Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm a failure, or my D2R2 ride report

So, I went on and on about the D2R2 for a long time and on Saturday I got up at 4:30 to drive up with my old Stumpjumper to Deerfield and partake.

I was tired.

My bikes was tired.

It was early when I left.

I registered, got my cue sheet and other attendant documents, ate some bagel stuff and set out around 6:20. The morning was still nice and cool and these were seeming pretty pleasant. The first 30-something miles to the first checkpoint were rolling and pretty. There was a tough 15% climb up to checkpoint, but at the top was a very pretty field of sunflowers. I ate some more bagel stuff and put some water in my camelbak and continued on.

Pretty field of sunflowers.

Things were still pretty good. Royer Rd. was a fun little diversion and I cleared the 27% climb on Archambo Rd. The climb right after that was pretty difficult and I actually ended up walking a few hundred feet. Things went up and down for awhile, with one pretty fast hill (that I'm told claimed a collarbone and caused at least one bad crash) eventually bringing me to the 60 mile lunch checkpoint at the Green River. I ate a cheese sandwich and some trail mix and got more water.
Getting ready to leave after lunch, these are some of the very few mountain bikes that I saw.

I was still feeling pretty good and fresh and climbed out the river valley. I rode with another guy for awhile and I followed him on a wrong turn up a very steep hill. I stopped half way up to consult the map and the cue sheet. He continued, but eventually came back down to tell me that the road ended and became a hiking trail. I started to feel a little bit weaker around this point, but not that terrible. After a few miles, there was a Leyden Police office handing out gatorade and water. I drank a bottle of gatorade and thanked her for her hospitality. There was some more climbing that brought me to a farm with two bottles of warm water sitting out. I thought this was the optional water break that the cue sheet described and I sat under a tree on a picnic table, ate a cliff bar and pour one of the bottles into my Camelbak. After descending a big hill back down to the Green River, I realized that the optional water station was in fact there. So, I guess I was just stealing water from the farmers. But, they smiled and waved to me when I sat down, so maybe it was a supplemental thing to be nice. Who knows. Anyway, thank you to the farmers on top of the hill on North County Road in Leyden.

Meeting up with the river, there was this very pretty and pleasantly flat four miles.

Uh oh. Switchbacks are coming.

After that, there were switchbacks coming out of the valley. Heading up, several people were cramping up. I felt bad for their plight, but soon realized it was contagious because by the end of the first switchback I was cramping, too. I paused, grimaced, walked it off and got back on the bike. There was a bunch more climbing and near the top, I started to cramp again. I drank a bunch more water. Ever since around 10:00, it had been pretty hot, so I had done some considerable sweating, but I had been good about drinking water. In fact, I'd probably consumed like a gallon or so at that point. I rode & walked some more up and until the conclusion of the hill and was hurting a bit, but I was also at like mile 90 at that point. Only 20 more to go and I was certain I could push through. Climbs were starting to get pretty tough, but flats weren't too bad. This area dropped back down into a valley again in Colrain. Up ahead was the hideousness of Patten Hill, but it was pretty flat up until there. Those flats, however, were starting to put a strain on me. I knew that I'd probably be walking almost all if not all of Patten Hill.

It was true, I arrived, clipped out of my pedals and started walking. It seemed that there were still a lot of people behind me, because suddenly all these people materialized behind me and rode passed me. It was only at about 2mph faster than me, but they at least remained on their bikes. I tried getting back on, but the cramps would over take my legs. I think it's about 3 miles to the summit and I walked almost the entire thing. I have no idea how long it took, probably over an hour or something and I was totally defeated at the top and collapsed on the side of the road. A very pleasant guy on a Cross Check gave me some shot blocks along the way. I had devoured them, but no cramp cessation. The checkpoint was maybe 200 yards away and it was totally flat. I remounted and could barely pedal, but made it. I was done. I ate some food and salt and some more electrolyte stuff, but I was cramping everywhere: legs, hands, chin and feet. I got some encouragement, because there was only ten more miles and I thought that I'd be an idiot for giving up with ten miles to go and it was almost all down hill. But, I got back on the bike, I locked up and knew I was done. Norman, a volunteer and owner of Flye Cycles (of Sunderland, MA), gave me a ride back to the start/finish. My cramps subsided as I was driving home.

So, I learned a valuable lesson about these things called electrolytes. I ate well and drank well, but sweated all the salt out of my body. The race organizers put out tons of things that I should have been eating and drinking, but I made poor decisions and I had to scratch with 10 miles left, but with 15,000' of climbing done. I'm pretty disappointed in myself.

In terms of bike selection, I'm still wondering if a mountain bike was the best choice. Most people were on 'cross bikes or touring bikes. I was able to bomb down hills and pass everyone (not that it was a race, but it was a much more confident descender), but I was always passed on flats and most climbs. I only saw like two other mountain bikes.

In other news about scratching long rides, happily, fatcyclist seems to be ok after crashing out of the Leadville 100.

Here's a cool map of the whole thing.


G said...

Dude, you did well considering the heat. I did the 100k and started cramping at mile 22. I managed to fend them off for the rest of the ride. I think I sweated out at mile 5. My group learned our lesson two years ago when it was hotter. So we took our time and stayed together. Like my friend says, the difference between the 170k and 100k is surviving the ride and enjoying the ride. I rode a MTB Indy Fab Deluxe w/ slicks and I'm glad I had the gearing though I never use the small ring. I dont know how people did it on full-on road bikes or better yet the fixies. Only 353 days til next year's D2R2! My friends want to go back and do some of the route later this fall. Interested?

Anonymous said...

hey there - I'm the shot block guy. I wish the blocks had helped you to finish but when you are too far gone . . . I learned the lesson hard way in the Nipmuck Trail marathon last summer and will never fail to fully account for electolyte needs again. All part of our education right? Anyway, sorry you had to pack in but awesome effort in that state of pain. When I saw you at the Big Little house I thought "good - he's going to make it." NEXT YEAR! Best, Drew

Brendan said...

G: I'd actually be way into checking on the 100k. The route was indeed awesome and I'm still having happy flashbacks of all but the end.

Drew: I can't thank you enough for those shot blocks. While it may have not had any effect until I was in the car. I stopped cramping and made it home safely.

I guess there was a reason they invented things like gatorade after all.

Anonymous said...

be realistic. this is some of the worst weather we have in western ma--I mean, homeless people die of heat stroke in this kind of weather. and that is not exactly an easy ride.

that you did a randonnee on some of the hilliest terrain, in some of the hottest weather, is no small accomplishment, no matter where you placed.

Jhon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Throw some electrolyte tabs like nuun in with your water and you'll be good next year. Be sure to train with them too to get used to them. Much better than Gatorade or a sugary energy drink. nuun (and Camelbak makes one too) just gives you the electrolytes with a fresh taste, then you can get your calories from whatever your personal choice is.
Good job though.

Anonymous said...

Dump the mountain bike and ride a cross rig. Eat and drink early and often, do not wait to feel hungry or thirsty. Learn how to eat/drink while riding up hill. Get the biggest cassette that your bike can handle and ride hills in prep.