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El Tour de Tuscon XXVI - CycleCentury

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America
WarmF / 0C
Total Time = 7h 33m 35s
Overall Rank = 2454/3817
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I'll start off with the fact that for the last 8 weeks, my training was almost non-existant. Between a head cold which turned into a sinus infection (3 weeks), a medical emergency with one of our greyhounds, and international travel for work, I did hardly any training in October and November. The thought of the race was really freaking me out. I've never done a century, and was just hoping to finish in ten hours. 8 hours and I would be estatic. I made a pace sheet (time at distance every 10 miles, and distance at time every hour) for both a 8 hour and a 10 hour finish.

Other than riding the 35 mile tour on a MTB a few years ago, this would also be my first mass start road cycling race, so that was another thing to be nervious about. I was hearing all kinds of horror stories about crashes.

I was riding my Jamis Nova CX bike, with my second wheels with road tires. I have a rear rack on it for commuting, which gave me a place to strap a couple extra bottles and any clothes I took off.

I got up about 4:30, and got down to TCC around 5:30. It wasn't too cold, so I just went with arm warmers and a wind vest. Gridded up about 6:00, which put me in what ended up as the middle of the silver group.
Event warmup:

Once gridded, from about 6:30 on, I needed to pee, oh well. I was very disapointed that for an event that big, the national anthem was pre-recorded and they couldn't find someone to sing.
  • 7h 33m 35s
  • 109 miles
  • 14.42 mile/hr

It took about 5 minutes to get up to the start line, and once we got past some hurry-up-and-wait sections, the first 5 miles was a blast. A switch flipped in my brain and I was in the same mindset I was in motorcycle roadracing - I was grabbing onto a wheel, then slicing over to the next, cutting inside turns, riding bar to bar. It was great fun.

Got to the Santa Cruz crossing, and I probably should have went off into the bushes to pee like a bunch of others, but I decided to hold it till the aid station. Once we turned down Old Nogalas Highway, we got a nasty headwind (out of the SE). I grabbed on the back of a gigantic two-wide TnT Kansas paceline. I should have been smart and stayed behind them until the turn on Hughes Access, but I felt like I was going slow and passed them. I ended up cutting my own wind until about midway down Hughes Access, which was also a headwind. Made it to the aid station on Alvernon (mile 17) and after a brief wait in line while eating a Cliff bar, finally got to pee.

Los Reales was in nasty shape, and not much fun, and then the freeway frontage road was the worst headwind of the race. On the frontage road my friend Johnny (who was bike patrol) caught up to me and we chatted from there until midway down Irvington, with him periodically stopping to help someone and then catching back up to me. We also had some wicked fast pacelines come by on Irvington, and it took me a little while to realize that they were 85 milers. At Escalate and Old Spainish Trail we got stopped and a big group formed making it easy to pick up groups again.

Freeman was nice and fast. The problem was, everyone though they were fast, and everyone keep going to the left. I'm a fast rider downhill (I figure I have to carry all my weight uphill, I'm going to use it down), and there were times that I was almost in the LEFTHAND shoulder passing people - so much for no crossing the solid yellow. Here I made my one rude comment of the race: as I was coasting down hill (granted I was posting with my chin on the bar) I was passing a paceline where everyone was pedaling. I was almost out of road on the left side, and as I pass by the guys with at leat 3-5 mph on then, one yells "call left" at me. I yell back something along the lines of "If someone COASTS past you, move right!"

Stopped at the aid station on Speedway (mile 39) to fill up and drain, pull off my vest and arm warmers, and swap my gatoraid/carbo-pro bottles.

About here my pace settled down, and I was in familiar teritory near my house. I was about half an hour under my 8 hour pace sheet. My original plan was to ride easy until about mile 75 and then see what I could do. The actual race was more along the lines of go out fast to give myself margin as I slowed over the distance. I was also feeling my calves, knowing they might cramp if I pushed them too hard, but that wasn't a big deal. The Sabino crossing was pretty fluffy, and now I have a bruise on my shoulder from my cyclocross slyle carry (hey, I was on a 'cross bike). The hill coming out of there was pretty brutal, but in a way it felt good to stretch out up out of the saddle.

At this point the race was pretty uneventful. I stopped at aid on Skyline (mile 58), and then again up in Oro Valley (mile 68). Got into some fast pacelines on Tangerine, but a little ways after the Tangerine aid station, as I was going under the freeway, my left inner thigh cramped bad at mile 85. I stopped along side the road to stretch and walk it off for a few minutes. I also took in as much electrolyte as I could. From there on I would be fighting cramps, trying to ride just on the edge befor the cramps set in. Got around the silly hill behind the cement plant (I hate that part) and to the next aid station on Silverbell (mile 93) to mix up some more gatoraid and have some bananas. My plan was that would be the last stop.

Continued fighting cramps, rode through a few, but just past another aid station my right inner thigh locked up around mile 105. So close to the finish and I had to get off the bike again. Once that was felling better, I made it to the finish. It turned out my stamina was fine, the cramping did me in.

Overall I went though two bottles of Gatoraide/Carbo-pro, two bottles of Gatoraide from powder, 5 or 6 bags of sport beans, 2 cliff bars, a banana, and about two oranges worth of orange slices, plus who knows how much water.
What would you do differently?:

1. Train
2. Train
3. Train
4. Don't pass pacelines on my own in a headwind. Be patient and wait for another group to pull me by.
5. Take in more electrolyte (total calories and water seemed good)
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around TCC for a while, then back to the car. Changed clothes in the car, and bought a couple slices of cheese pizza and a Pepsi. Waited for Elaine to come in from bike patrol, then we hooked up with friends Nate and Liane and went to El Charro downtown from some tasty Mexican.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The lack of training slowed me, but I was expecting that. In the end the cramping really limited my speed, which was probably from a combination of training, pacing, and nutrition.

Event comments:

Overall, I though this race was actually a little easier than the half-marathons I've done (which I trained stringently for). I guess I'm just much more suited to a bike than to running (and over my lifetime I have about 20 times more time biking than running).

Big thanks to Elaine for training with me, and more importantly, keeping my head on straight. I love you.

Last updated: 2008-06-30 12:00 AM
07:33:35 | 109 miles | 14.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/3817
Performance: Average
7:33:35 was my "unofficial" time, which appears to be clock time, not chip time (which should be closer to 7:28). I'll update if they update the results. My Garmin time was 7:17:21, which includes some walking around aid stations, some walking to stretch out some cramps, and a few minutes of wandering around after the race before I remembered to stop the Garmin. Garmin average was 15.0 mph, with a max of 36.2 MPH. Take out the stops, the wash crossings, and I was on the bike for something less than 7 hours.
Wind: Strong
Course: One loop of Tucson
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-11-23 10:27 PM

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Subject: El Tour de Tuscon XXVI
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