Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trans Iowa v9 Recap - Part V: Lessons Learned and Special Thanks

I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing, but rather found by trial and error a few things that seem to work for me.  This series of blog posts is intended to merely document my Trans Iowa experience.  My previous TI posts can be accessed using the links below.   
Part II: Preparation and Training, Bike Set-up, Clothing, Nutrition, Hydration
Part IV: Saturday and Sunday, The Race

Lessons Learned

  • It’s important for me to stay calm the night or nights before the race.  Don’t stress about lack of sleep, realize that rest and relaxation, even if I don’t sleep, is better than being awake and stressed.  Even though I got virtually no sleep Thursday night, I did get 4-5 hours Friday night and that was enough.
  • Pacing was important for me, riding at a good pace but staying below my red line, even if that meant riding alone.  I know this is contrary to what I have read in other race reports, but it worked for me.  While it would have been nice to ride more with others, I felt comfortable riding by myself.  My pace the last 150 miles felt so slow I kept thinking a group would catch me and I could jump on with them, but it didn’t happen. 
  • C-stores work much better for me than grocery stores, even if I have to ride a few more blocks to get there.  And Guitar Ted is right:  if you see a c-store on Trans Iowa, you had better stop, even if it is a couple of miles out of the way.  There might not be another one for 100 miles.
  • Liquid nutrition (200 cal/hr) in concentrated bottles worked well for me, but it does require drinking more water in cold temperatures, requiring more pee breaks.  Knowing I had a decent nutrition base gave me one less thing to worry about.  The additional 100 cal/hr I took in from energy bars, candy bars, almonds, dates, cookies and c-store sandwiches was really something to look forward to, kind of a treat.  Regarding the extra water:  I once read on Charlie Farrow’s blog that it is actually a good thing to be the guy who has to stop and pee during an endurance race. 
  • Chewing gum in general helps me stay awake, but adding caffeine to the mix really amplifies the effect.  The caffeine from the Stay Alert gum just seems to work faster for me than caffeinated gels or drinks.  Some of the energy drinks have a bunch of other things in them besides caffeine; I’d rather just stick with what I know.
  • I should have used 40 mm or wider tires on TI.  The 35’s, although set up tubeless, were too skinny for 325 miles on good gravel, much less the stuff we saw this year in Iowa.  My initial concern of needing more mud clearance did not pan out, but even if it had I think 40’s would have been a better choice.  Like my friend Kevin Collins says, if it’s muddy enough to stick you’re probably walking anyway.
 Special Thanks

I owe thanks to a lot of people, who without their help, I could not have participated and finished this adventure:
  • My wife Katrina and her sister Lorrie, who served as my stand-by team in Grinnell.  Katrina has actively support me and tolerated my absence many days and weekends while I trained over the last three years. 
  • Dan Driscoll, Charlie and Pat Jenkins, Gary Gottlieb, and Joshua Crixell for the many long rides together and their helpful advice on endurance cycling.  The Lone Star Randonneurs are a great group of people to be associated with. 
  • Keith Clark, Kevin Flaspohler, Terry Johannesen, Dan Schultes, Dan Reinking, Adam Pratt, Randy McDonald, Sean Orta, Justin Jones, Steve Corbett, Jack Tatum and all the folks in the Bartlesville Pedalers Bike Club I have spent many miles riding gravel with and talking to about riding gravel.
  • Jake, Brian, Chad, Garrett and all the good folks at T-Town Bikes in Tulsa.  Not only have these guys kept my bike in good shape, they have shared lots of good advice for all-night rides.  The custom bike fitting Jake did for me a couple of years ago was well worth the money, and the Specialized BG products have my contact points covered:  gloves, saddle, and footbeds.
  • Guitar Ted without which there would be no Trans Iowa.  Thank you for putting together an event that allows ordinary folks like me to test their limits.    

1 comment:

  1. Great Story... Lets go back and do it sometime over 3 or 4 days so we have time to enjoy it ! :)