Spenco Ironman Gloves
I bought the Spenco Ironman Gloves ($35) on the strength of the Roadbikerider.com
review. I'm not sure if I've been hard on the gloves or if they just don't work as well as I hoped, but either way, I'm not impressed. I started using them a couple of weeks before RAAM to break them in and I've been using them off and on since then and my hands have been taking a beating. Since 2001, I've been using the cheapy cheerful Performance brand Century Gel Glove ($15 - $20) and I've had much better results.
These Spenco gloves have been washed a couple of times, so I would expect all the extraneous dye to be gone, but no. My hands were covered in black dye after the ride in the rain on Saturday and three days, several showers, and multiple handwashings (including two degreasing washes with Orange pumice Gojo) per day since and my hands still have some dye left on them. Not good.
To be fair to the Spenco gloves, my bar tape is all messed up, but I rode thousands of miles on my Hed Aerobars without bar tape this spring and the Performance gloves did just fine.
The View From The Back Of The Pack
I finally got back up on that horse and joined the DC Randonneurs for a weekend ride and boy did I pick a doozy. It was officially a 127.9 mile ride and a guesstimated 10,000 feet of climbing; Chuck came up with 126 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing. Ouch. It took me 11.25 hours on the bike and I'm guessing a little over 12 hours overall to finish the ride.
The ride started at the base of the climb to Thornton Gap and no quarter was given, riders started off fast splitting the pack up early; way to early for a 128 mile ride with an excessive amount of climbing. I preferred to start easy to warm up. I spun up the climb in my granny gear at 90 rpm. Steve and Lynn had forgotten their brevet card and started late, they caught me near the top. I tried to stay with them on the descent, but they flew down at mach 1. After Thornton Gap we descended to Luray past Yogi's campground (hey boo-boo, I see a giant pic-a-nic basket).
While the cue sheet was in miles, everyone was measuring their progress by the climbs. There were 5 climbs (and descents) and the route was out and back over the same course. Edith Gap was next up, I had done it once before in the east-to-west direction during a brevet and I had done it west-to-east on a ride. It seemed easier west-to-east when I had last done it. Back then, I had been drafting Steve and Lynn and had surged ahead to catch Ed and Mary. Talking with Ed and Mary made the climb seem to be short, much shorter than it was yesterday. Edith gap has a nice view from the top.
The next climb was Edinburg Gap and that seemed like a piece of cake outbound. My average speed was hovering around 11.6 when I made my first stop at the Control Point at Bo's Interstate Shell. Steve and Lynn where there swapping tires on the tandem. They were having problems with the rear tire holding air, so they threw out the old tire and moved the used front tire to the back and put the new tire on the front. For those who don't know, you always want the best tire on the front, its a steering thing. A flat on the front makes it much harder to control the bike than a flat in the rear tire. I left them to their work and headed off to the next climb at Wolf Gap. I was still feeling good and strong at this point, but I was getting overheated, so I started dousing myself with water from the camelback. After Wolf Gap, there is a long stretch of "descent". Its down a bit, up a bit, down a bit more which allowed me to keep my average speed up.
The last climb is real gradual outbound, and culminates in an unmarked, unnamed gap with a fast twisty descent into Lost River. I had used too much water keeping myself cool on Wolf Gap and this climb and so ended up running out of water a couple miles from the Lost River General Store. Since the course was out and back, I was able to see riders on the return route, Jeff was in front followed a few minutes behind by Keith. The rest of the riders straggled by in small groups or solo. At the Lost River General Store, I had a good Turkey and Swiss Panini, Matt was a minute or so behind me and Steve and Lynn were right behind him. I don't usually eat lunch because I find it hard to digest a meal on the road, but I was alternating my food sources and figured I'd give it a shot. The first hour was Perpetuem, the next hour was Hammer Gel and then a Powerbar. Some more Perpetuem, Some more Hammer Gel and then real food at Lost River. I only had 4 Endurolytes with me, so I had to use them sparingly. I did have a bunch of Anti-Fatigue caps and used them liberally. Matt left the stop first and I left next. I got far enough up the climb that I was able to grab Steve and Lynn's wheel as they came by and I drafted them past Matt and partway up Wolf Gap. They put the hurt on up to Wolf Gap and I couldn't hang, Matt re-passed me. I could hear thunder on the other side of the mountain and I hoped it would bring a bit of rain to cool me off. I caught Matt again at the top as he hacked up a lung...What little rain fell on the descent was instantly vaporized by the hot pavement. There's a 3 mile stretch after the descent that is flat to downhill and that's when the rain hit me. Big fat cold drops. I pushed on through the rain back to the control point at Bo's Interstate Shell where I stopped for a banana, water, and Pepsi. I usually avoid caffeine, but I was getting desperate. Matt, Steve, and Lynn showed up soon after, they had taken shelter from the rain. I was able to follow Matt for about 1.5 miles after the control point, but with a stiff sidewind and two months of sitting on the couch eating donuts, I dropped back as the tandem passed. My average speed was around 11.3 mph to this point and I needed to finish before dark because I didn't have lights with me. I had roughly 4 hours to go 38 miles. The rain had stopped and now the water was misting off the pavement like a steam bath.
Edith Gap, the climb that once seemed so short with Ed and Mary to distract me, now stretched on and on. I just kept telling myself to keep the pedals ticking over and don't stop til the top. I pushed hard on the descent and then across the valley to Luray to give myself time to make the climb back up Thornton Gap. Who should I see riding out of Yogi's campground but MATT. He had stopped for some Ice Cream. I got scope locked on his rear wheel as we burned through the 5.3 mile climb to Thornton Gap. I was really suffering now and knew it was going to be a long haul to the top. I lost his wheel, but I managed to keep him mostly in sight and that made a big difference. I was praying to god the climb would end soon, but a check of my computer said several more miles to go.
Finally at the top, I plowed down the hill trying to keep as much speed as possible through the turns. I was also soft pedaling to recover a bit and I got sewing machine legs. Thats a climbing term, when you're a beginner and stuck to the rock for a period of time, the legs start to shake uncontrollably. The fix on the rock is to keep the legs moving, but that wasn't working on the bike. When I got to the finish, I leaned the bike against a sign and just laid down on the gravel driveway until the shakes passed. Liz got me some watermelon. Thanks Liz. Glenn, Tom, Chuck, Crista, Steve, Lynn, Matt, Liz and myself went out to dinner afterward.
Bottom line: I survived. It was really tough mentally, I think that'll improve a bit. The day after and I'm a bit sore in my hands, I think that's the Spenco Ironman gloves I've been using, I'll switch back to my old ones. The legs are ok, nothing an active recovery session on the bike couldn't fix. I should be able to get back the fitness that I lost, but its going to take a couple more centuries before I'm a mid-packer again, so for now I'm enjoying the view from the back of the pack.
Cul De Sac Crit Results Are In
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 25, 2006
HERNDON, VA - The Pampers Cul De Sac Crit was a best of 7 event held in the outskirts of Herndon today. The weather was clear and hot insuring fast times. Lorelai "Q-T-Pie" Lamoureux got off to an early lead by winning the first three heats by a large margin against Roland "The Jackal" Lamoureux. "Q-T-Pie" had this to say, "It was a flat fast course that really suited my strengths. I look forward to sweeping the event."
The race got more exciting as "The Jackal" won the next three races by pulling around Q-T-Pie and outsprinting her in the last 20 meters. "The Jackal" had this to say, "Dat."
The final tie-breaking event was packed with tension as the competitors took to the line, vying for position. When the gun went off, "The Jackal" had an early lead, but by the first turn, "Q-T-Pie" had pulled ahead. "The Jackal" slipped in her draft and waited for his opportunity. At the last turn, he tried to go around her, but "Q-T-Pie" showing him who is boss, put him into the barriers and rode away to an easy vistory. "Q-T-Pie" had this to say, "I'd like to thank my sponsor 'Mommy Milk by Carnation Instant Breakfast' for giving me the endurance to win the final sprint." The Director Sportif for "The Jackal's" team lodged a formal protest of the final sprint with the judges to no avail.
Don't Call A Doctor
"I'm gonna get better.
Don't run for the priest, I'm gonna find some faith.
Just because I burned my bible baby
It don't mean, I'm too sick to pray."
A3- Too Sick To Pray.
I got a lot of responses from my last post, many people thought I was giving up cycling for good, but I still pray at the altar de velo. Since 2001, I've always felt burnt out by this time of year. I don't understand why it happened this year. I took several weeks off after RAAM to let my ribs heal, that should have been the recovery I needed to refresh the spirit. My riding for the past two weeks has been just to take Q and RJ to Q's dance class. I've gotten all ready to do Crista's weekend centuries, packing my gear, etc, but when the alarm went off, I stayed in bed. So basically, I've taken another couple of weeks off and I'm starting to feel de-trained, but the will to ride is slowly coming back.
I've been thinking about RAAM 2007 a lot lately, as opposed to two weeks ago when I thought I would never go back, I'm starting to make plans. I signed up for PACTour's Brevet week. Its 1500 Km (200 km, 300 km, 400 km, and 600 km) of riding just 3 weeks before RAAM 2007. That'll give me 943 miles of riding in one week and two weeks to recover before RAAM. More importantly, I'll have nothing to do for that week except ride, eat, and sleep. I'm also planning on doing some of PACTour's desert camps, but I haven't built my training plan for next year. Last year, I wanted to get in the gym, but I didn't have the cash. I also wanted an oxygen tent, but didn't have the cash. So, I'll be switching some priorities around this year and changing up my training to better prepare for RAAM next year. My first impression is that I'll need to add much more speedwork/intervals. The pace started out high and stayed there. Also, being able to sustain a higher pace will be easier on my crew.