Dam2Dam - DamnSo today I'm in Leavenworth with Brandon, Steve, Chuck and Derek (Steve's son). We participated in the 5th Annual Dam2Dam bike ride over in East Wenatchee. The Dam2Dam has 3 different routes, a 25, 50 and 100 mile. We decided earlier this year that we'd do the 50. I got up at 5:15 this morning and got all my stuff together and met the guys around 5:45. We grabbed a light breakfast at the hotel and headed out.
We arrived at Lincoln Rock State Park about 10 minutes to 7 and picked up our registration packets. At about 8:00 we headed out on our ride. The ride started out up hill, and I'm just not good on hills (yet!). So about two miles in, I was pretty winded. Over the next 8 or so miles, I started to get into a groove. We reached the first rest stop at 10.5 miles and grabbed some grub and drink and headed back out.
It took me a couple miles again to get warmed up, but then we settled into a pretty good groove. At about 13 miles, the road starts to climb . . and climb . . . and climb. You end up gaining about 350 feet of elevation over about 4 miles. It's definitely more of a hill than I've done all year. However, when we finally crested the top, I was really proud that I had not gotten off the bike to walk at all. I may have been in my granny gear a couple times barely moving 5MPH, but I did not walk. I was psyched about that.
Well the work of going uphill is rewarded by the fun of going downhill. At one point I hit just about 38 MPH and I noticed that one of our mile splits was 1:55! That means that for that whole mile we averaged OVER 30 MPH. Pretty cool. You might remember that last week I was happy to have broken the 3 minute mile mark, so this was awesome. After coming down the hill, the road levels out and even climbs ever so slightly as you approach the 25 mile turn around point. Again, I was happy because all through that I was in my top gear, averaging around 20MPH. Coming into the half way mark, I felt really pretty good.
We spent about 30 minutes rehydrating, eating and relaxing. Then it was back on the bikes. Now as I was wandering around the rest stop, I felt a couple twinges in my legs. My biggest issue is now, and always has been my endurance. At some point during a strenuous workout, my legs are just DONE. They cramp severely and will eventually lock out straight, requiring me to have assistance to even bend them. So the twinges were a sign of things to come.
We started the climb back up the hill. At about 31 miles, my legs were cramping pretty badly. However, at that point there were still 2 or 3 miles of climbing to go to get to the top of the hill again. I alternated between my granny gear and a mid range gear to power my way through the uphill. I knew at this point I wasn't likely to make the whole 50 miles. However, I did know that once I was off the bike, my ride was over. At that point my legs would lock and getting back on would be a near impossibility. So I just kept going. I couldn't stand fully upright as my legs would lock, so I just took minor butt breaks by just raising a couple inches off the saddle. Again, I made it to the top of the hill without stopping. That felt AWESOME! To know that despite the pain of cramping legs, I was still able to menatlly power up the hill.
Coming down the other side, I was able to rest my legs a bit, but just after hitting bottom and with a slight incline, my left leg decided it was DONE! I was at 38.2 miles at that point and my left leg locked straight out. I coasted for a few feet trying with everything I had to bend it, but it wasn't going to happen. I unclipped from my right pedal and leaned up against the guard rail letting out a LOUD AUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH to let Steve and Derek know I was in trouble. Some people stopped behind me and asked if I was alright. I asked them to bend my leg, which they did, I thanked them and sent them on their way. Steve and Derek came back to check on me and I just sat on the guard rail . . . pissed.
Fairly soon a support vehicle came by and I asked for a ride back to the start line. Arriving back, it was still pretty painful to walk, but eventually the cramps subsided. Overall this was a great experience. I know what I have to do for next year and I plan on doing some serious training in the off season. I'm bummed I didn't make the whole 50 of course, but for once in my life, my body gave out before my mind. I was still mentally strong when I stopped, my legs just wouldn't let me go any further. So I'm happy for that. Anyway, thanks to everyone who supported me during training. I really appreciate it. I'll do better next year, I know that. Kudos and congrats to Brandon, Steve, Derek and Chuck for making the whole 50! You guys rock! I'm proud to be on the "team".
Here's a link to motion based for an analysis of the ride: