Hellweek, Day 7 – Rollercoaster Ride

We followed up the death ride with the Rollercoaster. I have to admit, aside from the headwinds and the rather cold weather and a general lack of convenience stores, this ride is gorgeous. The ride goes through some really pretty canyons where you ride along streams up through Majestic Rock state park, and has some incredible views. While the ride has a respectable amount of climbing, it didn’t feel like it was beating you on the head all day. All in all, great route. Believe it or not, there was even a flat stretch for a little while!

Here is the ride map.

Like I said above, this ride didn’t seem to have that much climbing, but looking at the numbers it did. There were only a couple of real steep climbs. Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen enough of them now that they don’t scare me as much. 8-)

Nothing too exciting on speed on this route, but I did all 102 miles of it at an average speed of 15 mph, not bad considering how tired these legs are.

I’m debating tomorrow, I may ride the short loop, or I may take the day off. I’m happy with my milage and I would like to see a little bit of Fredericksburg before I leave. Also, I hear there is a good massage shop in town and a 2-hour rub down sounds like near heaven at this point. I’ll decide in the morning.

Hellweek, Day 6 – The Leakey Death Ride

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I SURVIVED THE DEATH RIDE!

Before I get into the details of the death ride, let me give you where we are, day 6 of Hellweek:

  • You wake up and before you even get out of bed, your quads hurt.
  • Your ass hurts before you even get on your saddle and Chamois Butt’r is your best friend.
  • You’ve already rode 440 miles and spent over a full day on your bike.
  • You wonder if your Advil is expired or something, doesn’t seem to do anything.
  • You’re “working” at eating enough at night to keep you fueled up.
  • You’ve eaten more bananas than a medium sized family of apes.
  • Mars bar? Donut? Sugary thing with Peanuts? Who cares! It’s got calories!

These pictures pretty much wrap up what the death ride is all about (thanks to Don for taking these!)…

Look closely and you can see the rode in the background wrapping around the hill. That’s one long climb, about another mile to go too! Push! Push! Push! After a while you just can’t stand, you gotta push, no matter how much it hurts.

 

The death ride took a little over 7 hours to finish and totaled 109 miles. It’s our only “away” ride. We leave Fredericksburg at about 7:00 am and drive our bikes down to Bandara and leave from there. The climbs on this ride are hard to really convey in text, they are steep and they go on for as long as you can see. You don’t want to look up since you may just want to stop. You pass other riders walking there bikes up.

Here is the ride map.

There are 6 major climbs to the death ride. The first is the most arduous, it’s dead straight and you can see the entire beast as you begin to climb it’s nearly 1,000 feet without any break. The first three are all bundled together, then you get three more on the back. The worst is when your 100 miles into the ride and ready to collapse, and there is the last climb staring at you.

Who care’s about average speed on this ride, it’s dead on those climbs. I can tell you that you can climb standing at under 6 mph for about 10 minutes straight with your heart pounding at over 90% max, it hurts, but it can be done. I also set a new personal record for speed, hitting 50 mph on the descents. After one 47 mph descent I pulled over and found my newly rebuilt wheel had 6 “wiggly” loose spokes! WHOA! I deserve that nickname they gave me, Lucky. A little roadside truing of the wheel and I was off again.

I decided to skip the heart rate chart today and instead show you an exertion chart. This chart shows you my “typical” training program on the left, and you can see the exertion factor that Hellweek demands. Yikes!

I made it! The death ride is the hardest and longest ride of Hellweek, and I successfully pulled it off. Only two more days left.

Hellweek, Day 5 – Born to Boerne

Todays ride was a mentally exhausting ride. 102 miles that took nearly 7 hours to complete. We started the morning in a light drizzle, 3 hours and 50 miles in it was raining pretty hard and the temperature was in the 50′s, read as, miserable. By the time we got to 70 miles the sun was showing itself a little. Even though the ride “only” had a little over 5,000 feet of vertical climbing, it felt like we were going uphill all day!


Here is the group riding today. From left to right: Don, Bill, Don and me!

Here is the ride map.

Like I said, this ride felt like we were climbing all day, but the numbers aren’t as bad. There was one really steep climb at 80 miles.

Speed was terrible on this ride, this was the longest century thus far and average speed was below 15 mph. Tough, tough day.

And here is a chart I was just playing with, it shows acceleration profile. 8-) Not terribly useful, I don’t think.

Average HR was low today.

Tomorrow is the Death Ride! Wish me luck!

Hellweek, Day 4 – Fred's Ride

Fred’s Ride is named after a friend of Nick’s, the Hellweek organizer who passed away a couple years ago, and this route was his favorite of Hellweek. It serves as a memorial ride for any cyclists that are no longer with us.

Today involuntarily turned into a short day for me. I made the climb up Eagles Nest Mountain (wow, steep!) and at the bottom of the descent as I was going about 35 miles an hour, my rear tire exploded on me (literally!). The tire itself came off and the tube blew up and wrapped around my cogs numerous times, stopping the wheel. I then skidded on my rim for a while and luckily I was able to stay upright and didn’t wipe it. Pretty lucky on that one! A couple riders and I tried to pull the tube out of the cogset and thought I may be able to put a new tire on and finish the ride, but the wheel was toast. The rim was all cut up and terribly out of true. They went ahead and called the sag-wagon for me which arrived in about an hour. My wheel is at the bike shop in town getting rebuilt right now, so I’ll be back in business for tomorrows ride.


What was left of my tube after the blowout!

Because of the unfortunate problem with my tire, I only got in around 40 miles of the ride today. 8-( You can see the mark “BLOW”, that’s where my tire went on me.

This ride was on track to be about 6,000 feet of vertical climbing. You can see the Eagles Nest climb on here, very steep!

For the part of the ride that I did get in, I put in the fastest pace yet. I averaged 16.1 mph and hit 42 mph max. That’s over a half-mile faster on average than any of my previous days and is the fastest max speed yet. You can see my speed was pretty high right before I blew.

Despite this being my fastest day, my average HR was lower than all the previous days, at 116 bpm.

Tonight is the Hellweek Banquet. I’m going to take my camera so I can get some pictures of people in normal clothes! 8-)

Hellweek, Day 3 – Southern Comfort

We had a re-route on the beginning of today’s ride since one of the bridges was flooded, this cut a couple miles off of the route so “only” came in at 96.6 miles today. Was a good ride, however the wind seemed to be always in front of me. One of the riders got hit by a truck, he’s gonna be okay but had to have an ambulance come and take him out. His name is Bill from Oklahoma City if I remember right. (Update on Bill, found out at dinner that they ended up taking him out by helicopter to San Antonio to be worked on. He fractured a vertebrae, otherwise known as breaking your neck. He’ll be okay, but that’s a tough one).

I think I finally got my eating right. Day 1 I ate 1,100 calories during the ride and was starving at the end. Yesterday I bonked at 80 miles and ended up eating 1,300 calores and starving. Today I ate 2,000 calories during the ride and felt much, much stronger during the ride. Think I’m figuring out how to fuel these centuries in a row.

Onto the ride, here’s the map. Todays is more impressive, looks like we went further. The default path was to go to highway 16 and then go up to Frederickburg, but that road has too many cars going too fast, so I backed up and went up 2093 back into town.

The altitude profile wasn’t as bad as yesterday, still had some serious climbing and that climbing was into the wind, adding insult to injury.

Had some nice fast runs today. When we climbed out of the valley had about 10 miles on flats. I can’t tell you how cool it feels when you’re five hours into your ride and you can still hammer out at 25 miles an hour for a good while (of course, the wind at your back, shhh!)

Average heart rate today was 119, lowest of all three days. Makes sense since we had less vertical climbing. As well, the body just gets tired.

Tomorrow is Fred’s Ride. Semper Fi! 8-)

Hellweek, Day 2 – The Harper Image

Today was a long ride. 8-) Little over a thousand more vertical feet of climbing than we had yesterday, add onto that wet morning with a hot afternoon (read as your clothing is always not right) and a headwind that seemed to follow us wherever we went, no matter what! However, the “roller coaster hills” were a lot of fun, hitting some pretty good speeds. New GPS method worked excellent, just put it in a zip-loc and throw it in the mesh part of the CamelBack.


This is Don and Foster. Don is from Texas and Foster is a fellow Minnesotan. We road together most of Day 2.

Anyway, here’s today’s ride…

This ride had a lot (let me emphasize that!) of up and down, rolling hills. Tack onto that a couple of serious climbs and you have the reason my quads still are yelling at me. (Notice the new chart, basic altitude and then I’ve added a second line for total vertical feet, sweet!)

Speed was average. You can see today had 3 breaks. This ride looped through the city of Harper three times (hence the name). (Note the new chart here as well, basic speed is in light and an average of the speed is in the thicker line, gives a better representation.)

Heart rate was actually lower than yesterday, averaging 123 (yesterday was 125). Other than that this chart really looks about the same.

Tomorrow is another brand new ride, Southern “Dis”-Comfort. Another 100 miler. Whew…

Hellweek, Day 1 – LBJ Ramble

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Let’s actually start with yesterday, Friday. Got into San Antonia, got the bike from luggage, all went very easy, to my surprise. Got the gate upgrade on the car rental to a Ford Explorer, much better for putting stuff into. Made my way to Fredericksburg and put the bike together, with one big gotcha. One of my spokes on my rear wheel had been damaged. There is a single bike shop in Fredericksburg, but they were closed. Luckily, another rider Tom had extra spokes and one actually fit. Got the spoke fixed and all was better. YES!

The next day came early when I woke up at 5:30 am and couldn’t fall asleep! Got over to the ride start area about an hour early and just chatted with people. Cyclists are almost universally pretty good people.


Group getting ready to go…

LBJ Ramble was the ride of the day. 99 miles total distance, I clocked it off in 6 hours and 15 minutes of riding. There are breaks in this track from an unforeseen GPS issue. On fast descents on the road bike, there is a lot of vibration on the handlebars and the eMap kept on turning off! I finally just took it off and put it in my pocket. A little later, I figured I would try just turning it on and putting it in my Camelback. This proved to be very effective, except I lose the ability to navigate with it, oh well. (The nice thing about this approach is it will definitely work off-road on a mountain bike as well.) This map just doesn’t do justice to how long these rides are. Note that all those names are actually different cities! (You can also see where I missed a turn here.)


This is Bill and Leonard, I rode with them for a long time on Saturday. Bill is an ex-cycling coach and he and Leonard have logged thousands of miles together.


Leonard knew about this place called Rabge’s Meats. Yes, this is the “sales room”. Got a bunch of turkey and beef jerky here, best damn jerky I’ve ever had. Gotta have some of this shipped up to Minneapolis.

There was only one serious climb on this ride (although the entire thing was riddled with “Minnesota Hills”). The Gypsum Mine Road was a good climb, pushing hard. All the veterans here keep talking about the hills on the Leakey-Death route, apparently we haven’t seen anything yet.

Some nice fast descents. Texas seems to have a habit however of putting cattle gates at the bottom of hills, usually on a turn. So, you need to keep your speed in check or you will have a mishap on those things. Luckily no rain, so they weren’t very slippery. Most of them you can just “float” over, but some rattle you pretty big!

Heart rate strategy was straightforward, stay around 130. Came in at an average HR of 125. This is well below my anaerobic threshold so I was limiting lactate buildup. Stayed aerobic through the majority of the ride. Consumed a little over 1,200 calories during the 6 hour ride, while burning around 3,600 calories. Ate like a horse when I got back to the hotel.

Tomorrow is a brand new ride, Harpers Bazaar. Another 100 miler. Stay tuned…

Hellweek Gear Test 2

Second gear test, got everything working the way I want this time.

Below you can see the ride that I took, total distance of 15.9 miles:

Here is an elevation profile of the ride. I was also able to put speed on here as well, the GPS tracks the distance from each sampling point and the time difference, from that you can derive you speed at any point of your ride.

Last but not least is the all important heart rate graph. I may experiment with exporting this and putting it on the same ride profile chart above, it would correlate more directly with climbing and speed anyway.

Hellweek Gear Test 1

Took my GPS on my ride with me to do a gear test before heading to Texas. Had the heart rate monitor on as well, but for some reason I got no signal, not sure what the problem was with that.

Below you can see the ride that I took today, total distance of 29.8 miles:

Here is an elevation profile of the ride. This was good as the vertical climbing per mile is similar to what I’m expecting in Texas: