Thursday, July 30, 2009

IBA Run playback part 5 - Final thoughts

The previous post was my last description of the IBA run itself. This post is a collection of my final thoughts about the ride. After this posting, I'm putting the IBA subject to rest.

Future posts, hopefully put up a bit more frequently, will focus on rides taken so far this summer. I've got some video to put up, maintenance woes, and I want to share experiences from an upcoming ride in mid August. Stay tuned please.

The Expectation:

Especially before the IBA run, a typical dialog of a conversation about my participation would go like this:
    Other person: "Why would you want to ride 1000-miles in 24 hours?"

    Me: "To see if I can."

    Other person: "What if you don't make it?"

    Me: "Then I'll know I can't."

    Other person: "What do you get if you do make it?"

    Me: "The knowledge of knowing I overcame physical and mental exhaustion."
    Me: "Oh yeah, I also get a certificate suitable for framing."

    Other person: "I think you might be crazy."

Maybe I am crazy.

I expected the ride to be a physical grueling experience with fatigue being a huge factor towards the end of the 1000-miles. I also expected to be mentally spent possibly unable to coherently decide to turn left or right or whether I was even on the route.

Further, my experience to date suggested I'd be utterly whipped before 1000-miles. My longest 1-day ride was about 600-miles, and I've done numerous 500-mile days. In every case, I couldn't even imagine continuing on to 1000-miles.

And so, my curiosity of how I would react and function under these circumstances drove me to give it a try. I believe a similar mental calculus takes place when I decided to take a ride when the outside temperature is below freezing.

Yeah. Maybe I am crazy.

The Reality:

Here's what happened:
  • I over achieved in route planning. I focused on route details down to predetermining when and where to stop for fuel. Almost the entire route was along interstates. These data were loaded into my GPS unit. A monkey could make this ride.
  • I anticipated nutrition needs; I stayed hydrated. Snacks, sandwiches, energy bars, and water. No hamburgers, french fries, or sodas. No stress to the upper or lower GI tract.
  • The weather was generally cooperative. Cloudy, overcast days are actually the best days for riding because they minimize the energy-sucking effects of the sun. Reasonably moderate temperatures and, for the most part, low humidity also helped greatly. No sweating like a pig.
  • Again, because most of the route was along the interstate, time estimates were grossly conservative and getting ahead schedule by several hours removed any sense of urgency. Mental faculties are less likely to be stressed where there is no need to rush. Flying low is good.
  • Strictly keeping to rest stops on a regular basis ensured staying fresh and alert. Even my butt didn't get sore.
And finally, the rain at the end of the ride forced me to stay hyper-alert. I think even subconsciously, I knew that I couldn't let my guard down for a moment while riding at night in the rain on the interstate highway.

I never got to experience the fatigue and exhaustion I thought I might until after the ride was done. I don't know if I was riding on adrenaline, especially at the end in the rain, or if it was all good planning and execution. I can say without hesitation that regimented stopping at set intervals for 15- to 20-minutes is a key to making long distance rides.

So, was it worth it? Yes.
Will I do it again? No. I've got it all out of my system. I'll stick to 300 or so miles per day for a while.

Thanks for staying with me on this. Post any comments you might have.

Ride safe...

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