Archive for April, 2011

Training. Training. Training.

“How is your training?”

Yesterday at the bike shop, a friend of mine (and 508 entrant) asked that simple question. My pat answer really doesn’t change: “Not nearly enough.”

No matter how much I ride, I feel like that answer always is accurate. I’m at the point now where I’m breaking down the intervening months and calculating the time remaining between now and the race. In this case, six months just isn’t nearly as long as it sounds. Last week was a rest week, which is tough for me. It just feels like I’m stagnating. This week, given the fact that I am juggling 4 jobs to make ends meet, I’m cramming my cycling in catch as catch can.

It feels rushed. It feels, in a word, inadequate.

But I trust my coach, and I trust his plan. I had a good ride Sunday, and Monday was… well, it’s weird. I don’t really remember it at all. How is that? Tuesday was a threshold training ride, which means up on the trainer inside giving my cardio a workout, and yesterday was a recovery ride. Today, I’m back on the bike for another threshold training session, and a simple recovery ride tomorrow. Then I’m into the weekend. I’ll have an endurance ride Saturday morning, and that will be good. I need to get out and stretch the legs.

Sunday is a longer ride, and I’m hopeful a couple friends of mine will be joining. I’m also taking a friend/bike mechanic out on the road with me to see if crewing is something he wants to do. I need a bike mechanic in the van. After that, it’s just a matter of finding a third person who can be a jack-of-all-trades to help drive/navigate/motivate/etc.

Monday is another long ride, so I’ll have to be up early to get on the road.

When the semester ends, I basically have 2 months to hit the training as hard as I can. Then I’m off for 6 weeks and my summer visit with my son. That period makes training tougher. And on the other side of that, I really only have 6 weeks to make sure I’m ready to go before the race. That’s nothing. It feels too soon. It feels too fast. It feels stressful. I’m starting to obsess again. I go to sleep thinking about rolling out of the start; meeting the crew vans; descending into Panamint; climbing Townes Pass; Death Valley at night; trying to maintain a pace Sunday; crossing the finish line. Sometimes I’m that confident. Sometimes, doubt derails one of those imaginings, and I start thinking about how things go wrong. I think about breaking down in Badwater and crying during an insane windstorm. What if I can’t make it? What if I DNF? What if the training isn’t enough?

I feel too big. I feel too slow. I feel too weak. I need to ride into much better shape. I need to get faster. I need to climb stronger. I need to have a different answer to that question: “How’s the training?”

Enough.

That’s the answer I want to give. I want to say enough. I want to say that my training is enough to know I’m going to be there and give it my all. I want to say it’s enough to silence the doubts and negative thinking. I want to say I’m on it; I’m doing it.

I’m not there yet.

Jim Swarzman Killed

I won’t try to write a lot about this. I knew Jim in passing from being out on the road during two FC 508s, and the start/finish socializing there. I spent a good deal of time with them (in 508 pre-race terms) at racer check-in Friday. They were having some difficulties with their van lights, and we got to talk for about half an hour. The last time I saw Jim was on the Kel-Baker grade.

I am keenly aware of how tough my sport is. It’s made tougher by traffic and drivers with an over-inflated sense of self worth. My prayers and good wishes to Jim, his family, and his loved ones. Please take a moment to read this story and to watch the news reports.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/adventurecorps/jim-swarzman-my-kind-of-guy-and-cyclist/216242078392098

 

508 Goals

I guess I should clarify that these my goals for this year’s Furnace Creek 508. While I have set a lot of goals, I don’t think there are more than 500 of them just yet. :-)

There is a lot of redundancy in this list, so here’s my logic. Regardless of how well I’m doing, or how poorly, I want there to be goals I can achieve. In many cases, achieving 1 goal will actually take care of multiple ones in that stage.

This endurance race, for me, is all about finishing. I have 48 hours to finish the ride, so I’m focused primarily on that one overriding aspiration. Beyond that, everything else is gravy. Here, then, are my goals before and during the race, including individual stage goals. At the end of the list, you’ll see a breakdown of all the possible time goals and the speeds I’d have to average in order to achieve them.

Furnace Creek 508 Goals

Pre-Race Goals:

  1. Raise $2500 for race
  2. Get entry fee sponsorship (accomplished)
  3. Get hotel sponsorship (accomplished)
  4. Get rental van sponsorship
  5. Keep a record of all training rides
  6. Complete all training rides according to Emde’s schedule (in process)
  7. 165 pounds maintained
  8. <160 on race day.
  9. Find a bike mechanic for the crew (in process)
  10. Get new wheels for the bike
  11. Keep up with the blog (in process)

Overall Race Goals:

  1. Finish the race, no matter what
  2. Finish in the top 25 riders
  3. Finish in the top 15 riders
  4. Finish in the top 10 riders
  5. <45 minutes off the bike
  6. Stick to the race plan as decided by racer and coach
  7. Finish in under 43:49:45 (Team 2x Thrasher 2009 time)
  8. Finish under 45:21:31 (Thrasher solo time 2007 time)
  9. Finish in under 40 hours
  10. Finish in <35 hours
  11. Finish before midnight
  12. Finish in daylight
  13. Finish ahead of more than half 2x/4x teams
  14. Over the Trona Bump and into Panamint in daylight
  15. Get to the base of Townes Pass and start the climb in daylight
  16. Make it over Townes Pass between 7-8 p.m.
  17. Descend safely off of Townes Pass
  18. Don’t stop on the way up any of the climbs
  19. Don’t stop at the top of any of the climbs
  20. Enjoy the opportunity and ability to race

Stage 1 (Santa Clarita to California City) Goals:

  1. Show up at the start line
  2. Stay in the pack, toward the back, during the neutral start
  3. Keep the adrenaline in check at the official start up San Francisquito Canyon
  4. Start in the back and pass >15 riders prior to meeting crew van
  5. Don’t stop at crew van
  6. California City before noon
  7. Average between 18-20 mph for stage 1
  8. Don’t stop at the time station
  9. Be in the top 50 riders through California City
  10. Finish Stage 1 in <5 hours

Time Cut-offs:

2:45 p.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

2:00 p.m.  for midnight finish

12:45 p.m. for daylight finish

Stage 2 (California City to Trona) Goals:

  1. Arrive in Trona <4:00 p.m.
  2. Finish in <4 hours on the stage
  3. Be in the top 40 riders through Trona

Time Cut-offs:

9:30 p.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

7:15 p.m. for midnight finish

5:15 p.m. for daylight finish

Stage 3 (Trona to Furnace Creek) Goals:

  1. Get up and over the Trona Bump in daylight
  2. Be on the Panamint floor in daylight
  3. Get to the base of Townes Pass and start the climb in daylight
  4. Get to the top of Townes Pass <8:00 p.m.
  5. Climb Townes Pass without stopping
  6. <1 min stop at the top for clothing change (if necessary)
  7. Safely descend Townes Pass
  8. Get to Furnace Creek in <18 hours
  9. Finish the stage in <7 hours
  10. Reach Furnace Creek <Midnight
  11. Don’t stop at Furnace Creek

Time Cut-offs:

6:45 a.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

3:15 a.m. for midnight finish

11:45 p.m. for daylight finish

Stage 4 (Furnace Creek to Shoshone) Goals:

  1. Get to Shoshone by 4:30 a.m.
  2. Reach Shoshone by dawn
  3. Complete both southern climbs in dark
  4. No stopping on either climb
  5. Don’t stop in Badwater
  6. Finish stage in top 25
  7. Finish stage in <5.5 hours
  8. Stay on the bike (<5 minutes in stoppage time)

Time Cut-offs:

1:45 p.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

9:15 a.m. for midnight finish

4:45 a.m. for daylight

Stage 5 (Shoshone to Baker) Goals:

  1. Reach Baker by 7:00 a.m.
  2. Reach Baker by dawn
  3. NO RIDER STOP IN BAKER AT ALL
  4. No stopping on the KelBaker grade
  5. Stay on the bike (<under 5 minutes in stoppage time)

Time Cut-offs:

7:00 p.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

2:45 for midnight finish

8:30 a.m. for daylight

Stage 6 (Baker to Kelso) Goals:

  1. Be in Kelso <1 p.m. =15-hour double century pace
  2. Be in Kelso <noon
  3. Stay on the bike (<5 minutes in stoppage time)

Time Cut-offs:

11:00 p.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

5:30 p.m. for midnight finish

11:00 a.m. for daylight finish

Stage 7 (Kelso to Amboy) Goals:

  1. Be in Amboy <5:00 p.m.
  2. Stay on the bike (<5 minutes in stoppage time)

Time Cut-offs:

2:00 a.m. absolute cut-off time to finish

8:00 p.m. for midnight finish

1:00 p.m. for daylight finish

Stage 8 (Amboy to 29 Palms) Goals:

  1. Finish
  2. Finish the stage before Midnight
  3. Finish the stage in daylight

Pace Goals:

Finish: 10.65 mph average

Finish by midnight: 12.43 mph average

Finish in daylight: 15 mph average

Finish in top 25 (estimate based on 2010): 12.75 mph average

Top 10 (estimate based on 2010): 14.2 mph average

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