt better.

When I got to the next checkpoint I decided to really fuel up. Campbell’s Chicken Soup to get some sodium, a pickle for more sodium, a bottle of muscle milk with 40 grams of protein and water for my bottles. I got back on the course and the wind became friendly. Suddenly I was making great time again! 

Just after getting back into the outskirts of town my real wheel felt squishy. So I stopped to change it, but noticed I had neglected to close the presta valve. So I took a risk and decided to just hit it with another CO2. Wrong choice.  Within a mile or two it was feeling squishy again, so I stopped to change it. And put my arm and leg warmers back on because the temp was dropping quickly as the sun began to set.  Unfortunately the first tube was defective. I wasted two CO2 cartridges on it. Then realized those were my last CO2’s. So I put my last tube in and hand pumped it. Man, I really like CO2!

When I was finished the sun had set. Luckily a group of three came by and invited my to jump on. I tried, but just didn’t have the legs, so I let them go and watched their tail lights in the distance to show me the turns.  That worked out well and got me to the next checkpoint where I refilled bottles and had another 40 gram protein muscle milk. That group of three was still there when I left, but they passed me within a mile or two.

Luckily we were back in town, so I’d check the cue sheet as I passed under street lights. I decided to just do recovery riding to the finish … And I didn’t really have legs to do anything else at that point. I pulled into the finish at 8:37pm, so 13:37 total time to ride 187 miles.  I’ll take it!

What did this ride teach me? My form is coming back, but I still need to work on long distance endurance. I’m good for 100 miles, but need to adjust what I’m doing to be comfortable on longer rides. A cycling computer may or may not have made a difference. I’ll find out on the 400k next month!  I also need to learn how to take pictures on rides. I suck at that, so no pics this time.

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