Sunday, 20 May 2018
What a plonker! I wrote that post, as I do with others and this one - as a way to record how I'm feeling at the time. I was laying down the gauntlet to challenge myself. Now that its done it feels strange to read the strength of conviction I felt at that time.
So - How did it go?
Pretty good I think. Finished 5th or 6th if I take into account that Jay Petervary started the race a day or two later and got up and past me and almost everyone else. What a ride - got past me on his birthday - We enjoyed a birthday lunch at the McDonalds in Cuba before he sped off later in the day.
Although I doubt that my training lived up to the intention of my post I certainly was there to do the best I could. I did what many have done in the quest to be faster - I spent heavily on a new bike setup.
And it was good!
Salsa Cuththroat in silver/blue. Built up from the frame with double chainring DI2 11 speed running drop-bar and road-style shifters. Add some disc brakes, dyno hub up front, tubeless Maxxis Icons, good quality bearings in all the important places and all important butt cradling rocket-V seat and I was good to go!
A Salsa top tube bag and matching frame bag joined my well-worn porcelain rocket front roll and seat bags.
My previous two divide rides had been completed on my Rohloff sporting El Commandante. Flat bar but in every other way much the same setup as the new machine.
The difference in weight of the two machines was a factor but it was the comfort factors that really made the difference. The compliance of the carbon salsa made the riding more pleasurable. The drive system performed well once I worked out how to use the clutch on the derailleur....
I ran one chain on a fresh set of chainrings and cluster. No changes and no problems the whole way. Towards the end I felt a little anxious about possible chain breaks but I think my legs were generating little in the way of measurable wattage by that time so it wasn't under much load..;-) All my gear went well. Mostly just luck but I do take considerable care to make sure everything is in top condition from the start.
I love the DI2 - Easy changes beginning to end. I charged it a couple of times from my cache battery that was charged almost entirely off my SP dyno hub. It just worked.
My hands didn't fare quite so well. The little and ring fingers of both hands were numb for months afterward. I have since swapped to a shorter stem that I think takes some of the pressure off the ulner nerve. I thought I was changing hand positions and that the bars were wrapped well enough but this proved not to be the case.
Would I do it again?
Hell yes - This year as it happens:-)
I have no idea - but I will be there 8th of June 2018!
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
After spending June into July 2016 watching the dots move steadily down my screen I am finally ready to commit to another run to Antelope Wells for Tour Divide 2017.
I wouldn't normally describe myself as an obsessive person - more the opposite. I change focus like the wind. Initially as a student I had a stint focusing on running with the obligatory move from 10 through 21, 42 and later 60k with the Kepler Mountain run. Never a contender but a keen participant.
I've been a keen flyer moving from Hang Gliding in my 20's to Paragliding in my 30's and Paramotoring into my 40's.
The move to Alexandra and the Central Otago and Southern Lakes playground saw me move from occasional road cyclist to more regular but very average mountain biker.
There was some single-speeding but mostly I've ridden XC. Bikes got better, tyres lighter and occasionally times got faster. I tried my hand at longer races inspired by trail-blazing friend Geof finding my way to the first run of the Great Southern Brevet in 2012. Full suspension 26inch Specialized Epic, old tent bag strapped to my handlebars for sleeping gear - pushing to hard too fast and developing saddle sores and blisters on my heels coupled with an unseasonal snow dump should've put me off but quite the opposite - I was hooked:-)
Since that first GSB there have been 3 more, a couple of Kiwi Brevets, 3 or 4 ridiculously hilly Le Petite Brevets, the length of NZ with Tour Aotearoa and two Tour Divides. Adding to this a lot of solo training rides and a few (not enough - never enough) 'training' rides with others and the time input is starting to add up...
So - back to the premise - I wouldn't consider myself obsessive - just thorough - I like to repeat things and try to do them better. When I'm focused on one thing I tend to drop the others - but I still come back to them. Right now though - I'm all about the bike!
It's time to draw the line in the sand. I will be fronting up in Banf for another run to Mexico. 3rd time out I am putting more pressure on myself to develop clear goals and achieve them. I am very happy with how I've gone up until now. I handle adversity well and with a race 4500k long, there will always be adversity. I've dealt with weather, mechanicals, breathing difficulties, and the effects of my own poor decision making. The main goal has always been to complete and I have so far managed that. This time must be different. This time I must be different. No prisoners, no second chances.
I'm a trainer. One advantage I have is that I live and breath fitness. I'm in a gym every day. I inspire and am inspired every day. I'm already halfway there before I lift a finger to personalize my own plan. I've never trained to race the divide but from now - the race is on!
Goal 1 - gotta race and finish top 10 - The truth is this is where the race happens. If you're not there you're no where.
As much as I'd like to win it - I am a realist - I'm just not and never have been that good:-) I'm also limited in what my life will let me do in terms of the time and money I am prepared to spend on the goal. I'm a husband, father and person with responsibilities outside the race. Given the right conditions I think I have a 16 day ride in me. The right conditions might be tail winds all the way but hey - it's the divide - anything can happen:-)
Goal 2 - Plan for 16 days out of the gate. Accept that this is dependent on so many things and quite possibly unrealistic even if all conditions are optimal. Go hard or go home? Not quite - go hard and possibly limp home a broken man...
Goal 3 - Nope - that's it - there's only 2 goals. I'd like to think I'll have fun doing it but not if that is at the expense of goal 1 or 2...
So this is my declaration. I'm going. I'm going hard. I may blow-up as many better riders before me have but that's racing and I will be there to race.
|Inside a month to go and feeling like xmas:-)|
Monday, 8 June 2015
Sitting in Auckland International Airport and the call to board fo LA has been made. It is officially on!
I feel strong and I'm reasonably confident I emembered to pack everything. Well - after I opened the already sealed bike box and put the seat in...
I'm not only ready but I'm excited to do this thing - again😃
LA to Calgary.. a little ride over to Banff to stretch the legs... Tell a few lies in the 2 days before then it's off from the grand depart...
Saturday, 7 February 2015
A big thanks to Scott and Jo for the mammoth effort they put in.