May 10, 2009

424 kilometers, success...!

I'm cooked fairly well - so there won't be much in this post, only to say that I finished.
A true randonneuring test-of-will.  Over the years these rides "got easier" because you know the routes, you know what to expect, you know landmarks, and you can check off the turns one-by-one.  This route was totally new, and there were very FEW turns... 42 miles between turns in one instance.  This makes it harder, mentally; FAR more difficult than the distance alone would indicate.  

But, despite the horrendous headwinds out of the northwest/east, with no shelter, no respite, and hills after hill after hill, I made it to Leon, IA after about 10 hrs, 45 minutes.  On the return, speeds came up, and I managed to catch the next-fastest group before leaving the control back at Bethany, MO.  From there, the sun dipped, and we all rode back together - the long, long slog into the night.  Bouts with dehydration, walking a thin line of bonking nearly all day (more to come on that point) and mentally being exhausted, frustrated, and hollowed out - overall, well, it was one of the most challenging rides I think I've ever ridden -- moreso even than the 600K, no lie.  Even with the extra kilometers over and above the Grandview 400K and the "East" 400K, we managed to pull out a 20 hour, 35 minute finish -- that includes stops.  By way of comparison, the best time I'd ever managed on the other two 400K routes was 18 hours, and that was in my faster days.  Usually, it's a 21+ hour adventure, and those routes are solidly 252-254 miles apiece.  So, with bonus miles, a sub-21 hour ride on THIS route... considering how I FELT... not bad.  Rolling time was on the order of 17.5+ hours, for an average of 15.1 MPH.  I'll take it -- not a land speed record, but dude... the road up into Iowa was long, and difficult -- and then coming all that way back.... yeesh.  I wanted to throw in the towel probably six seperate times - seriously - and that's usually not my bag. 

Again, more to come when the dust settles.  Lots to tell.  
Today will be spent rehydrating, and recovering, while I make mothers day as nice as I can for the wife, since she lets me go out and do these nutty things.  Thanks, honey.... 

Stay tuned... 

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