Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Last Saturday was the 400K. I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to do the ride because I was having trouble arranging a ride to the start. I had talked to George about getting a ride but I had trouble arranging the details. I had pretty much decided that I wasn't going to do the ride until George called me Friday afternoon.

I still needed to ride home Friday evening into a very strong headwind. Then I rode the Heights for A.J.'s birthday party. He had a pool party so I needed to be in the water to help watch the kids. Everyone had a good time but we didn't get leave until around 8:00. I rode home and helped get the kids in bed. After that I started getting everything ready. George was going to pick me up at 4:00 am so I set my alarm clock for 3, or at least I meant to. The alarm wasn't set but I woke up at about 3:50. I quickly did the last few things that I needed to do but I didn't have time to eat breakfast.

We got to Edwardsville and turned in our registrations. After the rider meeting and having our lights and reflective gear inspected, everyone was ready to go. I was more than ready actually because it was chilly and I was ready to start riding to warm up. It was very windy, but at least it was out of the west so we would have a tailwind for the first 30 miles.

At 5:00 we started the ride. I started out with another rider up front. I knew that I would not be up front for very long so I was not surprise when some other riders caught up to us after a few miles. I hung out with the front group for a while but once I noticed that we were cruising at 24 mph I decided to drop back. There was a strong tailwind but that's still very fast.

I stopped in Pocahontas (mile 24) to get something to eat. With the tailwind I has a 19 mph average at this point. I was able to get back on the road pretty quickly. I rode with several different riders through Breese (mile 51) and then to Okawville (mile 78). I was riding with George into Okawville. He had said that he would give me a ride home if we finished near the same time but I told him that he would most likely finish long before me.

A few riders passed me while I was in Okawville, but I managed to catch them once I got back on the road. I caught up with Scott who also offered to give me a ride home, but he later had two flats in succession and had to abandon.

I was still feeling pretty good when I got to Ava (mile 150). As I was getting ready to leave, a man came up to me and said "I think one of your buddies left this." It was a Ziploc bag containing a phone, cash, and brevet card. I thanked him and said that I would catch up to the owner.

It belonged to Dan, a rider on a recumbent who was doing his first 400K. I was able to catch him before he noticed that he had forgotten it so he hadn't needed to backtrack. At this point I was starting to feel tired. We had turned into the wind before Ava and this section was pretty hilly. After we stopped so I could give Dan his belongings, I took a 10 minute break on the side of the road. I caught up to Dan and another rider at Sparta (mile 177).

Many of the convenience stores along the route have places to sit. The checkpoint at Sparta did not. This was disappointing because I really wanted to be able to sit somewhere besides a curb. It was starting to get dark so we put our reflective gear
back on and turned on our lights. It was also getting colder.

I suggested that we stop in Coulterville (mile 186) because that would be the last place for supplies until New Baden (mile 217). Coulterville didn't have place to sit either so it was a relatively quick stop. When we started up again after a stop, I really felt the cold. This was because we were moving so we had wind but we hadn't warmed up yet. At least the wind had died down by this point.

Once we got to New Baden we were really starting to feel the miles. We joked about quitting but I think that if one of us had quit the rest might have too. We stopped over an hour and a half. I think all three of us took a short nap. I know I did. Quitting at this point would have been pretty silly because we only had 32 miles to go and over 7 hours left on the clock.

We started the final leg at 12:45am. The nap in New Baden had really improved my mood. I guess being so close to the end helped too. I was a little concerned about the battery for my headlight. It was rated to last 7 hours at low power (which it was I was using) but I estimated I would have had it on for more that that when I finished (including the time I used it in the morning). I had a backup headlight but I was not looking forward to switching them by the side of the road.

We finished the ride at 3:50. 22:50 is not a great time but it is well before the deadline of 27 hours. Zac came and got me and took me home. I owe him big time for that. I showered, slept for about three hours, and then got up to make waffles (from scratch) for Helen for Mother's Day. After that I went back to bed for another hour or so.