Monday, September 28, 2009

Le Tough

Well, the good news is that I finished the Tour de Peach on Saturday. 60 miles in the books, but it wasn't without challenges. Here's the scoop, call it a wild and painful sunday morning with Jenny in the country.

I started the day like normal, with the same alarm clock time as I use for work. Turns out the whole thing was in Gaffney, so the drive was a little farther than expected, but I still got there about 45 minutes before the start. The race packet had 2 t-shirts in it (bonus!), one for the tour and one for a local cycling group Went through the bathroom line, changed into bike clothes and got up to the starting point.

I was going to stretch out some while listening to the pre-ride announcements. I knew the ride benefitted cancer research, which I fully support. But when I pulled up the only announcement I heard was "mass start at the horn -- GO"! and we were off. I literally only had a few seconds to prepare mentally.

There were 30 and 60 mile rides, with aide stations every 20 miles. So both routes were the same into the first aide station. The rain started just a few miles in, and didn't stop for 2 1/2 hours. There was three solid climbs before the first aide station. I took the climbs in stride, but wished I had done some more stretching before the start. Still, the first 20 went pretty fast, and one of the aide station volunteers was joking about how the worst hills were in the last 20. At least, I hoped he was joking.

At the first aide station, glad it was indoors since it was raining

Right after that first station, the 30 mile ride split off to head 10 miles back to the start. With the weather, I think most people changed up and took the quick route back. I did not. In fact, the second 20 was fast, and I was mostly riding around a pack of guys that apparently all knew each other. I hit that second aide station so hard and fast, it may actually be pregnant now. No major climbs, all big chainring stuff, I kept a very consistent pace and just pushed through the whole thing. At the second aide station, the whole pack of folks regrouped, and turns out they all rode together every week and were all from Rutherfordton, NC, one of my favorite small towns on the way to our mountain house. You get a bunch of friendly country boys joking around and hilarity ensues.

40 miles in, starting to feel it a bit

The main group I ended up riding with. I thought they were too friendly to be from SC

The aide station and volunteers. Notice how much darker it is here. The rain had just stopped or slowed down, and it was nice to take a rest.

So the last 20 is where all the trouble began. The first 8 miles in there did have a tough climb, but it wasn't really that hard. But 8 miles in, I busted a spoke on my back wheel.

I don't know if you have ever busted a spoke, but the spokes keep tension maintained on those wheels. And with 110 psi of air pressure and 200 lbs of Flynn sitting on top, the tires really have to hold up well under pressure. A broken spoke warps the wheel rim so it looked like the back tire was waving at me. And every revolution the rim rubs against the brake pads. So the bike is actively working against me at that point. Even going downhill, the bike would slow down almost to a stop if I didn't keep pedalling. So I left it in a low gear on the big chainring and just kept on pedalling. FOR 12 FREAKING MILES.

There were no big climbs left. I didn't have to put it back into the small chainring. I also did not have a cell phone with me to call the SAG van, I just walked out of the house without it. If I could have gotten a ride back to the start I would have gladly called it a day at 48 miles and been happy to get that far before mechanical failure. But my only choices were pedal or walk the bike home. I figured pedalling would be faster.

At least it had stopped raining at that point. But that was still the hardest thing I have ever done. Maybe even harder than the marathon. The first 48 miles took about 2 1/2 hours, the last 12 miles took about 1 1/2 hours. At least the course was cool. We went through downtown Gaffney, even going past my great-grandmother's former cotton farm where my grandfather grew up. Turns out most of his side of my family grew up on that road. But I didn't know that until I was told later. I didn't even recognize the farmhouse as all I was thinking of was the finish line.

I was never so happy to see the Jesus store. It's actually a shoe store, but the sign out front says "Jesus is Lord at Bargain Shoes" so everyone calls it the Jesus store. That's how we roll in conservative SC. It's on a frontage road next to the highway, and when I saw it I knew the finish line was close. I stopped long enough to take a picture of the Giant Peach, which is right across the highway from the Jesus store.

The frontage road where the Jesus store is on the left. This was the last climb back to the finish.

Then I made it back to the car. Unbelievably worn out. My legs shook worse than Jello. It was insane, and it shows. The funniest part was in the parking lot after the ride. I'm sure Glaven will love this, but I actually saw cocks-a-floppin when the other dudes just started changing out of the wet bike gear outside in the public parking lot. Nothing like finishing a 60 mile torture ride with throng of naked men outside in a public parking lot. They did at least check to see if there were any chicks around before stripping down, but still geez. At least I had the decency to close the doors up and change in the back of the van. The funniest part is, I was not far behind the rest of the pack, and there were still about 8 people that finished behind me! Only around 30 people ended up doing the 60 mile route.

Not a naked CJ inside... just showing the bike glad to be back next to the van. Back tire rubbing the brakes for the last 12 miles. ouch.

Just glad to be done.

So for the rest of the day I rested, and I had muscle soreness in muscles I didn't know I had. Like the outside top of each calf. And the muscle right behind the knee. How do you make that one sore? That was some serious pain.

How do you follow that? Sunday I did 7.5 miles in 56 minutes on the elliptical for this weekend's long run. My hip actually feels great right now, but I'm not trusting it for a few more days. Then I'm going to try some drills, as it is supposed to be cool (mid 70's) and mostly sunny for the rest of the week here. As long as my form feels ok, I might try running again thursday.

The whole first 20 miles of the bike ride I was thinking about posts to write on here, and all the great friends I met through the blog. You guys really pushed me through those climbs. Can't wait to read all of the race reports from Augusta and beyond! have a good monday.


Jess said...

Congrats on the 60 mile ride! Must have been an awesome feeling to finish, especially after the issues with the last 12 miles!

Georgia Snail said...

"Cock's a floppin"

I Guess you were not talking about SC Football???

Amy - the gazelle said...

"I hit that second aide station so hard and fast, it may actually be pregnant now."

ha ha ha ha ha!

Great job on the ride & finishing post-broken spoke.

Missy said...

A pregnant aide station and neked guys rolling around?!?! Where thee hell was I for crying out loud. Sounds like a great time to me. Better that spoke bust it now than on 11/7 - major suckitude. Congrats on the ride, I would have totally pussed out.

Oh, that peach looks like a giant ass in the sky.

RockStarTri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RockStarTri said...

Hard luck on the broken spoke, hard luck on the rain, hard luck on the view in the parking lot, hard luck on learning "what to carry" lessons the hard way (cell phone and spoke wrench come to mind) but, but, many takes did it take to get those self portraits? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

But seriously, well done on handling everything thrown at you. You threw it right back and got it done. Good job.

Wes said...

funny stuff CJ... I'm thinking I need to get a second back wheel with a broken spoke just for endurance training :-)

Money in the bank for B2B!!! Way to rock it!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

ZOMG, IO Missy stole what I was gonna say - that peach looks like it's mooning the whole state!

You must've been in heaven, CJ, what with that sausagefest and the giant Fuzzy @$$-In-Teh-Sky, not to mention you unprotectedly f*cking stations that had aides ... what, couldn't find one with plain old VD?

No picture of Teh Jesus Store? I hope He gets His Dad to Smite you!

Good job on the ride!

healthy ashley said...

A broken bike, hills and rain? You continue to me my athletic hero! Nice job!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


I didn't make the Bearsharktopus. I just added the harksuck to it.

I made Teh Mooselobsterguana and the B*tch-Billed Platypus, but Teh Bearsharktopus was not my doing.

People seem to be giving me credit for it, even though I linked to the blog - SteveQ's - that I got it from. (I don't think Steve himself made it either, though.)

Just wanted to clear that up.

Sarah said...

Ha! That post cracked me up. Dude, 60 in the rain? And a broken spoke with 12 to go? You rawk!!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

wow, 60 miles on the saddle is one thing, but in the rain, with a broken spoke too! well done!

Sun Runner said...

I love the pictures. I think they really capture the essence of what you went through.

And, "WWJW?"

Which means, "What would Jesus wear?" Nothing but the best bargain shoes for Christ our Lord, apparently.

Amber said...

Whew - that's a long ride! Good job!!

Unknown said...

Hey! It's the peach! I look for that peach everytime I come up to see my parents. They're in NC and when I see that peach, I know that I'm close to home!

Great job on the ride.

under my own steam said...

Way to push through those mechanical issues. You rock. And, the hip pain? S-U-C-K-S! Good on ya for the elliptical work. I hope the hip holds out. Actually, I guess both of our hips hold out this week. I have a 7 mile run, a 12 mile run and then a triple brick on Sunday. Egad. I'm not sure how much of it I'm going to be able to manage.

Havs said...

Nice ride report, good job man! Looks like some of the weather we got when I was there in May-when it rains it RAINS! What kind of wheels you running? I've popped a rear spoke before, I'm no feather weight either, but only had that one break on my Mavic Aksiums-they're pretty much bomb proof.

And what kind of elevation gain did you see? Got a file from the Garmin?? Curious minds want to know!!

Al's CL Reviews said...

That peach is too much. I love when they paint it flesh colored. Then the crack with the hemorrhoid are too much.

Glad you were able to push it. Sounds like a helluva a ride.

Unknown said...

Good job on the 60 mile ride. My longest has been 50-ish and that did me in.

Looks like an icky riding day from the pics (all grey skies)...but maybe it kept it cool.

B.o.B. said...

Congrats! That is awesome. I rode 22 miles and thought I was going to die. LOL!

Love the Jesus store. I hope they only sell Jerusalem Cruisers. AKA Man-dals or tivas.

Alisa said...

Nice work! I love all the pictures you took. The sky did look rather gray though, yikes.

Way to go powering through those last miles with mechanical issues. I'm so nervous for my first flat tire. I haven't a clue how to change a tire, put back on a chain, any of it---eeek! I keep saying I need to take a bike handling course.

The Enthusiast said...

Great job on your ride! Hills scare my bike senseless, so out of consideration for its feelings I avoid them.

Serious kudos to you for kicking some ass with a broken spoke.

Ashley said...

Wow, congrats! Looks like a dark, dreary day...and you managed to have fun anyway - busted spoke and all. Your pics are a hoot! Esp the last one! ;) NICE WORK!

Ashley said...

Oh, and the cocks-a-floppin had me CRACKING UP!!!!! As did your depiction of the quick 2nd aide station - LOL!!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Loved the line about the pregnant aide station. Hilarious!

I am in awe of the fact that you actually biked 60 miles. Dude, that is really far.

Ryan said...

Awesome job on not only riding in the rain but "manning" it out with a broken spoke...sheet you are tough!

With that many cocks a sure your not preggy? Is that why you have to move to Raleigh...that's where the baby daddy gunna be?

Michelle said...

You have some great phrases!

That peach picture is somehow disturbing!

Funny how these events show us what we CAN do.

sarah said...

Congrats on the 60 miles!! That is awesome!!

Unknown said...

Oh wow, that sounds like a rough one with that broken spoke. Nice job finishing the 60!f