Monday, September 6, 2010

Ride Report / NC 1000K / Tim L

Here's the first report from the Labor Day 1000K. Congratulations to Tim L for finishing his longest ride.


This crazy life of Randonneuring continues to eat away at my sanity. I always look so much forward to doing these rides that I completely overlook all the pain and suffering of the previous ride. It must be part of the disease. 1000K (625 mile) bike ride planned for Labor Day weekend. A couple days before the ride I began contemplating that distance. I played with Google maps finding places that were 1000K from Wilson. Disney World (Orlando, FL.) is 610 miles from my driveway. Ok, now this ride is really starting to creep me out. This was like putting a face on what we were getting ready to do. But oh no, I’ve told the whole world I’m doing this ride and really working it up so no turning back now.

I arrived in Greensboro Thursday evening for the pre ride registration/party. There are 22 riders doing the 1000K from NC, VA, GA, DC, FL and MI. There are a dozen or so other riders there doing a portion of that ride. Tony G. the organizer has a spread waiting for us when we get there. We have tons of noodles, rice, grilled pork, chicken, veggies, and salad. I’ll register later! Probably half of these riders I know from previous rides. Some guy named John from Rocky Mount, the speedsters Chris and Annette from Ashville and others spend dinner together. There is also Kevin Kaiser from GA doing this ride as well. Just a few weeks ago he raced across the US (3000 miles) solo in RAAM competition in just 10 days and some change. Finished 6th over all and was the top placed American in the event. As I’m about to tackle the biggest ride of my life, this is his recovery ride. It’s all relative.

We gather the morning of for breakfast and last minute bike tinkering. 30+ riders head out north towards Stuart VA. Everybody stays together for the first 39 miles to the first control but there is a mad rush leaving the store. Everyone now is paired up into little groups. I’m in the very back now but with today’s expected heat I have given up my goal of finishing under 60 hours so I’m not going to even try to keep up with others. It’s an uneventful trip to Stuart, VA, as I’m going my own pace passing a few riders along the way. It’s getting very hilly up this way and then I see a sign, Blue Ridge Parkway 29 miles. Fortunately we start back towards Greensboro before we get that far. We arrive back in Greensboro (200K) mid afternoon and the bank signs read 95 degrees. I’m eating electrolytes like candy. John is already getting cramps and I see some other very long faces. The heat is taking a toll. From there we head towards Fayetteville where most of us plan on getting some shut eye. I leave out before John as he is icing down trying to salvage his ride. We stop at COHO bicycles along the way where Chuck will build you your very own custom steel touring bike. I meet other riders at the controls but I’m mostly riding solo now. Sun is setting along with the heat and I’m getting a little help from a NW wind. My original goal was to get there between 12:00am and 2:00am but it was 2:45am before I arrived at the hotel in Fayetteville. Kevin and a couple others arrive like two minutes later. I had seen them in my mirror the last few miles. The group has a room there with food, drinks and our drop bags with a fresh kit and other goodies. John and I share a room but for now there is no John. I shower then crash. (3:30am) (400K) (250 miles).


 I was up at 6:30am with only 3 hours of sleep. I wanted 4 but I was still clinging to that 60 hour goal and I had to get moving. John arrives like ten minutes after I awake, not feeling very well and can’t hold down any food. We have to clear each control by a pre-determined time and he still has about a 3 hour window for some sleep. I bid him farewell and I go for breakfast and eventually start rolling at 7:30am. I now have like 8 riders in front of me and 8 riders behind me. I am in the middle just doing my own ride. I head east towards Warsaw. Temps are nice. Legs are very stiff and sore and I notice my pace is like 14 to 15 with a slight tail wind. That is all I can muster. My heart rate is very low it’s just my legs that want go. Ok, no more goals for me accept to finish. I don’t fight it as I just ride very slowly. I hope no ones watching. Turning north now for Snow Hill into the wind. 13 to 14 mph and I begin to worry about even finishing. I’m going to have about 100 miles of headwinds today as the cold front settles in. Keith from Virginia Beach whom I’ve ridden with a couple times before has been arriving at controls as I was leaving. This time I don’t leave without him. I finally wised up. That was the one most important decision of this ride that got me to the finish. We worked on the wind as a team. We go through Walstonburg, now only 16 miles away from home. It is so very tempting to bail, but Keith and I trudge on. We stop at Wendy’s in Tarboro for food. Al Hull, an old riding buddy from Tarboro drives up, asks us how far we riding. I said 125 miles down and another 125 miles to go before we sleep. Oh yea, and that’s like after riding a 250 mile warm up yesterday. It was funny watching all the jaw drops this weekend. Off we go to Scotland Neck where we hook up all the lights and put on the safety gear. Much cooler now and the winds have died and we’re back to a 17 to 19 mph pace. Things are feeling much better except my butt. We cruise around Roanoke Rapids to Skippers VA. 438 miles down. It’s already after midnight and we still have 62 miles through Lake Gaston then on to Henderson where we have rooms and another drop bag waiting. I’m very sleepy but the thoughts of having a real bed and a shower plus coffee keep me going. Keith and I are still hanging together but with more hills now and darkness it’s more for companionship. We stop at Lake Gaston for a break but everything is closed there. No more coffee. There is Kevin’s bike beside the store. He must be in back getting some sleep. We leave him be. It’s 3:00am, 30 more miles to a real bed. We arrive in Henderson at 5:30am. The last 20 miles were really tough staying awake. I couldn’t draft because my reaction time was very slow and I didn’t trust my abilities. I learned there that John and a few others had abandoned the ride. Bob and Maria were there manning the control and they looked much better than I. I said good night/morning to them and Keith, showered and crashed at 6:30am. (800K) (500 miles)


Awake at 9:30am. I had another 3 hour nap. It’s a very slow start for me this morning. It’s 10:30 before I can muster enough energy/will to get on the bike. I’m very tired but I’m way ahead of the time limit cut-off and I can grab some more sleep today if I need to. Kevin and a couple others are still there when I leave and there are 5 others still on the road behind us. Keith my previous days riding companion has already left. I still have like 8 riders in front and 8 riders behind. I start out cruising even slower than the previous morning but with a little more confidence this time that my legs will come back to me. I ride the entire day (125 miles) without seeing another cyclist. I cruise northwest up near the Virginia border and the hills are relentless. Everything hurts now. I stop once and take 4 Ibuprofen. Just make it go away. I stop again at an abandoned fire station in “I don’t know where” anymore. I sit down, close my eyes and nap for a few minutes. I’m now riding up and down some very long hills that are just grinding me down to a nub. At mile 554 I reach Hyco Lake where there is a grill and I get some real food there. I had a club sandwich with some homemade thick potato chips and a couple pitchers of tea. 71 miles left to go. At mile 590 I’m in Reidsville and stop to rest at a funeral home. I’m not yet ready to check out so I leave there and continue on in the darkness to get this thing finished. Mile 607 I’m on a long desolate road in the middle of nowhere. A farm house every half mile or so. There are deer all over the place, I’m shooing them out of the road. I make my final rest stop on a farm path to put on some long sleeves and to make one final call home as it’s already 10:30pm. I shut off all my lights and take a gander at the night sky. I’d gladly trade my bike for my telescope right now. The cold front has left the skies pristine. I scuff my shoes on a rock and a huge creature of some sort flutters it the tree behind me. The 30 foot tall tree is swaying from the movement. Every time I make a noise it ticks him off. I do not shine my light into the tree afraid I might already be on his last nerve. I’m probably disturbing a huge owls hunting session. I’m beginning feel like I’m in a Poe novel. I start making preparations to leave. I continue on to Greensboro riding around the airport with very little traffic. I arrive back at the motel at 11:45pm. I had intentions of finishing about 4 hours earlier and driving home but instead I check in to the motel, shower, and this time I sleep for 7 hours. (1000K) (625 miles) (64 hours and 45 minutes) (Climbed over 16,000 vertical feet) (Burned over 50,000 calories) (6 hours of sleep) (I now have over 5,000K in RUSA events in my first year) (Sometime Saturday I passed 10,000 miles for the year) I’m taking tomorrow off!



Biker Bob said...

Way to go Tim! Thanks for the ride report on your most demanding brevet so far.

bullcitybiker said...

Congratulations Tim. Great report too.

Anonymous said...

Nice report. Well done!

Ed Felker

Jerry Phelps said...

Nicely done Tim. Congratulations on a fine ride under less than ideal conditions. 10,000 miles so far this year? You deserve a month off!

Doctor on a bike said...

THANK YOU, thank you for riding with me on Saturday. It made that day AND the next so much better. Glad to hear you got back into Greensboro at a somewhat sane hour

Dodger said...

Great report, great ride! Staring at the distance all in one piece is precisely why I zero out my 'puter at each control on a brevet. That way I rarely have to ride more than 40 miles!

Mike D said...

Terrific advice, Dodger!