Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ride report: A hard 300

Picture from the start. Courtesy CVRM
I had just gotten back from a three week trip to Europe on Tuesday night. On Wednesday I checked the CVRM calendar and was a bit concerned about seeing a 300 km brevet on the schedule for the weekend. I would have preferred a shorter distance, but as there are only two other rides left for this season I decided to sign up anyway.

My sleep pattern was still messed up by the jetlag and I woke up at 4:17, 13 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. I arrived at the start just a bit after sunrise and was surprised to see only five other riders there -- it later occurred to me that in addition to vacation season it was also the time of the Rocky Mountain 1200 which was attended by five of our members. My main goal for the day was to make it back in time to meet the biketopus for the fireworks at 10 pm, a secondary goal was to complete the ride in a similar time as my last attempt, 14 hours and 32 minutes. My French is still pretty bad, but it was good enough to understand that one of the riders, Marc, had the plan to complete the ride at "sept heure," which was clearly too ambitious for me. Nonetheless, I tried hanging on with the rest of the group to the first contrôle in Saint-Cesaire. The pace was high, with an average of about 30 km/h, but I was feeling okay.

This would quickly change after the first stop: Raymond had left a few minutes before us and Jean, leading the rest of us, seemed determined to catch up with him. Zooming along on the Route des Champs bike path at 38 km/h was way too much for me and after maybe 10 km I decided I had to ride at my own pace in order to survive the ride. Unfortunately, for the rest of day I would be in various states of pain. It started with a headache which became bad enough to force me stop at a supermarket in Bromont to buy a Pepsi. The Pepsi cured the headache but somehow during the stop I must have pinched a nerve in my hip joint. This was painful in itself and also affected my pedaling form which in turn caused my left knee to start hurting, too. Between the second and third contrôle I was feeling more and more crappy and had to stop and sit in the grass for a bit somewhere along Vallée Missisquoi. At the bottom of the climb up Scenic Drive, the major climb of the route, I reached a low and thought I would have to walk up the mountain. Pondering this prospect for a minute, however, brought back my stubbornness and I decided to not let the mountain defeat me. I was passed by a number of roadies on the way up, but in the end I made it to the top.

At the third contrôle in Sutton I stopped for 50 minutes which, in combination with two Advils and lots of V8 and apple cider, made me feel a bit better. Between Sutton and the next contrôle the ride was fairly enjoyable -- nice scenery, almost no wind, and not too much pain. Once I reached Saint-Cesaire, with only about 60 km left, I knew that I would make it. From St.-Cesaire the route followed Route 112 all the way to the end which is easy and fairly nice to ride on. Lots of cars but the shoulder is wide and has good pavement. Back in Longueil I missed the turn onto Lapinière. but at 9:12 I reached the final contrôle. And after getting lost in Brossard while trying to find my way to the Saint-Lambert locks I arrived just in time at the Parc de la Cité du Havre right on time for the fireworks.
Brevet card
The other riders did indeed almost reach their goal of finishing at 7 o'clock which is very impressive. Had it not be for the pain my ride would probably have been really great, as the weather was pretty much perfect: warm but not too hot and very little wind for most of the day.I was surprised that the brevet only took me about 45 minutes longer than in my previous attempt, where there had been little pain and I had received a lot of help from the other riders. My moving average was much lower, 24.6 vs. 27.4 km/h, but I spent half an hour less at the stops. This pretty impressively shows that a fast brevet is not so much the result of riding fast but of having efficient stops.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing . I'm a new road biker, but 300km seems massive. Awesome that you guys are out there doing it. I'll heed the pace advice also , thanks.