Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tombstone 600KM Brevet – Zettabyte of suffering (look that baby up- just think big)

No video or pictures available from first day-too wet and cold

This was the last of four qualifying Brevet’s, 200KM, 300KM, 400KM and 6OOKM for me to qualify to do a 1200KM event late June.  Trev had come down to Arizona and joined me on the 200KM and 400Km Brevet’s and although I have been accused of twisting his arm to join me on the 600 all of us who know Trev know that’s not true.  Trev likes an out of the box challenge; turns out this went way outside the box.

Friday we had gorgeous weather we even hit the pool. The weather forecast looked ugly for Saturday, high of 14C with rain, it didn’t look horrific and certainly go time for Canadian Rando riders.  We headed up to a hotel by the start of the ride and joined a Susan Reed, the ride trail boss, her husband and a number of ride participants for dinner and pre-ride trash talk.

Congratulating each other for sticking it out!
Saturday morning we woke up to pouring rain and 4C temperatures.  Although we had good gear we certainly didn’t have our cold weather riding gear and it looked nasty.  I immediately dug into the unpublished Rando survival book, Chapter 3 –Improvising to Survive Cold Weather (see below for details).  We biked down to the Ihop (also the start) early, allowing Trev to have his two breakfasts and making sure we hit the start time on time.   Most of the gang was there and you could sense the collective thought, someone cancel this sucker, we barley survived the 500 meter to the start.

The Lowlights:

  •  Approximately ten riders headed out
  •  It dropped to 2C by the first check point 33Km into the ride (back to the survival book)
  • Climbed to Sonoita check point 2, 140KM in, poured rain the whole way, left side of our faces exfoliated by hail, frozen, hands so cold that we couldn’t grab our water bottles, ok Trev tied but it fell on the road, nutrition non-existent.
  • Spent over an hour warming and fueling up in Sonoita and looking for extra clothing.  Oddly, everything was closed except the hardware and tack store.  We added a hoodie layer to our current five layers and contemplated buying leather horse riding chaps but they would have got caught in our drive train. 
  • Carlton rolled into the Sonoita as we were looking for clothing; he looked blue.  We reported back to him on the location of the hoodies then headed to Tombstone. 
  • Now in the high desert, cold, no rain, tail-wind and with the extra layer we sort of warmed up.  Arrived Tombstone 200KM’s in hoping to be shot by the local sheriff.  Trev had a horrified look “oh my God I’m going to die on a Rando event”
  • Lost another hour trying to fuel up. Left Tombstone and headed back into a ferocious headwind, now frozen again. 
  • Stopped and visited with Carlton who was heading into Tombstone.  He was now sporting a brand new hoodie, and was thankfully ignored by his wife, brother, mother and all friends to come and get him in Sonoita.  All of the hotel rooms were also booked so it was back on the bike for him.  Tough bastard.
  • Waved at Chuck shortly after, he kind of had the “what the F!!!!!” am I doing here look
  • Arrived check-point three half way between Sonoita and Tombstone just as three riders whom we referred to as the “three amigos” were pounding their way to Tombstone.  They seemed in good spirits but were going to have to push hard to make the check point time but with the tailwind it seemed doable. 
  • The wind let up a little at this point and shifted directions, no head wind as we headed back to Tucson and the low desert.
  • Trev mentally messed me up by pedaling full out downhill in the dark; no one does this on a Rando event.  I also believe that when he is in his drops he is so aero he creates a low pressure area behind him (Bernoulli effect) which sucks air in forcing me to pedal my as off just to stay on his wheel – oh and we were freezing.
  • After one stop we did the last big climb for the day, then another downhill run to the city, Bernoulli Trev again, Stephen pedaling his ass off, still frozen.
  •  Arrived at our planned rest stop, hotel en-route, 12:15 AM Sunday with 400km in the bag. (Frozen)  No way we saw 14C.
  •  Back up at 7:AM, big breakfast and riding in the sun by 8:15AM no longer frozen.  We heard at the next checkpoint that Carlton was through earlier and were happy that he kept at it, tough bastard.
  • The next 213km was beautiful riding, very hilly, I suffered from a bonk coming on but we made it to the Subway in San Manual, last Check point 514KM in before I totally died.
  • We then tackled 12km of the toughest but most fun climbing in the ride.  Great scenery, rolled up with these nasty pitches, my kind of climbing.
  • Back to Bernoulli Trev for the run down into town, part way down we saw 2 of the three amigos pounding up, I braked to chat but Trev could smell the barn so back to pedaling my ass off.  (This hammering every downhill has to stop on these events, its un-Rando)
  •  More climbing through town then Trev pushing a big gear for the run to the finish, done at 4:50PM
  • Big pulls by Trev the last day

We were totally trashed from riding in the cold the first day, tired sore bodies with various aches and pains that should subside in the coming days.  Trev fell asleep as soon as we got home, we ordered out for dinner, we even tried to get the delivery guy to spoon feed us, yah creepy.

A few stats:

·      Total distance 613Km
·      Moving average 26.7KM/HR (much of it in the small ring on the first day)
·      Total ride time 23 hours
·      Total time off the bike 11:50 (Includes our 8 hour night stop)
·      Total time 34:50
·      Total Vertical climbed, approx. 13,000 ft.

Chapter 3 – Improvising to Survive Cold Weather – (experts)
3.1.1 Foot protection: Use of small plastic glass wrappers found in one to three star accommodations can be used as toe covers by placing over sock before inserting in shoes. (Sourced these at our hotel)

3.1.2 Leg Protection: Use of plastic trashcan bags torn into strips and inserted over thighs and knees under shorts and leg warmers.  (Sourced at the Ihop restaurant)

3.1.3 Shin protection if knee warmers are only available.  Use of newspaper tucked under knee warmer and sock, preferably 10 pages thick placed over shin.  User should choose an inspirational picture facing outwards and upside down.  When your ass is really dragging and your head is hanging below your top tube you can get a pick-me up from looking at the picture.  (Sourced at the Circle K gas station Check point 1)

3.1.4 Additional body layer and torso wind protection: Use of newspaper, preferably the thickness of the New York Times placed across chest, two layers beneath the rain protection layer.  If your nutrition runs low you can eat the newspaper to get rid of the hunger pains (Sourced at the Circle K gas station Check point 1)

3.1.5 When all else fails: Offer to buy someone’s jacket, money by this time should be no object as you have lost partial mental capacity, the part that was still there before you thought of doing the event. (Unsuccessful attempt made in Sonoita, women with amazing down jacket, her boyfriend thought I looked creepy with plastic bags and now paper mache sticking out of my spandex)



Lachlan Holmes said...

Damn! I wonder what it would take to stop you tough bastards? I'm picturing houses being ripped apart by tornadoes, raging rivers, asteroids destroying the landscape, and Trev and Stephen hammering through it all...

And even though it was tough, sounds like you handled your nutrition like pros...here's another ride report confirming the sufferfest.

RobWoolley said...

I think this is my favourite Rando race report ever.

cyclingphysio said...

All I can think to say is...damn..

Well Done.


Slayer Dan said...

That's a wicked race report. I envisioned Jens reading it to me. Classic beyond classic. Where can I read chapters 1-2 of that random manual?

roblukacs said...

If Copyright didn't exist I'd likely publish this, and make a mint.

Great report! Tough bastards.

Rick C said...

Quite a list of lowlights. You seem to have forgotten the highlights. I can think of a few - you are still alive, you aren't peeing blood (sheesh that can't be healthy), and there is even one for me, I wasn't there....

Now that is sufferin'

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