Rawhide Ramble 200k

Yet another hall pass was issued to me for my second brevet of the year.  I can’t thank my wife and parents (who watched the 2 year old AND grouted my tiling project) enough.

I must admit, my chest was a little puffy from my outing 2 weeks ago where I broke 8 hours AFTER starting late and having to take some work phone calls.  If the more-than-friendly conditions – which left me with my fastest time ever and even doing errands & honey-do’s post-ride – were to manifest themselves in a brother-in-law “hey, you remember when I loaned you $20 5 years ago” manner, Saturday’s ride was it.  It wasn’t 5 years later, it was 2 weeks.

My 7:50 arrival for an 8:00 start was cutting it more closely than I would like.  I still pieced it together and was able to start with the group – a new tradition I am trying out.  I did have to “take a knee” to #1 behind my open car door….

Part of my PBP strategery is to ride with groups.  It makes things easier (I actually hope it makes me faster).  My typical style is to mock those who take off like a bat out of hell, but this day I would join them.  And I was able to hang on for about 12 miles, when I fell back about 10 yards while grabbing a drink.  I was clipping 26 mph trying to catch back up to them.  After a mile or so of the ridiculous pace I wiped the dust of my glasses, re-grouped my pride and figured I would plug away the best I could.  I’m employing the “bull riding” strategery here – holding on as long as I can, if I make it the entire time [great]….otherwise I get to at least say I got on the “bull.”  During PBP, I hope to get swept up with another group, and then another group, and then another group…..

Getting dropped didn’t seem to matter too much because 5 or so miles later we were climbing – and with my body weight I am a horrible climber.  The climbing was great, with some beautiful scenery.  All the climbs are what I consider “extended” rollers – no grinding it out in the saddle for 45-60 mins, but enough for the hills to reach out and touch you.  You know, so you acknowledge they are there.

The climbing around Horsetooth Reservoir was most definitely the highlight of the ride for me.  Sure, it took a lot of my energy and slowed my pace, but nothing beats a ride on a beautiful day with beautiful scenery.  The only unsure part were my descents, which my experience with the speed wobbles a few weeks prior left me a nervous nelly.  I also have nailed down my suspect for the cause of the wobbles, which I hope to have remedied by the 300k in a few weeks.

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Fort Collins as seen from Road along Horsetooth

Fort Collins as seen from Road along Horsetooth

After I descended down to join the rest of commoners below, the rest of the ride was normal “plains” riding.  The first 2 of the 3 controls were info controls.  It is incredibly difficult to go 113 miles without any replenishment of fluids and calories, so additional stops were made at miles 48 and 80.

Rawhide Power Plant - "Turn around pt" @ mile 70

Rawhide Power Plant – “Turn around pt” @ mile 70

When I stopped at mile 80, I opted for the “Home of the Whopper” for my nutritional intake.  I thought I would just get small burger, small fry and be on my way.  Not so on this day, as my “fast” food experience left me thinking of cheeky names for drawn out experience.  “Not so fast food” was as clever as I could get.  15 mins later I was finally graced with my sandwich and fries.  I threw them in my front handlebar bag (after dumping a packet of salt on top of the small fries) and took off.

The wind had been unrelenting no matter which way I seemed to turn.  My goal is to do the first 100 miles sub 6 hours (including stops).  I did some quick math and at my current pace into the wind the first hundo would be done in 6.5 – 6.75 hours.  6.5 hours for the first 100 miles is about as slow as one can go with the hopes of breaking 8 hours, even then they need to find another gear.

As I was projecting my finishing time I took a left turn and felt my tire “slip” underneath me.  That only means one thing….a flat.  Foolishly, I put some air into the tire hoping it would last another 35 miles.  2 miles later I was on the side of the road taking my wheel off cursing myself for taking the time to re-inflate the tire.  I quickly inspected the outside of the tire looking for the suspect, but I couldn’t locate it.  Usually my routine is to inflate the tube I just took out and once I locate the hole in the tube, I thoroughly inspect the tire in that area.  As soon as I took the tube out, I spotted the problem – a small piece of wire belt from a car tire.  I opted to forgo the inflating of the “flat” tube and bank on the removal of the small wire.  In went a “fresh” tube and I was off.

The wind would just not give in, and certainly I felt as if 2 weeks ago I had been riding on an Indian reservation and was presented with a gift – now the giver of the gift was asking for it back.  I persevered, and dug in.  The control at mile 113 was a little odd, but I ate a Twix ice cream bar for some fuel and it hit the spot.

I finally stumbled into the finish to find our RBA still around (which means I didn’t finish too far behind him).  Then my brother-in-law called to remind me I still owe him $20.

Strava Data Here

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4 responses to “Rawhide Ramble 200k

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