Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Brevet is Half Full

Hi all,
Well, I write this it is 34 degrees and snowing heavily. A far cry from the 62 degrees a mere ten hours ago this morning. Ah, springtime in Utah. At least my legs can get some rest.
Why do my legs need some rest? Yesterday, I enjoyed the challenge of a benchmark ride. This ride was to assess my progress towards completing my first 200 km brevet in June. As I mentioned in the previous post, the plan is to ride from my house to the Fielding Garr Ranch on the southeast side of Antelope Island. By my estimate it is about 60 miles, and has both flat and hilly terrain; a perfect route for this half-brevet test.
There was quite a bit of planning in this small adventure. I wanted to evaluate not only my fitness to ride long distance, but many other minor issues like: food, clothing, and hydration. Brevet riding is self-supported, so I had better get things right now, as opposed to creating challenges on the open road in June.
Bison off the side of the road.

My day started perfectly. Out the door at 7:15 as Kathy headed for school. Cool weather with none of the forecasted winds made for nice riding conditions. All day long I stressed steady pacing; not sprinting down hills, not over spinning up hills, and just kept to the plan of around 16 mph average. My first goals had been to complete the route in less than 6 hours, which is about half of the 13.5 hour standard for a 200 km brevet.

A nice view of the south part of the island.

Surprisingly, I arrived at the ranch in exactly 2 hours of riding time, right on schedule. After a 15 minute break, a nice chat with the caretaker, a few pictures, and I was back on the little red bike and headed north. As I rode north I kept to the plan. Steady spinning and keeping the average speed around 16 mph. As I crossed the 7 mile causeway, I realized that I was ahead of schedule. Way ahead of schedule. In fact, some mental math brought me to the conclusion that if I stayed the course (Sorry, Mr. Prez) I could complete the ride in 4 hours. So, I just upped the pace, and kept an eye on the clock. Although in sticking with the plan I decided that if I got home in 4:00 it would be great, but it wasn’t crucial at the expense of the plan.

The view from the ranch.
As it turned out, I made it; 4 hours to the second. (Insert happy dance here). Now, I know that there are hundreds of brevet riders that can do a 4 hour 60 mile in their sleep. But, for me, especially in March and early in the year, it is a grand day.

Pronghorn Antelope, staring at me...
A few vital statistics:
Miles: 60
Time: 4:00 flat. Total time: 4+40.
Animals seen on the island: Bison, Pronghorn Antelope, Pheasant, Foxes, Coyotes, Grouse, a few jackrabbits.
Water Consumed: 20-24 ounces.
Snacks: A baggie full of cereal raisin nut mix, one Clif Bar, one breakfast bar, half an apple.

Am I ready for the 200k? Not quite, but I am definitely ahead of schedule. I just keep working on slow and steady progress; every day, every month, every year. I think back to a few years back, when I would write in my log: “12 miles, longest ride of the year!”
Now, while the snow is here, back to the gym, and work harder!

Happy riding


1 comment:

Vik said...

Congrats on a great ride Jim. Riding a personal best is always fun and rewarding. Good luck with the rest of your 200K prep.