There will be, as is tradition, no live blogging.
Since it’s a relay there may be live tweeting or Facebooking
This past weekend, I attempted to complete the Death Ride for the 3rd time.
And I failed.
The first failed attempt was in 2002. The first time I finished the Death Ride was in 2003.
Yes, I am older, and yes it gets harder with age, but this was a complete fiasco.
Here’s what I accomplished.
There are both strategic failures, and tactical failures.
The strategic failure was my weight. As a result of all of my triathlons, I have lost some weight. However, my weight at the time of the Death Ride in 2002 and my weight now are off only by about 10 pounds. And with age, we can’t lug as much weight as we want.
Amusingly enough, I saw another gentleman who probably did the Death Ride at my current age. He and I were wearing the 2003 jersey. And he only did two passes this time and 5 last time. We were both older, and both defeated. And both amused.
The second strategic failure was poor mental preparation. My poor memory combined with my weight did not prepare me for the long climbs. The Death Ride is challenging for amateur cyclists because it involves 2500 feet climbs with very long stretches of 10% grade. And I had thought that training on smaller hills could prepare me for the Death Ride. Going up Monitor requires a level of mental intensity that I had not accounted for. On a positive note, once I got over the shock of the elevation gain, I dug in.
But the important consequence is that there is a lot of climbing. More than the rides I had done in the past prepared me for. This became important on the ride day.
The third strategic failure was assuming that the level of race feeding was like a Marathon. In a Marathon, a well done one, there is so much food and drink thrown at you, that carrying supplies is silly. If you can make the 1-mile trek to the next feeding station, you will find food and water.
The Death Ride is not a race. There was plenty of food, but it was spaced very differently than a race would be. There was food at the top of Monitor. The problem is that the race organizers assumed that this would be used to feed athletes who came from the front side, not the backside.
Furthermore, Ironman races spoil you. You don’t have one kind of Cliff bar; you have several. If you don’t like a flavor, that’s okay get another.
There was one environmental issue, the weather was hot, but I am discounting that.
My strategic failures made any number of tactical on-the-ride day events likely to result in failure, and boy did I have a number.
I turned around after the second nap because my decision making was no longer sound.
After my second nap:
I was no longer just a danger to myself, but to others and so quit.
The rest of the ride was painless.
One final note, I was so exhausted that I slept for an addition 1h 30 minutes at Turtle Rock on a slab of cement. People were talking and milling about around me and I didn’t care or notice.
Then I came home and slept for another 3 hours.
Five years ago I could not run a 5k.
Then my wife said she was going to run a half marathon. And I got motivated to do something about it.
Then she encouraged me to train for a marathon, and then failed to discourage me from training for a triathlon.
And was the most supportive wife ever and enabled me to have this ridiculous trophy photo.