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1,000K: Plan the Ride – Ride the Plan: Start to Sleep 1

by on July 14, 2014

Coming into the 1,000k, my previous longest distance was a 600k.  That ride went well, but with this ride being one riding day and 66% longer with no drop bags, there was a lot of extra planning that went into the ride.  The thing that I did that worked best to alleviate my anxiety the most was to break the ride into segments and establish a plan for each day.

Plan the Ride

The basic plan was to ride Day 1 as a series of 200k rides with a planned time of 10 hours for each.  That worked out to 15 mph rolling and 1.5 hours stopped every 200k.  Days 2 and 3 were planned as 14 mph rolling and 1.5 hours every 200k.  Also planned was 7.5 hours off the bike for Sleep 1* and the same for Sleep 2*.  This would result in a ride time of 67 hours.  From there, I calculated the estimated departure times for each control and each overnight sleep.  Such a plan would require laser focus at the controls and efficient use of time.  It was very generous in terms of sleep time, so there was built in flexibility there.  The 67 hour estimated finish was still leaving an 8 hour cushion on the end of the ride.

My riding partner, Mike, signed off on the plan, knowing that it was subject to change and flexible.

I did not factor in each leg’s conditions (climbing, walking the bridges, etc.)

Ride the Plan

Leg 1 was a fast ride from Ontario, NY to Oswego, NY.  After our 7:00 pm start, we were grouped together in the peloton, the lead group of normal bikes, with only the solo velomobile ahead of us.  (We actually briefly caught the velomobile at about mile 55.  We never saw him again.)  Mike was having trouble maintaining the peloton pace up the final hills into Oswego so I dropped back and we stopped at a convenience to re-supply.  There were no open services the next 90 miles. We also donned extra clothing here as the temperatures were falling.  In fact, they fell into the upper 40’s.  (Ahead of Plan)

Leg 2 was a fast ride from Oswego, NY to Cape Vincent, NY.  We were now behind the lead group of riders, and the majority of this leg had just Mike and I together.  We were making better time than our planned pace, and there were some stops for stretching and working some kinks out.  The roads were quiet and smooth.  Downhills were long and straight.  At one point along this section of the route, I hit my top speed for the ride (and for the year) of 39.5 mph.  A simple reminder to the reader, that speed was achieved at night.  There is a limit to how far ahead the headlight will allow one to see at night, even with the full moon.  Shortly after one stretch break, we encountered a “secret control” where the ride organizer set up a water and “fueling” stop.  That certainly was appreciated on this long overnight stretch.  We had been passed (while stopped) and passed (while he was stopped) another rider along this stretch.  Other than that, we knew that the rest of the main group was 30-60 minutes ahead of us by the time we got to the secret control.  We rolled into Cape Vincent still ahead of schedule with 135 miles completed.  It was a sleepy little town all rolled up for bed.  We stopped briefly, and were joined there by Bob, who accompanied us for the next several hours. (Ahead of Plan)

Leg 3 was a slower leg.  We traveled 14 miles to the town of Clayton, NY where we hoped to be able to eat something.  We went off route 4-5 blocks to a diner.  When we arrived, we noted it was not scheduled to open for another 15 minutes … but there was a table of Randonneurs eating inside.  The owner had opened 30 minutes early, and so we were the second group to be seated and fed.  The owner kept the lights out until the planned 6 am opening.  There were several tired and hungry Randonneurs that entered after we did.  Some were much more efficient at their meals than we were, and when we left we had a small group of 4-5 riders headed to the next stop, the Canadian border.  With full bellies we made our way to the first bridge (Thousand Island Bridges) where we dutifully dismounted and walked our bikes across the narrow pedestrian lane.  That bridge flexed and shook with each passing truck.  We made it across, re-mounted our bikes and proceeded to customs.  We were now 163 miles into the ride and despite having walked our bikes across this bridge and stopping for a long bathroom break, we were still … (Ahead of Plan)

Leg 4 involved another bridge crossing on foot (I just walked in my socks) through a narrower pedestrian walkway, a ride on a bike trail, and some urban riding in the first 12 miles, all of which served to slow us down.  We caught up with other Severna Park Peloton riders that we had not seen since the first control.  They had stopped to eat in Gananoque and had a long breakfast.  This was mile 175.  It is about here that my recollection of events and timing gets to be spotty.  I don’t remember the terrain.  I don’t remember all of the towns, except that we flew through Kingston following Bob who was familiar with the town.  We got stopped by a freight train just as we left town.  Eventually we arrived at the information control at a little grocery store “in” Millhaven.  We arrived just before noon (209 miles) and grabbed a little food just before construction workers descended like locusts on the store.  Five minutes later would have cost us 15 more minutes in line for food.  We rolled out of that stop pretty close to the planned departure time.  Our time cushion was rapidly diminishing.  In fact, I think here we were (On the Plan)

Leg 5 started to get us into challenging territory.  Not only was the day getting to be long, but we also had a brisk headwind of about 10 mph that lasted for hours.  Remember that by now we had been awake for 30 hours with maybe one hour for a nap.  The miles just crawled under our wheels.  Our small group of riders caught the ferry just as they were closing the gates.  They relented and let us on after telling us that the next ferry was only 15 minutes away.  We ground out the miles and the day was becoming a lot of work.  More of this time was a blur.  I can’t tell you who I was riding with … or who I wasn’t riding with.  I can’t tell you much about the terrain or the scenery.  We just kept pedaling on.  My personal record distance on a bike in 24 hours was exceeded during the last part of this leg.  I can’t even tell you where we were on the plan at this point.

Leg 6A was our final push into Cobourg where we and many others were staying for the night.  I think it was in this stretch that Mike and I passed the SPP guys where they were snacking on baked potatoes.  After all these miles, we were once again ahead of them.  We pressed on into the wind.  We caught up with 4 other riders and shared the pulls.  We stopped at a place for ice cream where our 4 other riders left before we did, just as SPP riders caught up with us again.  After a time, and more headwinds, Mike and I arrived in Cobourg and made our way to the hotel.  In the best decision of the day, we stopped at a Subway, grabbed a sandwich and drink, and checked into the hotel just about 20 minutes behind the plan for the day.  We ate in the room and were in bed asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow.  I think it was about 8:15-8:30 pm when we fell asleep.  This first “day” of riding resulted in 298 miles on the Garmin.  Before going to sleep, we set our alarms for 1:15 am so that we could eat and be rolling by 3 am to make the next control before the 5:30 am closing time. (On the Plan)

* I have a lot of trouble keeping track of days on this ride.  We rode parts of 4 days, but it was within 3 24 hour days.  We slept twice.  I’ve broken this up into Start to sleep 1, Sleep 1 to sleep 2, after sleep 2.  It makes sense to me.

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