Harden The HUCK Up

Today was time for something different. I ventured out bright and early to take part in the Huckleberry 100, an annual 104 mile century ride throughout the Flathead Valley. I have wanted to get this one under my belt for some time, and thanks to my saint of a wife, this weekend was the weekend.

I can’t really justify a full on “race report” like my other recaps, but I will give the highlights. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, there weren’t too many exciting moments.

In my usual fashion, I startled out of bed a whopping 1 hour before race start. At least I had taken the time to put my P2 in its first ever “Ironman mode” the night before. I went with my usual wheels, one bento box, and my trusty Torhans on the front. Thank goodness, it fit well on my new bike. After downing 2 shots of espresso and a ham artisan sandwich from Starbucks (I eat way to much from Starbucks….I’m sure when I die and rigor mortis sets in, my hand will naturally fall into the grasp shape of a grande coffee.)

Anyhow, I arrived with about 15 minutes till start. For some reason, they didn’t have my registration down, even though I registered online like two months ago. Oh well. Fortunately, the staff was happy to let me ride anyhow and have lunch.

After the prerequisite ride meeting, off we went. I had asked three of my buddies to come along and we set off in the first wave of people. A front group of riders quickly formed, and off we went. Unfortunately, I lost one of my buddies at that time, but I had no plans for riding without the pack for the entire day.

The road was pretty narrow at spots as we were relegated to the bike path initially. But it made for some good drafting. On the way down to Bigfork, our first major destination, the group I was drafting off got separated from the main group, and I had to do about ten minutes of intervals to get back on the main pack. Fortunately, I was able to reconnect.

Things were going pretty great as we entered the small town of Bigfork. This is where last week’s dragon boat race was. Beautiful town.  A must visit if you are ever in this neck of the woods. Anyhow, I wasn’t tired, I was keeping pace with the pack fine. Just a fun day. Unfortunately, this is pretty much when everything went to hell. Right after the town, the road switched to gravel. This dedicated trainer rider has about as much skill in riding on gravel as (insert whatever presidential candidate you don’t like) has running the government. Despite my best attempts and plenty of sliding, I couldn’t keep up with the pack on the winding gravel.

This is what is called an aerial image of annoying.

After about a mile or two, I finally got a piece of asphalt. I could see the pack in the distance and I quickly got to hammering it. I seemed to be making it back slowly, but thanks to some bad timing at stop signs, I would lose ground that I had gained. After a good 20 minutes of hammering it, I finally gave up the chase and settled into Ironman pacing mode. There was about 80 miles to go from this point.

So, my goal for pacing was to keep things at about .70 IF overall. This was an optimistic goal as I had never ridden that long at that intensity. Most of my Ironman races had me around .63 or .61. It was even loftier since I haven’t been training anywhere close to this distance.

So there I was, riding by my lonesome. I figured that eventually, some other group of riders behind me would catch up and then I could work with them.  As I headed back into town at the halfway point, it quickly dawned on me that this was wishful thinking. I had the option of stopping for lunch at the half, but at that point, I wanted to just get this thing done. Probably some sort of telepathic message from my pregnant wife.

Anyhow, I shoved a few cookies in my mouth, ditched my winter gear, and headed off again for the second half. Again, I figured that I would see another rider somewhere on the road as I wove my way through downtown Kalispell. Wishful thinking.

To my horror, from mile 25 to mile 104, I did not see a single other cyclist. Not one. No pack. No support cars. At least, there was the occasional aid station every twenty five miles. The next time I saw anyone from the ride, it was when I crossed the line back at the finish.

Spending a good 4+ hours alone with my thoughts and legs was both therapeutic and maddening. There were times, when I was down in the bars and cruising on pace among the meadows, that were just perfect. Then there were times, like riding alone along the 65mph, two lane major thorough fare when I thought I was going to tear my mind out.

Despite this dichotomy, I would have to say that this was a good investment in my cycling career. I experienced some great new roads as I was forced outside my “box” of routines. I learned more about my pacing. And I got to experiment in nutrition. Speaking of which, I am happy to say that my back was only “normal” sore and my gut didn’t explode all over my bike.

Here is one cool thing I learned about Perpetuem. When I woke up this morning, I realized I was out of Perpetuem save a few of those sample packets you get at races. I had one caffe latte and one strawberry vanilla packet. Needing the nutrition, I mixed the two packets together. The result? Something that tasted like an ice cream Sunday!

Okay, so here is the data. Through some divine intervention, I was right on pace! Total rolling time (including my riding to my truck to change) was 5:34. Intensity Factor was .72! When I averaged over my time sans pack, IF dropped to .71. Average MPH was 18.7. And to boot, my ability to walk, and even run, afterwards was okay. I even braved Costco with a skip in my step. I am greatly looking forward to Ironman 2014. Here’s the data.

Entire workout (140 watts):

Duration:                5:43:05

Work:                     2887 kJ

TSS:                       296 (intensity factor 0.72)

Norm Power:          162

VI:                           1.16

Pw:HR:                   n/a

Pa:HR:                   n/a

Distance:               104.302 mi

Elevation Gain:      1471 ft

Elevation Loss:      1470 ft

Grade:                    0.0 %  (3 ft)

Min      Max     Avg

Power:                    0          620      140      watts

Cadence:               7          191      88        rpm

Speed:                    0          38        18.2     mph

Pace                       1:35     0:00     3:17     min/mi

Altitude:                  2913    3299    3048    ft

Crank Torque:       0          1533    139      lb-in


Alone Time:

Duration:                4:24:20

Work:                     2269 kJ

TSS:                       223.6 (intensity factor 0.712)

Norm Power:          160

VI:                           1.12

Pw:HR:                   n/a

Pa:HR:                   n/a

Distance:               80.322 mi

Elevation Gain:      1226 ft

Elevation Loss:      1312 ft

Grade:                    -0.0 %  (-84 ft)

Min      Max     Avg

Power:                    0          458      143      watts

Cadence:               7          191      87        rpm

Speed:                    0          36        18.2     mph

Pace                       1:40     0:00     3:17     min/mi

Altitude:                  2926    3299    3074    ft

Crank Torque:       0          1521    142      lb-in

About Ironvan

From couch potato to Ironman triathlete in 2 years.

Posted on September 15, 2012, in Race Reports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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