I completed 250 miles and 15,500 ft of climbing in 22 hours before I ended it. I knew I couldn't finish the last 50 miles before the time limit (24 hours) and there was no reason to put my excellent crew through the `drag' of me grinding away for another 4 hours just to do 300 miles.
I am really very pleased with my performance on the HD300. And I could not have had a better crew. I have to say that again:
I COULD NOT HAVE HAD A BETTER CREW
- Allan Duhm, Crew Chief - Crew 2
- Billy Befoot, Mechanic - Crew 2
- Mike Cash, experienced RAAM Crew person and Mechanic - Crew 1
- Paul Gagnon, Crew person and Domestique par excellence - Crew 1
Two vehicles. Crew 1 followed me, leapfrog, to the halfway point (155 miles, 9,000 ft of climbing, Panguitch, Utah). Crew 1 then `turned me over' to Crew 2 for the last half.
I arrived at the halfway point in 12 hours, 2.5 hours ahead of schedule (per my conservative plan). It rained literally the entire 150 miles. Heavy weekend RV traffic almost the entire way. My crew was amazing, providing me food and hydration, minor mechanical help and a heap of a lot of encouragement.
At Panguitch we attached night lights and headed off to the most difficult section of the course, 31.5 miles and 4,400 feet of climbing. I had scheduled to do this in 4 hours but it took me 6 hours. I fell off the bike 6 (maybe 7) times in the last 12 miles, as the grade increased to steady 6% - 8%+. I was going too slow, I wandered back and forth on the road, finally just tilting over.
By the time we got to the top of the climb (10,600 ft elevation) the temperature had dropped to 37F and I was soaking wet with perspiration.
The next section of the course was a 24.6 mile, 5,500 foot descent to Cedar City. At 2:00AM. My crew helped me change clothing to deal with the windchill (easily in the early 20Fs) on the descent.
About 10 miles into the descent, and at about 30 mph, I managed to thread the needle among the bloody remains (blood, bones, organs, front half carcass) of a huge deer that was killed by a truck less than an hour earlier.
Five miles after that, at about 35mph, I had an explosive front tire blowout. I managed to remain upright, putting my feet/cleats quickly to the road, creating a bright trail of sparks into the black of night.
Replacing the front wheel we continued on down to Cedar City where I changed bikes (from my `climbing' bike, the Bacchetta Ti Aero) to my `rolling terrain' bike (the Bacchetta CA2).
While we were doing this (3:30AM) another Hoodoo 300 racer without a crew asked if he could pile into the crew vehicle, as he was `toast' and couldn't ride another mile.
I continued on for another 40 miles, 30 miles of which was more climbing, but at a more manageable angle (2% - 4%). (I remember saying to Billy as he handed me a water bottle, "I could do without this damned climbing!!"). I asked him "What time is it?" and he gave me the bad news: I had just over 2 hours left before the race clock stopped, regardless of when I got to the official finish line in St. George, Utah. Realizing that I had no chance of doing the remaining 50 miles in the time limit I `called it.'
There we were. At the only gas station (closed, but it had bright overhead lights) for nearly 25 miles in all directions. Two recumbent bikes, one upright bike and four spare wheels wrangled to the top racks. Four tired guys, our gear, supplies, tools, etc, jammed tightly (but warmly!) into my Subaru Outback.
I routinely use a `bobsled / luge' (Youtube Video) method of descending on long descents. I developed this technique several years ago. (Today I rode a descent that usually sees me doing 41 mph in a `lazy' luge but came up with a solid 47 mph (really, really tucked).
On the HD300, descending down that killer hill I was in the luge the entire way. But not to `go fast.' I'm thinking that the `luge' position allowed me greater recovery and stability with that explosive blowout. Instead of having to unclip both feet I only had to unclip the left foot. The tiller position also helped me keep a low center of gravity. Not to mention that the Ti Aero is `shorter' than the CA2.
Looking at my Garmin 500 data on the descent from that mountain I kept it in the early 30's and late 20's all the way. I was feathering the brakes all the way because
- I knew I was tired,
- the windchill was easily into the low 20's, maybe even teens,
- critters (as noted with that deer carcass). Most folks unfamiliar with such mountainous terrain at night will quickly nail a few deer or javelinas.
I'm not really interested in exceeding 50 mph simply because of the safety angle. No point to it. Sure I can probably push close to 60+ but ... at what risk. And any time saved at such speed is immediately lost within a few miles of normal road. I'm just surprised at how safe and productive the luge position really is.
So, if all holds together and I try it again next year, my training has to include more extended climbing (https://ridewithgps.com/