first long fixed ride/race
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  1. #1

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    Cool first long fixed ride/race

    Saturday was a great Northern California day -- 50-85 degrees, sunny and dry. Really ideal for a 12 hour race. The Davis 12/24 race runs like a time trial, with riders taking off at 15 second intervals. I started near the front at 6:03 a.m.

    The course is moderate to big hills for the first 110 miles, then slightly downhill to flat for the remaining 160 mile "day loop," then totally flat for the 18.5 mile "night loop." The hills can reach up to 10% for 1/2 mile sections, and some 4-7% hills can be 5 or 6 miles long. Of course, you have to descend those hills, too, something that is welcomed on a "coaster" bike, but not so much fun on a fixed gear, which I was on.

    I found myself, in my 40x16 (66 inch) gear holding my own with the other bikes on the flats and up to about 3% climbs. I have a bike computer that shows grade percent, so it's easy to keep track. However, things get fairly inefficient over 5%, and very inefficient at 8-10%. Likewise, on the descents, almost any descent at all and bikes were blowing past me, either loping along in tall gears or coasting, all while I was working my butt off like a sewing machine trying to keep up some speed.

    The descents were my undoing in this race. My computer showed a top speed of 35 mph, which I hit or got near many times. That's 178 rpms at the crank. While this is fun for short stints, it became a real chore, because the friction mainly in my crotch became nearly unbearable. Jumping ahead to the end, the last 30-40 miles were almost all flat and with a slight tailwind, such that I could sit up and maintain 22-23 mph. However, I grew to hate it and welcome less wind or a short rise because spinning 120-130 rpms for hours on end just became intolerable. My crotch was on fire. And, yes, I used tons of Chamois Butt'r and even re-applied a big glop of it at 105 miles.

    The crotch fire was bad enough, but my hands were gone, too. Since nearly all climbing had to be out of the saddle, I got blisters on my palms, plus since this division does not permit aerobars, my hands over all just plain hurt. So, I found myself too sore to put weight on my butt, then too sore to put weight on my hands. Not exactly an ideal situation.

    One guy passed me on a steep climb around 25 miles and said, "You know, a few years ago someone invented this thing called a 'derailleur.' You might look into it." Well, you know what I had to do. I passed him back on the next hill. Didn't hear from him again.

    One other guy, Sam Beal, who has done RAAM and just about every other long distance event, including Death Valley Double on a fixed bike a few months ago, was riding a fixed bike, too. He started out right behind me, and then passed me up a steep hill around 30-35 miles. I could tell he was clearly stronger than I was on the bike, 1) because he was going faster than I was, and 2) because he was using a noticeably taller gear. Hmm. Maybe he either knows something I don't, or he's just plain stronger to handle that taller gear. Anyway, he motored away and I never saw him again. My bet is that not only is he stronger on a fixed bike, but he's put in substantially more miles than my measely 150 miles per week the last 2 months. Don't know how he finished, but I bet he did well.

    I think we fixed riders can appreciate it, but I doubt someone who has not done much fixed riding can understand the toll 175 rpms repeatedly on extended descents takes on you. It really is sprinting, albeit with a lighter load than a tall gear sprint. Just making your legs go around that fast, load or not, is hard, and wears you out. As this was a race, though, I was determined to get down the hills with as little speed deficit as possible, so I didn't touch the brakes until 35 mph. I think this may have been a bad decision in the long run.

    At the first aid station at 46 miles, I was perfectly fine. About a dozen regular riders had passed, but not all, and this was after a lot of hills already. By 77 miles at the second aid station, which is at the highest elevation point on the route, I was getting worn out. Coincidentally, that was about the length of my typical weekend fixed ride the last few months. This is at the summit of a long hill with a lot of 10% sections, which was wearing out my palms. My hands were having a hard time, not only because no aerobars, but because of spending so much time pushing and pulling on the hoods while out of the saddle. With 7,000 feet of climbing on the course, I figure I spent 6,000 feet of it out of the saddle at 30-50 rpms.

    If this were a century, it would have been fine. However, after 100 miles or so, I just wanted it to be over. Funny thing is that my legs were perfectly fine, no complaints or much loss of power at all. I was being very careful with nutrition, sodium, and water, having formulated what I need in that area almost perfectly. With a Camelbak and two large bottles, then mixed powders in drop bags at the aid stations, I got exactly what I needed. Plus, I use a countdown timer while riding to sound every 8 minutes, so I'm reminded to drink on schedule. No problems there.

    However, my points of contact were decaying rapidly. Spinning hurt, climbing hurt, and about the only thing that felt decent was about a 2% climb, where I could alternate between sitting and standing frequently. Still, after 90 miles or so, on those types of climbs I'd pull away from other riders, then they'd get me back on the steep climbs or descents. This was even true for a tandem team which shadowed me for the last 60 miles of the day loop.

    By 130 miles I went into what I call "Survivor Mode." Survivor Mode is when you don't give a crap about your speed, but you just want to finish, just get it over with. Until about 10 miles to go I planned on going the whole 12 hours or at least getting in 1 night loop, but by near the end the pain was just to intolerable, so I planned on calling it quits at 160 miles. Funny thing is that my average speed for the first 130 miles was just under what it has been for my 75 mile mountain/foot hill fixed rides, at 15-16 mph. I finished 160 miles just over 10 hours and packed it in.

    This was like my first double century. It was a brand new experience. I never have had such pain in my hands or crotch on a ride, not even Furnace Creek 508, where those areas were pretty much ok. This could be largely from doing this fixed with no aerobars, but also I think from grossly inadequate training mileage (this ride was longer than my average weekly mileage). I just don't have the callouses I used to have. I need more butt time on the bike. At this point, I don't know if doing this for 508 miles would be possible, unless I figure some things out I don't know now. While my legs might hold up, that doesn't do any good if my hands and crotch are screaming in pain. That sort of pain has a way of slowing you down, even if your legs are ok.

    I may have to experiment with taller gearing, something that I can just barely push on the climbs, but will allow more relaxed cruising on the flats and less frantic spinning on the descents. While that would help the crotch situation, it might exacerbate the hand problem. Frying pan or the fire?

    For regular (coaster) bike riders, you have no idea how much you take coasting for granted -- that's about all I could think about on those long descents. Riders would just calmly float by at 45 mph while I was mustering all my concentration and power to attempt a smooth, in the saddle, 175 rpms all the way down. I would get to the bottoms of hills exhausted, instead of refreshed. Coasting almost seems like cheating to me now, grossly unfair.

    Speaking of cheating, what's with riders blowing through stop signs at 25 mph? At least half a dozen times while I was carefully and properly coming to a full stop at intersections, I was passed or witnessed someone not even slowing, not even acknowledging the stop signs. What, am I the big chump? Have the rules changed? Or, do we still have rules for ultra racing that require compliance with all traffic laws, including stop signs? I wanted to yell at them, but they were gone so fast it would have been futile. It did bug me, though, and this was well before I got all irritable from being tired. The first time was the right turn about 10 miles out, when I guy, I swear, went through the stop sign at 25 mph -- probably a team racer.

    Anyway, I have no idea what Sam did, but my performance was pretty poor. Not sure if this is more from a lack of training mileage or just the nature of fixed versus derailleur bikes. For comparison, when I did this 2 years ago, at 130 miles, when you are pretty much clear of all the hills, I had averaged 18.5 mph, and this time 15 mph, bringing it up to around 16 by then end. A lot of that is conditioning, though, but I'd say the fixed "penalty" on a hilly course like this is around 2 mph, plus the wear and tear that could inhibit longer distances.

    I'd like to day it was fun, but it wasn't. I'll just say it was interesting and challenging.

    Doug

  2. #2
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    Doug, you continue to amaze

    I know you're sitting around feeling like a loser today. Well don't.
    Consider this a standing ovation.

    Nice Job
    Well Done
    Hats Off
    Congratulations

    Scot
    Scot Gore, Minneapolis

  3. #3
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    doug

    and i thought i was hot, doing 50 in a fixed-can't fathom a double. great job, greater story.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a pain.

    About the hands, it might make things hotter but have you tried some thin glove liners? I used to swing a chainsaw and found glove liners under the leather completely ended the blister problems. I can't remember what material they are made of but they are blue and they don't have any feelable seams; picked them up at outdoor outfitter type stores.

    Let us know about the 508! I vote you do it.

    Mike
    deadlegs

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    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  5. #5
    Tig
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    Ditto the standing ovation!

    As a fixed gear rider who rarely rides more than 65 miles on mostly flat terrain, I have to applaud your incredible success. That's right, success! 160 miles on a fixed gear in any terrain is an awsome feat (ask MB1 and Misses M).

    Remember Doug, the main reason we all keep doing this painful stuff is for the self challenge, not just comparing ourselves to others. You surpassed your personal pain limits. If you want to compare with others, well, 99%+ would have stopped after 80 miles.

    -Doug


    Quote Originally Posted by Scot_Gore
    I know you're sitting around feeling like a loser today. Well don't.
    Consider this a standing ovation.

    Nice Job
    Well Done
    Hats Off
    Congratulations

    Scot
    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
    -Isaac Asimov

  6. #6
    Non non normal
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    Some things we don't do because they are fun. Come to think of it, we don't know why we do it.

    I don't think a bunch more hours in the saddle are going to solve the pain issue. I did several long centuries last year prior to a dead flat fixed gear century and I had a lot more pain on the fixed gear 107 mile ride than all the others put together.

    I do believe it is a pick your poison choice. Big gear less crotch pain and more knee pain. I think it is almost funny after you ride the fixed a while that if you dread anything on a ride it is the long downhill, not the uphills.

    At any rate those numbers you posted would make me really proud and if you did the other stuff using aerobars that adds onto the average in a substantial way. I would venture to say the lost speed on the downhills and the aerobar advantage would make your effort almost comparable to your previous efforts.

    Great job




    Quote Originally Posted by DougSloan
    Saturday was a great Northern California day -- 50-85 degrees, sunny and dry. Really ideal for a 12 hour race. The Davis 12/24 race runs like a time trial, with riders taking off at 15 second intervals. I started near the front at 6:03 a.m.

    The course is moderate to big hills for the first 110 miles, then slightly downhill to flat for the remaining 160 mile "day loop," then totally flat for the 18.5 mile "night loop." The hills can reach up to 10% for 1/2 mile sections, and some 4-7% hills can be 5 or 6 miles long. Of course, you have to descend those hills, too, something that is welcomed on a "coaster" bike, but not so much fun on a fixed gear, which I was on.

    I found myself, in my 40x16 (66 inch) gear holding my own with the other bikes on the flats and up to about 3% climbs. I have a bike computer that shows grade percent, so it's easy to keep track. However, things get fairly inefficient over 5%, and very inefficient at 8-10%. Likewise, on the descents, almost any descent at all and bikes were blowing past me, either loping along in tall gears or coasting, all while I was working my butt off like a sewing machine trying to keep up some speed.

    The descents were my undoing in this race. My computer showed a top speed of 35 mph, which I hit or got near many times. That's 178 rpms at the crank. While this is fun for short stints, it became a real chore, because the friction mainly in my crotch became nearly unbearable. Jumping ahead to the end, the last 30-40 miles were almost all flat and with a slight tailwind, such that I could sit up and maintain 22-23 mph. However, I grew to hate it and welcome less wind or a short rise because spinning 120-130 rpms for hours on end just became intolerable. My crotch was on fire. And, yes, I used tons of Chamois Butt'r and even re-applied a big glop of it at 105 miles.

    The crotch fire was bad enough, but my hands were gone, too. Since nearly all climbing had to be out of the saddle, I got blisters on my palms, plus since this division does not permit aerobars, my hands over all just plain hurt. So, I found myself too sore to put weight on my butt, then too sore to put weight on my hands. Not exactly an ideal situation.

    One guy passed me on a steep climb around 25 miles and said, "You know, a few years ago someone invented this thing called a 'derailleur.' You might look into it." Well, you know what I had to do. I passed him back on the next hill. Didn't hear from him again.

    One other guy, Sam Beal, who has done RAAM and just about every other long distance event, including Death Valley Double on a fixed bike a few months ago, was riding a fixed bike, too. He started out right behind me, and then passed me up a steep hill around 30-35 miles. I could tell he was clearly stronger than I was on the bike, 1) because he was going faster than I was, and 2) because he was using a noticeably taller gear. Hmm. Maybe he either knows something I don't, or he's just plain stronger to handle that taller gear. Anyway, he motored away and I never saw him again. My bet is that not only is he stronger on a fixed bike, but he's put in substantially more miles than my measely 150 miles per week the last 2 months. Don't know how he finished, but I bet he did well.

    I think we fixed riders can appreciate it, but I doubt someone who has not done much fixed riding can understand the toll 175 rpms repeatedly on extended descents takes on you. It really is sprinting, albeit with a lighter load than a tall gear sprint. Just making your legs go around that fast, load or not, is hard, and wears you out. As this was a race, though, I was determined to get down the hills with as little speed deficit as possible, so I didn't touch the brakes until 35 mph. I think this may have been a bad decision in the long run.

    At the first aid station at 46 miles, I was perfectly fine. About a dozen regular riders had passed, but not all, and this was after a lot of hills already. By 77 miles at the second aid station, which is at the highest elevation point on the route, I was getting worn out. Coincidentally, that was about the length of my typical weekend fixed ride the last few months. This is at the summit of a long hill with a lot of 10% sections, which was wearing out my palms. My hands were having a hard time, not only because no aerobars, but because of spending so much time pushing and pulling on the hoods while out of the saddle. With 7,000 feet of climbing on the course, I figure I spent 6,000 feet of it out of the saddle at 30-50 rpms.

    If this were a century, it would have been fine. However, after 100 miles or so, I just wanted it to be over. Funny thing is that my legs were perfectly fine, no complaints or much loss of power at all. I was being very careful with nutrition, sodium, and water, having formulated what I need in that area almost perfectly. With a Camelbak and two large bottles, then mixed powders in drop bags at the aid stations, I got exactly what I needed. Plus, I use a countdown timer while riding to sound every 8 minutes, so I'm reminded to drink on schedule. No problems there.

    However, my points of contact were decaying rapidly. Spinning hurt, climbing hurt, and about the only thing that felt decent was about a 2% climb, where I could alternate between sitting and standing frequently. Still, after 90 miles or so, on those types of climbs I'd pull away from other riders, then they'd get me back on the steep climbs or descents. This was even true for a tandem team which shadowed me for the last 60 miles of the day loop.

    By 130 miles I went into what I call "Survivor Mode." Survivor Mode is when you don't give a crap about your speed, but you just want to finish, just get it over with. Until about 10 miles to go I planned on going the whole 12 hours or at least getting in 1 night loop, but by near the end the pain was just to intolerable, so I planned on calling it quits at 160 miles. Funny thing is that my average speed for the first 130 miles was just under what it has been for my 75 mile mountain/foot hill fixed rides, at 15-16 mph. I finished 160 miles just over 10 hours and packed it in.

    This was like my first double century. It was a brand new experience. I never have had such pain in my hands or crotch on a ride, not even Furnace Creek 508, where those areas were pretty much ok. This could be largely from doing this fixed with no aerobars, but also I think from grossly inadequate training mileage (this ride was longer than my average weekly mileage). I just don't have the callouses I used to have. I need more butt time on the bike. At this point, I don't know if doing this for 508 miles would be possible, unless I figure some things out I don't know now. While my legs might hold up, that doesn't do any good if my hands and crotch are screaming in pain. That sort of pain has a way of slowing you down, even if your legs are ok.

    I may have to experiment with taller gearing, something that I can just barely push on the climbs, but will allow more relaxed cruising on the flats and less frantic spinning on the descents. While that would help the crotch situation, it might exacerbate the hand problem. Frying pan or the fire?

    For regular (coaster) bike riders, you have no idea how much you take coasting for granted -- that's about all I could think about on those long descents. Riders would just calmly float by at 45 mph while I was mustering all my concentration and power to attempt a smooth, in the saddle, 175 rpms all the way down. I would get to the bottoms of hills exhausted, instead of refreshed. Coasting almost seems like cheating to me now, grossly unfair.

    Speaking of cheating, what's with riders blowing through stop signs at 25 mph? At least half a dozen times while I was carefully and properly coming to a full stop at intersections, I was passed or witnessed someone not even slowing, not even acknowledging the stop signs. What, am I the big chump? Have the rules changed? Or, do we still have rules for ultra racing that require compliance with all traffic laws, including stop signs? I wanted to yell at them, but they were gone so fast it would have been futile. It did bug me, though, and this was well before I got all irritable from being tired. The first time was the right turn about 10 miles out, when I guy, I swear, went through the stop sign at 25 mph -- probably a team racer.

    Anyway, I have no idea what Sam did, but my performance was pretty poor. Not sure if this is more from a lack of training mileage or just the nature of fixed versus derailleur bikes. For comparison, when I did this 2 years ago, at 130 miles, when you are pretty much clear of all the hills, I had averaged 18.5 mph, and this time 15 mph, bringing it up to around 16 by then end. A lot of that is conditioning, though, but I'd say the fixed "penalty" on a hilly course like this is around 2 mph, plus the wear and tear that could inhibit longer distances.

    I'd like to day it was fun, but it wasn't. I'll just say it was interesting and challenging.

    Doug
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  7. #7

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    Congatulations!

    I agree with Scot. You should be proud of your accomplishment. You completed what sounds like one hell of a ride. We have all under trained, overestimated our abilities, made questionable equipment choices (in general,not your fixed) and unfortunately had our crotches on fire. That is the nature of our chosen passion.

    I am nursing broken ribs from a MTB crash and completely going crazy not being able to ride my bikes. Reading your description of your ride has made me envious of your experience! I know that sounds completely wacko, but it is in the highs/lows of our experinces that we define our lives. This milestone of cycling achievement and pain you experienced will be retold countless times, you will compare other rides to it, your training rides will be that much sweeter in comparison and your expectations of what is possible for yourself have just been pushed a little further. Damn fine job! Tim

  8. #8
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    Not a poor performance at all!

    You did a great job.

    I've ridden a fixed gear century and an 85 mile/7500 foot day fixed gear, but those were not under race conditions. Not even remotely. I agree whole-heartedly that the crotch burn on long descents is brutal. I've never felt anything like it on a coaster bike.

    For me, the taller gears are limited by what my knees find acceptable. The muscle strength seems to be there for the climbing, but with a slight difference in gearing I go from zero knee pain to non-zero knee pain. Also agree that some of the hardest is a high-speed flat... like tailwind-assisted a 1% grade down. Sustained high RPMs like that wipe me out.


    For me the wear & tear of long fixed gear riding seems to be the combination of fatigue from not ever completely resting on the bike and also extra calorie requirements. I'm not sure what the calorie difference was for me, maybe at least 10%, but that was another difference I noticed.

    Congratulations on a great ride. Glad you passed the wise-guy on the climb.

  9. #9
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Great job, Doug.

    I've done a century fixed so I know a little of the pain. However, it was pancake flat so that makes your effort even more impressive. I'll think of you as I do my 1st double later this year-geared, not fixed ;)
    Quote Originally Posted by DougSloan
    Saturday was a great Northern California day -- 50-85 degrees, sunny and dry. Really ideal for a 12 hour race. The Davis 12/24 race runs like a time trial, with riders taking off at 15 second intervals. I started near the front at 6:03 a.m.

    The course is moderate to big hills for the first 110 miles, then slightly downhill to flat for the remaining 160 mile "day loop," then totally flat for the 18.5 mile "night loop." The hills can reach up to 10% for 1/2 mile sections, and some 4-7% hills can be 5 or 6 miles long. Of course, you have to descend those hills, too, something that is welcomed on a "coaster" bike, but not so much fun on a fixed gear, which I was on.

    I found myself, in my 40x16 (66 inch) gear holding my own with the other bikes on the flats and up to about 3% climbs. I have a bike computer that shows grade percent, so it's easy to keep track. However, things get fairly inefficient over 5%, and very inefficient at 8-10%. Likewise, on the descents, almost any descent at all and bikes were blowing past me, either loping along in tall gears or coasting, all while I was working my butt off like a sewing machine trying to keep up some speed.

    The descents were my undoing in this race. My computer showed a top speed of 35 mph, which I hit or got near many times. That's 178 rpms at the crank. While this is fun for short stints, it became a real chore, because the friction mainly in my crotch became nearly unbearable. Jumping ahead to the end, the last 30-40 miles were almost all flat and with a slight tailwind, such that I could sit up and maintain 22-23 mph. However, I grew to hate it and welcome less wind or a short rise because spinning 120-130 rpms for hours on end just became intolerable. My crotch was on fire. And, yes, I used tons of Chamois Butt'r and even re-applied a big glop of it at 105 miles.

    The crotch fire was bad enough, but my hands were gone, too. Since nearly all climbing had to be out of the saddle, I got blisters on my palms, plus since this division does not permit aerobars, my hands over all just plain hurt. So, I found myself too sore to put weight on my butt, then too sore to put weight on my hands. Not exactly an ideal situation.

    One guy passed me on a steep climb around 25 miles and said, "You know, a few years ago someone invented this thing called a 'derailleur.' You might look into it." Well, you know what I had to do. I passed him back on the next hill. Didn't hear from him again.

    One other guy, Sam Beal, who has done RAAM and just about every other long distance event, including Death Valley Double on a fixed bike a few months ago, was riding a fixed bike, too. He started out right behind me, and then passed me up a steep hill around 30-35 miles. I could tell he was clearly stronger than I was on the bike, 1) because he was going faster than I was, and 2) because he was using a noticeably taller gear. Hmm. Maybe he either knows something I don't, or he's just plain stronger to handle that taller gear. Anyway, he motored away and I never saw him again. My bet is that not only is he stronger on a fixed bike, but he's put in substantially more miles than my measely 150 miles per week the last 2 months. Don't know how he finished, but I bet he did well.

    I think we fixed riders can appreciate it, but I doubt someone who has not done much fixed riding can understand the toll 175 rpms repeatedly on extended descents takes on you. It really is sprinting, albeit with a lighter load than a tall gear sprint. Just making your legs go around that fast, load or not, is hard, and wears you out. As this was a race, though, I was determined to get down the hills with as little speed deficit as possible, so I didn't touch the brakes until 35 mph. I think this may have been a bad decision in the long run.

    At the first aid station at 46 miles, I was perfectly fine. About a dozen regular riders had passed, but not all, and this was after a lot of hills already. By 77 miles at the second aid station, which is at the highest elevation point on the route, I was getting worn out. Coincidentally, that was about the length of my typical weekend fixed ride the last few months. This is at the summit of a long hill with a lot of 10% sections, which was wearing out my palms. My hands were having a hard time, not only because no aerobars, but because of spending so much time pushing and pulling on the hoods while out of the saddle. With 7,000 feet of climbing on the course, I figure I spent 6,000 feet of it out of the saddle at 30-50 rpms.

    If this were a century, it would have been fine. However, after 100 miles or so, I just wanted it to be over. Funny thing is that my legs were perfectly fine, no complaints or much loss of power at all. I was being very careful with nutrition, sodium, and water, having formulated what I need in that area almost perfectly. With a Camelbak and two large bottles, then mixed powders in drop bags at the aid stations, I got exactly what I needed. Plus, I use a countdown timer while riding to sound every 8 minutes, so I'm reminded to drink on schedule. No problems there.

    However, my points of contact were decaying rapidly. Spinning hurt, climbing hurt, and about the only thing that felt decent was about a 2% climb, where I could alternate between sitting and standing frequently. Still, after 90 miles or so, on those types of climbs I'd pull away from other riders, then they'd get me back on the steep climbs or descents. This was even true for a tandem team which shadowed me for the last 60 miles of the day loop.

    By 130 miles I went into what I call "Survivor Mode." Survivor Mode is when you don't give a crap about your speed, but you just want to finish, just get it over with. Until about 10 miles to go I planned on going the whole 12 hours or at least getting in 1 night loop, but by near the end the pain was just to intolerable, so I planned on calling it quits at 160 miles. Funny thing is that my average speed for the first 130 miles was just under what it has been for my 75 mile mountain/foot hill fixed rides, at 15-16 mph. I finished 160 miles just over 10 hours and packed it in.

    This was like my first double century. It was a brand new experience. I never have had such pain in my hands or crotch on a ride, not even Furnace Creek 508, where those areas were pretty much ok. This could be largely from doing this fixed with no aerobars, but also I think from grossly inadequate training mileage (this ride was longer than my average weekly mileage). I just don't have the callouses I used to have. I need more butt time on the bike. At this point, I don't know if doing this for 508 miles would be possible, unless I figure some things out I don't know now. While my legs might hold up, that doesn't do any good if my hands and crotch are screaming in pain. That sort of pain has a way of slowing you down, even if your legs are ok.

    I may have to experiment with taller gearing, something that I can just barely push on the climbs, but will allow more relaxed cruising on the flats and less frantic spinning on the descents. While that would help the crotch situation, it might exacerbate the hand problem. Frying pan or the fire?

    For regular (coaster) bike riders, you have no idea how much you take coasting for granted -- that's about all I could think about on those long descents. Riders would just calmly float by at 45 mph while I was mustering all my concentration and power to attempt a smooth, in the saddle, 175 rpms all the way down. I would get to the bottoms of hills exhausted, instead of refreshed. Coasting almost seems like cheating to me now, grossly unfair.

    Speaking of cheating, what's with riders blowing through stop signs at 25 mph? At least half a dozen times while I was carefully and properly coming to a full stop at intersections, I was passed or witnessed someone not even slowing, not even acknowledging the stop signs. What, am I the big chump? Have the rules changed? Or, do we still have rules for ultra racing that require compliance with all traffic laws, including stop signs? I wanted to yell at them, but they were gone so fast it would have been futile. It did bug me, though, and this was well before I got all irritable from being tired. The first time was the right turn about 10 miles out, when I guy, I swear, went through the stop sign at 25 mph -- probably a team racer.

    Anyway, I have no idea what Sam did, but my performance was pretty poor. Not sure if this is more from a lack of training mileage or just the nature of fixed versus derailleur bikes. For comparison, when I did this 2 years ago, at 130 miles, when you are pretty much clear of all the hills, I had averaged 18.5 mph, and this time 15 mph, bringing it up to around 16 by then end. A lot of that is conditioning, though, but I'd say the fixed "penalty" on a hilly course like this is around 2 mph, plus the wear and tear that could inhibit longer distances.

    I'd like to day it was fun, but it wasn't. I'll just say it was interesting and challenging.

    Doug
    Originally Posted by tetter
    'Pain is temporary, and there might be beer at the finish line'

    "Karma is spread in lots of different ways. You know, like herpes."
    catzilla
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  10. #10

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    Nice job, Doug

    Great effort, and great writing! Keep them both up.

  11. #11
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    Inspirational

    Great job, Doug. Your riding and writing are inspirational.

    As one who enjoys singlespeed mountain biking, cyclocross and commuting, I know how hard the steeps can get as the ride goes on. But I can't relate to the downhills as being even harder. (Maybe it's time to "fix" a rear wheel).

    Sounds to me that you're doing all the right things to successfully race The 508.

  12. #12
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    Why not try single speed first

    Doug,

    Why don't you try riding a single speed first and work your way up to riding the fixed on longer rides. You will get the advantage of spinning on the flats, climbing with one gear but the descents you will be free to recover a bit.

    I live in Seattle which is pretty hilly and I ride a single speed because the descents are a pain on a fixed gear.

    Nice job on the ride.

  13. #13

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    I know your pain... well, kind of!!

    I have gone on training rides on a fixie in early Spring for the last couple years. Yes, the crotch feels like itís on FIRE!! Iíve never had the hand problem you mentioned, but I havenít gone much past 70 miles fixed. Iíd guess the work-out I get riding a fixie on the road is almost a 2-to-1 ratioÖ 50 miles feels like 100 geared.

    JB

  14. #14
    Coco Puff
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    Wow!

    Great job on the challenging ride. I am impressed. I enjoy riding fixed, and can relate to all the problems you encountered, tho I usually make about fifty miles my max ride, and not at race pace. Resting on the downhills is indeed a luxury, but I agree with you that a flat with tailwind can be alot of work. Spinning at 120-130 gets tiring, tho at 170 it's even worse!

    Thanks for the write up. I consider your effort that of a winner, so chin up!

  15. #15
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    Freakin amazing!

    It's good to hear from somebody who's pushing the envelope for us. I've never gone over 50 miles fixed, do speculate what it would be like, but never picture doing it in the mountains. I'd have to build considerable hand strength to keep the brake on for long periods of time. Might even rig one up to a down tube lever.

    Have you tried Body Glide? I find it an incredible improvement over any kind of chamois butter that I've tried.

    In any case, great job. Relax and bask in the glory of your accomplishment. If 2 people out of 300 million Americans can do what you did, it hardly seems to matter that the other guy did it faster.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  16. #16
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    Wow! Good Job!

    The RPM's that you are turning are amazing. I couldn't fathom churning along at 175rpm for an extended period of time.

    It sounds like bigger gears are in your future.
    It's Been Fun...See You Down The Road.

  17. #17
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    Wow

    I've said it before Doug, you are one qwazy Dog! I do admire you though, you should be proud of yourself! Good job!!

  18. #18
    MB1
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    Wherein I smack Doug around (with love).

    Hey daddy dude, don't you think it is about time to figure out that you aren't putting the time in the saddle that would allow you to pull off the sort of ride you remember being able to do? Not that your ride wasn't impressive and more than I could ever do but as you noted it wasn't a success.

    When I quit racing way back when I remember Eddie B saying to older rides something like, "Don't ride harder, ride smarter". It seems to me like you did your first attempt at a long fixed ride harder not smarter. Let's count the ways;

    #1 Gearing. You had only 1 gear on your bike even though you had an Eno hub that would allow you to run another cog. (I thought you were an equipment freak) If you had a harder gear for the downhills perhaps your rear would have burned a lot less. I understand why you wanted to do the ride fixed but a 2-3 tooth difference on the rear would really have made a big difference on the downhills and easy flats.

    #2 Speed kills. 35mph??? 174RPM??? How are you going to recover from that on a long ride? Downhills are for recovery not for self induced destruction. Was your brake broken?

    #3 Pace. You flamed out without reaching your distance goal. What about pacing yourself to finish the distance in style? Start out slow, take it easy in the middle of the ride and cruise home. Pay no attention to how others are doing at the start of the ride just focus on yourself.

    #4 Bumming about the results of your first attempt. There is no way you won't try this again so quit bumming about what happened and start planning for your next go around. Next time I want and expect to hear about how you felt like you could ride forever and didn't want to get off the bike when the ride was over.

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    Thumbs up tough love

    Of course, you are right (except on the multiple gears, which is not allowed). Thanks. Gotta get more miles under my belt.

    Thanks also everyone else for the encouragement. Good advice, too.

    I did receive an email from the other fixed rider who said that he finished the day loop just barely ahead of me, but went on to do some night loops, not having the hand and crotch irritation issues I had. He said he was using a 42x15 (74 inches), a substantially taller gear than my 40x16, and wasn't spun out nearly as much. He also used the brakes and limited speed to 28 mph (127 rpms), waaaay less than my 170+ rpms. He also got in 250 miles per week during March, almost twice mine.

    Doug



    Quote Originally Posted by MB1
    Hey daddy dude, don't you think it is about time to figure out that you aren't putting the time in the saddle that would allow you to pull off the sort of ride you remember being able to do? Not that your ride wasn't impressive and more than I could ever do but as you noted it wasn't a success.

    When I quit racing way back when I remember Eddie B saying to older rides something like, "Don't ride harder, ride smarter". It seems to me like you did your first attempt at a long fixed ride harder not smarter. Let's count the ways;

    #1 Gearing. You had only 1 gear on your bike even though you had an Eno hub that would allow you to run another cog. (I thought you were an equipment freak) If you had a harder gear for the downhills perhaps your rear would have burned a lot less. I understand why you wanted to do the ride fixed but a 2-3 tooth difference on the rear would really have made a big difference on the downhills and easy flats.

    #2 Speed kills. 35mph??? 174RPM??? How are you going to recover from that on a long ride? Downhills are for recovery not for self induced destruction. Was your brake broken?

    #3 Pace. You flamed out without reaching your distance goal. What about pacing yourself to finish the distance in style? Start out slow, take it easy in the middle of the ride and cruise home. Pay no attention to how others are doing at the start of the ride just focus on yourself.

    #4 Bumming about the results of your first attempt. There is no way you won't try this again so quit bumming about what happened and start planning for your next go around. Next time I want and expect to hear about how you felt like you could ride forever and didn't want to get off the bike when the ride was over.

  20. #20
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    Eye on the Prize

    Wasn't this a test race to prepare for The Fixed 508? With so many variables to try to isolate, analyze and resolve to even consider that undertaking, it seems to me that your Davis 12/24 was a rousing success. Your thoughts on gearing, cadence, braking, positioning, body/bike contact points, pacing, etc. all have progressed.

    With respect to your "frying pan or fire" query, my vote depends on the 508 course.

    If the 508 profile is roughly comparable or with less steeps, I'd try a taller gear. Listen to yourself: "the descents were my undoing in this race" and "my legs were perfectly fine" after 100 miles. Sounds like you've got more room there, rather than trying to be a sewing machine for hours on end on the flats and descents.

    Hope you recover quickly and get back out there before over-analyzing.

    BTW - convert that MTB to singlespeed and see how low those rpms will go!

  21. #21
    chica cyclista
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    Doug, with all due respect you are nuts

    Very well written report of what sounded like a long ride through Purgatory. FWIW I agree 100% with everything MB1 says and so won't add anything on advise-wise.

    When it comes to riding fixed, I personally fear even the measly little downhill rollers (mesa descents) on the "flatlands" here. Despite doing more cadence work this year as a directive of my coach, after a point I have to limit my RPM to >130 or suffer the consequences. That's why I run a full set of rim brakes in addition to the gear itself. I wouldn't even dream of riding up any of the canyons on that thing. I run a 42x16 in case you're interested.

    Read MB1's post. Think about it. Now read it again.
    Grandpa LFR: "Kid, don't wrestle with pigs; you'll just get covered in crap, and the pig enjoys it."

    /Grandpa LFR

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