Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bike Ride Report - Ohio 600k

This Saturday I took a shot at the very hot and hilly Ohio Randonneurs' 600k Brevet. Fourteen riders started, six finished. None of the six finishers would be me. DNF DNF DNF.

The route started at Grove City, a suburb south of Columbus. There was a 400k loop to beautiful and historic Marietta, the oldest city in Ohio, followed by a 200k loop south to Tar Hollow State Park. Beats me what Tar Hollow is like, I've never been there...

The DC Randonneurs would find much to admire in this brevet. Consider this stretch of road:

It's about a 15% grade. Yes, that sure *is* gravel! Most of it isn't washboarded.

I passed one guy who was walking his bike up it. He said he was done. I think he was the one who left the note on the motel door at Grove City the next day that said something like "I spent the night in Amesville in the hospital getting intravenous fluids because of severe dehydration."

When you get to the top you get to go up and down a lot more, and admire the rugged scenery.

This was actually a detour, where a bridge was out. You get 6 miles of this instead of riding six miles along a nice creek. I took these pictures driving home yesterday, which is why it's hazy and rainy. During the ride it was hot and sunny.

Here's a picture at 5:00 am at the Motel 6 parking lot in Grove City.

Since Ohio is farther west than Maryland, it is as dark at 5:00 as it is at 4:00 here.

The first 30 miles or so were really flat, and everyone rode together at a nice clip of about 17 mph or so.

I think this is the first control in New Lexington, OH. By here, the hills started, and the pack had broken up.

This is a really nice country store in Watertown, OH (I'm pretty sure) about 15 miles outside of Marietta. This is mile 110. I was here at around 2:00.

The girl working the store said it was really old, like from the 1940s. She said they had pictures of horses and buggies out front. I asked here if there were any cars in the pictures. She said no. Ohio might want to work on the history curriculum in the schools, I think.

I had this nutrition and hydration strategy, where I was packing wraps I made the night before in one of my panniers, with a Camelback bladder full of ice to keep them cool. There was a long stretch with no opportunity for more ice before here, and the temperature was in the 90s. I discovered that my food had spoiled.

Here is the scene from Marietta, which is where the Muskingum River joins the Ohio. The riverboat is moored on the Muskingum. I'm taking the picture from an old railroad bridge that has a bike path on it. Marietta is a very nice town. It's full of beautiful buildings from around 1800-1820.

The Marietta control is at 200k. I got there in 10 hours, which was a really good pace for me, especially since I recorded 9000 feet of climb on my GPS. I was really delighted, because the whole ride was estimated at 22000 feet of climb.

The control is a Subway. I had a sandwich, and took about 45 minutes off.

The second part of my nutrition and hydration strategy was to steadily sip Cytomax from a Camelback bladder. So I had two bladders, one water to cool the wraps, and one with Cytomax. At every stop I'd add ice to the Cytomax bladder, and put in a couple scoops of powder. Which is what I did at the Subway, for the first time in a couple hours.

After about 10 miles climbing out of the valley from Marietta, I started to feel really bad. I was very queasy. I figured it was the heat. It was in the 90s and sunny. I stopped at a convenience store and had a "gourmet ice", which is basically a slurpee. I felt better, and continued on.

But I soon felt nauseous again, and I began to suspect the Cytomax. Cytomax has amino acids, and it had gotten warm. I never actually emptied and cleaned my reservoir, I was just adding to it. I'm pretty sure it spoiled. It took me about another 20 miles to figure the out, and the whole time I was feeling horrible. So I stopped at a convenience store, emptied it out, cleaned it thoroughly, and filled it with ice water. I started feeling better. Just in time for the scenic gravel road detour depicted above.

Right after the detour, you get to New Straitsville, home of the Moonshine Festival.

As it happens, I grew up in southern Ohio, and I have much family there. I have personally had locally produced moonshine at the home of a relative or family friend located less than 20 miles from this brevet route. I feel right at home down there.

Also, southern Ohio is the land that time forgot for snack foods.

Those are Taco Doritos, a flavor I thought was long gone. Doritos used to only come in regular and Taco flavor. I remember when they added a third flavor, which would be Nacho.

Then there are Clark bars. I thought those were long gone too. But no, you can still get them in southern Ohio. A Clark bar is like a Butterfinger, but more peanut buttery. I love Clark bars.

This ride was quite a nostalgia trip for me.

Anyway, the 200k from Marietta back to Grove City was torture. The water in the Cytomax bladder kept picking up the spoiled Cytomax flavor and making me queasy. I had nothing, and I was crawling up every hill. I went from doing the first 200k with 9000 feet of climb in 10 hours to doing the second 200k, which had 7000 feet of climb in 13 hours. I got back into Grove City at 4:30 AM, 23 1/2 hours after I left.

I did not give it up immediately. I drank a V8 to re-electrolyte myself, took a shower, put on clean riding clothes, repacked the bike (Cytomax bladder out, bivy sack in), and tried to download the waypoints for the next 200k from my laptop to my GPS. But I couldn't figure out how to plug in the GPS to the USB cable. I lay down on the bed, and that was it. Out like a light, I was done.

I am now 0-3 for attempts at a 600k. One mechanical, two can't get out of bed. I keep making the same mistake, which is not eating enough. I did it again this time. Because I felt queasy, I didn't really eat anything after Subway in Marietta at mile 125. And I think I was running on empty for some ways before Grove City, and I couldn't make myself go on.

I'm not giving up, though.

A couple other things, I have to hand it to Bob Waddell, the Ohio RBA. This is not like the DC Randonneurs, where there are manned controls, and lots of people helping out. I think Bob does this pretty much by himself, and he does a great job. This was a a very cool route (at least the first 400k...)

And in the small world department, one of the six who finished is Chris Zacharias, who I grew up with. Our families are old friends. I had no idea Chris was a randonneur. It was great to see you, Chris!

Here's the map for the first 400k:

The MotionBased page is at http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=1000311

This chart from MotionBased tells it all: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/chart/get.mb?xy.domain=totalDuration&xy.ranges=totalDistance&xy.histogram=false&xy.legendVisible=false&xy.primaryRangeAxisVisible=true&xy.secondaryRangeAxisVisible=true&xy.rangeTitlesVisible=true&xy.domainAxisVisible=true&xy.plotForegroundOpacity=0.75&episodePk.pkValue=1000311&xy.plotForegroundOpacity=0.75&xy.autoFit=true&xy.width=1000&xy.height=450


Anonymous said...

Great ride report and beautiful photos. Thanks! Hopefully we'll see you on the 1000K in September where we'll have the same beastly hills but, hopefully, less of the hot and humid temperatures.

Paul R.

Cham said...

The minute you mentioned Cytomax in the bladder I thought, "Gee I hope he is rinsing it out every once in awhile." Then I read further and saw that it was making you sick. I lose a bladder just about every summer because I fail to clean the gunk out, although it was a smart move to throw the maltodextrin in the water, ideal for spring, winter and fall. Not so good in the heat though.

You are already using the goo, aren't you? Try a packing a couple of boxes of granola bars, I'm a big fan of tuna foil packs as well. The 600K can probably be achieved, but I can see it would be uncomfortable in the heat.

Look at the bright side, you weren't reduced to licking wet leaves for hydration.

Cham said...

BTW, I bought a blue-tooth Holux GPS but I am having a heck of a time getting it to work with the NG TOPOs on my Palm. I may have to cave and buy the Axim. If I can get it to work I will have quite the system.