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1,000K: Plan the Ride – Ride the Plan: Sleep 1 to Sleep 2

by on July 20, 2014

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.)

The first part of this post can be found here

Ride the Plan

Leg 6B began with a promise, contained a lot of frustration, and blew our plan out of the water.  It started well.  Mike and I got up at 1:15 am.  We were out the door before 2:30 am.  We stopped at a Tim Horton’s down the street for coffee and breakfast.  (I had eaten part of my leftover Subway sandwich in the room before leaving.)  Evidently, Tim Horton’s doesn’t serve their full breakfast menu until 4 am.  I had donut holes and Mike had cheese and bacon on a bagel.  As we were leaving the restaurant, another customer said “good-night”.  Little did he know our night was already over.  We arrived at the hotel of other SPP riders.  The plan was a 3 am departure, but they were not ready.  We had clearly said clipped in and rolling at 3, but we had to go to McDonald’s for breakfast and pushed our actual start to around 3:15.  Time was critical because the control 27 miles away was closing shortly after 5:30 am.  We had rough roads, a slippery wooden bridge, lots of rollers that all worked to slow us down.  On top of this, we started a gentle climb that would continue all day.  We were treated with a spectacular full moon setting ahead of us, including setting over a still lake.  We made the control at about 5:18 am (our planned departure time) and with the large group, we lingered until about 6 am until everyone was ready to go. (45 minutes behind the plan)

Leg 7 was a shorter 38 mile leg that passed quickly.  As we rolled into town, Clint saw a coffee shop with dozens of bicycles out front (we recognized many of them) and suggested we pull in there for our third breakfast of the morning.  I commented that service would be very slow with so many bikes already there, and pressed on.  We found a small coffee shop that served breakfast sandwiches just a block or two later.  We had a great time there, the owner even wanting her photo with us to put on her celebrity wall.  We were there too long … but we never saw the other cyclists go by us.  Our plan continued to slip away.

Leg 8 was a nightmarish leg that seemed to last all day.  It was 60 miles skirting Toronto.  The roads were under construction, a steady gentle climb with plenty of rollers, narrow with limited shoulders, and had a lot of traffic on them.  Most of the riders really complained about this leg of the route.  It was downright dangerous.  We were also routed into the industrial/warehouse part of Toronto, and so we dealt with a lot of truck traffic.  We had another too long stop at a Subway and our plan continued to slip.  Although we could see Toronto, we were constantly frustrated by traffic lights that we consistently hit red and traffic merging from multiple lanes into one lane.  We met up with a lot of the other riders at the Tim Horton control.  We had a good, reasonably timed stop here, but we were well behind our plan at this part of the day.

Leg 9 promised to get us back onto rural roads and a quick sense of calm came over us.  There were some challenging rolling hills, and some rural stretches, but now we were getting tired, and grumbly and the road was rough and did I say we were grumbly?  People needed to stop at random times.  We still tried to keep our large group together.  Directions were confusing.  Eventually, Bryan and I hatched a plan for a quickly rotating paceline that got people focused on working as a team rather than focused on what others were not doing.  Our mood improved.  As we rolled into Burlington, ON for the control, we were sociable again and we asked a local about a place to eat.  We were steered to a pub in the old part of town that was not crowded and we collapsed into a 2 hour long dinner, some of it our doing, and some of it the slow service we encountered.  By the time we left the control, we were nearly 3 hours later than our plan for the day.

Leg 10 would take us back into the US.  There was some excitement about that happening.  It was now after dark as we pushed off out of the pub, leaving all our Canadian coin/currency as a tip.  There were some beautiful stretches of road as we rolled through Niagara on the Lake, through the parks, along the river, all under the rising moon.  By now, knee pain that I had been developing over the past several hours of riding reared its head and I would rate the pain at a level 7.  Mike C was also having some knee pain.  We pressed on, stopping more than we wanted (fatigue was the real reason … other reasons were given).  The big climb before Niagara Falls was awful on my knee.  I did get the bike dropped into the small chain ring for the climb, then had to manually put it back in the large chain ring at the top of the hill.  As we got closer to the falls and to the US our excitement level continued to build.  We stopped for about 15-20 minutes to look at the falls and the lights on the falls, then climbed the last hill to the control at US Customs.  We waited in line only about 10 minutes.  We had word from some previous riders that they had spent 40 minutes sitting in traffic breathing car exhaust before making it through customs.  We quickly oriented ourselves and started toward our hotels 7 and 27 miles away. (Still 3 hours behind the plan)

Leg 11a started with more drama than a middle-school lunch room.  First, we got a message that Calista was lost ahead of us.  We were able to find her and she joined up with us for the ride to the hotel.  Then, Clint decided we needed to all stop and plan our departure after Sleep 2.  I rebelled.  The day was frustrating.  We were 3 hours late for our plan.  The hotel was calling our name for sleep.  I pressed on and rode fast and hard toward the hotel.  Grumpy was along for the ride.  I made a wrong turn off the 4 lane divided highway that was our route and the exit I took led nowhere I wanted to be.  I turned around and climbed the steep exit ramp the wrong way, while the rest of the group passed me.  I then waited a few minutes at the intersection to the hotel, and saw Dan, Bryan, and Clint go by and got a text from Mike that he was at the hotel and wondered where I was.  I quickly got to the hotel, hit the room, and as I was crawling into bed it turned 1:15 am (24 hours since getting up for this day’s riding).  Sleep came quickly and easily.

 

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