It’s hard to think about anything else this week except my upcoming big ride: The Cascade 1200km run by the Seattle International Randonneurs. I’ve done the club rides leading up to it, I’ve chatted up many conversions with ~20 or so others that plan on riding, and I’ve read through the website several times over. I’m prepared as I could be, but that still leaves a lot open that I can only fully understand after long days in the saddle.
The “final” ~770 mile route has been posted online; one section for each day. I’ve scanned through the route once online to at least familiarize myself with the region, and will load this version onto my Garmin eTrex 20 GPS. It’s not the typical cycling GPS, but it shows maps incredibly well and has suited my needs for the past few years of long rides. I’m familiar with the beginning of the first day, and the end of the last day, as those sections have been used on previous rides this season. The remaining 600+ miles is all new to me, including all of the mountain passes.
Each of the three nights will be at a hotel (in Carson, Ephrata, and Mazama). Queen beds are shared as needed, and organized depending on when people arrive or plan to leave in the morning. My goal is to roll in each night, secure the bike, eat dinner, take a quick shower, change into fresh clothes, prep the bike for rolling out in the morning with fresh waterbottles and snacks in the bag, and then get as much sleep as possible. The first night might be lacking in sleep because of the consecutive 220+ mile days. The second night might afford a little sleeping in, being only 143 miles the next day, though I assume that people will still want to roll out as soon as the sun is up around 5am. Kathy is volunteering at the second overnight controle as well, and it will be nice to see her at that point with more than half of the miles behind me.
On The Road
My biggest concern is about finding the right pace. Too fast and I risk getting burnt out for later in the day, or for upcoming days. Too slow, and I won’t have banked enough time to sleep before having to roll out on the next day. I’ve calculated some estimated times between controle points, and hope that somewhere around 12-13mph overall average (including breaks) will be reasonable. Thankfully, this is a bit slower than my past rides which were mostly around 14mph overall. My second day of the 600k, which was maybe my toughest day on the bike and riding alone most of the time was still 11.7mph – not much under my lower goal of 12. Knowing 20+ riders out there, I also have an idea of where I should be compared to them. Some are fast, and I should be content with them being ahead of me without trying to catch them.
I need to remember to drink lots of water all the time, and refill to capacity at each opportunity. I carry Platypus brand collapsible bottles too, for the long stretches of desert riding midday where services are few. I’ve heard to look out for volunteer tables cropping up unannounced if it gets particularly hot too, but not to plan on that either.
I need to manage my cadence well. That may have been my initial downfall on the start of the 600km ride. I was trying too hard to keep up with fast riders, and wasn’t spinning effectively. This meant more mashing on the pedals, which puts more force on my feet with each stroke. Keeping consistent and reasonable should alleviate the foot soreness I dealt with on that day.
While I do need breaks occasionally, I tend to do best with either 10 minutes or 45. A short break lets me catch my breath, stretch my shoulder/back muscles that get tense from riding, and find a bathroom. The longer breaks are good if I have been riding in the heat, or need to stop to refuel and let some food really work. Anything between those times and I tend to skip the quick routine things, but don’t feel like I’m effectively resting either. 20 minutes of milling about is far worse for me than a structured 10 minute get-it-all-done break.
Something I don’t write about often is my type 1 diabetes. It’s generally just a minor factor in my riding, and I don’t dwell on the short term issues because they generally are resolved quickly on the bike. I’ll reduce my hourly insulin rate through the insulin pump by about half, and start the ride with a fresh Dexcom sensor that shows my sugar level every 5 minutes. This monitor doesn’t always function great on tough rides, though that seems to have more to do with hard efforts than long days. I carry 40 glucose tabs, which is 200 grams of fast carbohydrates. I typically only ever use a few, and only once I run out of gatorade / juice in my bottles, but I carry this amount in case I were to get stuck away from services for a longer time than expected. It’s quite possible I’ll be digging for those in the mountain passes. I also tend to carry 6-8 Clif bars for more easily edible carbohydrates on the bike.
That’s all for now. Check my facebook page for pictures as I go, assuming I have a chance to put them there mid-ride. Otherwise, I plan to resurface on Wednesday or Thursday.